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Name: Connecticut Yankee

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I've been paddling my Marlin for 6 years now, and it's one of my boats that will never be sold. The Marlin at 18' X 21 1/2" and ~40 lbs is a performance sea kayak. I'm 65 years old 6'3" 215lbs and size 13 feet and it fits me perfectly, roomy for the bigger paddlers, the Nemo is a very similar boat intended for the smaller person.

The boat is definitely Fast, I paddled the Adirondack Canoe Classic a 90 mile race in 16 hours, and being a performance kayak tender by rec boat or wide touring standards, but as a performance boat has very good stability, especially the secondary stability. The rudder is effective and if you lean to the outside of the turn along with kicking the rudder over the Marlin turns very well. The volume in the bow allows the Marlin to handle big water very well. The seat: I've got a 5/8" ensolite pad glued on it is the most comfortable kayak seat I've ever used, the high back of the bucket seat gives just the right amount of back support, I once paddled the Marlin for 9 hours straight 50 miles, and was still comfortable as could be expected at the end of the day. The Marlin has a very efficient rudder, but the attachment of the rudder to the pivot pin is weak and I did have to repair it , 2 years later, it is fine.

A slight leak in the rear bulkhead that a bit of silicone caulk fixed are my only complaints, the hull construction is great, those deficiencies are why the rating is not a 10. Performance gets a rating of 10, comfort a 10, and it just looks good.

The Minnesota 11 was designed as a tripping canoe for lake country and for that purpose it is the perfect boat. Very fast, plenty of load capacity, in the light weight kevlar layup at 42 pounds is very light for one person to portage. We've paddled ours in some mighty big waves on Adirondack lakes and stayed dry, and at 35" wide, plenty stable. Not a lot of foot room for the bow paddler, but by adjusting your packs forward a bit you can slide the bow seat all the way back for more room up front. Comfortable seats.

Functionally the Aluminum trim is light and strong but wood trim, though heavier would be aesthetically pleasing. Tracks well, and if you have good paddling skills, with a bit of lean can turn well enough on windy rivers. Though not a whitewater boat we have paddled a few mild class 11 river sections with our Min 11.

Overall, a near perfect boat for it's intended purpose. Why a 9 and not a 10, there is no perfect boat, always new boats coming home with me, but the Minnesota 11 has a a permanent home.