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In the past few months I have come to truly love this boat: it tracks well, and turns well without a rudder. It behaves itself in the chop and has great secondary stability. The fit and finish, lines, materials and construction are of excellent quality. The boat is unsinkable, even when flooded, and requires no floatation bags, not because of the bulkheads, but because of the poly-3 design. Storage space is voluminous. The cockpit fits like a glove (almost too tight in some parts: see below) giving a strong sense of feel and responsiveness. This is an outstanding boat, and I love it!
Minor problems: The poly-3 is a bit soft, heavy, and is easily scratched and gouged. It has taken a beating and looks great still, but close inspection shows it: deeper cuts and gouges than I see on other poly boats, all susceptible to this type of damage. Secondly, the seat arrangement is designed for someone smaller than I: 5'11" 210 lbs, 38 inch waist. As a result the thigh pads hit me too high and pointed into my thigh, and the seat is a bit high in the boat, hitting me below the top of my leg just enough that after about 30' my left leg goes numb. The width is fine however and required no hip pads. I've modified the thigh pads by moving them forward, and the seat recently by canting it forwards (it already has a minicell foam pad, and there is not a lot of room to cant it forward). I haven't paddled since this last change, but will see how this helps soon. If it doesn't work I plan to drill dozens of holes in the leading edge of the seat to Swiss Cheese it, reducing it's stability and allowing for more comfortable compression and softness. If that doesn't work I will take it out and build a seat out of mini-cell foam and a backband.
I've written OTC about this hoping they could help me find an after market replacement seat, but they have not been of any help, not responding to my e-mail, yet... The only other issue is that the boats markings, not well-designed stickers, were brittle, broken and falling off, so I had to remove them. They just don't stand up to any use at all... I've asked OTC about purchasing replacement stickers, but again, haven't heard from them yet.
All in all, this is a fine boat with minor, fixable problems, that I wouldn't trade for anything else made of plastic! I paddled a friends' Perception Vizcaya, and he paddled my boat. I loved the incredible roomy comfort of Vizcaya cockpit, but loved the intimate feel and control of being in my OTC, and its unique beauty: I see it out my window on top of my car and all I want to do is paddle! I think its like a sportscar: spartan, but because of that a top performer. He's a bit larger than I am and felt the OTCs cockpit was too small for him (17x34).
Excellent beginner to advanced boat! My next boat will be a fiberglass 170: I am sure that OTC will make them someday! -- Ken in Laconia, NH
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