Submitted: 01-06-2006 by DJJ
I've got the Kestrel 120 in TCS. It's super-light at 39 pounds. This is not a recreational kayak, in my opinion. It's more a 12.5-foot touring kayak. You can easily use it as a light touring boat. I tested the plastic version, but found that the TCS Kestrel 120 is stronger on stability, tracks better, and is faster than the plastic model. For me, the plastic one wouldn't track straight at all, and I'm an experienced paddler.
It's almost unbelievable how well this 12.5-foot boat performs as a light tourer. I wanted to use it in rivers though, and it was fine until I ran a solid Class III rapids with it in the fall. My stern spanked a rock hard and cracked. A fiberglass patch on the inside made it good as new, but a boat that can crack just isn't a good application for Class III's. TCS just isn't made for rock-bashing. Small bumps aren't an issue.
The tracking on the Kestrel 120 is absolutely amazing. It seems to ignore wind entirely. It just goes wherever you want, almost as if by thought. A rudder would be a useless appendage.
I can't imagine anyone not liking the TCS Kestrels. (I've got the Kestrel 140, too). Anyone who paddles them is favorably impressed. My hat is off to the Current Designs hull designer on these boats. However, I will sell the 120 since I can't use it as my river boat, and the 140 fulfills all my desires as a light touring boat.
Still, I have to rate the Kestrel 120 as a 9.9, which rounds up to 10.