The Glider is one durable kayak!
I bought a '95 a couple of years ago. It had been keelhauled over so many rocks etc. that there was a 6" hole in the keel at the stern. I ground off the gellcoat, patched the hole and re-gelcoated the entire hull. It was perfect! At the first traffic light the Glider came flying off of the roofmount carrier and sailed the 8' down to the street! It did amazingly little damage. The worst was because it hit bow first, it buckled the boat between the cockpit and the bow hatch. But only the thinner deck, not the hull at all. I added some fiberglass patches to the areas, buffed out the new spiderweb cracks on the deck and touched up the scuffs in the gelcoat.
Although I'm not taking it whitewater kayaking, I'm sure it would survive.
I have 3 kayaks. The Glider is for weather forecasts of "light to moderate chop". It's kind of susceptible to wind & currents. Though it would perform better if fully laden with camping gear.
My 17' Seaward Tyee is 24" wide and is a more stable touring boat, but averages 1/2 MPH slower than the Glider.
My 17'Necky Chatham is for weather forecasts that include "small craft advisory" and is about a full MPH slower than the Glider.
If I could only keep one it would be the Glider. I call it my telephoto kayak because it brings distant objects into focus. I can spot a speck on the horizon and an hour later I'm there. And it'll hold a lot of gear.
Any issues I have with my '95 have been addressed with the current model. The sliding rudder controls. (I prefer the "gas pedal" controls) Mine has no forward bulkhead plus the new model has recessed hatches & deck fittings. That's got to help with the wind issues. Plus there's the deck recesses to keep your hands from hitting the deck when paddling.
I've demo'd an Epic 18X and it'd be fun to speed across "calm inland waters" but with that low bow it's got to be more susceptible to "pearl diving" into waves. Besides, if I bust an Epic, I can't fix it like I can a fiberglass Seda.
So for me, a flatwater-touring kayaker the Seda Glider IS the best boat. It's fast, handles moderate weather, and holds a lot of gear. It tracks like an arrow. With an Epic winged paddle to maximize my forward stroke, I can close my eyes and stay on course. Arriving at a beach I feel like I'm berthing the Queen Mary, but I'd choose tracking over turning any day.I have paddled Gliders for six years. Presently, I own two, an '05 Kevlar model and an '08 CF/Kevlar model. Previously, I paddled Neckys, and Current Designs. Over the years I've had the opportunity to paddle boats from other North American brands, as well as those of the major three British imports. In my experience, the Glider is the best all around touring kayak available. It is faster than any other touring kayak (with the single possible exception of the Epic 18). The paddler-friendly sculpted deck increases stroke efficiency and its ability to surf wind waves can further extend touring range considerably. Paddling into a stiff wind, while never painless, is easier. Further, the Glider is remarkably stable and maneuverable.
Seda's workmanship is good. There is ample storage for expedition or multi-day touring and the day hatch is a tremendous convenience. I don't need a new kayak. however, were I to buy one, it would be a Glider.Seda Glider was love at first sight for me.
After paddling once a week for 4 years and owning 6 kayak previously, I know what I was looking for. The size of the cockpit is excellent for me. I can go in and out easily. Also easier to do self-rescue like - cowboy style and side straddle. It also makes my paddling style doable- legs together with knees pointing up.....like on a surfki or k1 kayak. I had to of course change the pedal to a kickboard with controls on top for the rudder.
It's straight tracking kayak and the down side is that it's more difficult to turn. I'm aware of the trade off. My Norkapp HMC was like that and I'm used to it.
The kevlar model I got is about 45#. And that's not too heavy and not lite either. I will never buy another 30# kayak from a bad experience I had. It flies on top of the water after a capsize with a super strong wind gust. A paddle leash attached to the kayak was my only salvation. Advanced paddlers might not have this problem.
When it comes to speed, I was able to paddle the Glider at 6 mph for 30 min. straight. That might not be that fast but I can't even do over 5mph on my Epic V-10 sports surfski (afraid to capsize?).
I feel confident when I paddle my Seda Glider just like my Nordkapp HMC. Is it perfect? No such think. BTW, I did not have any issues with quality... Excellent kayak!!!Knowing Joe & his wife from their beginnings in a small industrial garage in the mid 70s. After buying a 13" kayak in 76, buying my glider in 2002.Its much better than any others I have tried , in bays or oceans .I would fish and paddle in San Diego bay, the aircraft carriers passed it would roll - heel to a solid point even in the trough . Like others have written it tracks straight even when driven with hard paddling, off shore it handles weather well .
Its almost a bit too small ( leg room ) for me 6' 6" 230 lb ,still very comfortable after hours in the seat. Its a lot to carry for one guy in the standard glass. I recommend the wheels and spray skirt as a standard for this boat. You can live without a rudder on most inshore water ways.
Its way faster than you can imagine. Lots of storage , at a good price.The Glider was my first glass boat after two years in a CD Scirocco. It doesn't have a rudder and I raced it for 2 years w/o one. When racing there were too many correcting strokes and I would waste valuable energy and time to stay on track after a passing boat or current change. But w/o a rudder you really learn how to handle a boat. I finally just installed a Sealine system and the rudder is a necessity. Now you can concentrate on your forward stroke and stay your course or get out of someone's way in a hurry at the start of a race. Here's how I rate it:
Touring - 10
Racing - 7-8 due to weight limitations
Turning (while racing) 90 degrees - 8 of 10
Turning 180 degrees - 6 of 10 (you must practice tight turns because the built in hull type skeg in the stern enables you to track well over distances bet defeats the turning ability in tight quarters.)
Windy Conditions - 6 of 10 (While racing around Jamestown, RI 15 miles, I had to stop for other issues nothing to do w/ the boat. 3 racers passed me. This was the downwind leg with the tide and current. Over the next five miles I settled in and caught all three boats. Turned into the wind on the Northern leg and then 6 miles into the wind heading south and all three boats slowly but surely walked away from me.)
Following Seas - 7 of 10 (gets squirrelly due to the lack of rocker in the stern. You have to brace and watch yourself. Like most boats.)
Weight 48 lbs w/ Rudder it's Kevlar w/ Glass overlay on Hull. Fit & Finish 10 of 10
Resistance to Wear Factor - 10 of 10 (This boat looks new on the water - it's five years old.)
Hardware/Decking - 10 of 10
Resale - 10 of 10
Cockpit - Roomy the way I like it.
Hatches - 10 of 10 dry as a bone
Length - 9 of 10 (it's long @ 19ft.)
Boat Appeal - 9 of 10
Cruising w/o effort - 4mph
Cruising w/ effort - 5 to 5.5
Racing - 5.5 to 5.9 (steady pacing)
Racing - Sprint - 6.2to 6.5 mph (hard to sustain)
I would be hard pressed to sell this boat so I recommend it highly. If I bought a race specific boat I would still keep the glider. This is an all around fast cruising day boat that can do expeditions fully loaded and you are always in front of the pack.I just received a new graphite Glider, and the difference between the new Glider and the Kevlar one I owned in the mid 90ís is night and day. The speed is not quite up there with an Epic Endurance (they cruise about the same, but in a sprint the Epic will win), but the comfort was much better (better seat, backrest, and room for knees!). It won hands down when compared with a Current Designs Extreme (my previous favorite boat).
Deck rigging has been improved. They installed a reflective perimeter line, and a braided shock cord which has more stretch. The bulkheads are curved and the rear bulkhead curves up to the cockpit coaming making emptying the boat a breeze. The inside of my boat is smooth from release cloth, but small air bubbles in the bow show it wasnít vacuume bagged. Core mat, or similar stiffener is used in the hull and in the paddle float rigging of the deck. It is light, weighing under 40 lbs, with the rudder. The finish is very nice, the seam is smooth, I would say the construction is excellent. The only problem is the deck rigging bolts, which extend past the nuts and into the hull. They will rip drybags like a knife. Itís not too hard to grind off those sharp edges.
Stability is marginal, and secondary stability is not much better. We had the boat in strong winds, and it did not weathercock. We could paddle at any angle to the wind without problem. It is long enough to get squirmy if you are on the crest of 2 waves, and it does not want to turn very quickly (but I have other boats for that), but for speed and comfort it is a blast. I routinely used my old Glider in class II whitewater, and I suspect the new boat will end up there as well. My old Glider was built like a brick house, and could take a serious beating. The new one being Graphite is more fragile, but it seems very solid.
As for the guy who preferred the Mariner II, thatís like comparing a SUV to a race car. I also paddle a Northwest Pursuit, and choose that boat in rough conditions. But when I want to go fast and have fun, the Glider wins hands down.