The dagger is the smallest boat in my fleet and I have only two weeks in it but it has fast bacome a favorite. I know it is only 12 feet long and is shaped more like a piece of tupperware but it perfoms beyond all expectations.
The speed is far more than a boat of this length and width should be capable of. The stability is awsome and the tracking, even in the Gulf of Mexico, is straight and true. I really enjoy this boat a lot and can even stand in it. The large cockpit does allow a good deal of water in in heavy chop in 2-4 foot seas but with a skirt the problem is solved. Love this boat.The Dagger Delta is a boat I'll never sell. I love paddling the thing, even on flat water. Regarding speed, it's fast when compared to other rec boats in its class. If you're comparing it to a touring boat, it is slow. I find that it has a nice glide at an easy pace. If you try to push it beyond its groove, resistance increases dramatically. I have no problem averaging 4 mph down slow rivers.
I have both a Dagger Delta and a Perception Sierra. The Sierra turns a little quicker, and tracks a little better, but the Delta is a little faster and wins a stability contest hands down. I used to own an Old Town Loon 138, which is as stable as my truck, and the Delta is a match for it.
However, I wanted a boat that could handle tight Class II rapids, and the Loon just doesn't like to turn. The Delta turns nicely, and also has a compliant bottom so that when you bump over a rock, it's very gentle. In fact, the Delta is the smoothest Class II ride I've ever had.
I should mention that I'm a 200-pound, very top-heavy paraplegic, and I modify all my boats by installing seats with very high backrests that reach up into my functional musculature (I'm paralyzed from the base of my sternum down). Since I have no trunk control, I have no stability of my own. I get it all from the boat. With the Dagger Delta, I feel confident and comfortable in Class II whitewater and have yet to tip it.
I also own an Ocean Kayak Yahoo for heavier whitewater, up to Class III. I use the Delta for rivers that have a lot of flat water to go with the rapids. The Yahoo in flat water is a chore. It's like pushing a bath tub and it doesn't track at all. I love the boat though, and will never sell it. It's 30 inches wide and usually refuses to tip even when I make a mistake in Class III.
I am selling the Perception Sierra because I do not feel safe in Class II whitewater with it, though I'm sure an able-bodied, normally proportioned person would.
In short, if you're looking for a remarkably stable boat with decent speed for its class, you can't go wrong with the Dagger Delta. As I said, I love paddling the thing.
Did I mention that it goes overland quite well, too? I use carbide-tipped cross country ski poles with racing half baskets to push myself in my kayaks over the land from good wheelchair ground to the water and vice versa. The Delta slides better than my other kayaks. Thank God for plastic.I received a Delta as a birthday gift 2 weeks ago. It is a nice alternative to my 20 year old Grumman 13' canoe. I took it to a local beach for a roll over test and was impressed how far you had to go to get it to flip. I took it duck hunting twice so far and after some logistical problems I really liked it. Where does one store a dozen decoys in a12 foot kayak? Why on top of course. There is plenty of room to store extra stuff including an extra paddle. The boat is very stable. I do get wetter than when canoeing, probably because I know little about paddling technique. I bought a 7.5 foot Otter kayak paddle that completes the rig. The screws for the Harmony paddle clips are a bit long and I have to reinstall them after trimming them a bit. They damaged my waders. The clips are a great addition. When decoys, coffee, cigar (or ocassionally your gun) is in hand the paddle is easily stored out of the way yet right there when you need it.
That is another thing, there is plenty of room for cold weather paddlers. We wear a lot of stuff when waterfowling and one's butt is appreciably larger than the summer butt. I'll see how the Delta acts with ice later this Fall 2000. Early December in upstate New York is always a good test for you and your boat. My only beef with the boat is with the seat, The single friction strap tends to loosen up as I paddle. I now stick a block of semi hard foam between the seat and the cowling of the boat. That helps me reach the posture I like.
I have the Delta with the camo color molded in and I have to say it is stealthy. The birds do not see you it must be due to the low freeboard and given the molded color. Over all I like the Delta alot. I think this is a fun addition to my fleet of two canoes. My wife likes paddling as well I gues I'll be buying a red one in the spring.I've had a few people email me for more information about the Dagger Delta in regards to handling, tracking and stability. I've went on about 3 trips with the Delta now, one of them an overnight camping affair with 2 other friends who have kayaks (Perception Swifty and Perception America). Now that I have had my boat a while, I thought I would give a bit more insight than my previous review.
Overall craftsmanship: This boat is built very well with no leaks or defects. Fit and fish is top notch. I have the Expeditions series, which has a padded seat and the sealed dry compartment in the back. By comparison, my friend had just purchased the Perception America, and his dry compartment leaked water from his cockpit. Of course, this is an easy fix and could happen to any boat.I have a Dagger Delta Expedition. I was a dyed in the wool canoeist, but I was having a hard time finding paddling partners who could meet my eratic schedule. So in looking for a boat I could paddle on my own. I was looking for something that would take someone of my size which is considerable (300lbs). There were plenty of boats available since I mostly daytrip and don't have any need for gear beyond a waterbottle. I tried a few incluiding a Perception Carolina, and my favorite and the one I purchased was the Delta.
Comfort: Very comfortable to sit in. The large compartment makes it easy to get into and out of the boat. Also, you can easily reach down and adjust your footpegs on the fly as you drift.
Weight: While some say it's heavy for a boat like this, I feel that the composite material is better than some. Also, the ends and edges are reinforced with a bit thicker form, which adds weight. I can still load and unload the boat easily by myself off my Tracker, which is a pretty high vehicle.
Stability: Very stable boat. I've had it in rapids about 18 inches or high or more. Had one wave come over my bow (no spray skirt) and put water in my boat. The Swifty was swamped and needed the bilge pump. I used a bilge sponge and was dry in a mater of 3 minutes. I ended up passing the sponge around to the other boats.
Ease of paddling: Very easy to paddle upriver or down. Requires minimum effort to get moving and to keep moving.. Inertia is great.
Maneuver: Very maneuverable boat. You can use different techniques to turn this boat left or right very quickly and avoid problems.
Tracking: Does not track as well as other boats. This is the trade off for maneuverability and the wide stable stance of the Dagger. However, it only takes a dip or two of the paddle to keep you tracked. If you are looking for a boat that tracks extremely well, this one isn't for you.
Room: My last kayaking trip was an overnighter. I had a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, full size folding chair, camp pillow, food, pots and pans, camping stove and lantern as well as various odds and ends. I could still hold more! The 20 miles I boated breezed by easily.
So far, I've been very pleased with my purchase.
It is easy to get in and out of, really stable, while heavy for a boat of its size it is easy to cartop singlehanded. It is rock solid stable, my first test of any boat I own is to flip it, so I know where the point of no return is... this one took a LOT to flip. I haven't tried it in much over a 8" chop as I haven't gotten a spray skirt for it yet. (If the water is that big I take a canoe.)
I like the Delta, it is stable, has a HUGE hatch, a lot of room up front (my beagle now sleeps under the deck while I paddle). So larger people who want to try a boat and are wondering about which one to try...this is an excellent choice. It doesn't track spectacularly, or even very well but it is highly manuverable.This boat is awesome! The large rear deck hatch (bigger that Perception's) gives acces to a large watertight storage area (acts as a flotation chamber in the unlikely event you swamp). The huge cockpit with padded seat is as comfortable as it gets. Another benefit (often overlooked until you wish you had it) is the room behind the seat that you can easily reach around to to put your camera, water, snacks, etc. Big people with back problems have raved about this boat after 5 hour float trips! The spray skirt is cheap too (MSRP $39). Outfitting is excellent and the boat is light enough to handle easily for car topping. It is extremely stable in the water -- you can stand in it! My wife runs class II with a casual look on her face while I sweat it in my white water boat. If you can only buy one boat, or if you want to get a boat for someone to absolutely love to go kayaking in. Then get a Delta.
PS -- I don't work for Dagger and I have Perception, Walden Paddlers and Old Town kayaks as well. I may be opinionated -- but I am impartial and educated! Cheers!