Shearwater, Morningstar, small tandem
Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Oct-02-12 1:16 PM (EST)
I found the Peregrine slightly less twitchy and slightly less turnable than the Merlin 2, but they are both so close in hull design dimensions that I don't think the Peregrine would give you much of a change in feel.
You are a big guy. Of the Swift solo models, I think the Shearwater would best meet your needs for load capacity and seated stability. The new Keewaydin 15 has less load capacity than the Shearwater and a narrower water line.
To get seated stability in a relatively efficient solo you really need a waterline width of at least 28", and even than can feel twitchy to some paddlers at some weights when sitting, up to about 33", which should feel stable seated to just about most paddlers. The 28" width again suggests the Shearwater to me. Swift currently has nice factory sales going on.
The Swift Raven and NC Super Nova are larger capacity solos, but they have more the rep of being river canoes that are more designed for turning than tracking.
Your other alternatives are small tandems, which are often soloed by larger paddlers and have been much discussed here. Some candidates would be the Bell Morningstar, Hemlock Eaglet and MR 15' Reflection (but that may only be in Royalex).
The Bell Rockstar has reasonable specs for what you seem to want, but I have no experience with it and have never even seen one.