Submitted: 01-04-2005 by donvt
After much waffling (several years) of borrowing boats for day recreation and several day camping trips, my wife and I purchased the Pamlico Excel, used - we picked it up for @ $600.00 with 1 float bag and a new seat tossed in. Bottom was scratched up and keel had a few 'curves' from sitting on the rack but it floated good and was easy for us to paddle together or solo. The front seat slides back to the middle for solo paddling. We then purchased the rudder kit which I installed myself. Easy to do and much cheaper then having a shop do it. We have used it extensively on a variety of waters: ocean waves, small ponds and smoother rivers. What has been best about it is the open cockpit so we can take our one year old daughter along. She loved watching the paddle strokes and touching the wet paddle. Also watching people and wildlife along the shore and in the water.
Plenty of room to spread out in (I'm 6' 4"), carry tons of stuff (literally the SUV of kayaks) yet still paddles well fully loaded. Suprisingly stable, even in waves and wind.
Downside is the weight. I could barely load/unload the boat from our car roof by myself, a bit easier with my wife's help. With a combination of an easy lift system and a kayak cart, there would be no problem.
Additional fun has been had downwind sailing with an old octagonal tent fly held up between two paddles - yea-hah!
Next up will be the addition of an outrigger/mast and sail system (I have an old windsurfer sail and mast ready to go...)
Bottom line - great boat if you need tons of room, carrying capacity, versatility and no concern about scratching/denting. That being said, be prepared for the weight... Looks and feels like a combination of a kayak and canoe with better features from both.