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Reviews for Eclipse 17.0 Kayak by Perception


Rated: 8.1/10 Based On: 48 Reviews

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10-16-2014
Submitted by: TimSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought the boat used. It is a good sturdy boat. Has room for storage for camping. It cuts the water efficiently. It has a rudder but I haven't used it. I manage just fine with my paddle. Turns as well as needed for a 17' boat. I am 6'8" and 290 lbs. I squeeze into the cockpit fine, it is tight but fine. You do have to choose a good place to enter and exit. For me, climbing in from a pier or dock is not likely due to the tight cockpit.

My criticism about the boat is the initial stability. It is very tippy. After a long paddle you get used to it but you literally are jerking your body back and forth to manage the poor initial stability. I mean to take it to a lake and truly test the secondary stability but frankly haven't done it yet. As I paddle the boat you can see the boat makers built the boat purposefully this way. It cuts the water very well. You can speed though the water with the boat. The stability is fine as long as you are moving forward. The problem is the initial stability causes you to have to correct your balance while you are standing still and it gets annoying.

Regarding fit I hear all these reports about boats where people complain about the stability, size and fit of a boat based on their size. Look ALL boats are not made for my size and I figure out how to paddle for the boat. After 20 minutes your paddle stroke adjusts to most boats. Spend more time focusing on your stroke and less on your equipment.

In conclusion: it's a good boat. The builders have definitely sacrificed stability for speed. If you are sitting still in the boat talking to a friend you will be adjusting yourself to keep from tipping. If you are moving this is not a problem. Its annoying but probably means I move faster and more efficiently in the water.

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08-07-2014
Submitted by: FrankSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I borrowed an Eclipse 17 for a weekend but did not enjoy the experience. The kayak was, for me, extremely tippy. I'm 5'10, 205. I liked the room and design but could not get past the feeling I was going to tip. I only kayak in Alaska so I not want to roll in cold water.

I've read the reviews from those that say the kayak has good initial and fair secondary stability but I just can't agree. I have kayaked for years in a variety of kayaks in all types of weather and sea conditions but never had this type of experience. Maybe there are a certain few of us that the Eclipse just isn't made for, I know I'm one of those.

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06-09-2014
Submitted by: PJSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I've had the Eclipse Airlite now for 10 seasons. I'm 59 yrs 6'1" 245 lbs 13 shoe. There are not many boats that are designed for larger people. While I could and have lost weight even at 220 lbs I don't fit most boats. I like this kayak very much. While it's not a speedster I can maintain > 4 mph sustained except in headwinds. I've competed in races not seriously but for fun. One race I took 3rd in my category.

This boat weather cocks and the rudder compensates adequately. I don't usually use the rudder. I find the seat uncomfortable after 2 hrs sitting and have to get out at times. I do have back problems (fusion surgery) but generally I find my back is ok most paddles. It's heavier than I'd like but certainly lighter than poly.

Overall for a person like me there are few viable options. It does have a very good carrying capacity at 400 lbs. I've never paddled it fully loaded so I can't say anything about loaded performance. I have taken this boat on many 15-20 mi paddles and it is surprisingly stable. Even when dealing with crossing wakes - 3 to 4 ft (standing waves) in the Hudson River or Long Island sound. Have had it in the Chesapeake and it performed well.

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09-18-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have the Eclipse in kevlar and in glass. Both are excellent hulls. The original OEM seats were poorly made and extremely uncomfortable/painful. I have replaced both seats and love the boats. They are fast, predictable and a blast to paddle.
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04-16-2013
Submitted by: SouthwestrickSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have both the Poly and the Aerolite 17 ft versions. I prefer the poly due to the fact I kayak in sharp rocky areas. The Aerolite is more easily damaged. The weight difference isn't enough to offset this issue. One negative of the poly though, is the fact I live in the desert southwest. The heat of my garage, as well as tied down on a roof rack (in the dead of summer) causes the poly boat to fold or deform. In most cases it will pop back to its original shape rather easily.

The 17ft Eclipse is great for a larger person. I am 6ft 230lb. The cockpit area is very roomy. The load capacity is around 400lbs. Plenty of storage. I have used these kayaks on extended multi-day, 60 mile+, yakpacking trips carrying camping gear, food, etc. I have been in rough water and found this design to be very stable. I have never rolled accidentally.

I have used this design for 6+ years and have never had a hatch leak, or a bulkhead partition leak. I have loaded these down, with folding chair and sleeping bag lashed to the deck, and easily can paddle 20 miles a day on flat water. Hands down in the wind it out performs any canoe.

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03-24-2013
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had this kayak for 9 years, and have used it a lot and sometimes pretty roughly. It has held up well. Plenty of room to camp out of, which we've done on several occasions.
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10-21-2011
Submitted by: EdSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased my Perception Eclipse Airalite used two years ago. It was/is my first kayak. I am 6' 4" and weigh 215. The Kayak is a great fit for my size.

Initial stability is good Secondary stability is fair. As others state, it does weathercock. I have used this for five day excursions in Vayageurs Nat'l Park. It fit all my needs nicely. It handled well in three foot waves, and I felt secure with gusts to forty mph. I was looking for cat tails in those winds. The rudder is not very useful, but I have long since chosen not to use a rudder.

I love the kayak. It is sturdy and fast enough to suit my desires for ten to fifteen mile paddles. It is not light, but it is reliable. I strongly recommend this boat for day paddles and touring. The hatches are not large, but I prefer smaller openings on the water. Storage is more than enough for long touring trips. I highly recommend the Airalite model.

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07-29-2011
Submitted by: J.SawyerSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I live in Johannesburg South Africa, and we only have some very flat water here. I am a large guy, and enjoy this kayak very much. The plastic shell has lasted well over the last few years of paddling in the ocean and on inland dams.

Starting at the cockpit, there is sufficient space, knee braces are comfortable,and the adjustable footpegs are well suited. The seat, although it looks gimmicky with the gel pads, is comfortable. Packing space for touring is restricted by a narrow nose area in the front, the hatch openings are small, so you have to pack wisely. The rear hatch is more accommodating. In heavy weather, the neoprene and rubber hatch lid combination leaks badly. The fore and aft bulkheads have not remained adhered to the kayak shell, resulting in the leakage from the hatches swishing around in the cockpit floor.

Initial stability is good, secondary stability is marginal.The kayak requires a good boot of rudder when paddling on a windy day to prevent from weathercocking. I complete in a 10km time trial every Wednesday at the local canoe club, with an average time of 75 minutes for the 10km distance.

If you are a recreational kayaker, this would be a good option.

  • Tracking (with rudder) 9/10
  • Speed 7/10
  • Maneuverability 6/10
  • Initial Stability 9/10
  • Storage space 6/10
  • Overall: 7/10

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05-20-2011
Submitted by: MCSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     This is my first kayak, I've had it for 3 years and I have never felt like it was ever going to turn over, in 3 foot swells coming from multiple directions at the same time if felt a little scary but didn't capsize.

Only 2 things: it really wants to go into the wind, and not the fastest boat on the water. I weigh 240 lbs.

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04-26-2010
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I want to say I love my Eclipes but can't... this was my first kayak and I spent 3 or 4 months trying to get use to it, but it didn't happen. I found this boat extremely tippy. I bought a Current Design/whistler 24.25 inch beam and what a difference. I am now never nervous when I'm in choppy water. The Eclipes wasn't to bad with extra weight in it but I didn't want to haul around extra weight to go paddling for the day or a couple of hours.
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09-11-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I had the 17 ft Perception Eclipse Airlite model. I paddled it for about a year mostly in coastal day trips around Florida bay and Biscayne bay, usually in chop of less than 3 feet and mild (10-15 kt) winds. I'm 6 feet tall and 190 lbs. The cockpit was huge for me and required a lot of foam to make it comfortable for me and give me good contact with the boat.

The boat has very good primary stability and OK secondary stability; it would be a good boat for a beginner. While the boat has a fairly narrow beam it still feels wide, but responds to steering strokes reasonably well. It doesn't turn fast unless it's leaned.

The Eclipse handles reasonably well in low winds and flat water, but starts to weathercock in just 10 kts of wind, enter the rudder.... The rudder seems to have been added as an afterthought. When dropped it barely touches the water and doesn't seem to move the boat very well. The roto version seems to have a different stern and may integrate the rudder more effectively.

I didn't find it a fast boat when trying to escape lightning. The bow has a lot of volume and seems to plow through the water. I've read a lot of positive reviews of this boat so I was surprised by how it handled. The boat has a lot of space and would be good for week trips.

I can't recommend this boat, it's light for it's size in plastic and the airlite is pretty durable and looks good. It might preform better with a heavy load, but I never had more than 50 lbs of gear in it.

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10-11-2006
Submitted by: SlowPSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     I bought an Eclipse Sea Lion slightly used. Have had it on Chequamegon bay a few times then moved back to the Pacific Nortwest. I paddle with a friend who likes to go fast. Can't keep up with him but probably couldn't anyway. I've found that putting decorative flames on the hull helps with speed. I cartopped it from Wisconsin to here and was afraid it was going to bend in the heat. When I arrived here I unloaded it and popped the sides back out and everything is ok. Stability is not a problem that I can see with it. I'm thinking if I put bigger flames on it, it would help with the speed.
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10-05-2006
Submitted by: tmarkSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased a used '05 poly Eclipse 17 and am very, very pleased with it. I'm 6'1", 175 lbs - big but not huge. I have tight hamstrings and my legs cramp up and go to sleep in most boats (e.g. the Necky Chatham 17 I dumped for the Eclipse). The Current Designs Storm was recommended to me as a "big guy" boat. It is huge! In fact, it is way too wide for me. Furthermore, despite the width, the Storm's cockpit coaming and, thus, thigh braces are very low - so my legs went right to sleep. The Eclipse 17's thigh braces are higher than most boats, and it is not too wide, so the fit is just right for me. I'll easily install hip pads for a close fit.

The "tippy" initial stability that some object too, makes the boat quite fast and efficient to paddle. The secondary stability is very secure for me, and when laid over the Eclipse turns very quickly with a strong sweep. All in all, it feels lively and fun.

If bracing is not instinctive, then the Eclipse 17 might be "too much boat" for such a paddler. First day in this thing, I paddled in moderately rough sea conditions and had no difficulty or near-capsize incidents. But, my braces are pretty good and getting better.

I'm not crazy about the neoprene/solid hatch cover system - why not use the new-style flexble covers like the Valley? Furthermore, there is a design problem with the current hatch system: the bolts that secure the hatch cover straps project down far enough that when I filled the front hatch full of gear and the neoprene cover was slightly pushed upward, one bolt wore a hole through the neoprene.

Lots of storage. Comforatble seat. Good rudder system. Excellent outfitting (as usual for Perception). The extra lbs are largely due to the many outfitting and hull features Perception has built into this boat (and other models).

A better hatch cover system would jump the Eclipse 17 to a "10" for me.

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06-14-2006
Submitted by: SashaSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have 2006 plastic Eclipse. This is quite different boat comparing to older models. My understanding is that plastic material is different, and this one doesnít have that metal pipe on the bottom (inside). Seats are different too. Shape is pretty much the same as old models.

I am 6í6 and 190 Lbs. Before I bought this boat, I tried several other touring models and found that this one was by far most roomy for my long legs. My shoe size is 12, and I have plenty of room in this boat. Buying a kayak is very much individual thing and what fits one person, doesnít necessarily fits the other, even if same size and build.

I didnít paddle for 3 decades and I was a little worried about the stability of this boat. Initial stability is FENOMENAL on this boat. I read some reviews here about this boat, and some of the reviewers where complaining about initial stability of this boat. I just donít understand. All I could say is Ė if anyone has problem with initial stability of this boat, they should switch to another sport. Maybe get in to the bowling?

Secondary stability is not that great but only at the highest possible speed. This is not the fastest boat around, yet it has solid speed for itís weight and size. It is well build with the attention to detail. Wind may be the problem with this one, but show me the kayak which doesnít have a wind problem. Thatís why you have a rudder.

Overall, this is one great boat and I highly recommend it to taller and bigger people.

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01-11-2006
Submitted by: sphSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     This was my third kayak. First was a carolina plastic 14'. The eclipse is well built and pretty fast. However, I am 170 5' 11" and never felt comfortable in the boat. It was so tippy it had no initial stability. I tried for 3 months to like this boat but the handeling charistics were unexceptable to me. With maybe 40 lbs on the centerline of the kayak it had reasonable stability. I could almost roll the boat by just turning around in the seat. It was comfortable but the stability of the carolina has spoiled me. I purchased this boat to keep up with a friend who had a no name 16' kayak. He tried my boat and came to the same conclusion as myself. I took this boat in lakes as well as the gulf of mexico. It will surf the swells quite well.
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07-25-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     This reviews the Airalite model, which differs somewhat from the plastic edition in dimensions, design and outfitting. The design is time-tested and very good, but quality control isn't top drawer. A grap loop was poorly affixed and let go with little use. A material (adhesive?) was spattered several places around the hull and virtually all decals appeared to have been applied sloppily (numerous air bubbles). The cockpit is fairly roomy, but outfitting is just adequate. The cockpit rim is relatively thin and has some roughness on the edge, making it less than skirt-friendly. The backband is a little high to accommodate back deck rolls. The method for securing hatch covers in place is not entirely effective, and they sometimes get a little askew.

Enough of the nitpicking. The boat is an absolute hoot to paddle and is drop dead gorgeous, especially with the silver deck. It's fast, but not a rocket. The upswept ends make it very easy to turn, but rob some waterline length and, therefore, speed. With maneuverability, you surrender some tracking, but the rudder takes care of that. The round bottom buys some speed, but trades off some initial stability, possibly making it feel a bit twitchy to some. But, secondary stability is good, so I'd say it's a stable boat. That said, I respectfully disagree with those who disqualify it for beginners. Paddling skills and instincts progress rapidly from inception, so my philosophy is that neophytes should buy boats they'll learn from and grow into. Not skittish high performance designs, but boats like this that reward proper paddling and maneuvering technique with results.

Bottom line is that this popular design is a great balance between speed and maneuvering, and it doesn't hurt that it's a looker.

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06-23-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     This is not the boat for a novice. This was my second time out in a sea kayak, and first time out in the ocean. The first weekís class I was given a WS Tempest 170 for use in the bay in the basic strokes/ assisted recovery class. I requested a Carolina 16 for the second week, which was quite a bit wider than both these two boats, but was given an Eclipse 17 instead. I ended up in the open ocean 3 times. For a novice the Eclipse is way too tippy. The hull is round, which makes it faster, but less stable than the WS. Three of the 4 other guys in my class told me they had similar problems, ending up in the drink more than once each, with this boat. Read through the reviews here, lots of people mention this boatís tippyness.

I also had problems with weather cocking at the end of the day, which might have been multiplied by my tiredness. Iím a real big guy, 6-4, 250 lbs, with a large frame, but the boat seemed to fit me OK. But Iím thinking wider flatter boat for my next outing. The only good thing I can say about the experience is that I got lots of practice with my bracing stroke and assisted recovery.

If you are a paddler with strong skills, good balance, and lots of experience, you may find this to be the boat for you. But if youíre a novice look elsewhere. Be aware, that paddling in the ocean with real 2-3 foot swells is much different than trying it out in the bay or lake.

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02-17-2005
Submitted by: J. McElhineySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     My Prijon Seagull was stolen last fall 04. So with my insurance money, I bought this new Airalite 17'. I love it! I stripped it of the factory stickers and re-painted it to custom colours. It handles like a dream in rough choppy water and big white caps. It handles great in wind too with minimal weather cocking. I used it only 3x -all unloaded each time. I cannot wait to load it up with camping gear so it's even more stable. I recommend everyone at least trying a demo of this boat. For the price, $2000 USD, it's a steal of deal!

Oh yeah the seat support is the best I have ever seen even when compared to $3500 kevlar boats! The knee braces are just right. They allow for an easy exit and easy entry, but also allow for great solid knee support rolling practice!

The hatches are receded which is great. I have noticed some water leakage through the inside neo covers, but that's only doing rolling practices and very rough big choppy seas.

The deck rigging is perfect and is plentiful- could not ask for more. The boat even has a great towing clip! I have yet to use the rudder, so I cannot comment on that yet.

My overall advice- buy one. This is well made and reasonably priced boat. I am 5'10" and 174 lbs.

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11-03-2004
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I own an Air-Lite Eclipse. Purchased it in April í04 and now (November í04) it is for sale. Not because I was not happy with it, but with the amount of boating I ended up doing this year, it was time to upgrade. I am 6í2Ē and am around 190 pounds. My feet are size 13. I paddle off the coast of Maine and on the inland lakes. I purchased this boat as a safe bet compromise between cost and capability. With two shoulder separations on my left and one on my right side, I was concerned as to weather I could kayak with any regularity and I wanted a boat so I could go out with my wife. I bought this figuring I would be doing well if we went out 6-12 times. Well this year we are over 40 times out so far and counting. I think I owe a lot to the Eclipse. It allowed me to discover boating in a big way.

The AirLite is nice. It is lighter than the polly. It is amazingly forgiving and it is surprisingly rigid. One thing I did not like was the cockpit coming. It seemed a bit shallow for the rand of the skirt and did not provide that solid a connection. The fit and finish and overall quality exceeded expectations. There was room for my clown feet which was a big initial concern. The hatches are flush fit and I never had any leakage problems. As it was the first boat I owned, I donít have much to compare it to other than a couple of rentals and loaners.

My new Current Designs Extreme HV in Kevlar is on its way. While by all accounts a choice boat, I will miss my eclipse and remember it fondly as one remembers their first love.

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08-09-2004
Submitted by: jahSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I'm going on my third year with my plastic Eclipse, which I bought used out of a rental fleet, and I still love it! Before I bought the Eclipse, I tried out a number of other boats on tours, and the only one I would have considered buying was a Cape Horn 17 Pro (composite), but having paddled them both in some rough conditions on the Chesapeake Bay, I had more faith in the Eclipse's ability to handle the chop. I find the boat relatively easy to handle on the water, though it is heavy on land. Tracking is easy with the rudder, and the boat's speed makes it easy to turn as well - in fact, I've found that with a decent hull speed a canoe type turn works well: just drop a paddle blade in at the side and pry. The hatches do a good job of keeping stuff dry. The only thing that would be better would be a composite boat (or maybe the new Airalite model) - so one of these days when I can scrape the funds together I'll make the upgrade!
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05-05-2004
Submitted by: TejasSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have owned the Eclipse 17.0 for a year and a half now and have enjoyed it very much. I have the plastic version, though I would have bought the composite version if I had the money. The Eclipse has proved to be a fast, comfortable boat with plenty of room for gear. It is also quite manouvarable if put on edge and the transition from initial to secondary stability is quite smooth owing to the rounded hull. My friend's Necky turns faster when put on edge but I guess I prefer the feel of a rounded hull better than one with hard chines. I installed Smartrack rudders from Sealine because the Yakima rudders that came with the boat were a piece of junk. The Smartrack rudders are standard on the composite version. The "gas pedal" style footpegs allow me to brace hard without worrying about initiating a turn with the ruddder. The outfitting is nice but not as nice as the composite version. The seat and thighbraces are comfortable, though I wish I could move them relative to each other. Teh hatches are pretty waterproof, though a little water does get through sometimes. My wife and I went on a multi day trip in the Saguanay Fjord in Quebec and the Eclipse performed wonderfully. There was soem bad weather with 5-6 waves and high wind but I felt very comfortable in the Eclipse. The only downfall is that it is quite heavy (70 lbs) and the scrated up plastic hull is starting to generate a bit of grag. But I guess that's what you get with a plstaic boat. All in all a greta tourign kayak and probably the best you can get for a plastic boat.
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01-26-2004
Submitted by: JaySend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have had a plastic Eclipse 17 for Two years and find it to be an great boat for the price. It has excellent rigging and hatches. The storage compartments stay bone dry. I really like the storage straps above the rear hatch. It's a very durable hull. No worries about rocks etc. The weather cocking is not severe and is easily corrected with edging or the rudder. I like a rudder over a skeg because it allowes you to dial in exactly the right amount of trim, which greatly reduces fatigue on a long day. The rudder and controals on this boat are the best I've seen.

Putting the boat on edge is very predictable. The speed is equal to other boats of this length and design. I find the seating and thigh support perfect for me [6 ft. 175lb.] My size 13 feet are tight but ok. I usually ware wet suit socks. The weight is over come with a dolly on land and is not an issue on the water. When money allows, I will purchase a Fiber glass or composite Eclipse.

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12-29-2003
Submitted by: Flakester-ManSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     My Eclipse is the only kayak I've ever owned, and I've had it for 2 seasons now. I think it's great. It's a plastic jobby and I'd rather had bought the lighter version, but hey, what can you do? I'm relatively poor. But besides loading issues (my back is getting old and I always paddle alone) I've had absolutely NO problems or concerns with this boat at all. There's plenty of room for beer (and food when necessary) and I've found it to be very stable both on calm waters and when things get crazy. Like I said I'm totally an amateur, but this boat allowed me to learn how to handle myself on moderately "rough" waters (2-3 foot Lake Michigan waves) the first time I was out ever, and it felt very stable. I like this boat more than I do my wife!

Anyway I gave it only 8 out of 10 because I don't feel qualified to give it a ten because it's the only boat I've ever paddled - but otherwise I'd have given it a ten!

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11-10-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought mt eclipse (plastic) this last summer. I have found it to be a very durable and stable kayak, on calm water or in heavy (seas). It's interesting reading everyones different opinion! Clearly it only showes me that everyone is different and that no "one" Kayak will fit the bill for everyone! This is my first kayak (I have tryed others out) and overall I feel it is a good choice for someone who wants durability, stability and plenty of room for enough gear to last a week of more in the wilderness. A couple of issues regarding some previous letters, like the rudder slowing you down; what you might consider is "shortening" it 1/2 " at a time until you get comfortable with it, but be careful!!! I personally have found the resistance to be negligable under way. I have tested my speed (GPS) under sail (no paddling) and at the most it made a tenth of a point difference! There was hardly any noticable change! (I was averaging 4.6 Knots and it may have dropped to 4.5...barely!!!) I realize that this was (under sail) but It gave me a consistant readout, without factoring in fatigue or cadance! Another thing you might want to try is "waxing" the bottom of your Kayak! It's been done for many years on skiis & sleds and it seems to work well on my boat, like skiis, you just have to apply it everyonce in a while. Anyway just a few thoughts on this model....happy paddling!P.S. Im 6'1" and about 185# (give or take a donut) :-)
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09-26-2003
Submitted by: PeteSend Email
Rating: 4 of 10

     Similar to other reviewers, I'm figuring a 5 is average, 10 is extremely exceptionl, and 1 is something kayak shaped that floats... I'm 185 lbs and 5'8. I purchased the roto version at $750 in great used condition as a first kayak over an open bow solo canoe due to expected better handling in cross winds and foot plus waves. Even at only $750 I'm disappointed in both a comparison to a solo canoe, as well as vs other kayaks that I've paddled. Two different beasts, but this thing is as good as neither. The cross wind performance is dismal, though even with the rudder deployed it's on par with solo canoe speed (less comfortable though). The thing, when empty, wants to turn upwind in even modest breezes. The seat can not be adjusted rearward enough to compensate (and there is too much non keyhole space up front when adjusted completely rearward), my usual fix is to add weight via water in milk jugs in the rear hatch, change directions though and you need to change the setup. This kills the handling and causes it to ride uneven (uphill) in the water meaning futile effort to get over what it decides is crusing speed. The cruising effort, however, is not monumental as the wetted surface is low given the sweeping front and rear ends. That translates into less top speed due to only about a 15.5 ft waterline. The seat always causes my right leg to fall asleep in any adjustment (never the case with other kayaks I've had). A new seat will be added when I can get the time to cut a foam one (may allow for more rearward positioning as well). Leaned turns are vague, and worse when loaded with the required balast to keep it from weathercocking. Paddling on one side repeatedly is the best way to get it turned when loaded (and then only with no wind). Rudder can be deployed, but reduces speed significantly. Undeployed it sits as a sail on the rear deck further contributing to the weathercocking. The surprising thing is that despite the high deck forward the seat, and the lack of control for even averaged size paddlers due to vague knee bracing possibilities, the wind still acts mostly on the rear section. I will experiment with rudder removal, to improve wind handling, but have little confidence this is the underlying issue, possibly leaving the rudder deployed all the time and shortening it will be the best compromise. In short, a tub. Sort of the kayak version of an old town penobscot 17, trusty and ultimately capable, but certainly at a price of more effort than most other offerings that aren't pure toys and less comfortable (though a bit more seaworthy) than a solo canoe would be. Ton of cargo room though, so if you're looking for a barge that cruises easily, go for it.
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06-24-2003
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 3 of 10

     I just sold my Eclipse and bought an Old Town Adventure XL 160 - which I adore. Maybe the Eclipse was too much boat for me - that's certainly possible. But I found the design to be extremely tippy in any wind or real waves and it oil-canned when I'd just look at it. Clearly a nice boat - but the handling left me cold. The lack or a rocker or hard chine made it very dicey on lake paddling. Just my 2 cents.
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10-02-2002
Submitted by: DaveSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've owned my Eclipse for two years and now feel qualified to give a review. I'm 6'-1", 160 lbs (running is passion) and fit easily and securely into the cockpit. The cockpit is large, which aids in getting in and out of my boat fast. I also have plenty of room to shift my legs around on extended paddling trips. Thighbraces function well and are comfortable.

I've found the Eclipse handles best when evenly loaded with at least 20-30 lbs of gear. When riding light she does tend to weathercock and is sluggish in the turns. Not a problem when she's loaded down with a weeks worth of gear. This is a touring boat, not a day tripper. When day tripping I'm always sure to throw a couple half gallon containers of water in the bow compartment with the rest of my sparse gear in the stern. Loaded properly the Eclipse tracks and turns better than the other 17 footers I've paddled. The quality of workmanship on my boat is superb. Can't nit pick a thing.

I'm puzzled by other's comments regarding this boat. The seatback is not plastic and the hatch covers are not held in place by bungies. Sounds like somebody got hold of a very ragged out and abused rental model. And yep any plastic hull will oil-can unless it is stored properly. Keep it in the shade and store it on it's side. Great job with this boat Perception.

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09-16-2002
Submitted by: MNSSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've paddled a plastic Eclipse for a little over 2 years and have (mostly) loved the boat. It's heavy (actual weight about 70 pounds, dry and unladen), making it less than pleasant for a long carry, or for loading on and off a tall vehicle. It's not as fast as I thought initially, though certainly one of the faster plastic kayaks. The fact that the hull warped downward a little over time from sitting too long tied down on the car probably hasn't helped. And it felt tippy when I first paddled it. Now I never give it a thought. In fact, it's ultimately quite stable, takes a very hard lean for turns and is quite predictable (no surprises). Other reviewers' comments about legs going to sleep and other problems with the seat must relate to specific body types. I'm of average size and weight, and consider the seat by far the most comfortable I've found in the many kayaks I've paddled. As for weathercocking, it's clearly less than the Looksha IV and other highly rockered boats. I've never yet used the rudder (figured I'd save that for a real emergency, but haven't found the occasion yet). Yet I've been out in violent gusts on mountain lakes, and sizeable wind waves on lakes and open bays.

I'm considering replacing the Eclipse as my primary boat with a Current Designs Extreme, for high speed and lower weight, but I'll certainly keep it for rock gardens, surf and generally all the places a kayak can get seriously banged around. I think it's indestructible.

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04-15-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 3 of 10

     I don't like the number rating system but I gave it a 3 because it's worse than average (5) and better than just-something-that-floats (1). I've spent about 20 hours in this boat between lessons and renting from a place which offered this and the shadow as their only touring models. DESIGN and MATERIALS: poor overall. Cheap flimsy plastic that will oilcan if you even look at it too hard. Employs a metal keelson (a thin-walled pipe) to give the hull some amount of stiffness. Seat bottom is comfy. Seat back is this large plastic deal that flops around and gets in your way when trying to re-enter the boat. Anything that makes it harder to get out of the cold water and back into the safety of your boat is dangerous. Hatch covers are held in place by the tension of a bungee. The bungee doesn't go OVER the hatch, it pulls at it from the side which makes it catch on the rim of the hatch opening- UNLESS (and this happened to me) you're helping someone during a re-entry and they accidentally grab that bungee thus releasing the hatch and causing the retracting cover to peel off the neoprene cover beneath it leaving you with a huge gaping compartment just waiting for the ocean to fill it. can you say dangerous? The cockpit is wide enough for a fat paddler and long enough for a tall one but the amount of volume is too large. All this unusable volume means a really high deck and LOTS of sail area (see weathercocking below). There's enough room in the front and rear compartment for a barbeque and propane tanks, which means way too much volume above the waterline which leaves you at the mercy of the wind.

PERFORMANCE: tracking is fine if there is no wind as this boat has very little rocker. The amount of surface area (due to the ridiculous volume) make it a boat that requires considerable effort to get it up to speed. Because of the hull shape and lack of rocker, the boat is very slow to turn and edging has little effect. Because of the hull's cross-section (round like a log) the boat doesn't even actually "edge" and leaning it gives you a vague uneasy feeling that you're just going to go over. Some chine would've made leaning much more secure. The flattish bottom leaves you with a lot of initial stability but a boat that's rockin and rollin in the slightest chop. Weathercocking is severe in the slightest breeze. MUST be paddled with the rudder deployed in any wind at all. This is the best REC boat out there. But if you're 9 feet tall, weigh 500#, plan to paddle indoors or in calm water and no wind and the rudder deployed ALL THE TIME while carrying with you a mariachi band this is the boat for you. a log with a cockpit.

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01-14-2002
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought my Kevlar Eclipse 11/00 (my prior boat was a Necky plastic Kyook) I fell in love with the design when I rented a fiberglass Sea Lion, the Eclipse's predecessor, for a four day offshore tour in the California Channel Islands. It was the sweetest boat I had ever paddled at the time. After trying out MANY boats, I bought the Eclipse, for the quality, the sea kindliness and performance. It's also a great looking boat. I have used it approximately 70 days, averaging 3-5 hours per day. I have done a number of long trips, up to 125 miles, up to 33 mile days, offshore in the California Channel Islands.

Keep in mind that the kevlar and fiberglass Eclipse is really a different boat than the plastic version, which has different performance characteristics and even different hardware, although there are similarities. The plastic version seems tippier, slower and less luxuriously outfitted. The kevlar version is a lot more expensive, but it is worth every penny. The Shadow is the Eclipse's little sister, basically a scaled down version, little people love them!

I am 55 years old, in fairly good condition, 5'10", 180 lbs (a little overweight), paddled for 6+ years, took advanced lessons, rate myself intermediate++.

Hull and outfitting: - The boat is 17'3", 23" wide, a featherlight, car-toppable 44 lbs. Fit and finish are excellent. Hardware/outfitting are excellent. Hatches are secure and dry, with heavy duty straps. They are fairly watertight. My back compartment leaks through the rudder cable tubes, especially when rolling. I tried a little silicone sealer, but steering became almost impossible. Steering cable is routed haphazardly through the rear compartment, binding in places (Newer models seen have corrected this). Steering gear is very sturdy, although the pedals were undersize and kept falling off and the paint on the industrial strength rudder mounting peeled off after 6 months. The dealer gave me some runaround on this, but a call to Perception produced replacements very quickly. The new design steering system on the later models is MUCH better- great, especially the pedals. There is an optional low drag rudder, which I may get.

The Perception is comfortable. The only problems I have in that regard are a slight tendency for my legs to fall asleep, which I counter by periodically flexing myself up from the seat. I have never really achieved the perfect fit for my thigh braces, although I have sufficient edging control and can roll the boat OK (I did install some hip padding). The Eclipse came with a separate stick-on seat pad, which reduces slippage. The seat back is very comfortable and adjustable. Others have complained that the back adjustment cord slips-just tie a knot and it's fine. The seat back is a little too high and gets in the way for a cowboy or paddle float re-entry. Now I see why the pro's favor back bands. With the high seat and high rear deck, it's a balancing act to get back in the boat, but some practice will do it. There is room for safety gear, jacket, food and water behind the seat in the cockpit. I keep my pump on the starboard side in the cockpit, tucked between the seat and the hull, with a cord to secure it. Storage space is pretty good, although I had gear lashed to the deck when I did a 6 day trip as a leader and also had to carry 8 gallons of water. I was able to carry 3 gallons in the front of the cockpit. The cockpit entry is fairly large, which is nice for claustrophobic people. Wet exit is a cinch.

The deck bungees and hardware are top grade, much better than, say, Necky. There are really neat soft grip carrying handles. Great on shore, but not so great in the surf zone. A couple of out of boat in surf experiences made me understand why toggles are so ingenious. There is a built-in rudder tie down bungee, nice for those 80 MPH trips back home at night.

Let's see-what else? There is a stainless steel anti-theft ring aft to fasten your lockup security cable to. The coaming has a deep recess, great for holding spray skirts on-- you have to work to get a tight one off. There is no compass mounting pad, a surprising oversight for a touring boat. I have my compass secured with bungees. Kayak manufacturers should consider incorporating a GPS mounting pad, too- Maybe a PC also J. There is lettering on the bow, proclaiming it is a Kevlar Eclipse, so they'll know which boat to steal.

Regarding performance: - It is one of the most forgiving boats I have ever paddled. With a little judicious bracing, you can handle most conditions. I have been in 18-20' seas with 4' wind waves, in 30 knot winds. It was hairy, but the boat really performed for me. Edging is good. I wouldn't agree with some of the other reviewers that the boat is a cinch to turn, but if you lean the boat hard, it will carve pretty well. Until I learned to do this, I was unhappy with the lack of maneuverability.

The Eclipse feels slightly tippy at first (more so for the plastic model), but one becomes quickly accustomed to it. I find the boat easy to edge and control. It is very predictable in anything but the trickiest surf. Speaking of surf, it really doesn't track well going down wave faces. I have gotten so I can usually anticipate what it will do and put in control strokes just before they are needed. Fortunately, the boat is very easy to do a controlled broach in.

Tracking sucks without the rudder. Cross/following seas and wind effect are considerable. I just leave the rudder down all the time, and then it's pretty good. My buddies razz me, because it's not macho to rudder, but I can run their asses into the ground on long distances. The extra rudder drag is more than offset by the improved control.

Acceleration is phenomenal and performance is excellent to about four knots, but hydrodynamics rears its ugly head above that speed, requiring exponential increases in effort to exceed that. I have had the boat up to 5.5 knots (GPS) in calm water with no wind or current influence. It required Herculean effort to do so, which I could not sustain for long. I can paddle the boat comfortably at 4 knots all day in mild conditions. As speed increase, the bow rises and tries to plane, affecting performance adversely.

The bow could use a bit more buoyancy, as it tends to plow in to waves a bit. I have pitchpoled a few times in surf, a hair-raising experience. Otherwise, it rides fairly dry, but pounds in rough water, more than boats such as the Necky Arluk (X), Current Designs Extreme and various Eddyline models that buddies have paddled alongside of me.

The Eclipse is a top quality, seaworthy boat, worthy of extended ocean open touring. The major drawbacks are the poor tracking and relatively slow speed, although the Eclipse is a rocket compared to 85% of all kayaks. It just that a few are faster.

I'd rate it at least an 8 out of 10.

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11-07-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Eclipse is an awesome boat to paddle. It's comfort is nice for large people and it handles good in windy conditions. Definetly a great long tripper. Just can't say enough. - crosby from ny state
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10-22-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     Before purchasing this poly model, I tested all the other boats from major manufacturers in its class. These included the Necky Looksha IV, the Dagger Meridian and Magellan, etc. Fiberglass and kevlar were not considered, for reasons of fragility and price. I was able to spend several hours in this model at a safety and rescue course last fall as well. Overall, I'm pleased with the Eclipse. It's much faster and more efficient than my America, exactly what I desired in moving up to this class of boats. I found it initially tippy, but became accustomed to that quickly. For a seventeen-foot long boat, it will carve turns readily, in fact, it's far more maneuverable than my rec boat, which required powerful sweep strokes to steer off its rock solid line. The Eclipse carves as if on rails. The only caveat is with its semi-rounded chine, the transition point between "on edge" and "in the water" is difficult to gauge. Practice those braces, you'll need them when exploring its limits.

One criticism I have is the boat's propensity to weathercock in the slightest cross breeze. The tracking is greatly improved when you drop rudder, but this can be annoying to do when the winds are fairly low, as it definitely slows the boat down. I suppose this is a tradeoff for the maneuverability, but it's tiring, nonetheless. The boat is quite fast and efficient; it accelerates to speed fairly rapidly. In fact, it's often deceiving how quickly you are covering distances. Storage is fine, the hatches are fairly large, and the boat seems to track better when loaded, no great surprise. The seating position is fairly comfortable; I'm 6'1'' and 200lbs. and have no complaints as far as room, etc. I may experiment with replacing the seat back that pops out of its track often, with a back band, to get a more upright position. Aside from that, the thigh braces are quite comfortable, giving excellent control and bracing.

The fit and finish is good. I opted for the red/yellow fade for visibility on the water, although I really admire the handsome blue/gray version. My wife's boat is gray, and I've found you just don't see her on the water, and the blue presents similar problems, to a lesser degree. Aesthetics aside, I'm pleased overall with my purchase. I'll be taking a rolling class this winter, so as to more comfortably explore its carving limits. I feel that as my skills increase, this is a boat I can grow with.

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10-22-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 6 of 10

     The Eclipse, by Perception, is 17í2 touring kayak that offers a lot to the touring kayaker. Probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing designs among sea kayaks, the Eclipse offers an attractive design and outstanding performance on the water. The rotomolded version of the Eclipse is equipped with all the necessities of a high-performance touring kayak including very comfortable rubber molded grab-handles, a perimeter line, very spacious bulkheads for long-term storage and a comfortable neo-gel seat back pad. While there's often some complaint about this seat, I've never had a problem with it. The rigging on the deck has been laid out very well. Probably the best feature of the Eclipse it's combination plastic-neoprene storage compartments. Bungies hold the covers in place, and the additional strappings on the rear compartment are excellent for holding additional gear. The neoprene covering the compartment is spectacular. Perception uses a rubber seal on the outside of the neoprene which keep water completely out. Other kayak manufacturers can learn a thing or two from this design feature. While the foam bulkheads do leak a little, I found reinforcing them with silicone on both sides did the trick.

As far as performance, the Eclipse seems to get excellent ratings. But I did not find the Eclipse to be ideal. I'm 6'1, 250lbs. Initially when I tried out the Eclipse I loved it, it seemed to handle and fit very well. But after I bought it and tested it out for long durations in a variety of conditions, I was not impressed. I'm a pretty good paddler, but still had a difficult time tracking. And even the slightest bit of action on the water made the kayak nearly uncontrollable. I don't even want to mention what it was doing in gusts of wind (can you say merry-go-round). I couldn't even take advantage of the kayak's legendary secondary stability. Forget about leaning or edging, I would have ended up upside down fast. Being a big guy, I could not maneuver properly inside the kayak and was essentially "locked" in the boat. And I don't mean snug, I mean locked (forget about hip flicks or adjusting to wave action). This lead to a lot of tension and eventually my legs would fall asleep or would eventually cramp. The biggest problem with the kayak is the thigh braces. Whoever designed this boat at Perception was a tiny person, because the thigh braces cut in way too much. They were obviously designed with control and rolling in mind, but impede versatility and comfort over exetended periods on the water. Worse, they cannot be adjusted or replaced easily. I got the feeling a whitewater kayaker designed this boat.

In conclusion, while a good-looking kayak that seems like it's made for the "bigger paddler", let the "bigger" buyer beware. I believe this kayak was made for taller folk in the 200-220 lbs range. Any taller, or heavier, and you might not like this kayak too much. If you have big legs you're going to hate the thigh-braces. I don't think it was made to carry a heavy, tall person. I found its performance to be over-rated. If you are a larger person, and can't get the beauty of the Eclipse out of your head, definitely take this kayak out for an extended day trip before you buy and make sure you take it out in a variety of conditions (wind, wave, whatever you might face) to be sure "it's the boat for you." For the record: I ended up trading my Eclipse in for a Prijon Kodiak, which, at least for me, outperforms the Eclipse tenfold. But thatís another review. Overall rating is based on amenities and performance, unfortunately I'm giving this kayak a 6, and I'm being forgiving.

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06-26-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have paddled canoes all my life and learned early the benefits of clean entry and exit, narrow beam and minimal rocker for those of us who paddle big water. However, I needed a good boat for singlehanding and wanted to go to a sea kayak for that purpose.

I rented several different boats, most by Perception, but also a Boreal Inukshuk and an Old Town Heron. The Eclipse seemed to be by far the most efficient and enjoyable to paddle. It accelerated well, handled well in all seas (I took it out of Rockport harbor, about 1/2 mile beyond the lighthouse) and, frankly, was real delight...head and shoulders above all the rest except the Inukshuk. It DID feel tender at first but I adapted quickly and soon felt at home.

I am 6'2", 240 lbs, and entry to the cockpit was tight, due to the thigh braces. But once in, the cockpit was snug and comfortable, with no tendency on my part to cramp or go numb, even though I was out for almost 4 hours. I bought it!!!

After a year of paddling, I do have some criticisms, though. The hull has a tendency to oilcan...a surprise, since the Eclipse has a keelson bar. It DOES pop out with a little heat, though. More importantly, to me, is the seat back which, though very comfortable, has an annoying habit of coming loose while underway...maybe I'm doing something wrong. The rudder controls quckly stiffened up and have been balky ever since. It weathercocks in a crosswind...not that annoying, as it just requires a correctional stroke every once in a while...

But, as I said, It is quick, sensitive, responsive, and a whole lot of fun. It handles rough water well and keeps me and my gear dry and comfortable. No boat is perfect, so if you know the faults and appreciate the fun, buy it!!!

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06-05-2001
Submitted by: no name
Rating: 9 of 10

     Well, it's been a year since I've purchased my Perception Eclipse. After 30 different trips in this boat, and paddling many different boats over the years, I feel qualified to give my review / opinion. For a larger paddler 6'2" 195 lbs, the Eclipse is plenty of boat to handle. I'm a strong paddler that has earned his skills over time, so the Eclipse fits my needs like a glove. Smaller paddlers will have some trouble in windy, weather impacted days. In comparison, the Eclipse's sister model the Shadow, I couldn't even squeeze into the boat.

Yes, this boat does weathercock, but I haven't paddled a boat that doesn't. The large volume deck does catch the wind, but with correct paddling technique and skills, a paddler can counteract the effects of the wind. I do have a rudder and on most trips I don't even use it. If I do, it's on the way home after a long day and I am tired from bracing and fighting the wind and waves.

The boat tracks well and with proper skills turns quickly. As with most 17 ft boats, they are not made to turn quickly. If you are in for the long ride the Eclipse tracks straight and true and is surprisingly fast. I've paddled with a group of Perception Carolina's and they had a hard time keeping up with the sleek Eclipse. The Eclipse is a sharp looking boat with quality craftmanship and nice little extras such as the 360 degree deck rigging and grab handles.

Some kayakers complain about their seats. I personally don't have a problem with the Eclipse's seat and have paddled all day without numbness. I want to play with the knee supports, but haven't found it that much of a problem where it needs to be corrected right away, so my cockpit is pretty much "stock." The storage is excellent on the Eclipse and on some of my trips I haven't even needed to us the front hatch, but I have used it to balance my load. I love the bungie system that holds down the neoprene storage covers. Storage is super dry. I've read that some boats have a hard time car-topping and that their storage covers get torn off. With the rigging on the Eclipse, this is impossible.

Over all I gave this boat a 9, because nothing is perfect and I wanted to save a point if I ever get a chance to paddle the composite version of the Eclipse. I'm sure that model kicks butt. If I ever have the desire to purchase another boat, I would clone the Eclipse, but with a flatter deck.

A little FYI for car-toppers, I manage just fine racking my 17' Eclipse on my 95 Honda Civic. It rides smooth, with no trouble on my Yakima rack and Land Shark saddles.

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05-22-2001
Submitted by: SJESend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I recently purchased a plastic Eclipse, my first kayak. I have paddled a little bit in the past two years but consider myself still a novice. The Eclipse absolutely feels a bit tippy at first, however, this seems to be more attributable to my relative inexperience rather than the boat itself. I've noticed the more I take it out the initial stability becomes less of an issue. I say this for you first time buyers and novice kayakers. Don't be scared off by the initial stability as I feel most of it is attributed to lack of experience. Tracking appears to be relatively good without the rudder. I feel the same as the other gentleman that I would prefer to not use the rudder for it does seem noticeably faster when it is not deployed. However, it moves quite gracefully with the rudder down. All in all a wonderful boat. Can't wait for the first tour. I would definately recomend this boat. A tip to prospective Eclipse owners. Always keep some extra weight in the boat (water jugs?) for it tracks better weighted down a bit.
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05-22-2001
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought the plastic Eclipse. I don't have a lot of experience to draw from and can't say I've tried lots of others. Yes, it's tippy. Yes, it weathercocks but I can't decide if it does this more so than others in the same category. Responds quickly to the rudder. Had it out in 20-30 mph winds and a little rudder did the trick. Seems very fast and for it's size is pretty responsive. I'm about 6' and 195-need to drop 20. The legroom is huge. I've got the footpegs adjusted nearly all the way to the back. Wish they had half-stops for better fit but a little padding will take care of that. Yes, at 17' and 65 lbs it's a handful to load and I haven't found/figured out where to store it 'cept in the garage for now. I carry around a large plastic painters bucket to use as a step stool. Doubles as my storage bucket for many items. I planned a tour with 3 others on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton park at end of June and will have better idea then on how it does.
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03-26-2001
Submitted by: cdSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I bought my plastic Eclipse last year, and also tried sitting in a Shadow. I'm 5'6" and the Shadow fit me nicely, but my legs were going to sleep in a few minutes and I didn't have room to move them around to relieve the pressure. I know now that a kayak should fit snugly, but at the time it would almost panic my body to be so immobilized from the waist down.

So I bought the Eclipse, and went for my first kayak ride *ever* about a week later. I put her in at a lake on the Susquehanna River, and there was lots of current from the recent rains, so the paddling was difficult at first. I noticed that it felt tippy at first, but I love efficiency and this boat feels like it's giving me good movement for each paddle stroke.

I've done everything wrong so far: no lessons, no sprayskirt, no pump, no spare paddle, no partner. Don't follow in my footsteps, I could have easily been finished off if weren't for dumb luck (actually it was probably part of my loser ethos. I didn't want to aggrandise myself by winning a Darwin Award... &^). Since then I've bought a bilge pump and a sprayskirt, and I'm looking for lessons but haven't found them yet.

I also have problems with side winds weathercocking, and have noticed that the rudder slows me down, and have been thinking about grinding a taper into the rudder to see if that helps. I'm thinking about a cross-section that looks like this: ()

I still haven't found a good seating position, even with lots of canoe pads trimmed and glued all over the seat. The tall cockpit and my short legs are not working together yet, but I've got ideas about how to pad the top of the cockpit better.

One thing that helped me was to cut a canoe pad in half and lay the halves down on each side of the pipe for heel rests. Just put a bit of rubber cement on them and let it dry; this will make them sticky enough to stay in place, but still moveable. They help prevent foot cramps from the cold hull, and makes it possible to paddle barefoot without getting heel pain. I also cut a bit of the canoe pad (this is the gray closed-cell foam about 1" thick) and glued it on each footrest for padding. Ahhhh. Make the pads larger than the footrest so you don't bang your toes, and you may need to adjust your footrests once they're on. Love to paddle barefoot!

What I like about the boat is that it's sturdy (plastic is a good idea for a first boat), the fittings and decklines are nicely done, and it feels quick without feeling dangerously tippy. I did go over once while exiting the boat to a high dock, and it will roll very quickly! Watch that you don't raise your center-of-gravity with seat-padding, as you'll make it much more tippy.

What I don't like is the plastic "feel" in the water (just a bit sloppy) and the foot control rails for the rudder are iffy (mine got stuck early on, and Perception mailed me a new set right away, but actually all they need is a bit of sanding so the slider clearances are better). The weight makes it hard for a small guy to load and move around, although I'm getting better as I practice. And I sometimes wish it had end toggles and security loops.

All in all a thumbs-up, especially for a first boat.

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12-13-2000
Submitted by: M. N. SmithSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought a plastic Eclipse in August after trying about every competitor I could imagine, and the composite version of the same (the composite was my favorite kayak to date, but the tab was a little more than I could handle this year). I have had my new eclips out on Monterey bay, some large and choppy lakes, and various quiet waters. I loved it from the start for its sleek design, non-plastic colors (this is the ocean blue & granite job), and lots of finishing touches that its competitors simply didn't have, like really sturdy carrying handles, a large and nicely padded seat and solid keel bar. The tradeoff for all this, of course, is considerable weight and consequent loading/unloading problems if one is going solo. Once in the water, however, this is one smooth and sleek boat. It felt tippy at first, and I only recently began to test its limits of final stability. I was most pleasantly surprised. You can really muscle this boat into and out of tight turns and brace well in heavy chop. The relatively high cockpit sheds water nicely. I'm still not quite sure how it stacks up for speed. Of the other plastic boats I tried, I believe only the Looksha IV was as fast. However, the composite Eclipse is probably a faster boat. In periodic sprints, it really moves. I truly believe that this is the best all-around combination among plastic kayaks.
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10-17-2000
Submitted by: CEGSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I paddled a 2000 model plastic Eclipse today for two hours covering around 8 to 10 miles. I started in a bay environment before moving to the Gulf of Mexico and back into the bay with a 5-knot breeze coming from the northeast. The eclipse felt very stable, it was not too tippy. However, overall Ii did not like the boat. it tracked poorly even in the calm conditions I experienced today. with the rudder deployed it tracked fine. But I'm no lover of rudders and the boat felt very sluggish when the rudder was down. It also had a strong tendancy to turn broadside to the wind. I often had to lean and paddle three strokes to one side one stroke to the other just to keep it on a straight line without using the rudder. Also, the foot peddles felt unstable even when the rudder was up. The construction seems good enough and the deck fittings seemed secure. the seat was ok but the cockpit seemed quite confining especially for the specs. The rear hatch was huge and the straps across the hatch cover were handy. it seemed to weigh right around the 65 pound neighborhood. lots of things about the boat I liked but the performance was lacking. It was fairly fast but I'd prefer a Dagger Magellon.
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10-07-2000
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I am on my second season with my plastic eclipse and have used it in all kinds of water. I love it. Prior to buying it, I tried other models, but none this size felt as comfortable or as stable. Would I buy a different boat? Yes, I would love a composite Eclipse. Then I would have one to race in, and the other to pull up on rocky beaches!
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10-03-2000
Submitted by: DaveSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I started out this summer by buying a Necky Zoar Sport. I wanted something a cut above a recreational kayak. The boat was very roomy for my 6'4" frame and both primary and secondary stability were great. However.....I was paddling quite a bit and quickly outgrew it. That means, I wanted to go faster. I traded it in and bought a plastic Perception Eclipse. I wanted faster and I got faster. The trade off is that it is a bit tippy, by comparison. It has not thrown me yet and I have been in some pretty rough water on Lake Tahoe. It cuts through the waves and chop very nicely. If I just stay loose in the hips, the swells and wave smashes from the side just pass on by. I am always ready with a quick brace when in that kind of water. It weathercocks like crazy when the wind and waves are up. I drop the rudder in those conditions and it tracks wonderfully well.

Edge turns amaze me! I am impressed that a 17'2" boat will turn that quickly. Next time out will be in calm water and I need to find that point where the secondary stability holds and where it dumps me. Yes, I plan to get wet. The finishing touches are very much nicer than on the Necky Zoar Sport. (The Eclipse also costs more and you do get your moneys worth.)

There are trade offs, but I wanted speed, nice finishing touches, great looks, and I got all that. I will continue to grow into this boat and look forward to many hours of paddling in various conditions to really know all it will do.

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09-11-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     Well, I took the Perception Eclipse out Saturday and tried it prior to purchase. I'm very short torsoed with a small ass and very long, semi-skinny legs and the Eclipse had a lot of room for me. Lots of leg room. Lots of room between the thigh braces and my thighs, almost too much, but not quite. The seat and seatback are FABULOUSLY COMFORTABLE!!! I have to say, it looks like they are designed for folks with well developed butts. Like being in an easy chair. I'm gonna have to get some pads and glue them in. I paddled the boat for a good four hours in some significant chop, wind, and boat wakes coming at all angles, and it really handled it all very well. No sore back, butt, or legs. No dead legs or tingles. Perfect. The craft really maneuvers well, which is good considering the boat's length and some of the coves I have to get in and out of where I paddle. It was a surprisingly dry ride; it takes a fairly good wave to make it all the way to the cockpit. A side wave like a boat wake gets you wet much easier than a straight on bow wave.

I found the boat to be very stable in chop, waves, and boat wakes from any angle, letting the water just roll under and around you without pitching around or trying to dump you. Initial stability isn't anything to write home to Mama about, but who cares? It really slices into waves nicely. It was easy to set and keep almost any course relative to prevailing wind and waves with a little help from the rudder, which was easy to deploy and retract. The boat carves well. I expected it to be a little faster than it was, but it was, after all, a plastic boat. I could smoke my buddy in his Looksha IV Kevlar, but he has the extra volume version and can't paddle for shit, either.

I can cartop it easily solo. It has a lot of little nice features, like a rudder bungee, really great carry handles, a groove behind the cockpit for paddle outrigger self rescues, a nifty cleat/security bar, and well placed deck rigging. The rescue lines around the perimeter are pretty close and tight to the deck, I might have a tough time come winter when I have neoprene gloves on getting my hand under the line to control the boat if (when) I do a wet exit. I liked the hatch arrangement, but I'll have to see if they leak when I dump it in the surf. I was too lazy and it was too nice a day to roll the thing and see if it leaks. It didn't leak from waves coming over the deck, but it didn't happen all that often Saturday.

I paddled a Dagger Atlantis the same day, but not for long. The cockpit was uncomfortable, the seat unacceptable. So I bought the Eclipse. Thanks for your input. I took it out again yesterday, and it paddled like a dream.

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08-12-2000
Submitted by: Jay HSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Today was the first day I paddled my new Eclipse. I previously owned a Sea Lion. Conditions were a slight breeze and Escambia Bay was alittle choppy. My boat tracked well, it cut through the chop no problem. It took a few minutes to get the feel for the boat it is somewhat more tippy than the Sea Lion but everything just seems to be in place to make this one fantastic boat. Well Done Perception Another Nice One. Definitely a 10+.
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06-22-2000
Submitted by: RM
Rating: 9 of 10

     I rented this boat in plastic and have test paddled it in kevlar. Very impressive. I am 6' 200. The secondary stability is very strong, although it manifests itself gradually rather than all at once. I was amazed at how it dug in and carved turns, given that it does not have a hard chine. I did not use the rudder and cannot comment on that. I thought it was an exceptional boat in both plastic and composite. Its high volume but is so manuverable that I did not see that is a problem (I day trip only).
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06-06-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     I recently bought an Eclipse and couldn't be happier! I have rented boats from other manufacturers and recently took the opportunity to demo four other Perception touring boats. The Eclipse beats them all hands down. Once I decided to buy a touring boat I had pretty much zeroed in on the Captiva for its cockpit size (I am 5'10" 225 lbs) and storage capacity (I am an unashamed luxury camper). However, when I went to demo the boats I sat in the Eclipse and was surprised at how comfortably I fit in the cockpit. I knew immediately that if I took this boat on the water that I would not be buying a Captiva. Sure enough, the Eclipse makes the Captiva feel like a barge. The Eclipse is very fast and amazingly manuverable for a 17' boat. The amenities like the hatches, seat, and colors also convinced me that the extra $300 was money very well spent. The only first impression that wasn't glowing was the stability. For about the first two minutes the Eclipse was noticably more tippy than the Captiva. However, I quickly got used to that and have never really noticed it since. The bottom line is that the Eclipse is the best boat I have ever paddled. Thanks Perception!
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05-27-2000
Submitted by: ChrisSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Eclipse is simply the best boat I have ever paddled. I realize that some people may be hung up by it's lack of stability, but for someone who races like I do, the trade-off of stability for speed is well worth it. The boat respond very well to a lean because of its narrow hull. My only complaint is that when I do a hard turn using the rudder, my feet get stuck in the bow if I wear shoes. It fits my feet better than most other boats, though, and I can turn my feet as I push on the rudder pedals to prevent a jam. The molded seat with padding is excellent, and I am pleased with the cockpit's compatibility with Perception's RGS system. The hatches stay nice and dry, but the outer stern cover is a bit awkward to put on. The rudder system seems fairly sturdy compared to others that I've seen. In my experience, this is the best rotomolded touring kayak available.
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07-26-1999
Submitted by: David A. DrupaSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Eclipse is Perception's updated Sea Lion. I recently bought the Eclipse and rented a Sea Lion for my wife. I found the dimensions to be roughly the same, however, the Eclipse's bow volume has been increased. Other updates to the model include perimeter safety lines, new hatch covers (still neoprene innards), and new rigging cleats. Also, the carry handles have been greatly improved. The storage capacity of the Eclipse is more than adequate for trips lasting several days. The cockpit is comfortable and fits my 6 foot 190 pound frame well. Initial stability is very good. Secondary stability is good but lacks a feeling of limit. You don't get a 'shelf' feeling like you do on the Sea Lion. The Eclipse will lean WAY out there and smoothly transition into a capsize. The Sea Lion gave you a definite sense of where it's limit was. The Eclipse is like playing the trombone, you memorize the positions to get the notes you want. All in all, I am extremely pleased with my Eclipse. It's fast, stable, and hauls a large load. What's not to like.
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