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.
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.