Submitted: 04-19-2004 by Eric Nyre
I just received a new graphite Glider, and the difference between the new Glider and the Kevlar one I owned in the mid 90ís is night and day. The speed is not quite up there with an Epic Endurance (they cruise about the same, but in a sprint the Epic will win), but the comfort was much better (better seat, backrest, and room for knees!). It won hands down when compared with a Current Designs Extreme (my previous favorite boat).
Deck rigging has been improved. They installed a reflective perimeter line, and a braided shock cord which has more stretch. The bulkheads are curved and the rear bulkhead curves up to the cockpit coaming making emptying the boat a breeze. The inside of my boat is smooth from release cloth, but small air bubbles in the bow show it wasnít vacuume bagged. Core mat, or similar stiffener is used in the hull and in the paddle float rigging of the deck. It is light, weighing under 40 lbs, with the rudder. The finish is very nice, the seam is smooth, I would say the construction is excellent. The only problem is the deck rigging bolts, which extend past the nuts and into the hull. They will rip drybags like a knife. Itís not too hard to grind off those sharp edges.
Stability is marginal, and secondary stability is not much better. We had the boat in strong winds, and it did not weathercock. We could paddle at any angle to the wind without problem. It is long enough to get squirmy if you are on the crest of 2 waves, and it does not want to turn very quickly (but I have other boats for that), but for speed and comfort it is a blast. I routinely used my old Glider in class II whitewater, and I suspect the new boat will end up there as well. My old Glider was built like a brick house, and could take a serious beating. The new one being Graphite is more fragile, but it seems very solid.
As for the guy who preferred the Mariner II, thatís like comparing a SUV to a race car. I also paddle a Northwest Pursuit, and choose that boat in rough conditions. But when I want to go fast and have fun, the Glider wins hands down.