At first I was worried that 73 lbs was going to feel like an oil tanker. The only time it matters is when you are hauling it to the water and in the first 2 seconds of paddling up to speed. Once it is moving the weight isn't important. Overall quality is what you'd expect for the price. So far I'm glad I got the boat but had to make a few adjustments to get it right. First and foremost I have to deduct half a point for the foot rest rails. They are waaaaaaaay too long and come too close to the paddler. The only reason for them to come that close is if a 4 foot person were paddling the boat. Obviously this is a big heavy boat and most of the paddlers are going to be big men. Anyway, the reason this is a problem is because the track/rail that is unused sticks into the side of your shin causing a lot of pain and distraction. It was the first thing I noticed on my maiden voyage and could not stop thinking about it. Before I took it out again I chopped a full 8 inches off the rail and left the remainder held on by 2 of the 3 rivets. I chopped it down without removing the whole thing by drilling out the rivet closest to the rear/stern and very slowly and carefully cutting it with a loose hack saw blade. I put the top of a tuna fish can behind the rail so not to cut into the cockpit. Now I can paddle pain/distraction free and push my shins/calves up against the sides of the cockpit to brace. I can't believe the engineers didn't realize this problem.
Enough of the bad, the rest is good. Just as I had read, the Seadart 17 tracks as straight as an arrow. I've had a Sealution II (rudder), Walden Passage (skeg), Pungo 120, Knysna Isthmus (rudder), Pamlico 135T and this boat tracks the straightest of them all. That's one of the main reasons I bought it and it lives up to the claim. You will NOT be doing figure 8's in this boat! Stability is fine though initial stability felt weird on the first paddle. The sponsons do their job when the boat is leaned. Unfortunately the web site neglects to mention what sponsons even are. It also neglects to mention the cockpit size or show any decent pictures of the boat. The cockpit is big enough for fatties. I'll have to add some hip pads to snug it up a bit. The surf-to-summit back band is satisfactory. There is no seat pad as standard equipment. You'll need one for multiple hour trips. The seat is just kind of flat, no contour butt shape. I like the simplicity of the ONE scupper hole with a rubber plug. I have never taken it out yet, hence, no water splashing back in. Dry, dry, dry with the high sides. The handles are nice and help to move this beast from truck to lake, but they could be up higher and more out of the way. I only graze my fingers once out of every 500 or so strokes so it's not a big deal, but why not put them as high as possible. The way the backband and handle share a rivet is just plain stupid, subtract the other half a point. A.) it puts a lot of stress on one little rivet jammed into plastic and B.) it severely limits the variety of backbands you can use on this boat. Almost all other manufacturers use the brass clip hook set up. I haven't used the water bottle holder in the "console" yet but it looks like it would just keep falling out in chop or waves. I'll rig some sort of tie down. The hatches leak. The gasket that they have sandwiched between the deck and the black plastic hatch opening has uneven pressure on it. You can look at it and see that it is bound to leak. Another plastic ring on the inside could add support to the flexible polyethylene and fix the problem for pennies but.....
In the end it gets a 9 because it does what I wanted. It is the boat I have been searching for: a reasonably fast, super-straight tracking, stable, expedition worthy, sea worthy kayak with a long enough cockpit to handle a 6 footer. By the way, it seems that this boat could handle someone up to 6'4" or bigger. I'm far from maxing it out. Oh, what did I forget? The hatches ARE too small but i don't care. Chop that footrest rail before you even take it out. You don't want to have a bad maiden voyage. Sit in it and press your calf/shin up to the side of the cockpit like you are leaning into a turn. You'll see what I mean.
Best touring SOT for the money. Buy one!