Submitted: 08-27-2002 by Mark
I've tried the Reggae twice. I was going to write a review after the first time I used a Reggae, but I decided not to do so. I made a lot of mistakes, such as not bailing out the hull or trimming it properly. I also used it on the ocean, a far cry from the flat, inland waters in which I usually paddle. I took out for a second time today. Even though I took out on Barnegat Bay, an estuarial body of water here in NJ, I found a couple of protected coves and lagoons that are close to flat, inland bodies of water. Here is my review of the Reggae.
It's an ok boat, but do NOT use it on the ocean or a larger body of water. Like a previous reviewer said, the Reggae doesn't track or hold speed well. Being a recreational type of boat, I didn't expect it to do either. However, that's not why I'm less than enthused about this boat. The above flaws were expected; if those were the only flaws, I would have rated this boat higher. No, this boat has a flaw that I do not like-it breaks loose!
When you're paddling along, and the boat drifts off course, you make some correction strokes. On the Reggae, if you do too many correction strokes, the boat will all of a sudden break loose; it'll just take off in the direction in which you're correcting, and it will swap ends. If any of you have ever seen an open wheel race car break loose, you know what I'm talking about. In fact, the action is just like that of an F1, Champ, or Indy car losing the back end; the only difference is that this boat doesn't do as quickly. That is my main gripe with this boat.
Oh, BTW, I tried various seating adjustments too. I tried different trimming fore and aft; I tried different seatback angles. I tried everything I could think of to make this boat track halfway decent, but nothing worked. The best I could do was to LESSEN the tendency for this kayak to swap ends. When I was on flatter water, the boat was better behaved. On flat water, it tracked almost as well as a Loon 111. Even on flat water though, the boat still breaks loose; it just doesn't do it as often or as badly.
When I trimmed the boat aft, when I made it stern heavy, it seemed to be better. It still exhibited its tendency to break loose, but not as often. The tracking was somewhat improved also. The Reggae was designed to have some cargo in the aft storage area, since it is billed as a day tripping boat. Perhaps if one put some ballast in the aft cargo area, the stern would sit more in the water, and it might track better for you.
I would not recommend this boat. It's not because it doesn't hold speed or track as well as it could. Being the type and size of boat that it is, one expects a slower, less precise boat. However, when it doesn't track quite as well as a Loon 111 with a big guy (I'm 6'2", 245#, pushing the limits of the 111)), I'm not impressed. That is not its Achilles' heel though; that is not why I'm panning this boat. It is the tendency for the boat to swap ends; it's the tendency for the boat to all of a sudden break loose while you're making correction strokes to keep it on course. The Loon 111, the boat I have the most experience with, tracks better than the Reggae, AND, it doesn't swap ends!
If you're going to use this as a fun, goof around boat, and you can get one for a steal, think about getting one. But, if you can at all possibly do so, get something else. There are plenty of boats that will track and hold speed just as well if not better than the Reggae, and they will not swap ends. Thank you.