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This is an add to my earlier review (3-28-11). I've had my 'bou…
I've had my 'bou out in wind and whitecaps a few times now, and wanted to share the following:
My first time out in big wind I had my skeg down and was wondering why I kept veering off in spite of paddling really hard on the lee side
Turns out it's a lot easier to paddle upwind in strong wind if the skeg is up. By the same token, going downwind is easier with the skeg down. You can go straight into the wind just fine with the skeg down, but once you start trying to go at an angle to the wind you'd better raise that skeg!
Additional information: My 'bou is fiberglass, and I bought it in 2000, when the factory was still in British Columbia. Mine seems very well-built but I can't address whether new ones are as well-built.
The downside is the hard wheels transmit every bump straight into my arm as I'm carrying the other end. This is especially fun on those concrete boat ramps that're made of concrete planks with gaps between the planks. It does plow in soft sand somewhat, but not as badly as I expected. Unless you have to go a long way in the sand or you have an especially heavy kayak, it should be good enough.
And the price was right, certainly by comparison to other products in this category.
I'm 5'4" with short arms, and this boat's narrowness is a boon to me - no leaning my whole body sideways for each paddle stroke just to keep my paddle shaft from hitting the gunwale.
All the nice stuff others have said here goes for me, too. It's fast (I think so, anyway), it tracks nicely (skeg gives a small improvement but without the skeg it's fine too), and it turns quite well enough, though not on a dime.
I feel more secure bracing against fixed foot pedals, so I actually like that there's no rudder.