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The Dagger build quality is superb, the hatches are good, the boat design is rigid (compared to my old Capella 166 and some of our clubs Valleys), which all flex considerably. It is a big boat, cockpit wise, I'm only 5'7" 200lb and the rudder pegs are nearly at the shortest leg length setting, my inside leg is 31". Considering it's a "one size fits all" boat, it could do with the runners being closer to the seat- there is a huge volume behind the rudder footrests and as such a lot of space, nearly 18" until the bulkhead! I bet Darth Vader and Chewbacca would have room to spare, and if the bulkhead was further towards the cockpit too it would allow a superb increased front hatch volume. As such, I use a heavy duty drybag jammed behind the footrests when needed but a lot of potential dry space is wasted...
The smooth finish of the boat(superb quality EXL plastic) may account for some of it's speed, and it has a fairly low bow compared to the Quest LV, which keeps wind interference down but can make for a wetter paddle. It is stable when stationary and on the move, not being narrow and with a forgiving hull profile. The seat is comfy and the backband can be adjusted from the thigh grips, which can be adjusted fore and aft too.
Over here in the UK rudders are somewhat looked down upon as inferior to skegs, but it's good having no potential weak points to let water in, you can jam kit in the back without fear of damaging skeg cables etc, and I really like using the rudder - on a recent trip to the Sandaigs it allowed me to put down my paddle and then effortlessly steer the boat (a tail wind and flood tidal stream pushing me along) quietly towards an unsuspecting otter eating a fish on a skerry (that's a rock...) and get some photos- try doing that with a skeg! Rudder up it edge turns really well, the rudder is brilliant especially in a following sea, and the boat rolls easily (I think it would weigh a tonne if you had to empty it after a wet exit it due to the cockpit volume) I plan to replace the skeg cord with stainless steel wire/fittings over the winter for peace of mind that I can truly rely on the rudder when things get rough....
Overall it's a stunningly good design and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who can handle the "anti-rudder snobbery"!(especially at that price, even in "rip-off UK"- I bet it's about $800 in the US!) It would have scored a 10 but for the front bulkhead being too far away. I don't know anyone with a 50" inside leg and Dagger should sort this out!!!
Pros: Fast, Stable, Looks very cool, comfortable
Cons: A little bit heavy, hull is thin under the cockpit.
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