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Submitted: 06-01-2005 by Alan

Several weeks ago, I bought my first kayak, a Pungo 140. I have been practicing at a small lake, trying to learn from a book about the proper stroke, seating position, etc. So far, I have been happy with everything about the Pungo. I am pretty large, and the boat is comfortable, fast and stable. It has really been fun. I do, however, wonder about the decision by Wilderness Systems not to sell the boat with a front bulkhead, as explained below.

I had read in the book that, in order to make a sharper turn, you should lean the boat in order to shorten the water line. While practicing, my leans became bolder, and my turns sharper, until the inevitable happened....the water came in and I went out.

At this point I learned the price of not having a front bulkhead. There was obviously no way I could get back in the boat, as it was mostly submerged. The little bit of foam in the bow didn't do much.

This kind of mishap is why I chose to learn in a small warm lake, so there was no danger, only a bruised ego. I got a tow to the shore, holding on to the tow boat with one hand and to the Pungo with the other. But it made me think about what could happen if the water was colder, the body of water larger, and there were fewer passing boats.

Once home, I immediately ordered a large float bag, which will keep the bow floating, but renders useless the forward hatch.

I am wondering if anyone out there who has installed a front bulkhead would mind posting a description of the process and materials used to make the bulkhead and any other useful information?

I will post an updated review of the Pungo 140 when I have more experience.

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