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Submitted: 06-12-2009 by waterbird
The Journey is a beautiful boat in terms of its overall hull shape, deck architecture, colors, pearly finish, and logos. It has many outstanding qualities and a couple of drawbacks. I wouldn't really call it a "transitional" kayak because it performs better than any kayak I know of in the transitional (13'–15') class. It should be thought of as a capable short sea kayak that can do anything.
This is a very stable kayak (both primary and secondary) that can be handled by beginners but will satisfy experienced paddlers. It is wide (24"), but fast for that length, with excellent glide. Due to its shorter length it is more manageable than longer sea kayaks both in and out of the water, but it can go anywhere—ponds, lakes, sea—in just about any conditions. It is fully seaworthy. It leans well. It tracks well in calm water but is slightly skeg dependent in wind—but the skeg works well.
The cockpit will accommodate larger people in its length and width, but the area over the knees is a bit too low and confining, especially as the thigh braces angle down and have a sharp edge. I removed the braces and gained quite a bit of comfort.
My women's size 9.5 feet (= men's 8) fit nicely under the deck, but with not much room to spare, reflecting the low ends of the kayak. The seat did not work for me and I replaced it. The seat slides back unexpectedly if you push too hard on the foot pedals, and yet you can't adjust it fore and aft while sitting in the boat.
The hatch capacity appears limited due to the low ends, but in fact I was easily able to fit gear for a 3-day trip, and I'm pretty sure you could do a 7-day trip with lightweight backpacking-type equipment and careful planning of your food.
In spite of the above problems with the Journey, I am ultimately pretty happy with it. It is a big step above all the thermoformed competition under 16'— Delta, Hurricane, Swift — and worth the extra money. It's only real thermoformed competition is the 16' Delta. Eddyline remains first in thermoform, as they claim.
Raising the thigh/knee area by 1" and a new seat would make the Journey a perfect 10.
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