The 16'6" Magellan was my first sea kayak after owning two rec boats. This kayak would make an excellent first boat. It is plenty fast and stable. Tracks straight and true. Glides over the water rather than plowing through it. I was able to lap the small lake by my house twice, when I normally could do it only once in my 11 foot rec boat.
The rudder is only needed in windy conditions, but is very convenient and easy to use. It is much more effective than a skeg. Ergonomics are just fine. If you desire a little softer seat, it is easy to place a gel pad or as much foam as you want under the standard cushion. Foot pegs/rudder pedals work fine and should be able to handle anybody from 5 to 6 feet tall. My boat has the soft neoprene inner hatch covers with hard outer covers. This is a very nice and dry set-up, once you get the hang of popping on the soft covers. They are superior over the cheaper Dagger rubber covers. Storage room in this boat is unbelievable. The hard plastic bulkheads take up much less room than the foam versions.
The Magellan is built to take a lot of abuse. That is why they were so popular with rental fleets. All in all, a great boat and highly recommended.12 months of happy ownership see me as a continued happy Magellan paddler. I know that there are lighter, faster, tighter Kayaks available and I have had the chance to sample some. But I also know that fit and feel can be very subjective and reviews can only express opinion in this. I find the Magellan an absolute joy to paddle in a range of conditions - from the local lake to rivers to coastal hops in mixed conditions. I still can't find a better Poly Kayak for such a range of uses.
I have had no problems with leaks or any other "kayak quality" issues. I beleive that the newer Magellans (my vintage) had welded bukheads versus glued ones one of old. I suspect that the reviewers with leaks had the earlier guled ones.
Everything works and well. My upgraded, thicker, deck cords and personal upgrade of the seat pads made all the difference to comfort. I haven't had problems with the Poly deforming or dinting due to my storing the Kayak with slings, transporting it with specific Thule Kayak cradles and just taking care. I have seen the effect and learned that such proper care and handling is the fix. So once again I give the Magellan a high rating. For value, performance at that value, and jack-of-all-trades" function it is a fine choice. Despite the egotisitical, arrogant and elitist attitude of the previous reviewer, I like this boat. Both my wife and I are intermediate level paddlers and have paddled many other boats. We both find the Magellan to be a good all around boat, tracks reasonably well, turns quite well if you are not afraid to lean a bit, and will handle waves/winds with the rudder down. I am sure that there are better boats for the self styed 'expert', but I am also sure that most folks would be happy with this boat for the real-life paddling that they do. I have used it for weekend trips, and had no problem fitting all my gear in it. The fact that it is a bit loose in the tracking department is also the reason that it will turn well.
High points: quick turning with a bit of a lean, tracks reasonably, good spped for its size (long waterline), good initial and fairly good final stability. My hatches and bulkheads do not leak, but some of the deck fitting screws will unless you take them out and seal with Lexal. Plastic is quite sturdy and has shown no tendency to dent, even after spending four warm days and nights strapped on the Jeep.
Low points: tight foot room for size 12s, needs rudder in higher winds & waves if not going directly into the wind. And yes, it is a bit heavy on land, but is still lively on the water.I have had my Magellan for just over three months and many paddling days within this time. I find the Magellan an excellent handling boat (although I have a rudder I only use it occasionally) yet it tracks well in most conditions and is very comfortable for flat river paddling to moderate surf conditions.
I find the seat position comfortable but the seat pad that comes with the Magellan moves around too much unless glued / strapped down. The cockpit is a good size, perhaps a little large for my 5 foot 9, 165Lb frame so I will add some additional thigh support. Dagger offers options in this regard but at a relatively high cost. But I am yet to feel uncomfortable on between 2 to 5 hour stints. In testing other Kayaks I experienced numb legs and feet with some boats. Never a numb foot or leg with the Magellan.
The rubber hatches are excellent and haven't leaked more than a few drops even while learning to roll for five hours on day. I updated the front deck lines and elastic cord more to my taste as the original ones were a little thin (although were functional). The deck lines work well for paddle float re-entry (compared to my Wife's Necky and Brothers Dagger Apostle that has a day hatch in the way!).
Before buying the Magellan I tried many other designs and makes but like the balance the Magellan provided.
Things I'm not enjoying include: The rudder rails / pedals need constant attention as they stick with only a little sand or dirt. The slippery seat pad as mentioned above. And, the scratches on the Plastic that accumulate over time. Of course I'd also like a lighter weight!
All in all I can say the Magellan is an excellent poly kayak and is equal or better than most others I tried in its price range and size (and I tried them all). I can see why Dagger kept the Magellan in its stable of Kayaks for so long its a good all around boat.Like the others, I think that the Dagger Magellan is a real "gem" of a boat. I am a big boater (6' 2.5", 230 lbs) and this boat is comfortable, stable and responsive. It is well built and a true pleasure to look at. This is a boat that is just 'right' -- I seem to feel confident when I am in it. As previously stated, the initial stability is great; secondary is even better. However, if you decide to get it, make sure that you get it with the rudder -- it does make a world of difference.
There are some many small features on this boat that indicate the presence of a great deal of thought. For example, the rudder has a tie-down bungie. This is nice because it simplifies car topping the Magellan. With the bungie, the rudder is located. As another example, there is decent thigh padding in the Magellan. This is one plastic boat that I really don't want to get rid of. Enough said.The good: Overall I agree with the other reviews...the Magellan is a relatively fast, responsive, and fun boat. The controlled leans are unbelievable...it really can carve some nice turns, yet it tracks straight as an arrow. It does have a tendancy to weathercock. I have yet to paddle it on big open water and fully loaded. I paddle on the Mississippi often and the Magellan handles the river, the current, and the boat wake with ease.
The bad: My "electronically welded" bulkheads leak...not enough to be a safety hazzard, but it's annoying. Also at 62 lbs....the Magellan is a bit of a load. I can get it on/off my SUV alone (thanks to the Yakima Sweet Roll) and carry it to the water, but it's a chore (and a decent workout).
The ugly: Doesn't apply...It has pretty clean lines for a plastic boat, and Dagger's done a nice job of getting away from the "tupperware" look. The blue and white swirls in my boat are really cool.