I purchased a 2010 Solstice GT Kevlar sight unseen, having tested a 2009. I had paddled a plastic Storm for many years. Boat has typical feel of the Solstice line, but the shape has changed somewhat over the years, I suspect to make it ever more stable and easier to get in or out, as the population gets bigger and older.
- Boat goes where you tell it to go!
- Kevlar boat is lighter at 47 pounds, I can load it on the car on my own if required.
- Bulkheads are a translucent plastic, makes it easier to see what going on in the storage hatch.
- New peddle system - peddles don't slide, instead they pivot - meaning your knees are always up against the side of the boat.
New larger keyhole cockpit, makes it VERY easy to get in and out, perfect for me since I have leg I can't bend well.
- The new peddle system means there is a cable right next to your foot - so you cannot paddle barefoot. Even with rubber shoes on, I still feel the cable.
- Very uncomfortable.
- The deck was flattened somewhat from the 2009 model (probably for the keyhole cockpit?) This is not an issue in itself, but they also introduced this new hatch strap cam system (replacing side buckles) for the storage covers. With the deck being flattened, the cam lock can easily come loose. In my opinion its POORLY designed, and can easily come loose in big water, or in a self rescue, or just even when you are on the beach and you throw your life jacket on the boat. So you always have to double check it. I cannot see what the advantage is of this mechanism vs. traditional plastic side buckles. The side buckles on my 10 year old Storm work just fine, and of course are easily replaced. After a few requests, CD sent me an updated cam that has a snap in it as well, clearly an afterthought fix and I wonder how it will work. I can't see how a cam and a snap makes more sense than a buckle.
- The boat is very wide now at 24 inches, I suspect people who were happy with the old Solstice GT might want to try the new GTS at 22 inches.
- The seat has popped out from its cradle a few times when paddling and leaning way back - not a great seat system.
- Also, can't seem to get rid of the solvent smell in the hatches, even after storing the boat with the hatches open. Whenever I close it up to store stuff in there while paddling, whatever I take out a few hours later seems to be permeated with solvent.
For the amount spent, I wish I would have looked around a bit more