Submitted: 05-17-2005 by Andie Collins
I've had my K1 for a little over a year now & have taken it out in a variety of conditions, both empty & heavily laden, mostly around the west coast of Scotland. I should add that I'm neither particularly strong nor skilled.
One of the attractions of the K1 for me was its high initial stability as I often paddle alone, at least on sheltered waters. I have not been disappointed in this respect & when practising self-rescues have found the boat easy to re-enter from the water even in quite rough conditions. If necessary I've found a paddle float rescue also works very well. I've found that I can easily stand up in the boat & even paddle forwards whilst standing.
Leaning the K1 just a little makes it very easy to turn & I can turn it 360 degrees in 6 or 7 strokes.
However I do find that it very quickly reaches a point that feels very unstable & likely to flip & I find it hard to recover from this position using a brace, whereas I can get my old Valley Skerray right onto its side by sculling & still recover. I certainly wouldn't want to attempt that in the K1.
Having said that, I don't think it's likely that I'll ever need to get it over that far in the first place.
The boat tracks reasonably well although does weathercock a little. The rudder works well but does seem to have a quite significant effect on forward speed. In most conditions it keeps up quite well with skinny hardshells. However, in very rough water & strong headwinds (Force 7ish at right angles to two converging tidal streams) I really struggled to make forward progress at all whereas the hardshell paddlers I was with seemed to punch through it much easier. I suspect the boat may have been flexing to such an extent that it lost all ability to glide.
I tend to leave it assembled most of the time as the assembly is still a bit of a pain even after many goes. It takes me about 40 mins now, down from 1.5 hours at the start. Also I find the maintenance a bit of a pain. You can't just flush it out with a hose. A considerable amount of salt can crystallise inside the frames & has to be washed out after every trip. The boat has to be dismantled to do this.
Having said all that, it is a joy to paddle & particularly suits my leisurely, exploratory style whilst still being a very attractive boat.
It certainly can't do everything perfectly but is there a boat out there that can? I would probably choose it again as I don't think anything else has such a good all-round combination of traits.