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The main trade off for me is for river trips where there are class I and sometimes class II rapids. Also I frequently canoe in low water conditions where scraping gravel and rocks is the norm. I soloed the Escapade down a reach of the upper St. Croix yesterday. Water was high so avoiding rocks was easy. I found the Escapade could handle the rapids quite well - mostly class I and one class II. I don't advocate this canoe for white water but I am not going to portage every time I see a riffle. I was very surprised at the stability. I went through some standing waves that appeared higher than the gunnels and it did not take on any water and I never felt in danger of tipping even when I got turned almost side ways. I found it very manuevarable. This was especially noticeable in that I had a stiff head wind the whole trip. The speed is excellent.
For my canoeing, the main trade off is that the Tuff Weave gel coat is very easily scratched as compared to the royalex hull I am used to. So rock avoidance is now a high priority whereas with the Penobscot it was an afterthought. Overall, I think the Escapade performs better than I had anticipated for stability and maneuvarability. It is fast and fun to paddle and a "pretty" canoe at that.
The boat tracks great. We could trim it out well with the front sliding seat. It is a great physical fit for my daughter and me. And it is fast....
All and all a very versatile and enjoyable boat. The only complaint is that the removable yoke uses very tight cotter pins with sharp metal edges. It's nearly impossible to slip the pins all the way in without cutting a finger-- really wished they'd gone the gunwale clamp route rather than use cotter pins.
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