Submitted: 04-21-2006 by REAJR
I tried a list of comparable touring yaks (by Current Design, Necky and Prijon just to name a few) that I narrowed my choices to over 6 months of research and test-drives at local kayak shops and the Solstice GTS became an instant winner once I took it for a test ride. My final decision was based on personal preference and my own trial experiences more than any recommendation. I believe everyone should try before they buy – especially if you’re looking at investing in any high-end boat
My first trial experience with the GTS (standard volume) was in the Florida Keys in 15 to 20+ winds; what a great handling boat! Despite the wind and conditions the GTS tracked like an arrow with great dead-ahead speed wherever it was pointed (does not weather-cock). A quick turn requires edging combined with sweep strokes w/o the rudder. Primary stability is great for its 22" beam; secondary stability was excellent - very comforting on edge. The hatches stayed dry and amazingly so did I; with its beautifully unique peaked deck design the boat shed water and deflected spray extremely well. I ultimately found the GTS to be the speed champ and the best tracking boat of its group.
With regard to construction and workmanship, Current Designs' Solstice GTS is second to none in my book – it’s a beautifully designed and crafted boat – it really is an eye-catcher. Current Designs' quality control appears outstanding – the Kevlar GTS I ultimately purchased was flawless! For reference purposes I’m 5’-8” and weigh 160 lbs., the standard volume version of the GTS was a perfect fit for me – I found the cockpit to be comfortably snug yet easy to get in and out of. The padded thigh braces are awesome and the pedals and rudder is a cinch to adjust and operate. Volume/storage space for extended trips appears more than ample! I also personally really like the cam lever strap design to hold down the molded fiberglass hatch covers – keeps compartments bone-dry!
The Solstice GTS is my first tour boat, as my experience and love for kayaking grew over the past year (I quickly outgrew my rec-boat) I wanted to graduate to and invest in a top-notch boat that I would not outgrow for sometime; a touring kayak that would suit my all-around needs in South Florida (and elsewhere) from day to multi-day trips in lakes and inlets, shores and bays.
I’ve had my GTS now for a few weeks and it has definitely fit my wish for a dream kayak – paddles like a dream!