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Name: gnatcatcher

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It was with a leap of faith that I ordered my SpitFire this past December, never having demoed one as well as being in the process of recovering from a stroke. But...having owned and/or paddled a Hemlock Nessmuk, Vermont Tupper, and a Wenonah Wee Lassie, I knew what I DIDN'T want in a pack canoe.

At 21 pounds, the Spitfire is light enough for me to put on my car myself, just by grabbing the gunwales and lifting it over my head. Being a fairly short individual, I need a craft with adequate tumblehome to facilitate a more vertical paddle stroke. I also wanted a sturdy boat with a tough gel coat bottom, a nice thing to have here in Rocksylvania. Or is it Pennsrocks?

I was looking for a responsive canoe, one that is easily turned, yet also has decent tracking.
The Nessmuk was too small and I found it to be uncomfortable. While the Wee Lassie tracked well, it was too heavy at 29 pounds and awkward for me to handle off the water. The Tupper, too wide and heavy. So it came down to the Spitfire, and I have absolutely no regrets. It is comfortable, fast, responsive...an absolute joy to paddle. It is a beautiful boat, to boot.

We have several kayaks in our fleet, but if I had to choose just one boat, it would be the Spitfire, hands down. It is my freedom. I am ecstatic.

After using my Trailtreker for the summer, I have only one complaint - the tires. Maybe I'm expecting too much, but I've already had to blow them up three times, and getting the air pump on the valve stem is a total pain in the arse. Otherwise, it is a fantastic cart and does exactly what it is designed to do.

I have a composite boat, but it attaches perfectly to the security loop rather than the coaming. I've also found that since my boat is fairly low volume, I too have to store it unassembled. No big deal.

Love the design, hate the tires. That's why it's an 8 instead of a 10.

I recently purchased a Brunton Eterna 6x30 Monocular for use in my kayak, as I was looking for something smaller(and cheaper) than my binoculars. They are perfect for their intended use, spotting things at a distance. The optics are crystal clear, unlike the view one gets looking through a cheap pair of binoculars. It is fairly lightweight and will fit in PFD pockets, and is easy to hold steady in a boat due to the 6 power magnification. For this purpose, it gets a ten.

What I did find, though, is that it is not as good as binoculars for actually studying wildlife, so if that is your purpose, you will probably not care for it.

I have owned/demoed/borrowed several 12' and under rec boats through the years - Perception Keowee, Old town Otter, Perception Pacifica, and Old Town Loon 120, and Dagger Delta. We currently own the Loon 120 and were looking for another smaller boat, due to storage space constraints as well as the cramped little areas we sometimes paddle. This little kayak is absolutely amazing. I have absolutely no trouble keeping up with my husband in his Loon. As a matter of fact, the Loon feels like a barge by comparison. Although there is a little yaw upon acceleration, it virtually disappears when up to speed. It gets up to speed quickly and is easy to keep up to speed because the glide is phenominal for an 11' boat. The seat is comfortable and easy to adjust on the fly, as are the foot braces. It tracks very well for its size, but also turn easily with a little lean.

My husband tried the boat and liked it as well but thought that it might be a little cramped for him after a while. He's 6'0, 180 lbs. I'm 5'3, 155, and it fits me well.

I have to admit I was leery about down-sizing (I also have a Carolina 13.5), but this little boat is absolutely wonderful. The only thing I would change is the hatch cover - I prefer the rubber ones. And that's why it's a 9 and not a 10.