Submitted: 06-17-2005 by wcl
I have owned my Nighthawk for 3 years and have had great experiences with both the boat and the manufacturer. The nighthawk 17.5 is a high volume boat that will accommodate large to very large paddlers with comfort and performance. I am a large paddler, 6 ft, an athletic 250 lbs and I fit snug but comfortable in the model with the thigh braces. I have also paddled the boat without the thigh braces with exceptional comfort and still good performance. The carbonlite material is very tough and will withstand a lot of abuse with very little consequence; of which I can personally attest. If you do manage to damage the boat (which I can also attest to through my own stupidity) Eddyline is a great company to deal with. They stand behind their product 100% and will go to great lengths to help you out.
Now for the boat itself. The sheer line is very reminiscent of the Aleutian Island baidarkas with a long graceful bow. The boat looks great and often elicits favorable comments. The 24 inch beam gives great initial stability but the soft v shaped hull still allows waves and wakes to pass under smoothly. The secondary stability is very reassuring; you can edge the boat till water is over the sprayskirt and still feel solid. For a boat of this length and beam it is still very maneuverable. A good edge and the boat will turn, lean her over on her side and she will turn sharply. The weathercocking has a nice balance. Skeg up the boat will weathercock; skeg down the boat will tend to leecock. With various skeg trims she will track very stiff even with beam winds and or seas. I have been in boats which either tracked better or turned easier, but none with as nice a balance between the two. Beam currents seem to have the most effect on the boat, but a little edge, paddle stroke or skeg seems to handle it. Speed is reasonable, she isnít the fastest boat, but she is no slouch either. In rough water the overall performance of the boat is very reassuring. Twice I have been in ocean inlets with opposing wind and currents and the boat did wonderfully. We had to paddle a few miles into standing waves probably 2 to 3 feet high than across close to a mile with these waves on the beam and crossed without incident. Only once have I found any water inside the rear bulkhead but that was after 6 hours of rescue practice with my paddling partner, only 2 sponges full.
In conclusion it is a well mannered boat for the larger paddler. It will carry you and all your camping gear easily. Eddyline is a great family owned business. Every Eddyline owner I know would buy another Eddyline product if they are in the market for a new boat. If I lose some more weight I will buy a modulus Falcon.