Submitted: 04-30-2003 by magoo_ns
I remember the first time I drove a Corvette. It was responsive but twitchy, and fast but unforgiving. Same thing with the Prijon Barracuda. And like the 'vette, it's a hoot to ride.
Initial stability is...well...I'm sure it's there somewhere. Secondary is firm and pleasant, indeed welcome after all that hip-flinching. The long waterline and complete lack of rocker makes for a rail-like ride, with 40 acres required for rudderless turns. I'm sure it was just my inexperience with this boat, but it just didn't seem to respond to corrective strokes or j-leans at all. Use the rudder, it's smooth and quiet.
The good stuff?.. Holy cow this thing is fast. It's happiest at high speeds in fact. Even with a sore shoulder from showing my son "How Evel would do it" on his bike ramp, I managed 7.3 mph on the gps against a slight wind and current, rudder up. From the feel of it that max speed was mine, not the hull's, I'd bet there was more to be had. This boat gives you output for input, the efficiency is obvious to the paddler and very satisfying.
Fit and finish are exceptionally good, and the seat is very comfortable. The adjustable thigh hooks are a real boon to the agressive paddler, you can really get a grip. I did find the day hatch (with sock) to be a bear to open, and in fact could not access it while on the water. Perhaps it will wear in, or might respond to some lube. Small potatoes.
My dealer characterized the Barracuda as a boat for "expert to advanced" paddlers, neither of which am I. I'm not sure I'd agree with him, but I will say it would be well worth the effort required to become comfortable in this boat, the reward would be a real effortless mile-eating grin inducing ride.