The Kestrel 12' kayaks stand head and shoulders over any currently available "rec" boat. You are advised. Widest smile from my 54 yr old sweetheart since the day we got hitched. Just to qualify this gushing endorsement, we have owned boats from 8 mfg.'s and ran a kayak / canoe sales& rental for several years. We've run rivers and lakes all over the NE. Get this boat! Give it some time if you're a beginner. You won't be sorry.
Van dusen boats have won many gold medals. They are the best in the world but it helps to have size 10 feet or smaller for portage. ICF boats are made to be paddled barefoot. Not much room for the feet. My big disappointment is that getting back in might take a paddlefloat. Wide plastic sit on tops are easy to remount. This boat is not easy even in flatwater. You learn to go fast by Smile relax and wiggle your hips. J lean the boat to the left and right. learn how you can really lean it over and recover. Its weakness is that it is like a bike, it needs to move to be stable. Stopped, I like to let my legs hang out just like pontoons. You can make a hairpin turn by dragging one foot. Huki makes rear pontoons that might work. It really is about time in the boat. Near shore on a small river I like getting nailed by big wakes.
The Mohican is much more stable than you first think. Smile relax and wiggle those hips. Rocket fast. I wish I could attach an outrigger as a convertible OC1 or kayak. I wish Mr van Dusen made a more stable version to compete with the epic sport or marathon master. I love tiller steering and will never buy anything but tiller steering. Even my Seda Glider has tiller steering
OTOH, my boat is for sale. Why? I haven't capsized in a while, but when the water gets cold, I still feel too shaky for comfort. If I paddled on clean, warm water, this boat would be ideal. In mid-summer, I went to a local lake with the intent of capsizing. I put down my paddle and leaned, but stayed upright. Perhaps I would be fine after another season or two, but when the water gets dangerously cold, I feel I should be wearing a dry suit. Maybe we all should...
If you are coming from a fast surfski or an ICF kayak, the stability would be no problem. However If coming from a sea kayak or even fast kayak to the Mohican you will have to spend some time in it to get comfortable (3-4 weeks). At first I was fighting the boat. It wanted to stay upright -- I wanted to dive off of it. It took a few weeks before I could say it was a stable boat. If you tip it on the side it wants to roll up, not over, like most ICF and adventure kayaks. I can sit and talk but still have trouble turning around and getting anything off the back deck when under way.
Don’t think I have to say anything about the craftsmanship it’s a Van Dusen. It has no Verturi drains like most surfskis. That was a major selling point for me. The Mohican has a canoe bailer like in a C-1. Now unless I want to open the bailer the bottom of the hull is flat. No more worries about breaking off a verturi when I run over a log or small dam. In big lakes or in deep water I just leave it open. It drains water out and makes a gurgling sound waiting for more water to be splashed up and drained away. To get water out just like the Verturi you have to be moving.
The bottom has already taken a lot of abuse. I run rivers where rocks are a common occurrence, too common. While running over rocks and small step dams I have never broken it open. I have put some deep scratches in the gel coat. The bottom of the Mohican is tough. If it would have been a surfski I know I would have gone right the hull. SurfSkis are made to race in the deeper water. The Mohican can handle both.
The only problem is that it is too fast. The friends who I paddle with are left in my wake. In a thirty minute run I might be 5 or more minutes ahead of them. I had to put bungee around the boat to slow it down to get some training time in.
The dimensions are: LOA - 21' 2.5" LWL - 21' B - 17.5" B @ 4" WL - 16.1"