As a former Merlin II owner Posted by: kayamedic on Feb-12-13 8:27 PM (EST)
(I broke it in a falls), its a fine big water boat if not overly loaded. It is kind of trim sensitive and like the Osprey wants to swap ends in a tail wind, so in that situation you really have to have the heavy stuff aft.
( that behavior is typical of Swede form boats). I would paddle all of the mentioned lakes in it, though I have only done Chamberlain and Chesuncook, with a bit of discretion. The shouldered tumblehome deflects waves down. However the Osprey has more flare in the bow and no doubt does better at wave shedding in big oncoming rollers.
Perhaps as my luck is your luck may be similar in facing headwinds on the big lakes.
One of my most fun paddles was in my DragonFly on Chesuncook..what a great wave shedder in headwinds that boat was. One of my least favorite paddles was in the same boat on the same boat on Lobster Lake..same equal weight distribution. With equal stern and bow rocker the DF constantly wanted to swop ends.
There is a lot you can do as the thinking paddler to make a boat adapt to your needs. Think weight distribution. Also think that you might need to kneel..so far we don't know if you are a kneeling or a sitting paddler. With a gear load for hundreds of miles you can raise the seat so you can be both.
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