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Submitted: 07-06-2005 by Plasticaster

Got my new Wildy Tarpon 160i June 30 at Mountain Sports in Arlington. Mango ! It is a thing of beauty.

Spent most of Friday night, Saturday and Sunday reading articles, and making runs to Academy, Wal Mart, Home Depot, Lowes and Bass Pro getting "stuff" to rig it for fishing. The bride allowed me to do this in the living room since it was about 100 degrees outside, day and night. And did it fill up the living room!

Loaded it on the truck Sunday night, got up at 0500 July 4 and headed for Lake Grapevine to find a launch site. What a beautiful morning! North wind 10 to 15, COOL, and cloudy. Clear water. Hardly any boats about. Could not have been better.

Unloaded it by myself, attached the essentials, and launched directly into the wind, northbound. Had to use my 230 four-piece back-up paddle because my 240 Werner Camano hasn't come in yet.

What wind? She tracked and handled beautifully in light-to-moderate chop. Very responsive to the rudder. Moved head-on into the wind and slightly quartering into it with the greatest of ease. A very stable and enjoyable ride.

Paddled a half mile or so, stopped to check for leaks. There were none. The hatches fit very snugly. And adjusted the Surf to Summit "GTX Elite" seat, which is another matter of joy and pure comfort. Paddled another mile to a beach with a picnic shelter above. Got out for a breakfast snack and delighted in the sight of the mango on the beach below. It started getting darker behind me.

Got back in, and heard several booms as skies to the north turned blue- black. Wasn't ready to quit, but turned around and headed back south where I had come from. Wind kicked up to at least 40 and waves started whitecapping and thunder increased. Discretion being the better part of valor, beached again and sought shelter behind a shrub thicket as it began to rain.

The lightening and rain blew over, but not the wind. By now the waves were about 3-4' and whitecapping as the wind increased and began to gust. Decided to run for it as the wind was behind my back, and it looked like more T-boomers might be coming.

It turned out to be a fun run all the way back to the truck, waves coming from the rear. Had to use more rudder than when going into the wind. I assume the rear end was getting tossed around a little. Otherwise, the T-160i rode very nicely through crest and trough. I was impressed.

Back at the truck I learned the hard way that it is not a good idea to solo- load a 16-foot yak on a roof rack while parked perpendicular to the wind. Could not believe how much wind it caught. My major mistake of the day. A gust blew her off the roof rack and gave my truck's deck lid a major rash. But the yak seems OK.

All in all, a good learning experience in varied wind and water conditions. Love the yak. I think it was a good choice. Can't wait to hit the salt and do some fishing!

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