I've made numerous adjustments and alterations to the craft to make it work for me. First, moved the front seat back beyond center. Drilled new holes and added a support. Second, added a back rest support to make the seating more comfortable. Finally, I glued and fiberglassed a keel under the back seat to improve tracking. After these improvements, I love the boat. I'm large at 250 lbs, and not mobile with knee replacements-- tell your kids not to play football, it's overrated.
The adapted Vagabond works for me. One of a kind and ugly, but reasonably fast, easy to enter, and best- no one will steal it off the car when you stop for lunch on the way homeMy 1987 Vagabond is the F/N construction and saw most of it's use before I bought it 7 years ago. I'd use the lighter kevlar construction more, if I had one. I use mine solo exclusively for short outings and day trips.
I removed the front seat, installed a foot brace at the back set of holes for the front position of the front seat. I sit on two 3.5" thick square boat float cushions placed with the back edge just on the front edge of the back seat. This is where I get the best response with the 48" bent shaft Zaveral paddle. The Vagabond responds quite nicely to control strokes with this trim. Single blading from the back seat also works, but the bow is a little too light without some ballast toward the front and I usually paddle with no added load. The Vagabond responds very, very nicely to control strokes from the position just in front of the rear seat.
Kneeling with knees on back seat and butt on rear of cockpit trim also works, but ballast is needed up front to improve trim.
I shortened a portage yoke to fit between the screw holes for the front seat and place it in the back two holes of the seat mount, secured with two of the seat bolts, to portage the boat with decent balance. I move the yoke forward one set of holes while paddling to secure the spare paddle shaft and whatever else needs secured.
The Vagabond is relatively unaffected by wind when compared with undecked canoes. The downward slope from cockpit to stems allows the car hood & trunk lid to open farther than with standard canoes, when it's on the rack.
It's an ugly, spartan boat, but don't discount it's handling capabilities without experimenting with trim first. Trim makes a big difference with the Vagabond.
I'm 5'6", 155 lbs and have 14 other canoes & kayaks.Kind of an odd little boat. But fun non the less. Way over-priced. But I got mine used (1st owner bought it and never put it in the water for over a decade) for a few hundred dollars.
Forget about sitting in the middle position in the boat for solo use. It makes the bow plow in the water and the boat wanders - big or small paddler. Sit in the rear position and it works out much better. Never tried it with two paddlers. Looked like it would be too crowded. But then I am 6'2" and 230 lbs, so with two smaller people it might be fine. My girlfriend uses the boat and likes it as she is a novice paddler and enjoys the stability.
Pros: Very stable, and quite quick for the effort expended. Canoe paddle or kayak paddle works well. Whatever you prefer. I tried both in the boat and to my surprise I like using the canoe paddle in it better.
Cons: Very uncomfortable seating. The seat is a nightmare, and the sides of the boat itself are too narrow. No room for your legs. Even less room in the boat for gear.
Final thought: My advice - get a canoe if you want access to gear, or a kayak if you want the efficiency.