Submitted: 07-24-2001 by Reid
Good all around boat. It is exceptionally stable and has good speed for its length/width. I own a Wilderness Systems Seacret and my brother owns a Spectrum. We have had both boats in surf (ever pitchpole a 14' boat?), long open water paddles, and whitewater (fall line Appomattox River class I-III). The spectrum is about bullet proof. It is fishable and capable of long distances. We have covered up to 21miles in 6hrs with my brother in the spectrum.
I recently went paddling with my brother with him in his new Walden Legend (17.5' X 21") and me in his old spectrum. With a little extra effort I was able to keep up. We ventured into the lower James River (5miles wide) into a stiff NW wind blowing straight down river and whitecaps up to 3'. It beat hard into the waves and was a bear with a headwind but surfed a following sea well.
Like two other sub 15' boats I've paddled, it tracks fine as long as you're pulling ahead but turns when you pause. The solution, don't pause frequently. Even light forward strokes keep it on course if applied correctly. It also weather cocks with a stiff beam wind (same as other two boats). The rudder helps when deployed but exaserbates the problems when retracted and acting like a sail.
If a beginner, I would recommend this boat without a rudder. Work on paddling skills. Also, rudders get in the way in wooded swamps and are easily damaged in surfing accidents.