Read reviews for the Sitka by Dagger as submitted by your fellow paddlers.
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The Sitka is quite possibly the best expedition boat out there. It could easily be loaded for a couple months' worth of camping and paddling. This is the Cadillac of Kayaks (someone once called it a Cadyak...) The most comfortable boat I ever paddled, it can still take some rough waters in style. Primary stability is outstanding, secondary stability is good and better when loaded. For day trips I use to place a gallon container full of water in the stern hatch right behind the cockpit, secured with two stuff sacs on either side to keep it from moving around, then use the water to shower once back on shore. I have no complaints with the integral rudder which I consider a pretty neat idea; you just have to understand its range of action and use edging for faster turns. If you are used to a drop rudder and neglected your basic turning skills, then of course it will feel underpowered. If you are used to skeg or no rudder, then you'll appreciate the compromise between effectiveness and little drag that the integral rudder offers. I agree with other reviewers on this boat's superb tracking. The fiberglass construction is rock solid which makes the boat feel reliably stiff over choppy waters. This kayak can take some serious abuse while rock gardening and barely show a scratch for it. Some of the reviews here mention handling issues going downwind, which I consider due to the boat being underloaded. This is not a kayak for light weight paddlers, and shouldn't be expected to perform like a surf boat. It's a pretty decent alternative to both a boring long expedition kayak and a day tripper. I've had mine for over 10 years and won't change it for anything.
Had this fiberglass boat...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 6/4/2011
Had this fiberglass boat two years, Only saw one review mention secondary stability. Takes getting used to but with rudder it turns quick enough. At 18 6 boat is 66 lb. large and secure in 18" chop. Don't do any crazy stuff like most here, also no whitewater, nine foot waves, life jacket or skirts, This boat is awesome in that respect for biking on moderate seas, At 7.5 length to beam can hit 5 knots for extended distance and not expire before destination.
I've had my Sitka for 7...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 9/23/2004
I've had my Sitka for 7 years, and I've always had a love/hate relationship with the boat. As previously noted by others, it's cavernous. It loads so easily and holds so much, that I can take whatever I want. I laugh when I see (mostly British) boats with their tiny front hatches. What can you fit through those things? I also love how comfortable the boat is. I've never had numb legs, cramps, or lower back pain. Now to the down side, whoever says this boat handles well empty in anything but flat water must weigh a lot more than me (6'1", 180 lbs). If it's empty, the wind owns this boat. My latest solution is to take the sand bags sold for winter traction and throw one of those in stern. It's also a pig in following seas, loaded or not. I can't count the number of times I fought the bow heading up Resurrection Bay (AK). I'd also trade the integral rudder for a flip over or a skeg. I've considered glassing over the rudder and retrofitting a Feathercraft rudder on back. It would solve the following seas problem, which is really its most glaring fault. Dagger doesn't make the Sitka anymore, which means there's no customer service. I broke the rudder control cable last year, and they told me I was SOL. I fixed it with parts from Home Depot. I'll keep it because it is a good extended touring boat. For anything but that, I'll use my Feathercraft K1 - a far superior handling boat.
I've had my kevlar Sitka...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 4/23/2004
I've had my kevlar Sitka for about 4 years now. It may be the single best all around kayak made. I use it for racing, surfing, camping, touring, and for anything else one might use a kayak. The other reviews are right, the rudder works, but works best when one has good paddling skills. The boat will stand up to tremendous sea conditions, loaded or not. Comfortable, fast, stable, and maneuverable.
I have a fiberglass Sitka...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 9/26/2001
I have a fiberglass Sitka that I am really enjoying here on Cape Cod. I am 6'6'' tall and weigh in at 230 lbs. I have taken her from the most serene rivers to three to four foot seas on Buzzards Bay and she handles well. There are not too many boats on the market available for us tall folks. I am snug, but really comfortable in my Sitka by just letting the foot paddles go to the end of their travel. I am having no adverse problems as experinced by the other reviewers. I'll admit that the boat is harder than some to turn, but you learn how to compensate for this easy enough in time. All in all this is one beautifully built boat.
I've had my fiberglass...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 4/2/2001
I've had my fiberglass Sitka for almost two years. It tracks better than most I've tried, and isn't pushed around by currents at all. Just don't expect to turn; pick your course and just go straight and fast.
The rudder works predictably well in flatwater, and predictably badly in anything else. Also the rudder has a tendancy to lock slightly right, causing an annoying right turn occasionally. In use the rudder is fine. The stability in high swells is excelent, however, be careful about landings in surf, once a wave catches you on either side, you're taking a drink.
Have had my fiberglass...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 3/29/2001
Have had my fiberglass Dagger Sitka for 2 years and have paddled it in a wide variety of condition....including 9 ft waves off North Shore of Lake Superior in 30-35 mph winds while boat was fully loaded (actually OVERloaded). I bought the SITKA because it has the same cockpit as my 16' MERIDIAN which is my dream boat...but the SITKA has 2' longer for packing more gear. It is the only kayak I've tried (I've tried most of them) that I fit comfortably in (I'm 6'2" 200# long legs, thick thighs) and still have a solid fit for edging, bracing, and rolling. Neoprene padded composit thigh braces provide the best support I've seen in any kayak. Seat and backband are really comfortable (Rutabaga reviewed Meridian with same cockpit saying it was the next best thing to taking your Lazy Boy out in the water). Boat handles beautifully; tracks well, edges perfectly, easy to turn though long, great initial and secondary stability. It is a breeze to roll, even fully loaded. Although it is a big volume boat, it has a low Greenland profile and doesn't have much wind resistance. Fast, fun, and efficient to paddle either loaded or empty. Only negatives...I prefer a skeg (like my Meridian has) rather than the integrated rudder. Rudder works fine for 80% of the time, but I had problems with the boat broaching in the stormy North Shore weather I encountered. Much of that was probably due to my overloading the kayak, and having too much weight in the ends of the kayak (can goods). When loaded properly, and in all but most violent weather, boat handles beautifully. Another negative, I did have hatch leaks when boat was new, but took it back to Dagger and they repaired the leaks. Hatches and hatch covers are totally dry now. I think it is a hard boat to beat, and a good compromise "only kayak" if you want a good day paddler and tripper.
Dagger Sitka in Kevlar. ...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 8/28/2000
Dagger Sitka in Kevlar. This boat was wonderful to paddle when loaded and I mean LOADED...It swallowed gear. But..Pull into a base camp for a few days and try unloaded day trips and add wind and life turned miserable. My biggest hangup was the handling unloaded. It sat way too high on the water, weathercocked excessively and paddling was not much fun. Another problem was the annoying slippage on the rudder straps which was remedied by adjusting, tieing off and then pinning with safety pins! Also had problems with the foot pedals...the screws that attached the cables to the pedals would loosen and fall off at the worst times!! Always carry spare. The rudder was a corrective aid only and didn't take the place of proper paddling form (I didn't consider this a problem) Nice boat for a wilderness guide carrying volumes of gear...I was just too small for the boat.
Dagger's Sitka is, in...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 7/6/1999
Dagger's Sitka is, in fact, a lovely boat. Speed, tracking and secondary and primary stability are all wonderful, and the boat is extremely comfortable. While I would rather suspect that smaller paddlers who do not routinely paddle heavily loaded would be better off with a lower volume boat, I find that at my wieght (around 210lbs) the Sitka is perfect. An important point to remember though, is that the rudder system is a compromise. Some competitors claim that the rudder is too small to be effective, but these claims are untrue. Just lean the boat over as you would with no rudder. The rudder makes it more responsive to a lean & gives quicker turns. I heavier water, I've generally found the rudder works as well as any other, but againyou probably have to be fairly heavy for it to work right. Yes, all in all a heck of a boat.
I would have to agree with...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 7/6/1999
I would have to agree with the review that gave the boat a 10 out of 10. But my reason for giving the boat a 5 is due to a leaking problem in the stern hatch compartments and the seals that every one tried to fix but where unable to do so. The end result was getting another boat from a different company. One thing I found was the Sitka not that easy to roll and I base this on the new kayak I have which is every easy to roll. All I can say is do a water check to make sure there are no leaks.
I tried the Sitka on my...
Submitted by:Anonymouson 7/3/1999
I tried the Sitka on my standard 8 mile course when shopping for something faster than my 17' Dragonworks Islander for racing. While the Sitka had pretty good hull speed, the tracking was VERY uncomfortable to me. Maybe not to others? Also, the cool looking, shaped-in rudder performed as predicted by a competing tech rep - too far back to be a skeg and too small to be a rudder - and pretty rough operation!