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Submitted: 05-03-2002 by Andrew
Right off the bat, I should let you know that I bought the Cruiser II for a very specific purpose: daytripping and overnighting with my 4 year old. I was interested, therefore, in stable, forgiving, easy-to-handle double kayaks. I ruled out closed cockpit boats because I was uncomfortable with the idea of not being able to grab my kid in an emergency. Next, I ruled out double sit-on-tops that were too long or heavy to be lifted and car-topped solo. That narrowed the field substantially, and in the end the Cruiser II was the only boat that I could lift by myself (with difficulty, mind you) and still was boat enough to handle overnighting. I've had it now for a few months and I've done several day trips and one overnighter with my son. Here are my thoughts:
The bad: the hatches are really hard to pry off, especially when the weather is colder. With just a child in the front seat (ie: no cargo), the boat gets pushed around a bit by strong quartering head winds (even with the skeg deployed). It's not fast (about 3 knots cruising speed). It's heavy and hard to manage on shore solo.
The good: it is super-stable. It turns very easily (lots of rocker). Below-deck storage is ample for touring. The main hatches are large. The day hatch is conveniently placed between the stern paddler's legs. It's a very dry boat, since the seats are placed above the channels with the drainage holes. With all the room and stability, it's comfortable for both parent and child (the child can crawl all over the place without making it feel tippy).
All in all, I'm happy with the boat. It may look like a barge and it won't win any races, but I feel confident that I have chosen a versatile boat for me and my son. For safety alone - great stability and easy turning - I recommend the Cruiser II to parents who want to go out on the water with their young kids.