Submitted: 01-13-2004 by pernicev
This is a long-term report and an addendum to the first report I wrote below. I still feel this is an excellent boat, but I wanted to point out some observations that have come to light. The Jolt is a very fast boat that tracks and turns well. There are not too many “hybrid” boats out there that allow you to deploy or retract the skeg while still in the boat, a definite plus for whitewater with plenty of flat water in between. Secondly, like most plastic boats, it’s durable. Not just for scrapes/collisions that occur on the water, what I mean is that mine was recently launched from the roof of a friend’s vehicle that stopped short, causing the Jolt to become a ballistic missile while barely suffering a scratch. Overall, an excellent design.
Now for the complaints and the reason I’m knocking off two points. This is obviously a high performance boat, why then, would Old Town put a generic seat in it is beyond me. The seat back is so high that not only would it make rolling difficult, but also, the neoprene spray skirt, which is sold specifically for this boat, is nearly impossible to put on! The seat bottom itself is also too high and causes any one over 5’6” to literally squeeze their thighs under the deck. This is unfortunate, because the deck is nicely sculpted to wrap around the knees and provide excellent bracing. I ditched the seat back for an IR ratchetback backband and am using the same seat bottom since I’ve grown accustomed to the thigh wedging ritual, but a better seat bottom is something OT should think about.
My only other complaint is the fit and finish. While there were careless scrape marks from drilling holes at the factory, those are of no real consequence. The problem here is the bolts and screws. My Jolt came equipped with grab straps rather than the usual OT handles and one of the screws holding on the bow strap was protruding into the hull by at least an inch. This was rather sharp and could easily puncture anything placed there. The same problem with the flange of the stern hatch, the bolts (there are a lot of them) protrude enough that they would abrade and possibly tear any dry bags you stuff in there. These problems are easily fixed by cutting and filing down any sharp edges, but this is something the consumer shouldn’t have to do. Are you listening OT?
Lastly, I would like to retract my comments in my previous review regarding weight and floatation. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a lightweight boat, I would say it is an average weight boat. And as for floatation, it was OT customer service that told me floatation is built in. While this is true if the kayak is swamped when empty, it is not the case if there is an occupant in the cockpit. A bow FLOATATION BAG IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. The hull material, which allegedly provides floatation, does not, but does give excellent insulation from cold water. As a side note on OT customer service, the bungee which retracts the skeg was cut (my fault), but customer service shipped me a replacement right away, free of charged, no questions asked, which indicates that at least they are aiming for customer satisfaction.