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Name: softsmithjr

Most Recent Reviews

Current Designs Gulfstream (FG) Derek Hutchins is still THE MAN and the Gulfstream is still the "If I could only have one boat" boat.
A lot of sea kayaks will go straight when you want them to and a lot will turn easily when and where you want them to but very few sea kayaks will do both well. The Gulfstream is the exception.

I wanted a boat that was light, nimble, quick, easy to turn yet capable of supporting my weekend camping habit. Previously I had several kayaks to pick from. I finally gave up my poly CD Scirrico and my Kevlar CD Solstice and purchased the Gulfstream. I'm still having expedition kayak capability withdrawl having given up the Solstice, but the joy I get out of the turning performance and ease of use of the Gulfsteam seems to make it all worthwhile.

THIS BOAT CAN DANCE. It performs more like an extension of your mind and body than something you put in the water and sit in. It may not be the individual best boat in each category, (i.e., fastest, lightest, quickest turning, stablest, etc.) but it's definitely the best when you combine all of the categories together. It's the fastestlighteststablesteasiest turning boat I've ever paddled.

Solstice GT UPDATE - I entered my original note on the Solstice GT about a year ago after my initial purchase. Although I rated the boat highly at that time I did have one concern. I had read a review of the Solstice in the February 2004 issue of Sea Kayaker. In that review most of the reviewers raved about the boat with one exception - rolling. Two of the reviewers had somewhat negative comments about the solstice seat back being too high for laid back rolls.

Well I am happy to report that after taking a few pool rolling lessons in a WW boat this past winter I am now able to roll not only my WW boat but also my Solstice - VERY EASILY!!! Yes, the back of the combing on the Solstice is a bit high but it does not interfere with rolling at all. I'm 60 years old and overweight, if I can lay back and roll it EASILY, anyone can.

I don't know what planet the Sea Kayaker reviewers were from but their review was off the mark on this issue. Perhaps it is a relative thing, the Gulfstream/Sorroco would be easier to lay back on the deck. Agreed. But these boats aren't any easier to roll in my estimation (I did try the Sorroco). Unless my Kevlar version is much lighter and more buoyant than the boat they tested which might explain their review. In any event, if you haven't already guessed it I LOVE MY SOLSTICE even more today than when I purchased it.

PS - this is a super great boat if you are top heavy (big chest/broad shoulders/etc). Unbelievable stability on edge for high center of gravity people like me.

I am an intermediate kayaker with five years of experience. I have owned several poly boats and test drove the Nanook along with numerous other glass/kevlar boats. I am a fairly big guy at 6'1", 250# so I thought the Nanook would be just right for me. What I found was that the Nanook was possibly built for a REAL big guy since the cockpit was actually two large for me, especially the height of the fore deck. As opposed to the Solstice GT or the Cape Horn 17 which I really liked. Perhaps the comparison to the Solstice GT is not fair since the Solstice also come in a High Volume and an extra large version (XL) which may be more similar to the Nanook. I was surprised that this boat floated so high in the water with my 250 lbs on board, perhaps it was designed more for an expedition than for an all around tourning boat. I believe that the weathercocking problem I noticed with this boat was attributed to it floating so high in the water and the high foredeck made it very susceptable to the wind. Also, becuse the boat has so much rocker built in. Without the aid of the rudder on a windy day or in big currents I feared that the boat would literally pin-wheel it's way across the water. I had an opportunity to purchase a silghtly used demo model for considerably less than list price which made me really want to consider this boat but I ultimately gave way to reason and purchased the Solstice since it tracks so well even in the wind and putting it on even a slight edge will get it going in the intended direction and I don't have to load the boat down with camping gear to make it respond without the use of the rudder. In fairness to Boreal I test drove the HV and XL models of the Solstice and found them both to have similar characteristics. The Cape Horn would have been a good choice if it had just a bit more room in the cockpit for my large frame. In summary if you are a big guy/gal looking for a boat that will be used for day trips where you will be touring on mostly a straigt course and want to be able to handle both wind and waves without the use of the rudder the Nanook is probably not the best choice for you. If your a REAL big person and want a boat that has great stability that you can load up for camping trips and like to steer with the aid of the rudder then perhaps you have found the boat you have been looking for.

Current Designs Solstice GT - After several years of longing for a lighter/faster replacement for my poly boat (CD Storm)I elected to go with the Solstice GT in Kevlar. I have evaluated dozens of different glass boats and really liked the Cape Horn, Tempest and especially liked the CD Gulfstream. Did I mention that I'm a pretty big guy at 6' 1"/ 250lbs. Getting in and out, comfort on long rides (> 4 hours)and ease of use putting the boat on the car etc. were my primary considerations. The solstice is a 10 in each catagory. When you add the ability to accelerate and paddle faster than I have ever paddled before with greater ease for longer periods of time it's just frosting on the cake. It is a bit slow turning but that's not a major concern of mine. Probably the best compromise of stability and speed in a high performance boat on the market today. I hope to enjoy it for many years to come. PS - I chose the Solstice over the Gulfstream since I still consider myself to be an intermediate and want the ability to drop the rudder in following seas. The secondary stability of the Solstice leaves the Gulfstream in the dust (at my experience level) giving a great feeling of confidence in bad conditions.

PS/PS If you are big -try the GT before opting for the GT High Volume or even the XT. I'm not sure why it is but the GT handles like a completely different boat, much more satisfying in my opinion.

Demo'ed the Cape Horn 17 Pro (Glass) along with the Perception Eclipse, Looksha Tachea (sp) and a Serenity - Gale Force winds on a small lake - The Cape Horn was the only boat I could turn easily in that wind without using the rudder - The following weekend I demo'ed the Cape Horn 17 in plastic and found the plastic version which is several pounds heavier to handle very much like the Pro with a much smaller price tag. The cockpit is a bit smaller but even at 6'1" 260 lbs I am quite comfortable however I am not sure how easy it will be to extract myself in an emergency escape situation. Unlike my composite boat I will have no qualms about running this one right up on the beach or have any fear of rock gardens. The day hatch for my keys and compass mount are a definite plus but the real selling point outside of the boats ability to track and turn well is the Phase 3 Seat - only seat that I am aware of that will conform to my exact seat back height requirements - did I mention that I bought it!

My wife and I both have Blackwater kayaks that we are VERY happy with which is odd since I am 6'1" and 250 and she is only 5'3" and 120. That shows you how versitile this boat is. Since I am a more aggressive paddler I immediately tried modifying the cockpit with foam pads for bracing. Quite a chore with the high volume cockpit of the Blackwater but then an associate at Kittery Traiding Post in Maine showed me two saddle kits that fit most of the larger Dagger kayaks. Why Dagger doesn't promote these for the Blackwater is beyond me because for a few dollar investment and the time it takes to drill two holes you end up with a completely braceable boat, suitable for Class II possibly III whitewater if you so desire. When I moved up to a longer glass touring boat for off shore sea kayaking I could not part with the Blackwater. It does what it is intended to do and you can't beat the price. ps. I had the same complaint about the skeg which I solved very easily by adding a few inches of stretch cable to be able to deploy it to a greater depth than the factory setting which is ok for my petite wife but didn't work for me.