I have 3 kayaks. The Glider is for weather forecasts of "light to moderate chop". It's kind of susceptible to wind & currents. Though it would perform better if fully laden with camping gear.
My 17' Seaward Tyee is 24" wide and is a more stable touring boat, but averages 1/2 MPH slower than the Glider.
My 17'Necky Chatham is for weather forecasts that include "small craft advisory" and is about a full MPH slower than the Glider.
If I could only keep one it would be the Glider. I call it my telephoto kayak because it brings distant objects into focus. I can spot a speck on the horizon and an hour later I'm there. And it'll hold a lot of gear.
Any issues I have with my '95 have been addressed with the current model. The sliding rudder controls. (I prefer the "gas pedal" controls) Mine has no forward bulkhead plus the new model has recessed hatches & deck fittings. That's got to help with the wind issues. Plus there's the deck recesses to keep your hands from hitting the deck when paddling.
I've demo'd an Epic 18X and it'd be fun to speed across "calm inland waters" but with that low bow it's got to be more susceptible to "pearl diving" into waves. Besides, if I bust an Epic, I can't fix it like I can a fiberglass Seda.
So for me, a flatwater-touring kayaker the Seda Glider IS the best boat. It's fast, handles moderate weather, and holds a lot of gear. It tracks like an arrow. With an Epic winged paddle to maximize my forward stroke, I can close my eyes and stay on course. Arriving at a beach I feel like I'm berthing the Queen Mary, but I'd choose tracking over turning any day.
Seda's workmanship is good. There is ample storage for expedition or multi-day touring and the day hatch is a tremendous convenience. I don't need a new kayak. however, were I to buy one, it would be a Glider.
It's straight tracking kayak and the down side is that it's more difficult to turn. I'm aware of the trade off. My Norkapp HMC was like that and I'm used to it.
The kevlar model I got is about 45#. And that's not too heavy and not lite either. I will never buy another 30# kayak from a bad experience I had. It flies on top of the water after a capsize with a super strong wind gust. A paddle leash attached to the kayak was my only salvation. Advanced paddlers might not have this problem.
When it comes to speed, I was able to paddle the Glider at 6 mph for 30 min. straight. That might not be that fast but I can't even do over 5mph on my Epic V-10 sports surfski (afraid to capsize?).
I feel confident when I paddle my Seda Glider just like my Nordkapp HMC. Is it perfect? No such think. BTW, I did not have any issues with quality... Excellent kayak!!!
Its almost a bit too small ( leg room ) for me 6' 6" 230 lb ,still very comfortable after hours in the seat. Its a lot to carry for one guy in the standard glass. I recommend the wheels and spray skirt as a standard for this boat. You can live without a rudder on most inshore water ways.
Its way faster than you can imagine. Lots of storage , at a good price.
I would be hard pressed to sell this boat so I recommend it highly. If I bought a race specific boat I would still keep the glider. This is an all around fast cruising day boat that can do expeditions fully loaded and you are always in front of the pack.
Deck rigging has been improved. They installed a reflective perimeter line, and a braided shock cord which has more stretch. The bulkheads are curved and the rear bulkhead curves up to the cockpit coaming making emptying the boat a breeze. The inside of my boat is smooth from release cloth, but small air bubbles in the bow show it wasn’t vacuume bagged. Core mat, or similar stiffener is used in the hull and in the paddle float rigging of the deck. It is light, weighing under 40 lbs, with the rudder. The finish is very nice, the seam is smooth, I would say the construction is excellent. The only problem is the deck rigging bolts, which extend past the nuts and into the hull. They will rip drybags like a knife. It’s not too hard to grind off those sharp edges.
Stability is marginal, and secondary stability is not much better. We had the boat in strong winds, and it did not weathercock. We could paddle at any angle to the wind without problem. It is long enough to get squirmy if you are on the crest of 2 waves, and it does not want to turn very quickly (but I have other boats for that), but for speed and comfort it is a blast. I routinely used my old Glider in class II whitewater, and I suspect the new boat will end up there as well. My old Glider was built like a brick house, and could take a serious beating. The new one being Graphite is more fragile, but it seems very solid.
As for the guy who preferred the Mariner II, that’s like comparing a SUV to a race car. I also paddle a Northwest Pursuit, and choose that boat in rough conditions. But when I want to go fast and have fun, the Glider wins hands down.