Submitted: 09-26-2001 by jmcphoto1
Just purchased a Sky last Friday, currently the 5th boat I own (total investment including skirts, paddles and covers less than $2000), and have sold an additional 4 boats during the 6 years I have been recreational kayaking. (Guess I'm sort of like a little kid who has kittens continually following me home.) The preceding post points out a few problems I have experienced since getting started paddling. First of all 250#s is probably pushing the limit of a 9'6" boat, though the poster did find it fun safe and stable on lakes and rivers (for which it was designed), until he took a self rescue class. Sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Unfortunately a lot of the rules and techniques that apply to traditional kayaks don't necessarily apply to recreational kayaks. In the six years that I have been paddling, I have never fallen out of one of my boats. I did attempt to roll my Zydeco in a pool and found out the large cockpit makes a roll impossible but a wet exit automatic. These boats are not intended to follow the course of Leif Erickson over vast expanses of open water and to require a self rescue means you have done something real stupid, probably requiring an automatic nomination for the Darwin Awards. Haven't had a chance with the Sky yet but I have filled my Loon 138 and Zydeco completely with water and they float. Bailed them with my half gallon poly laundry detergent bottle (with the top cut off) and have been able to get back in to complete the bailing without a paddle float. Would I try this in the open ocean in difficult conditions, no, would I take these boats there, no way? Would I fly fish standing up in my Loon, sure, would I try that in a 20" beam sea kayak, no way. Traditional kayakers tend to look down their noses on the recreational boats, but if you use them for the purpose they were designed you can have lots of enjoyment and get a bit of exercise along the way, and explore little ponds and channels that would be nearly impossible in a traditional sea kayak. If you want to tackle more than class 2 whitewater, get a white water boat, my own personal rule of thumb, if I can't paddle it up stream, I probably shouldn't attempt it down stream (small short chutes the exception).
Back to the Sky, fun boat, a little faster and better glide than the Zydeco, and able to handle my 220# nephew, though I would advise him to get a slightly bigger boat if he wanted to carry any gear, and it would be his only boat. Lacks deck rigging and a drain plug (which I will add myself for around $10) but for a $350 boat a real bargain (I bought a like new rental unit for $230, put more scratches on it myself in the first 2 paddles, a bargain I couldn't pass up). 9 out of 10? There are no 10s.