Submitted: 06-26-2001 by ladams
I have paddled canoes all my life and learned early the benefits of clean entry and exit, narrow beam and minimal rocker for those of us who paddle big water. However, I needed a good boat for singlehanding and wanted to go to a sea kayak for that purpose.
I rented several different boats, most by Perception, but also a Boreal Inukshuk and an Old Town Heron. The Eclipse seemed to be by far the most efficient and enjoyable to paddle. It accelerated well, handled well in all seas (I took it out of Rockport harbor, about 1/2 mile beyond the lighthouse) and, frankly, was real delight...head and shoulders above all the rest except the Inukshuk. It DID feel tender at first but I adapted quickly and soon felt at home.
I am 6'2", 240 lbs, and entry to the cockpit was tight, due to the thigh braces. But once in, the cockpit was snug and comfortable, with no tendency on my part to cramp or go numb, even though I was out for almost 4 hours. I bought it!!!
After a year of paddling, I do have some criticisms, though. The hull has a tendency to oilcan...a surprise, since the Eclipse has a keelson bar. It DOES pop out with a little heat, though. More importantly, to me, is the seat back which, though very comfortable, has an annoying habit of coming loose while underway...maybe I'm doing something wrong. The rudder controls quckly stiffened up and have been balky ever since. It weathercocks in a crosswind...not that annoying, as it just requires a correctional stroke every once in a while...
But, as I said, It is quick, sensitive, responsive, and a whole lot of fun. It handles rough water well and keeps me and my gear dry and comfortable. No boat is perfect, so if you know the faults and appreciate the fun, buy it!!!