Submitted: 08-22-2005 by McYak
Ok...Let me begin by saying: Hard chine has a tendency to 'grab' a wave rather than roll over it like a multi chine.
While I can't speak for other 'kit' boats, the Artic Tern seems to ride extremely high in the water and is very sensitive to where the center of gravity is.
I'm 6' and 230lbs and while I fall into the weight limitations for the boat, too much of my 'bulk'(I'm longer in torso length than in leg length and built solidly around the chest and shoulders)was above the coaming and resulted in a high center of gravity and very unsettled secondary stability in chop and swells. A fellow paddler who weighed in around 200lbs and was shorter in torso length found the Tern both extremely stable and quick thru the same conditions I experienced unnerving 'edginess'. I wasn't all that happy with the limited foot space a factor I corrected via a shearwater full width adjustable foot brace design.
Ease of entry and exit (even for a big guy like myself) was excellent and the initial stability allowed getting in and out on floating docks a breeze and the boat displayed excellent tracking and fantastic edging allowing it to be paddled for hours without fatigue.
Because I had a second layer of glass along the keel my Tern weighs in at around 46lbs. Still; for a 17' boat this is a fantastic weight and allows me to car top the boat with ease even after a long paddle.
So: For my particular needs I gave it only a 6. I really believe this is one of those boats that require a paddler weigh in at no more than 210# and not be long of torso.
Were I to do it again, I'd opt for the multi chine hull. The multi chine is far more forgiving in rough water and offers more secondary stability.