Submitted: 09-10-2004 by bnystrom
I recently had a lengthy discussion with Al Anderson, owner of Betsie Bay Kayaks. He explained that since my boat was built (it was the 7th Aral), there have been numerous changes to the construction process that have addressed the issues I pointed out in the review, plus others. For example:
- They're using a new mold that improves the lines of the hull.
- The coamings are now fiberglass and more consistent than before.
- The hatches are bedded in a stronger compound using a different process that eliminates leaks.
- The bulkheads are vented and the hatch covers have unobstrusive pulls instead of large vent plugs.
There are probably other improvements that I'm not aware of, but I haven't seen one of the new boats yet. I would encourage prospective customers to seek one out and judge for themselves. If you have any questions or comments, contact Al. He's a very friendly and helpful guy.
I will reiterate that the on-water performance of the Aral is outstanding. It's always been a pleasure to paddle.
I'll keep the rating on MY boat as it is with an 8 (see below), but with the footnote that newer boats may be significantly improved.