-- Last Updated: Jun-11-13 11:50 PM EST --
I can't speak to your other two candidates, but the Tracer is a good boat. At 16-1/2 feet long X ~22-3/8 inches wide, it's a far sleeker and faster boat than any rec designs I can think of, and equal to or better than quite a few other tourers.
These days the Tracer is skegged out of the factory, and may or may not be ruddered; when we got Sally's, it had neither and was a "turny" boat, with even experienced paddlers working to keep it headed. It became a good tourer, tracking well with some skeg, and quite maneuverable with the skeg up, after we had one retrofitted. Sally finds the boat quite stable (as do I) -and this was her first SINK after paddling a Scupper Classic SOT (14'1" X 26") for several years before switching to a SINK touring design.
The Hurricane boats are made of Trylon, their proprietary brand of vacu-formed thermoplastic, and it hold up well. It looks like glass when cleaned up, and is tough stuff -we've accidentally dropped ours a couple-three times, twice on asphalt (ouch!) and it's none the worse for wear other than a slight abrasion at the contact point. A friend of ours saw one of the other Hurricane boats, a Tampico I think it was, take a header off a car roof rack similarly onto a parking lot. It bounced and then came to rest, with no damage other than a scuff where it "touched" down.
We've had Sally's Tracer about 8 or so years -and we got it used at two years old, and at ten, it still looks great and paddles well. We keep it outdoors under the palms down here, albeit hull up, and the color is still as good as when we got it. The Kajaksport hatches, with a little 303 used 3-4 times a year, have held up well and remain nicely waterproof.
The down side for some is a largish cockpit -exactly what Sally was looking for to escape a feeling of claustrophobia she got in other, smaller, 'locked-in' cockpits. Sit in one and see it it works for you.
All in all, it's been a great boat for Sally, and looks handsome in the water, too.
You could do a lot worse than a Tracer as one of your next boats to
-Frank in Miami
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URCHIN Portable Anchor
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