Submitted: 09-14-2005 by Rick
My wife and I bought Monterey 14s after testing 9 boats in the Adirondacks of NY two years ago. Before buying any boat you must decide what you most want to do with it and test several models if possible. Any design is a compromise. We wanted a not too heavy poly kayak that would handle, and be fun in, Upstate NY rivers as well as have enough speed and storage for three day camping trips. The Monterey 14 seemed to be quite sporting, i.e. responsive, compared to all but the most dedicated and expensive designs we tried. While not quite as fast a touring boat (Shadow), it moved along nearly as well, while turning much better, especially with the skeg up and when leaned. It felt small enough to feel a part of, while not being so tight as to feel restrictive. We are 5-4,130 and 5-8, 160. We have a third Monterey now as a lender boat. We find that even people much larger than us can fit in it. This was not true of some other models.
After two years, we are still pleased with our choice. We've now had the boats in rivers, on lakes and on three day trips. The Monterey moves along well on long river trips way better than any rec boat like the Acadia. We've found that the flat bottom of the Monterey slides over rocks and logs with ease compared with round or keeled bottom designs.
We've had lots of fun doing eddy turns and ferrying into waves. Being a rockered design, the boat turns easily when you want (granted for a 14' boat) yet tracks fine. I felt initially that the skegs caused drag when down; so I removed and filed them to sharpen (foil)the leading and trailing edges. (Stay away from the hinge point and don't over sharpen if you do this.)This did reduce drag. But, with better paddling technique, we have found we don't use the skeg as much as we did. We still use it in windy conditions when paddling quartered (diagonally) to the wind and some times on long flat water trips.
While we, no I, some times feel the urge to get a touring and a white water kayak (and may yet), I realize that the Monterey serves my needs real well and I continue to enjoy it every time I'm in it.