The Georgian Bay is a very enjoyable boat to paddle. Its hard chines allow course changes simply by leaning, the clean hull design slices through water very easily and the bow handles the waves quite well (have not yet had water come into the cockpit). My 1.8m, 85kg frame fits nicely in the cockpit and the rudder controls and thigh braces are conveniently placed.
Placing my camera (3kg) on the top deck or my dog (6 kg) on the cockpit edge alters stability very little. Hatches are very nicely designed. Boat itself is quite stable (though bouncy) in 0.5m waves. Wind tends to draw the boat toward itself but the rudder compensates very nicely. Have paddled calm streams and rivers as well as Lake Ontario (waves up to 0.5m) and have had no problem. When I broke the rudder mount on rocks (getting in too close to shore during a heavy swell) ClearWater Design replaced it at no cost!
I am very pleased with this boat and the with its manufacturer and would recommend both to anyone.This is my second ClearWater Design, (also have NuNu).
Pros: Comfortable seat, roomy cockpit, spacious hatches for plenty of gear. Does well on the rivers but better in the bay where it shines, the "dolphin nose" stays above the waves rather than cutting through or going under, less water in the cockpit! The rudder works very well & solves weathercocking problems.
Cons: A little cumbersome (compared to the Tsunami 140) Hatches do leak terribly but hopefully can be fixed as mentioned by another reviewer. Does need thigh braces but they can be added.
Conclusion: If you are looking to have fun camping and kayaking in an economic boat the Georgian Bay is for you. If you are looking to clock speed in something sleek and nimble - it is not. A great deal for the price.Just picked up two GB's for the price of one from a fabulous outfitter in the Kawarthas. Service second to none!
Now we must admidt this is our first - never rented, borrowed or snuck a paddle from a kayak before - so no comparisons on a professional basis here. However, for those who just might be in the "same boat" my better half and I will vouch for it's comfyness - very adjustable seat and foot rests - a bit cramped in the foot room for Hubby size 12.5 feet, but I find it okay with water shoes - anything bigger I also have difficulty as I have a bum ankle with no forward pointing range of motion. So far this is the only neg we can find.
Lots of room to store things in the hatches, below -in the cockpit and on top - for the day trips and weekends. With no lessons (yet!) She seems to handle really well - a bit tippy for the beginner, at first, and very close to the water line leaving no room for error - tee hee - but once you get that "centre of gravity" or "in the zone" it is really nice and instills confidence.
Have not a clue if we are paddling correctly but we can both get a pretty good wake going at full tilt and she flys like a feather across the water. Does seem to pull/track to the left a bit - but that could be our dominant right hand stroke. (Canoe paddlers for years).
For our first "Yak" as some say and for the price we got the deal of the year (in fact the last two they had!). For the money saved we may consider installing the rudder system in the future. (all depends on the trips we intend on taking.)
Wanting to get in some fall paddling (cautious paddling) to see the colours - so next Spring will be the big test and get into some chop, ride the boat wakes and maybe take on a few low grade rivers - after of course some serious lessons on safety and technique!!!! Happy Yakking all!!