Read reviews for the Seal by Splashdance Kayaks - Janautica as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
It's a bit shorter than some full-fledged touring boats (15 feet, 4 inches), and it has an interesting bulbous nose. It has no rudder or skeg, but it has a sharp, pronounced keel fin that helps keeps it going straight in windy conditions. It is nicely outfitted with a day-hatch and an integrated pump. It also has shock cords and a recessed notch built in to the area behind the cockpit for paddle-float self rescue.
When you first look at it from the side, the bulbous nose will make your eyebrows raise; when we paddled it though, our only complaint was the seat. We didn't think it was as comfortable as many of the other boats we tried out. We are working on customizing this now and have made some progress.
It has very good initial stability and is very confidence-inspiring right from the get-go. The bulbous nose helps on a couple of fronts: it gives extra storage space up front, and the extra buoyancy supposedly helps the nose from diving down into waves.
It is not as light as some fiberglass boats, but it seems very beefily constructed. It is also priced significantly lower than many other fiberglass boats.
Now that we've paddled this boat for a couple of years, we can give the following summary:
Tracking: not as good as we'd hoped. Very difficult to keep going straight in moderate to strong winds. A rudder kit is available as a separate purchase. if you are going to do any kind of touring in exposed areas, you are going to want this add-on.
Outfitting: superb. has every feature you could want (except a rudder or skeg).
Comfort: good. only complaint is the (very) low deck area in front of the cockpit. It means that you can't pull your knees up into a bent position. You can splay them out sideways, but not up. This can be a bit uncomfortable over the course of a long day. Also if you have really large feet, you might not be comfortable down by the foot pegs.
Speed: ok. a strong paddler could keep up with other touring boats in the seal; but, a weaker paddler is going to have a harder time keeping up.
Stability: outstanding initial stability. Really stable and confidence inspiring in everything up to 4-6 foot seas. Poor secondary stability. Great for a beginner in calm conditions, but not so great for a more advanced paddler in rougher seas. I'd guess it'd be just about impossible to eskimo roll this boat. Leaned turns and these kinds of advanced techniques are not really something that this boat excels at.
So, I’d say it's an awesome boat for a smaller person on day trips where you're not going to see too much wind or heavy seas. You have great initial stability (super for bird watching, etc.), reasonable speed, great cargo carrying capability, good maneuverability.
I would not recommend it for larger people, or for people who want to go out for trips on exposed coastlines in wind and larger waves. Also would not recommend it for people who want to learn advanced techniques like eskimo rolls, leans, etc.