Submitted: 05-27-2009 by a234142
I bought the Tracer 165 just before leaving for 5 days in North Carolina's Core Banks - just below the Outer Banks.
As many others say, the initial stability is low, but I got used to it within two days and did not notice it. I was hopping in and out of it near sandbars to avoid oyster shells and barnacles, though I did hit a few. Barnacles left small scratches on the hull - less damage than I would have expected. The secondary stability is incredible, and once I fit in some foam in the hip area (also covering up stainless screw heads) it will be snugger.
If you lean hard to one side and paddle on that side, this boat turns quickly - very impressive for a boat this length. And the boat 'stops' when you lean hard, as it is hard to tip it over, unless you really try. In high wind I used half or more of the skeg and it eliminated any weather cocking.
I got water in my front hold somehow - the hatch cover seemed to be snug - I'll test this out more by putting water in the cockpit and seeing if any leaks into the front hold. Or if the hatch cover does not totally seal - by spraying a hose directly at the cover.
The 46# weight made loading and unloading much easier than my rec boat or shorter rotomolded sea kayak. I drive a 4Runner and have Yakima J style cradles on the roof. I could load and unload this boat alone, but it was super easy with a helper.
The only negative I found was that the seat seemed to move a little bit when you leaned hard. I did not expect any movement and it made a popping sound when it did move.
I plan to put the included foam on the thigh braces, add foam where my knees hit, and on the sides of the seat, covering the screws. My wife also paddled it and will likely buy one soon for herself - a different color of course.