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Submitted: 12-27-2005 by DonH
This boat was my first and last purchase for the past 4 years. I learned to kayak on Old Town Otter rentals at a canoe livery but finally tired of rent after 15 rentals in one year. I decided that that was justification for purchase...and today I can say I have gotten my money's worth by far with this lightly priced kayak. It was economical-- I bought it on clearance since the model is not manufactured anymore.
The first thing I noted was the cockpit space. It is a very wide 48" and the width was I would guess 28" to 30". I needed the extra width because I weighed 278 lbs at the time (Now 235). I also liked the access to storage (though it is not dry storage) and the ability to store stuff anywhere behind the back seat as well as the rear storage compartment with flap access. It is very convenient for mask, snorkel, fins to go behind the seat whereas, I like my 6 pack cooler up front (between my knees) for easy access. This cockpit gives one plenty of room to do this.
The second notable trait is the stability of this boat. After learning to paddle it, I removed everything out of the boat to test the stability. I am able to stand up and paddle...tell me a kayak that you can do that in??? The tracking is pretty good too.
I also allowed a man who weighted over 400lbs to paddle it around a spring to see if it would handle his weight (I think 375 is the limit) To my shock, he was able to do so...not for a long trip but paddle around a spring area much like a lake. I was super amazed in the past at how much cargo I could stow aboard.
I love the maneuverability of the boat. I once took it on a trip with a club where the first part of the trip consisted of weaving through 4' narrow bayous. This boat turned on a dime. I was very impressed with its maneuverability…However, later in the day when we went out on the bay, with a slight chop and head wind, I was outclassed by the long sleek neeky boats. I learned a lesson in touring vs. rec boats that afternoon and why not having a skeg can be a disadvantage.
A couple of drawbacks of the boat are the need for a drain plug in the front of the boat. Also the 53 lbs might be a little heavy for some but for a boat this versatile you will be hard pressed to do better.
I love my Delta and will continue to use it for years. I've probably exceeded 150 trips and think this is the best boat in the rec arena. I've even done class III white water but can not give it a fair rating since I didn't have a spray squirt. It did well but took on tons of water--which I didn't mind that hot summer day. Other than that once occurrence it stays dry as a bone.
I would recommend this boat to every beginner until they see what kind of paddling they really are interested in. With the delta, you can try a variety of paddling adventures and still keep pace with all of the others.
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