As I mentioned in my first review [July 19, 2016], I was not happy with the cherry slider seat because it flexed too much. I took the boat to a canoe shop and had them remove the sliding rails and fabricate aluminum hangers and rivet them to the inwales. We hung the original seat a little higher and dropped the front edge and inch. Now the seat flexes very little, feels great and the canoe is a bit lighter.
On the down side, I have a new negative to report, though it is a lot easier to fix than the seat. I discovered by accident (I flipped in high wind and choppy waves) that the flotation tanks had taken on water! I didn't discover this until this morning when I went to use the boat again and heard some sloshing when I picked up the canoe. I removed the plugs and there were several ounces (probably a cup at least) in each flotation tank, a bit more in the rear one. The reason for this is poor sealing of the screw-in plugs. Swift apparently just drills a hole in the tank and threads the plug directly into the kevlar! But these plastic plugs are made to thread into a female part installed on the hull, not threaded straight into thin kevlar. This is really a very poorly finished detail in an otherwise amazingly well-made boat. Now that the kevlar on the edge of the holes got wet, it has become frayed and fuzzy, which may further damage the seal. The easiest way to fix it is to apply silicone sealant and screw the plugs back in. A permanent solution would be to install the female part, if I had it, or just close the hole with fiberglass. I understand that there is a concern that this kind of tank can separate from the hull by expanding air inside due to drastic temperature changes and that is why most canoes have breather holes, but this system with the threaded plug is very poor.
The Keewaydin 15 is one of the best solo canoes I have ever paddled. I bought mine used a couple of months ago and have been paddling it at least twice per week since then.
It is the kevlar fusion layup with aluminum gunwales, cherry thwarts, cherry sliding seat (which is my only complaint)and color-matching skid plates. Weight is supposed to be in the mid 30s, and it feels like it, but I haven't weighed it. It is a Dave Yost design with the usual Yost bubble-sided tumblehome and excellent manners.
The Keewaydin 15 strikes an amazing balance between stability, speed, straight tracking and maneuverability. I can't get over how well it does everything! Turning and side slipping are effortless, while still tracking straight with normal correction strokes. The speed is amazing considering how stable it is. It is as fast as a Hemlock Kestrel, Blackhawk Zephyr or even a longer Blackhawk, such as the Starship.
I am extremely impressed by the overall quality and attention to detail and the use of state-of-the-art materials and techniques. Swift is probably the most advanced large canoe and kayak manufacturer. Fit and finish is top notch. The aluminum gunwales are riveted from the inside and don't show on the outside, giving it a super clean look. The selection of materials, finishes and colors is huge.
My only gripe is with the seat. I don't need a sliding seat, but when you buy used, you don't have much of a choice. The sliding seat flexes too much for my taste (full disclosure: I weigh about 225 lbs.). The seat is beautifully-made, laminated cherry with wide, brown nylon webbing. But it flexes a lot when I sit on it and so do the long cherry rails it slides on. I would also like it to be a little higher. I am in the process of making modifications to it and, if that doesn't work, scrapping it altogether and rigging a fixed seat.
But this is really a minor problem. It would have given it a ten otherwise.
I highly recommend this boat. Too bad they have very few dealers in the U.S., most of them clustered in NY.
This is just a first impression after testing one recently for a few minutes. But I was so impressed, I just needed to say something. The rest of the reviews here say it all, except one thing. No one has mentioned the roominess of its cockpit.
I had been very curious about this boat for a long time because of its design, speed, beauty, etc. But I was doubtful it would fit me. I am 6'4" and 225 lbs, with size 13 feet. The boat looks like it's pretty low volume with its low deck height and I thought that would kill my feet.
I was very pleasantly surprised to find out this boat is perfect for big guys! The foot board adjusts so far forward that I couldn't reach it with the seat all the way back. This has never happened to me in any kayak. There was plenty of room for my toes, never touched the underside of the deck. The seat is very easy to adjust back and forth.
It has a very narrow bow and felt super fast, faster than any sea kayak I've tested. The padded knee braces are very comfortable too.
I fell in love with this boat. Now if I can only get a hold of $3,400!!! (or find a used one for a song...).
- Super stable. So stable in fact, that I can rock my hips from side to side without bracing (holding my paddle chest high), to the point of getting water in the seat bucket, and this boat will not flip. You have to really lean over to fall out.
- Very fast. Obviously, at only 17 feet long and 21.25 inches wide it is not competition fast. But it will blow the doors off any sea kayak. It is only slightly slower than the V8.
- Super tough. It is plastic, so banging it against rocks and scraping the bottom on a fast-moving, rocky river is no problem (use the kick-up rudder, obviously). The plastic is very stiff, not a wobbly wet noodle like some poly kayaks. This is due to the stiffening foam layer inside. However, you must still take the same precautions you would with any poly boat. Do not leave it sitting on narrow bars in the heat. It will deform. I know from experience... Still, it popped back to shape with a little time.
It is heavy (but you already knew that, right? It's poly). Epic originally advertised a weight of 45 lbs. Subsequently, they had to change that spec to 50. I got 51-52 on my bathroom scale. The fabric hatch cover is cheesy and a pain to put on in the wind, but I was happy to read in another review below that they will make a hard hatch cover available soon.
The surf rudder attachment is terrible. I don't know why they chose to use a clamp system for their boats, instead of a simple nut on the top, like Stellar uses, for example. The others attach with a simple nylock nut on the threaded shaft-simple, it works. The V7's rudder has a smooth post with two tiny holes drilled into it. Once the rudder is inserted into the boat, you must insert a tiny pin in the uppermost hole (why it has two, I don't know), then tighten a clamp around the post with two allen bolts. Why?
But the problem that has infuriated me most is the way the rudder cables (cords, really) are tied to the clamp. The clamp has sharp edges, which started fraying one of the cords. If I hadn't noticed, I could have been left without a rudder out in the middle of nowhere. Also, I think there should be a dummy post for when you use the kick-up stern rudder. As it is now, the clamp just floats around loose when the surf rudder is removed.
All in all, apart from these cheesy details, I love the boat. I've had a blast so far and I'm sure I will continue to enjoy it for years to come.
I took a gamble ordering this, but it paid off. I had only tried out two GPs and hated them both. One was a carbon fiber, the other a home made cedar, both of them too short for me. Correct sizing makes all the difference!
Chris, the owner of Tuktu is a nice guy to deal with. Highly recommended.
This is a fast canoe and handles very well with both single and double paddle, but I admit I need to put it more time to get to know it better. I felt it turns quickly, but it needs leaning.
This boat can handle a big guy with a big load and I think it would be a good down river boat as well as a good lake tripper.