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Submitted: 10-12-2005 by aorourke
I bought my Chilco new about 6 months ago. The Chilco can easily be mistaken for Seaward's Ascente except for its multi-chine hull (which differs from the Ascente's soft chine).
The Chilco is a gorgeous boat to look at, easily the nicest looking kayak I've seen. The workmanship is clearly top notch. The seat is made up of a simple piece of contoured closed cell foam inside a nylon cover that can double as a paddle float. I have spent hours on this seat; it is very comfortable.
The Chilco tracks like an arrow in most conditions, although it does weathercock a little in wind. The only time I use the rudder is in wind, and I am very impressed with the rudder system, and have to question why this system is not found in all new kayaks. The rudder is not a sliding type, but consists of a fixed bracing system with 'gas pedal' type toe pedals. You don't have to give up the ability to brace when the rudder is deployed.
As with most boats that that have little rocker and track as well as this one, the Chilco requires a little effort to turn. Without the rudder, I find it responds well to an edged turn, and it holds a deep edge very well.
If you have big feet, say greater than men's size 11, you might have some difficulty fitting them into this kayak. I think, though, that most paddlers up to 200 lbs would easily fit into this kayak. The cockpit is also easy to enter and exit which is important to me.
For a low volume kayak, the Chilco has plenty of room for touring. I was astounded with how much stuff I have been able to cram into the hatches.
The Chilco is a fast kayak. I am always surprised by how fast it is, and sometimes I have to make a conscious effort to slow down when paddling with others.
The longer I own this kayak, the more I like it. When I first got it, it felt a little tippy, but I don't really notice it any more. While the Chilco can feel a little tender if you're sitting still in it, when paddling it feels very stable.
When I first bought the kayak, I emailed Seaward because my dealer didn't provide me with an owner's manual. 'Heather' responded quickly to my request, and I had my owner's manual in three days. I had an occasion to contact Seaward regarding warranty recently. They responded to my email within an hour. When I talked to 'Lou' over the phone, he talked me through how to find the source of a small cockpit leak. It took about 10 minutes, and it turns out I was missing an o-ring which he is sending me. I really do appreciate good customer service, and this company appears to have it. Oh yes, Seaward offers a lifetime warranty.
If my kayak was stolen (unlikely because I have that sucker bolted to the house with kryptonite), I would buy the Chilco again.
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