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Submitted: 09-10-2002 by Jeremy E.
My one and only boat is a dark blue and red Charleston. I agree 100% on the oil-canning on the roof rack - that's why I now always transport mine upside down. You can get the dent out if you put the boat on the ground and stand on the dent from inside the cockpit. Another quirk was that there are no thigh braces made for this boat, so I had to special order some and wait 2 months after consulting with Dagger tech support. As far as weight, it is 49 pounds which seems kind of heavy, but I suppose it's not bad for a 14' boat. The Savannah definitely weighs more if you're carrying the back end of it. One more gripe: the bulkheads are foam and not welded plastic and the hatch covers are one-piece rubber, but they seem to seal pretty well. I've only found a few drops inside after 2-4 foot chop for an hour. I haven't had any real concerns about comfort or storage capacity - it all seems adequate. The skeg makes the boat track very well, although very difficult to turn (I pull the skeg up for tight turns). I thought it was just me and my one season of paddling experience, but the previous review agrees with my observation that the boat seems to want to go slightly left. I love the deploy-and-forget nature of the skeg, whereas a rudder requires constant adjustment, reduced pressure on the foot pegs, and can leak at the rudder cable. It does fairly well on speed, although it clearly can't keep up with the composite standard. The bow is high and knife-edged, so it really cuts through the waves. The front can ride a little high, but a little gear in the front will solve that. The deck is higher than some other boats, but I enjoy it. The paddle holder at the top of the deck is good. I can't get a bow or stern light to stick to the boat, so I had to build a system using the deck rigging and small boards. It's very stable, and you really have to lean it to flip it. It is rollable, but requires some effort (and you HAVE to have braces or you will just about fall out). The cockpit is rather large, so getting a spray skirt or cockpit cover to fit can be a challenge and require a lot of strength. My overall impression of the boat is that it does have the performance of a light touring boat, but design compromises were made to make it closer to the recreational category in price. I did get mine for 10% off the list price. If I could do it again, I might buy this boat again but I might also consider the Dagger Savannah or one of the equivalent Wilderness Systems Cape Lookout or Cape Horn models. The Perception Carolina is an equivalent model, but I didn't like the way it paddled - seemed like a bus in build and responsiveness compared to an SUV for the Dagger. I suppose that's about it. It's a nice boat and good choice for this price range and the beginner, but it's clearly not perfect.
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