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Submitted: 01-19-2005 by PATCABE

A number of the comments about the Acadia indicated that the writers were, shall we say, BIG people. At 5'7" and 145 lbs, the Acadia is a boat I can handle into the pickup by myself, but its volume is such that I ride pretty high in it on the water. I have not been bothered much by wind or current (such as we experience), but those conditions can give you a workout.

We mostly paddle flat water -- local ponds, lakes, swamps, tidal marshes, occasional blackwater streams -- and the Acadia does fine in those areas. The boat stores easily and loads quickly, making it handy for those after-work "let's go paddle for a little while" trips. With a pond in the neighborhood, we can go from loading to launch in about 10 minutes.

The Acadia is very, very stable, enough so that anything that approaches a lean or what might be loosely termed edging, actually takes some substantial effort. I've never come close to capsizing it. The boat is wide enough that I find it a bit awkward to hook my knees under the gunnels for maneuvers like those. I'd also like to have something to put my heels against with my feet on the foot braces.

We added half-covers to keep drips out of the boat and to provide a little shade for our knees from the sun. Those work well and I'd recommend them to others using the boat for recreational paddling. They are, of course, no substitute for a full skirt where that is needed.

I've found the boat forgiving, stable, relatively easy to transport and to launch, comfortable enough for the day trips we take (max about 6-8 hrs), handy enough in slower-moving water, and sturdy. The rear hatch is big enough for day-trip supplies (lunch, water, extra clothes, etc.), but I don't think I'd try to cram camping gear into it.

This is my second boat, a move up from a Swifty, and I think it's been fine for learning some basic skills. As plastic boats, both have been an inexpensive way to get into kayaking. After about four years now, I'm feeling ready for a better performer, but I think the Acadia will stay in the stable for the gunk hole trips we have come to like.

Every boat is a collection of compromises, and the Acadia is no exception to that rule. If you're considering it, think through what kind of paddling you want to do and what the capabilities of the boat you'll get need to be. Prioritize all that. The Acadia meets our needs, but it isn't -- and can't be -- a perfect boat.

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