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Submitted: 06-09-2005 by DK
I have had this boat for 2 years now and spent enough time in it to feel very comfortable and to have put it through its paces. I bought the kind that breaks into 2 pieces and have found it to be very simple to assemble (it takes me about 10 minutes). This was a good option for me as I did not have room for a 22' boat in my storage unit. Unfortunately, this option adds some weight to the boat.
I like the boat's speed and tracking and have found it to be very seaworthy even in good swell. It is difficult to maneuver though--very rudder dependent. Still, I haven't found a tandem that I prefer so I give this boat high marks. My curmudgeonly comments follow:
The boat will not fit anyone that is much over 6' tall. I am 5'11 and find the front seat more comfortable than the back seat as there is a bit more length in the legs. The back cockpit, though shorter, is roomier--so much so that you should outfit it with foam supports so that you can edge effectively.
I have the built-in hand pumps which I would only recommend for those who are likely to encounter serious swell, open water crossings etc. They add quite a bit of weight and with two people, emptying the boat out before re-entry + hand pumps is probably sufficient for casual coastal kayakers. Additionally, they take up some space in the cockpit. On one occasion, the hose from the pumps got caught in the steering mechanism and disabled the rudder which was a nightmare. On the other hand, they are nice to have if you need them...they move a lot of water fast.
I find the center hatch to be less than ideal--the fiberglass cover + neoprene cover is awkward. I had hoped it might be possible to access this space while on the water but that is nearly impossible--even off the water it is a bit of a hassle. I've had slight problems with the coaming on the hatch lid coming unglued and have had to reglue it several times. This is the only weak spot in the boat that I've encountered and it is more of a nuisance than a real problem. The things that matter (safety lines, pumps, rudder) are very solid.
I can't imagine putting a child or dog in the center cockpit except under the most serene conditions (like a swimming pool?) It is a nice big space for camping equipment though.
I do not like the seat backs that came standard and have replaced them. I also wish that the seat were flat rather than having "butt definition" as it interferes with body rotation (at least for me). It also creates an unnecessary incumbrance when trying to er...use a pee device (for women). Clearly this seat was designed by a man or a woman with a very large bladder.
The steering pedals are a bit mushy for my taste. I've jerry-rigged footrests at the front/bottom of the pedals so that I can use my feet effectively for more powerful paddling.
I didn't find the initial stability to be as tippy as others suggest. But this boat is definitely more of a secondary stability boat.
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