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Submitted: 08-31-2004 by enchant
I've had this kayak for nearly a couple of months now. It's got good and bad points, but mostly good.
Tracking – I've got to admit that I have not tried a lot of the boats out there, so I don't have a huge reference to go on. But I've tried a few, and it's my opinion that this boat doesn't track well at all. If there is any breeze or current, serious paddling adjustments must constantly be made. The other edge to that sword, however, is that it turns on a dime. I've become accustomed to the tracking issue, and it's not much of a problem. But this past weekend, I got to try someone's Dagger Charleston 15, and ohmygod. It's like the thing was on rails. Sigh. Maybe next year.
I'm not sure what the purpose is of the funky rigging on the Element. Cool look, sure (very "Spiderman"), but not very practical. Also, the rear-most tiedown bolts of the rigging were so far back that I'd tend to drag my thumbs over them when paddling, and it really hurt if I was bearing down. I finally removed them. The boat is pretty fast, and not too hard on the eyes. I've got size 12 feet and I don't have any problem. It's nice and roomy in the cockpit.
From the "this happens on all boats" dept... I think the "watertight" hatch is only watertight until it leaves the factory. The flexing of the plastic hull breaks the seal made by the silicone goop they apply. I'm working on a rubber and silicone solution to this and don't think it'll be a problem. Hey, if I can't kayak during the winter months, at least I can spend time working on my boat in the cellar!
I find that if I'm heading diagonally into a serious wind, with the waves hitting the boat at an angle, they splash up quite a bit and get blown into me. Again, perhaps this is common among most recreational boats. The only other ones that I've tried extensively are the Loon 111 and 138. The hulls on these are more "ship-like" and the waves break harmlessly off them, rather than splashing up.
But I'm enjoying the hell out of it, and it'll suit me nicely until I buy a touring boat next year. (Geez, I hope my wife doesn't read this.)
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