Submitted: 08-01-2002 by CRB
I had purchased an Old Town Nantucket in mid September of 2001 and was only able to try it once during the fall. I noticed that the tracking was not what I expected but dismissed it to inexperience. In early June of this year I purchased another for the wife. The biggest draw to this kayak was the type of paddling we would be doing. Mainly on a large lake with lots of coves and inlets in northern Maine and occasional salt-water trips. Also, the construction seemed superior to others within the same price range. After a few outings I noticed I had to use the rudder a lot more then I really wanted to. The wifeís Kayak also did not track very well. Both pulled left. After reading reviews on this web site, and finding that others had the same problem, I flipped each kayak over and looked down the keel, if you can call it that on a flat bottom boat, from front to back. As described in an earlier review, the rear keel on both kayaks veered off to the right. Which when up righted would mean the kayak would pull left.
Both kayaks had been purchased from L.L. Bean, which is just up the road from our house, so I called them and explained my dilemma. They were more then happy to take them back for a full refund or exchange. Other then the tracking problem, I do like these kayaks and Beans allowed me to look at all they had in stock for a replacement. The wife and I went through 7 kayaks, flipping them over and looking at the keel. 3 of them were straight as an arrow. The other 4 all veered to the right. Where is the Quality control ?.
LL Beans is going to looked into this further but Iím not sure what the outcome will be. So now we have 2 decent tracking boats that suit our purpose for day trips on the lake and a little island hopping in the ocean. The stability on this model, both initial and secondary, is very good. Even for a beginner like myself, though I realize speed is sacrificed by the 26" width. There is plenty of room under the hatches and so far we havenít had any leaking problems.
I realize that a kayak should be rated based on its intended use. This is not a sea kayak, nor is it a WW kayak. This one was made for day trips and seems to be geared more towards lake paddling. Which it is very well suited for. With that in mind, I give it an 8. It lost a point because I shouldnít have had to return the first ones and a 10 is unachievable. Nothing is "Perfect".