Submitted: 04-11-2002 by kwikle
I test paddled the project X version of this boat from my P&H dealer in Michigan several times in varying wind and wave conditions on Lake Michigan. With minimal padding I found the cockpit a nice fit for me at my size (5'8" and 180 lbs). This boat is very fast when headed on a course and if empty does weathercock a little, (I do mean a little). With the skeg deployed this is easily corrected. But with a moderate-heavy gear load the boat doesn't need the skeg quite as much. Carved turns work really well even with the skeg deployed.
The seat is very comfortable and I paddled many long hours along the coast of Lake Michigan and never had my legs or rump fall asleep on me. The backband provides excellent support in the right spot. The initial stability is a little tricky at first, but the secondary stability is quite solid. There is a solid feeling when doing high braces and side sculls. Rolling the boat is predictably easy. The hatches are also very watertight and I never noticed any leakage in any of the compartments.
I ordered and bought my own in kevlar from Lee's in Kalamazoo with the custom mounted bulkhead and footpump. Now with the bulkhead set at my inseam the cockpit is a perfect fit for me. One thing this boat is missing that I think kajak sport and P&H should remedy is a front hatch size a few inches wider. The hatch works the way it is, but a 10-12 inch hatch might work a little better when loading loads of gear. Also the color choices are ok, but still not as cool as some other manufacturers e.g.: seaward kayaks, current designs, or now even NDK has the sparkly/metallic gel-coat option. I realize that these are cosmetic items, but they do add up to something for overall customer satisfaction.
The boat that I took delivery of is flawless in its layup and manufacture and is everything I wanted from a sea kayak. Fast, light, loads of room for gear, stable and easy to steer in wind and waves. Definitely something I would recommend to the serious paddler wanting a boat to go long distances on the Great Lakes or the sea.