I can't add much to the praise that was bestowed upon the Sea Wind by the other reviewers. Most have more experience and in more boats than I. However, I can review the Sea Wind from the angle that I actually own it and two of its predecessors, the Mad River Monarch and the Sawyer Loon. See my reviews of those two boats to put this review in better perspective. In my other reviews, I complained about the strength and layup of the cockpit rim (Loon) and the deck (Loon and Monarch). Also I complained about the rudder (Loon and Monarch). No such complaints on the Sea Wind. The boat came from McWood, factory condition, perfect in its form and function. The only think I did to it was to add a back band (more of a butt band really...it simply keeps my pelvis tilted forward and greatly increases my long-term comfort), and padding the seat. Regarding the design, it is certainly more full in the bow and stern than the Loon. The Loon will dive into a wave while the Sea Wind rides up and over, and the Loon lacks the weight capacity of the Sea Wind. The stern of the Loon is much more trim, and it can't carry near as much. But comparing a Sea Wind to the Monarch hull, I don't really notice much difference. They are essentially the same design. Well, the Sea Wind's bow IS swept back a little more. And perhaps the bow is a little more full or has more flare, to give a slightly drier ride. But for the most part, I think the Monarch and Sea Wind are pretty close. I had a catamaran sleeve installed in my Monarch so I could hook it up to my Sea Wind. My daughter and I will be doing our second BWCA trip, catted up most of the time. Makes for great paddling together, and great fishing too!
So I own all three. The Loon is the lightest and trimmest, and I prefer it for day trips, packing light, and ultra marathon racing on protected waters. I'm taking the Sea Wind on the Everglades Challenge in March, no questions asked. I only own the Monarch so I can cat it up with the Sea Wind. The Monarch and the Sea Wind fill the exact same niche, with the exception that the Sea Wind is gonna be tougher in the worst conditions.
I should mention that there are two OTHER decked expedition canoes that deserve mention in the context of this review. One is the Superior Expedition. This boat, to me, is the bigger brother of the Sea Wind. If you want a fuller, drier, and larger boat, built to the utmost quality and durability, you should consider an Expedition. An Expedition is better compared to the "Deep Dish" Sea Wind than to the regular hull, that I own.
The other boat is the Clipper Sea 1. I have never paddled one or seen one in person. c2g reviewed it as well, and I watched the six Youtube clips. While I'm enthralled with all things expedition canoe, I doubt I'll ever try to buy a Sea 1. Strange cockpit shape, no rim on the cockpit makes spray skirt use mandatory much more often. Don't like the bulkhead or the way the seat height is adjustable only with tools, and doesn't have a built in portage yoke. Don't like the feathercraft rudder design on such a large boat either...
Back to the Sea Wind...10/10. IF I had to find a single fault or improvement that could be made, I would like to see a rudder design that allows the the paddler to PULL DOWN the rudder instead of relying solely on gravity. Sometimes sand and grit can be an issue.
Mark P. is building them just like Verlen did. One made today is just like mine, made 17 years ago. I can wrap this up by telling you that if my Sea Wind got stolen tomorrow, I'd be finding me a replacement Sea Wind, tomorrow night!By far the best traveling boat I have ever paddled. You can paddle these for 16 hr days, and not get uncomfortable. Portages of a mile or more are not bad despite their weight. The portage yoke is the best I have ever seem or used. They are stable, and cruise easily. The standard Sea Wind can take a 5 gallon pail beneath the rear deck. It is the ultimate tripping boat. If you have been considering one, buy one.
Mark does a great job on these, the work is excellent, and he is justifiably proud of them. I wouldn't trade mine for any other boat.So far this Kruger Seawind has been paddled, sailed, or dragged over sand, oysters, conks, coral, flat rocks, jagged rocks, LIMESTONE (this cuts worse than oysters), numerable logs and tree limbs and have been hung up in rivers but got out ok so far. have not gone turtle YET.
At just over 17 ft. this is not the most agile skinny river boat, but this boat will still work ok due to being able to use either a single or double blade.
My Seawind has been slept in (yes you can remove the seat and have room for a very large Fla. cracker boy. I have done this several times with a therma-rest). Boat has been dragged every where, put in 5 ft. seas, and sailed in stuff that scares me. Have not turned over YET.
Most of my trips have a camping total weight of around 460 LBS. myself, boat, and gear with water,and I have carried over 9 gallons of water on some trips. Most of my trips are in salt water. Completed the watertribe E.C. and the M.R.340 - ALMOST AT 1800 MILES THIS YEAR.
There are faster boats out there for the short distance but with a seawind you will run them down in time. Also with COMFORT!I picked up my Sea Wind in mid Dec. 2007 and just returned from a trip to the Fla Keys where I did about a 100 miles of paddling with a friend who was in his Nigel Dennis Explorer. We did a cross section of paddling some in the keys back country in open water and some in the numerous mangrove trails.
I have a quartet of 4 single boats - a Wenonah Prism, a Nigel Foster Legend, a Baidarka Explorer, and a Night Heron. If I could only have one boat it would be the Kruger Sea Wind. I believe that I could paddle this boat farther, with less effort over a longer set distance then any of my other boats. It has superb initial and secondary stability and is very comfortable to paddle. In rough seas it is much easier to keep on a compass course than any of my other boats. On our last day of the Keys trip the winds were gusting from 30 to 35 mph, tough paddling but the Kruger handled it with aplomb. It's a very confidence inspiring boat to paddle.
Also Mark Przedwojewski of Kruger Canoes is a craftsman and a straight shooter who takes pride in his work.I purchased a near new Sea Wind earlier this summer. Since I work part-time I didn't think I would have the money necessary to purchase one without selling my two kayaks, a Nigel Dennis Explorer, and a Valley Pintail. So, I sold them and even then, I was a little short. The Kruger Sea Wind is an expensive canoe. But, I made the switch from kayak to canoe so my dog could go with me on great lakes trips. I like to paddle on Superior and Huron especially. I also have a Bell Magic that I use for smaller lakes if I have to portage. Due to some health problems this summer, my dog's health not mine, I only got out on Superior once. We paddled in Lake Suprior Provincial Park, Canada. I paddled through some confused seas that would have kept me off the water in my Bell Magic. I was actually more comfortable in the heavy chop in the Sea Wind than I would have been in the Explorer. I was much dryer too. Waves coming over the deck parted nicely at the raised cockpit coaming and followed the deck and hull down-back to the water and did not splash me or enter the cockpit.
Once it is up on my shoulders, the Sea Wind feels no different from carrying my blackgold Bell Magic which is considerably lighter. The Sea Wind's yoke is outstanding and makes the canoe feel much lighter than it actually is.
Is it worth the money and sacrifice of my two kayaks? Yes. I searched for a different and less expensive solution to paddling on the great lakes with my dog and I couldn't find one. I think my paddling speed is fairly similar with my Sea Wind as it was in the kayak. I use a Zaveral paddle and you can really get a high paddle cadence using a Zav. For most people, a Sea Wind won't replace their kayak on open water trips but for me it is working out well. And, I especially enjoy the luxury items I can now carry-like my comfy camp chair.Since 1991 I've been paddling the Sea Winds in the U.S. and Canada. Verlen understood the need to make a canoe that was tough and I can say it is tough. For expedition paddling there is none that can take the every day use in all kinds of conditions that this canoe can and at the end of the day you never have to worry about it. I have seen these canoes dropped, dragged, fall of cars and canoe trailer, folded in half and still sea worthy. Yes they fold in half and spring back into shape with only stress cracks in the kevlar. You can sail them, catamaran them, portage them with ease, paddle them with good speed hour after hour. Their is no other canoe that can do it the way Verlens canoes does for the long haul that I am aware of and if you know of one I would like to try it out.
The Kruger Cruiser is the two person version and is the most stable canoe I've ever been in and it is fast. It will hold all the gear that two people would ever wanna take with room left over with comfort. I have been paddling canoes for 40 years now and since 1991 with Verlen canoes it changed my way of thinking "with his help" about paddling and canoe trips. These canoes are as good as they get if you really like feeling secure, 'IT DON'T GET ANY BETTER THEN THIS.'