Submitted: 07-20-2001 by R.L.
I bought a used 119k in new condition for $400 last April. I had hoped to use it for solo fishing in small ponds and poking around in marshes. I took the 119k for its maiden voyage while most of the water in our area was still ice-covered and, rather unexpectedly, discovered this boat has almost no secondary stability whatsoever. I have more than 30 years of canoe and kayak paddling experience, own 2 canoes, a kayak, a sailboat and a small motorboat and my swim was a total surprise. Although I would not call this boat "stable", its decent initial stability belies its utter lack of secondary stability. I have not been ejected again but I would not be surprised if it happened. Once May arrived and the water was liquid I took the boat out for a more thorough test. My wife and I have paddled the boat about ten times since. We are both stuck in a love/hate relationship with this boat! My conclusions are as follows:
PROS: This is a very pretty little boat - especially for the price. It is very nimble and a lot of fun to maneuver in tight places. It acts a lot like a kayak in many respects but it is considerably less stable than our Perception Dancer. It cartops almost effortlessly. Outside of a float tube this is about as easy as it gets. It is quite rugged, especially for a 43 lb. boat.
CONS: The lack of secondary stability requires you to be constantly vigilant. It is more "tippy" than you first expect. This is NOT a good boat for any kind of fishing. If you are really focused on fishing you will end up in the water with the fish! The boat is extremely manueverable and paddles very nicely with a double bladed paddle but it blows all over in more than a breeze (a double bladed paddle is almost essential in wind). The boat is fun to paddle with a regular paddle but it is very slow. It will track straight but not without effort and skill. The seat is too high to be stable and too low to fit feet under in a kneeling position. I outfitted mine with a backrest and accept the extra instability in return for comfort. When the water gets rough I slide forward and kneel completely. It's not ideal.
I am sure you COULD paddle this boat in whitewater but you would be doing it mostly for the challenge,the boat is not suited for moving water. Just for fun I tried paddling the 119k with two big adults (about 400 lbs.- 75 lbs shy of its 475 lb rating). It was miserable. We swapped ends (seat and thwarts are better spaced with two when the stern is forward) and each kneeled but the boat simply would not quit jumping around. It ended up working best with a double bladed paddle in the stern and the bow person just sitting very still. Not fun. I had really hoped to be able to press this canoe into service for fishing in ponds but the sad truth is that it requires too much attention to allow one to enjoy the fishing. Flyfishing would be almost impossible and I can't even imagine trying to hunt from it.
CONCLUSION: Don't even consider this boat for hunting/fishing! It is the right size but far too tippy for kids. It might be OK for solo tripping but I think there are better choices. If you are an accomplished paddler and want a very nimble open boat it might be the ticket but paddle this boat BEFORE you buy it! We will keep the boat because it really is fun to paddle but I would hardly call it practical. I find myself looking at stabilizers and sponsons with the hope of improving stability but contraptions are not the answer. Instead I end up just taking one of our other boats for fishing.