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Submitted: 07-16-2003 by Don

I just tested and bought a Perception Acadia 12.5. Iím a big guy (400lbs 5í8Ē yeah, no kidding) and in my research I initially decided against the Acadia because of its smaller cockpit than most recreational kayaks. In fact if I had been able to find a Perception America 13.5 at a nearby dealer I probably would have gone with that without even trying an Acadia. But I guess Iím lucky that I couldnít find an America. The Acadia cost $100 less, weighs 53lbs not 58lbs (like the America) and it can handle up to class II water (so Iím told). I found that I have plenty of room in the Acadia cockpit and getting in and out, while slow and comical so far, is really not that bad.

I was worried that at 400lbs I would sink the Acadia or at least make it impossible to use. But the 400lbs max capacity seems to be just about right. Donít get me wrong, compared to what Iíve read in the other reviews my boat handles like a barge and is WAY tippy, but Iím sure that is just due to my weight and limited experience. My previous boat was a Keowee. I loved that duck boat back when I was under 300lbs, right up until I was paddling alongside some friends in real sea kayaks. Iíd be paddling at top speed, waddling along while they maybe dipped one paddle blade in the water about once a minute and easily left me in the dust. So while Iím still uncomfortable with the lack of stability I know it will improve with experience and weight loss.

I was impressed with the bow/stern balance (sorry, donít know the proper nautical term). I liked the adjustable seat back but not where they placed the adjustment lever (on the inside lip of the cockpit on the right hand side dead center). This really presses into my thigh, but more importantly it really gets in the way of carrying the kayak on my right shoulder. Iíll probably just carry it stern forward instead.

I like the deck rigging and stern hatch, but I was initially expecting there to be a waterproof stern bulkhead behind the seat. All thatís there is a foam block about 5 inches wide extending from the seat to the lip of the hatch. This foam is very important to me, other than it keeps the boat from sinking in that I put a lot of weight on the aft deck getting into and out of the boat. Without the foam Iím sure the deck would just collapse under my weight. I plan to add a foam waterproof (or mostly waterproof) bulkhead just behind the seat as soon as I am able. Iím told it is not a difficult modification. I think Iíd also like to replace the bow flotation with a waterproof bulkhead and add a bow hatch, but first things first.

Iím rating the Acadia an 8. I took one point off for the poorly placed seat lever and one point because I think they could have put in a waterproof bulkhead behind the seat for very little additional cost.

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