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Submitted: 05-28-2003 by paddlinunit

The Sonoma represents Perception's entry into the Eddyline/Hurricane territory of Carbonlite-"like" material. They call it "Airlite" but my hull certificate calls it Royalex. Looks like the gel-coat finish of a 'glass boat. It's certainly a looker, and at only 37 lbs., nearly everyone can car-top it. Perception is marketing this as a "workout" boat for females/kids, but I like the fit, & I'm 6'3, 185, long legs. (I did shave 3/4" off the coaming's lower edge at the very front; I can now fold my legs in while seated.) At 13.5', and with only one (aft) hatch, it's not the choice for week-long expeditions, but it is a serious day-touring boat with respectable speed. (Fore flotation bags will have to be fit around the reinforcing pillar.) It does track well (as claimed), but I had an occassional workout trying to swing the aft end around on a windey stream with cross-currents. Weathercock is not remarkable. At 23", you may find it "tippy", especially if you are used to paddling a "barge," but it actually is stable enough to stop & take a break. The very slight keel divides two faces offset about 10 degrees, and at slow speeds it tends to teeter between these faces, making it seem unstable, but it takes effort to get beyond these faces. I am saving my edging trials until I have more "seat time," and until the water warms up. Fit & finish seems to be very good, although I'm a little disappointed that the side decal-lettering is chipping off already. I predict Perception will have a good run with this well-priced boat. Unless you are an Eddyline "snob," this model is a comparable alternative at hundreds less.
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