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We purchased the plastic Crosswind from someone who had almost completed a three person stitch and glue kit kayak - they needed space for a small child. Tandem paddling this is a pleasure. Most of our trips are in the six to twelve mile range, and with two of us paddling it is like we were both in our solo kayaks. The ride is fairly dry, though we do use spray skirts when the air is cool or we think the water will get choppy. We do use the rudder at all times, something we don't usually do with our solo boats, but I think this is a function of the design. With the rudder engaged there is no trouble tracking, and because of the contours we can turn in a shorter radius than several other tandem boats we have tried. There is very little problem with weather cocking due to the low profile.
When tandem paddling we may touch paddles once or twice on a twelve mile trip, but only if one person is turning around to check out something behind them. This has also been my experience when taking novice kayakers out in the boat- there is very good separation between the cockpits. I have a friend who is 6'4" and was comfortable in the bow cockpit on a seven mile trip. There is a great deal of storage room and the hatches are always dry. We have only day tripped but the previous owners were frequent campers and found the storage space very good.
We keep the Sea Twin for people who wish to join us but are leery of ocean kayaking, as it is impossible to tip, but for tandem kayaking it is the Crosswind for us every time. This would score 9 of 10 with us.
Fist I will say that it is very stable and seaworthy.... at least in terms of capsizing. However, with a total payload of about 450 lbs. we had almost zero freeboard. It was one of the wettest rides I've ever had because the deck which slopes up to the cockpit guides every wave right into the boat. I don't ejoy using a spray cover on hot days in relatively tame waters so this is a big negative.
The cockpit is also much less roomy than you might guess from the dimensions. Some would like it but I found it confining because it is shallow and it has large leg braces. Again, some would call this a plus. In the stern, there is one more surprise. There is a large foam pillar located right between your legs.... where I usually keep a small dry bag with a camera etc. The seats are OK but have low backs so not much support.
Cockpit spacing makes it unlikely that you'll bang paddles with the other person but, if you have a long stroke, it'll be close enough to make you flinch. It's probably close enough to pass items back and fourth though.
We were only able to do about 4mph (GPS) in this boat which seemed a bit slow and it tracked poorly in spite of having a rudder. I'm wondering if the hull could have been warped or something but we couldn't spot anything obvious when we took it out of the water.
I'm sure a lot of people could be happy with this boat, especially considering the price, but it certainly is not the ultimate double. Definitley try other boats (like the Kestrel 170T)and consider carefully before buying this one. ....and if you paddle in choppy waters plan on getting wet.
The cockpits are huge and primary stability is such that one could probably stand up. I'll try when the water warms.
The stretch of river we paddled had few places to get out but the Crosswind is quite comfortable for long periods in the seat.
I have quite a few kayaks and was considering getting a canoe for river camping but since the Crosswind is akin to a Chevy Suburban and still paddles and glides like a kayak, I'm very happy with my decision.
This boat will also be used for a 2 mile open water crossing of Core Sound in NC for some serious beach camping.
If you've read my review of the CD Whistler, you already know my rating scale- 10 being perfect and doesn't exist, 9 can't be improved upon and 8 is haven't found anything better considering my needs. Based on that, the Crosswind is an 8.5!
The cockpits are very roomy. I am 6'3" and I did not have any problem sitting in the rear and using the rudder. The crosswind comes with plenty of storage for whatever trip you may want to take. The only thing that I would advise to a potential buyer is that the Crosswind takes two people to move it around out of the water since it weights almost 100 lbs. But don't worry it is a piece of cake with two people. We have a Ford Sportrac with a Yakima rack (hully rollers and saddles) that was easy to load and unload the Crosswind; it fit nice and secure. The Crosswind was a little longer than our Sportrac on both ends and looked great! It is safe to say that the Crosswind draws a lot of attention on and off the water! We highly recommend the Crosswind to any level of paddler. See you out on the water!
Our main complaint about the boat was transporting it.The poly material material it was made of was soft, easily scratched,and could not support it's own weight when carried on our cars roof rack.The boat would compress and require retightening of rack strap every several miles to prevent loss of the boat.Along with that problem were others like ,the mishapened top deck a rear carry handle that torn twice,and rudder when in the park position,and when the foot braces were even touched would send the rudder flipping off to one side or the other.
We recieved a return E-mail from the company and stated that they would REPLACE our boat FREE of charge!!. HOWS THAT FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE!!.
Now for the review on the improved model. The Crosswind has always been a very stable,rough water capable tandem boat that carries a good amount of gear without affecting it's handling.The improvements have made this boat even far better than the orignal.
The hull is made of stiffer, harder poly ,along with new internal bulkheads. The compressabilty of the boat is gone ,the oilcanning effect is gone.The performance has greatly improved,it is now faster and seems to turn faster.
All of the improvements have changed a good boat into a GREAT boat,which now deserves my # 10 rating.
As for the previous poster complaining about the run around they got from CD,we have had nothing but positive results from customer service. They admitted they have had problems,they have helped us with our boat, and had the guts to replace their mistakes.So up to this point, both the boat and the company deserve a #10