Submitted: 01-02-2013 by joewildlife
I can't add much to the praise that was bestowed upon the Sea Wind by the other reviewers. Most have more experience and in more boats than I. However, I can review the Sea Wind from the angle that I actually own it and two of its predecessors, the Mad River Monarch and the Sawyer Loon. See my reviews of those two boats to put this review in better perspective. In my other reviews, I complained about the strength and layup of the cockpit rim (Loon) and the deck (Loon and Monarch). Also I complained about the rudder (Loon and Monarch). No such complaints on the Sea Wind. The boat came from McWood, factory condition, perfect in its form and function. The only think I did to it was to add a back band (more of a butt band really...it simply keeps my pelvis tilted forward and greatly increases my long-term comfort), and padding the seat. Regarding the design, it is certainly more full in the bow and stern than the Loon. The Loon will dive into a wave while the Sea Wind rides up and over, and the Loon lacks the weight capacity of the Sea Wind. The stern of the Loon is much more trim, and it can't carry near as much. But comparing a Sea Wind to the Monarch hull, I don't really notice much difference. They are essentially the same design. Well, the Sea Wind's bow IS swept back a little more. And perhaps the bow is a little more full or has more flare, to give a slightly drier ride. But for the most part, I think the Monarch and Sea Wind are pretty close. I had a catamaran sleeve installed in my Monarch so I could hook it up to my Sea Wind. My daughter and I will be doing our second BWCA trip, catted up most of the time. Makes for great paddling together, and great fishing too!
So I own all three. The Loon is the lightest and trimmest, and I prefer it for day trips, packing light, and ultra marathon racing on protected waters. I'm taking the Sea Wind on the Everglades Challenge in March, no questions asked. I only own the Monarch so I can cat it up with the Sea Wind. The Monarch and the Sea Wind fill the exact same niche, with the exception that the Sea Wind is gonna be tougher in the worst conditions.
I should mention that there are two OTHER decked expedition canoes that deserve mention in the context of this review. One is the Superior Expedition. This boat, to me, is the bigger brother of the Sea Wind. If you want a fuller, drier, and larger boat, built to the utmost quality and durability, you should consider an Expedition. An Expedition is better compared to the "Deep Dish" Sea Wind than to the regular hull, that I own.
The other boat is the Clipper Sea 1. I have never paddled one or seen one in person. c2g reviewed it as well, and I watched the six Youtube clips. While I'm enthralled with all things expedition canoe, I doubt I'll ever try to buy a Sea 1. Strange cockpit shape, no rim on the cockpit makes spray skirt use mandatory much more often. Don't like the bulkhead or the way the seat height is adjustable only with tools, and doesn't have a built in portage yoke. Don't like the feathercraft rudder design on such a large boat either...
Back to the Sea Wind...10/10. IF I had to find a single fault or improvement that could be made, I would like to see a rudder design that allows the the paddler to PULL DOWN the rudder instead of relying solely on gravity. Sometimes sand and grit can be an issue.
Mark P. is building them just like Verlen did. One made today is just like mine, made 17 years ago. I can wrap this up by telling you that if my Sea Wind got stolen tomorrow, I'd be finding me a replacement Sea Wind, tomorrow night!