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Submitted: 07-29-2002 by RF
We bought a kevlar Slipstream as a compromise for my 10-year-old son and myself, after returning a Gulfstream that I loved but which he hated because it was "too hard to turn" - basically too big for him. I *just* fit the Slipstream at 165 lbs. and 5' 10" - and for me, it's a very tippy boat. (And I'm used to an old slalom racing kayak, which does *not* feel tippy to me.)
The Slipstream is just the right size for my son and doesn't feel tippy to him, but I have very little freeboard and it's way too easy to dip the coaming underwater. I've only capsized while horsing around, though, and have paddled maybe 10-20 miles in quiet water (and with motorboat waves) without a problem. I don't know how I'd fare on the sea with it - a sprayskirt would be imperative.
It's remarkable how different the Slipstream and Gulfstream are for two boats of the same design, only a few percent different in dimensions. The Slipstream is a lot faster but tight and tippy for an average-sized man. The Gulfsteam is smooth and stable and big enough for a large fellow - it's a little slower but still turns beautifully when edging. The Slipstream is more manageable and stable for a smaller person than the Gulfstream, and my girlfriend also has done well with it on quiet water, with no prior experience (aside from one dunking while climbing in).
My main point is the big difference between the two boats and how the Slipstream is much more suitable for a smaller person, though it does work with someone up to my size, if you want a fast, responsive boat that has little margin for error in balance.
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