If you can find a Mariner II for sale I'd recommend snapping…
If you can find a Mariner II for sale I'd recommend snapping it up. This is an amazing, fast and well designed touring sea kayak. My fiberglass model, made by Northwest Kayaks under contract to Mariner and is in great shape despite several owners over 20 years. It is watertight and fairly light (around 50 lbs) for its length. Handles very well in extremely choppy and big waves. Lots of room both fore and aft compartments. Great seat and doesn't require a skeg nor rudder to stay straight in a strong wind.
This is the fastest non-surfski kayak I've ever paddled! With other paddlers…
This is the fastest non-surfski kayak I've ever paddled! With other paddlers I typically take two or three strokes and then glide while they paddle and paddle. Alone I average 4kts without feeling like I'm working at all. Even though it's long and slender it doesn't have any of that "twitchy" feel most fast kayaks have. In fact at least two of these have made the trip up the outside between Washington and Alaska.
My kevlar version feels a little flexxy in a seaway but rides well and stays pretty dry. No bulkhead in the bow (but a nice hatch so it would be easy to put one in) and a big hatch that stays water-tight in the stern. I don't do much kayak camping (I camp, then kayak) so I use it the most on the home lake for a workout boat. Really fast kayak!
There is no boat like it. If you haven't paddled a…
There is no boat like it. If you haven't paddled a Mariner II, you are missing out. The boat design is radically different than any other boat that I'm aware of. I paddle an Express (a smaller boat than the II, and even more fun in surf) but for a long trip I would choose nothing other than a II. My only complaint is I would like larger hatch size on the front, rather than the old 7" VCP hatch. An oval hatch would be great. On the other hand, the rear Mariner hatch is both HUGE and totally water tight. There is nothing better.
Best "long" boat I've used. Owned more than 30 boats over…
Best "long" boat I've used. Owned more than 30 boats over several decades. This is in my top 3 list. Much better in rough water than Glider, Impulse, most Necky's, and similar fast touring boats. Loves rough water - and surfing capabilities are simply surprising for such a long, narrow boat. Effortless to paddle for long distance. Only drawback for me is front coaming height about 0.5 inches low for my long, thick thighs. But moving seat allows plenty of adjustment for both directional stability and seating variety over long hours. Bought one - used it for years. Sold it (at no loss). And then missed it terribly. Bought a new one as a"keeper".
Although I can't say that I've paddled every boat of the "fast…
Although I can't say that I've paddled every boat of the "fast touring" variety on the market, I've found the Mariner II to be far and away the best combination of speed, maneuverability, and seaworthiness available. I've paddled boats of comparable length and speed that turn less well and are more difficult to handle in wind and seas. The Mariner's sliding seat helps to make this a very adaptable boat whether you're in following seas, or fighting into the wind. The sponsoned hull makes the II stable despite a narrow beam and exceptionally easy to roll. It's a very comfortable boat with ample room to enter & exit. This boat really is, as advertised, "the best".