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Submitted: 09-05-2005 by Christov

I paddled my "Single 2000" for the first time Saturday morning on a lake near my home. My skills are those of a beginner, and this was probably my eleventh time on the water in a kayak. The boat I've used most often is a 2005 model Pakboats Puffin II, usually set up for solo paddling.

The conditions were windier-than-predicted, sunny, with a temperature of about 85 F. The water's surface appeared to move in swells and small wind chop, in addition to the usual boat wakes. The E68 seemed very stable in those conditions, showed a slighter tendency to weather-cock (I think it's called) than the Puffin.

Assembly was very easy, albeit a little more time consuming than my Puffin II. This boat is about five years old and has the quarter-turn fasteners - although Pouch appears to be using a different fastener method now, the older fittings worked without any problem. The assembled frame feels very tight/sturdy.

Putting the frame in the hull is very easy, as is centering same. I unhooked the foredeck rigging before inserting the frame. The excenter - tail lever / skin tensioner - worked easily. The previous own modified the sponsons' air tubes so that they are inflated in tandem, therefore evenly. Worked great - much better than counting puffs or pumps.

Assembled, the boat, skin and frame together, make a tight unit that weighs may sixty or so pounds, and is, for me, light enough to shoulder carry to and from the water.

I didn't use the rudder because had not been able to practice assembling the boat with rudder - pedals arrived in the mail after my practice assembly Thursday.

In photographs, the boat's stern half appears much lower than the forward section, but during my time on the water, the boat's rear deck appeared to remain completely dry. Shipped no water through the small rudder cable openings in back.

I was able in the "Single 2000" to paddle about twice as far (about nine miles, total) than I normally do in the same amount of time with the Puffin II. The Pouch glides for a long way after the last stroke, and tracks well during the glide or while paddling. The boat's initial stability was considerably less than my Puffin II paddled solo, but, by starting out cautiously, I was pretty quickly accustomed to the boat, confident that I would be able to keep my seat in normal conditions. Tried leaning to facilitate turns with success.

The only water that actually got in the boat was what came in with my shoes. I wore a sprayskirt that the seller kindly threw in with the boat - possibly too small for the cockpit opening because, although I tightened the cord around underneath the cockpit rim, it pulled off in back three or four times when I leaned forward, head down, paddling into the wind using maybe exaggerated torso rotation. I probably looked ridiculous, but made good progress.

The Pouch's heel-plates were a big help in transforming paddling effort into boat-through-water progress. I will have to adjust them a little better next time to make good use of the cockpit's carlings. The stock seatback was not uncomfortable, but did maybe help me lean back more than I wanted to. The stock seat, itself, was pretty comfortable.

In terms of temperature, I remained pretty comfortable under the deck and the sprayskirt, but did sweat some. Don't think it added much to the shoe-water in the bilge.

The drum like sounds of paddle-splash beating against the sprayskirt and foredeck were pleasing to hear. I also really liked the deck rigging and perimeter deck line. This is a splendid boat. This was the best bang for my limited boat bucks. I am very happy with my decision to purchase this much used, somewhat faded vessel.

Two other beginner kayakers were struggling against the wind and chop in what appeared to be twelve foot fiberglass round bottom boats. I felt like I had a real kayak, and they were messing around with beach toys.

Only reason I didn't give the boat a higher rating is my relative inexperience with kayaks, generally.

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