Submitted: 06-11-2002 by scombrid
I've had the boat for 11 months paddling an average of 25 miles per week and this is my revised review. My usual paddling distance is 10-12 miles.
I'm 5'9" and 200lbs so I fit tightly into the bone stock cockpit. I taught myself to roll two weeks ago and the boat rolls up very easily. I imagine that if I can learn a roll in murky Chesapeake Bay water by trial and error then it's about as easy to roll up as a boat can be.
I'm still pleased with the speed of the hull. I finished a 5.5 mile flatwater loop race in 44 minutes this past weekend to finish third overall about a minute behind two Savage River marathon canoes and about two minutes ahead of two more marathon canoes. There were several portions of the course through standing timber where I appreciated having a short boat that turns well when leaned. For long open water races I could probably use a longer hull, but for 16'3" of WLL, the shallow V with soft chines slips ahead very quickly. Helping the speed is the long cockpit (no thigh braces) that allows a knees-free paddling style to help exaggerate torso rotation.
The boat is great in flat water or a chop and being on the Bay I get to see lots of chop (any boat does well in rolling swells). I recommend a skeg. Without a skeg, a rear-quartering chop will drive you bonkers especially if you're trying to make racing speed. It's easy to lean to correct weather helming but that lean creates a constant turning force that robs energy from forward motion.
I found a serious weakness in the boat last week. The Velcro system on the hatches is weak. I have been in whitecaps and crumbling wind swell breakers without a problem but last week while playing in barreling surf down on Hatteras Island I blew the hatches off during an outbound sprint when I mistimed a wave and had the lip come down over my head while I punched through the back of the wave. There was a SE groundswell at 3' and 11 sec so the waves were punchy but not terribly big. The hatches should not have failed so I drop my original review from 9 to 7.