Submitted: 12-03-2012 by RK
I have had my 2012 Solstice GTS (small fit) kevlar/glass layup for 6 months. It rounds out my quiver of 3 boats and is my longest and only glass boat. This boat was a stretch for me in skills, allowing me the room to rise to the next level as a paddler.
I am a woman of 5'6" and a 175#. With a short torso and long legs it can be a real challenge to find a boat that truly fits me. My previous touring boat, a Necky Eliza, was just too short in the cockpit for my legs and I had to replace it. I paddle once or more a week, windy choppy water of the Potomac, Patuxent, and the Chesapeake Bay. My husband and I travel specifically for kayaking, this year Cobscook Bay and Eastport in Maine, as well as Hatteras Island. I also like to take "exercise runs" on a nearby reservoir known for its calm water.
the fit and finish on this boat are second to none. After 6 months constant paddling I can find not one flaw, not one bad thing to be said for the way the boat was made, finished, or the way it fits my body. It is stable, tracks straight, does not get pushed around by the wind, nor turn when getting hit by chop fore or aft. The boat is stiff, doesn't flex under chop like a plastic boat can. It is the speediest boat I have ever paddled. It truly does cut through the water with so little resistance I find myself slowly speeding up with out thought. Should I want to speed up the boat responds, allowing me to catch up with little effort.
this boat requires use of the rudder to turn with any speed. This is something to keep in mind. I believe it is due to a combination of the extremely soft chine, V shape, and the overall length of the boat. When I edge this boat, it only barely begins a turn. With just edging and sweeping alone it would take a handful or more strokes to complete a 180 turn, and room as well. The rudder makes this all so much easier. I almost never paddle without dropping the rudder in the water.
Over all, I prefer this boat over my others, if I plan to paddle any distance, or am out with a fast paddling crowd. I also prefer it when we are out in big water, where wind, chop, and currents come into play big time. Overall, the nicest boat I have ever owned. It is beautiful, well made, and stock fits me like a glove. It really is a case of me getting what I paid for. And that's a nice feeling. Worth every penny.
(I almost never rate anything a 10, but almost gave in here)