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Submitted: 09-17-2004 by WJL
I finally got to test paddle a Solstice GT. I am a big guy, and am looking for a Composite Kayak that I can easily get in and out of, plus will perform with my 270 lb weight. The standard 16" x 31" cockpit opening was snug, but just enough room for me. But I could only test the standard "GT", and the seat side mounting plates pressed hard against my hips. I am told the HV model does have a wider seat. My 270 lb seemed a bit much for this boat, as the dealer thought it sat a bit too low in the water with me in it. He said there was less than 1 inch of hull showing above the water.
Regardless of this, I felt the boat did a super job in the water. I paddled it for about 15 minutes, and it tracked as straight as anyone could ask (without using the rudder), but if I leaned properly, and used sweep strokes, it turned very nicely. If I also use the rudder along with the lean and sweep, it turned tighter than I would have thought.
I then e-mailed the factory, and received a very timely and nice reply. They told me that all 3 current versions of the Solstice have the same hull, so it didn't matter what version I got (Standard, HV, or XL), the hull would sit the same in the water.
BUT.... They sent to me a 2005 Catalog, and for next year they are coming out with a new version of the Solstice named the Solstice "Titan" for bigger guys. It will be the same hull, just deeper to haul more weight. The deck will be the same height as the XL version, but the cockpit opening will be wider and longer, with a bigger seat. It looks very much like by next spring the "perfect big guy boat" will be available to us big guys. I have already told them to send one to my local shop for their Demo Days in the spring! :) It will be a LONG winter waiting for Spring Demo Days!