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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.
I also went down a calm, narrow and winding river. On several occasions I had to execute quick turns and reverse moves to avoid last minute rocks and debris below the water line and the kayak handled fine.
Just a quick note about the sport. People sometimes buy CDs with nature sounds on them. I was wearing cheapy headphones connected to a radio which I tuned into a classical channel and with the birds chirping around I had my own REAL nature CD going.
Happy yakking season to all.
I drive a large and very tall minivan with roof rack and I find it easy to lift the boat up and slide it onto the rack. It is not that heavy to lift and walk with but if the wind is blowing hard then you'll have your hands full.
The cockpit is small and this craft is only suited for smaller persons. Try before you buy. I happen to be small so there is not a problem. The seat has the ratchet adjustment which is handy but I find the seatback just a little too short for my comfort. Every position hurts after a while. The padding is OK but after two hours things start to get tender. I will be adding some YakPads for sure very soon for the seat as well as the footpegs.
Both cargo hatches seal tight and keep out water. Twice I found water in the rear compartment but have yet to figure out where it came from. Other reviews stated that the skeg mounting allowed water to seep into their boats but this newer version has absolutely no skin penetrations. The skeg and it's mounting are completely external. The skeg cable does penetrate the skin but way up above the water line. All my other trips have ended up dry. If I had to I could get quite a lot of gear into the two cargo hatches. The front hatch is oval shaped to allow for larger items.
I did not have a choice of color as my supplier over here on the other side of the world only had one. It is red faded into yellow. I would recommend this for others if they are concerned about being visible to other craft on the water.
I agree with the other reviewers here in that the bottle holder is just plain in the wrong spot. The indentation is just too far aft to be of any use. (Maybe Britney Spears could make it work for her) But that is not a problem as there are plenty of straps over the fore and aft decks for fastening things down.
The special indentation on the aft deck for inserting the paddle makes a paddle float entry all the more easier.
Initial stability is very good but I find secondary stability to be frightenly almost non-existent. But this was during our get-aquainted-voyage and I was pushing the envelope to see where my limits were. I have yet to get this thing out on the whitecaps but have already been in some big swells and boat wakes and don't feel uneasy. Have even surfed a few earthquake swells. As long as you are properly seated with your thighs locked under the braces this is a very stable and responsive kayak. Thank you Perception.
It feels a little heavier than its listed 54 pounds but its still light enough for me to car top by myself.
The cockpit was a bit tight to get into due to the kayak's 24" beam but once in it felt ok for my 5'6" and 185 lbs frame. I did not like the built in bottle holder too much. I opted to tie my bottle on the front rigging which I tough was more safe and accessible when using a spray skirt. The ratchet backrest adjustment is a nice touch but I`m not sure if it's worth the extra money. Once adjusted properly, you probably won`t use it again for a while. The padding on the seat and back rest seemed ok.
The hatches and bulkheads were ok. A little bit of water leaked in but nothing major. They have lots of room to store whaever gear I bring. The listed cargo weight is 375 lbs, one of my reasons to buy this model instead of others, which means that minus my 185 I can still pack quite a bit. Can't wait for an overnight or even a weekend trip then I'll now for sure how it stands.
The weather during my outing was a touch windy and I quickly discovered that the skeg was a welcome addition since the kayak tended to turn into the wind without it. Tracks very well with it and I was able to maintain a fair speed. It would be nice though to have somekind of retrofit that would allow the skeg to be lowered or raised directly from the cockpit.
One thing that also caught my eye with this model is the indentation on the rear deck. I was told that it was designed to accept your paddle when preforming a paddle float assisted wet entry. Have not tried this yet so I don't know if it's any good.
My color of choice was the yellow/red fade. I picked this one because I think it`s more visible on the lake plus it looks better than just plain old yellow or red. I figure if I think it looks better then I will probably use it more.
My initial thought was to purchase an Acadia 12.5 since I am new to this sport and I thought, go recreational for now. It is also listed very high on this site's review section. The reason I opted for the Monterey 14 instead is that many Acadia 12.5 users who have reviews on this site have said that after a year or two they were ready to move up. I figured that the loss in money that I would encounter in selling the Acadia was not worth it, at least not for me. Without having tried the Acadia, I'm happy I went directly to the Monterey.
Perception calls this boat a shallow V, but it is almost flat at the area under the seat, combined with a definite chine it allows for the boat to be quite agile and predictable when edging, and quick to turn with the skeg up. With the skeg down it tracks like a much longer boat, holding a line well when going up stream or with a quartering wind, or both, requiring only an occasional tilt or sweep to stay on course. The Swede form makes it easy to bring up to speed and seems to maintain speed easier than my wife’s 14’ Perception Shadow. It is stable enough to use for photography or bird watching with out being a “barge”.
The seat back has a nice adjustment system but I had to move the anchor bolt to get the back vertical enough to be comfortable for me. The seat back is also a little too tall. I find it more comfortable to use a PFD that is either short in the back or has a mesh back. (The only reason I didn’t give it a full “10” rating.)
The fit and finish is very good for a poly boat with the hatch covers fitting their openings snugly and the padding in the seat, seat back, and thigh braces enhancing the all day comfort.
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