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I took this baby out yesterday on the Susquehanna and paddled 4-5 miles into 15mph wind with some decent chop and was amazed how well it handled. Even packed with all my gear (fishing rod, tackle box. backpack, cooler, roof rack, and spray skirts) I still had the whole bow of the boat free to strap down more stuff!
While you can't expect this tank to glide through the water like a the skinny touring that it is not, it moves along very well considering all the weight its carrying along. Tracks well, incredibly stable, and very roomy, all I could ask for in my first kayak!
The boat tracks well, is super durable and easy to car top. The huge cockpit is a plus to me, as is the most comfortable, adjustable kayak seat I have ever experienced. It can carry lots of gear for trips of several days to a week. It is a little heavy, but once you get moving is a breeze to paddle at a brisk rate. I love my kayak!
I traded my Tsunami in when I bought my Impex ...due to price, I will not get rid of my Dirigo 140.....it's a great starter boat & my fishing kayak ....it's a tank ....I bought a 1/2 skirt for it when I'm just paddling it ....works great for keeping the water off you ....I love my Dirigo 140, very stable, lots of storage in the rear hatch ... I've had it out in 2 foot rollers ....no problem ...stays pretty dry...no problems with the seat ..in fact I love where the seat controls are.
I would give it a 10 rating if it came with a rudder because of it's size it weathercocks a lot in a wind. It's a bomb proof kayak otherwise... I will never get rid of my Dirigo
I've taken the Dirigo on several trips, the longest being 11 miles. I've read the other reviews and agree with some of the comments, but not with others.
The boat tracks very straight. The defined from and rear keel help this kayak maintain a good line. The only issues is that because of the hull design, your paddling technique or lack there of gets amplified. I found that sometimes using lean turns is needed to get good turning response.
The kayak layout is very good. The dashboard is functional, equipped with dry storage container, cup holder and scotty rod holder. The foot braces are functional and sturdy. The seat is pretty comfortable and highly adjustable. I have read some negative things about the seat, but have not had any problems with it. The rear storage compartment is huge and water tight. I have not used the spray skirt yet, but I did test fit it and it seems like it would do the job, although when fitted, it does cover up the dashboard. The deck bungees have come in handy several times.
Overall, the kayak is an excellent performer. Does take some extra skill to paddle, but helps develop good technique. I'm 6' 210lbs and the kayak fits me perfect and lots of storage capacity for long outings.
Nothing really to complain about, especially for the price!
My second trip was an 18 mile overnighter on the Buffalo River. It was Memorial Day Week-end and there were a million canoes on the River. I am an Old fart, 56, and this is my first Kayak. I had canoed for 10 years when I was in my 20s. I more than held my own with speed, manuverability and effort, as my 21 year old friend and his 23 yr old friend had trouble keeping up with me in their Perception kayaks.
The seat is the best I have ever seen. There is plenty of room for the biggest paddler and plenty of gear. The craftmanship is Old Town standard, best in class.
I think some of the negative reviews are by people that don't really understand the recreational class. This is not a whitewater or touring boat. It is the best compromise for comfort, stability, durability and value that the recreational class represents.
It is so stable that its almost impossible to roll. I have stood in the boat and cast my fly rod. It being a heavy boat, slow to accelerate and hard to turn. MIne is heavier than when I bought it, anchor, fishing rod holders and other items.
The seat looks comfortable...BUT IS NOT........I am in the process of replacing the seat. The first one was adjusted by knobs on the side of the boat. These tighten or loosen short pieces of parachute cord. THEY WORKED FOR THE FIRST HOUR. Old Town is sending my dealer a replacement seat that has STRAPS, NOT PARACHUTE CORD for the seat adjustment. We will see how the new seats works. If it doesnt work, I will put a different seat in the boat, because it is a great stable fishing platform.
I you are thinking about buying this boat DO NOT BUY IT UNLESS THE SEAT HAS THE STRAPS FOR ADJUSTMENTS. I can assure you that the parachute cord adjustment does not work well at all.
I like the boat alot, but I only use it for fishing. I have several other boats for playing and touring so i know what i am saying about this boat. If you want a boat for day touring or any other reason than fishing or photos.....check other boats.
I found the Dirigo 140 to be a definite winner in its class as an all-around family recreational boat. It is exceptionally stable (you would have to aggressively assist this boat in order to tip it). It tracks and glides quite well, in fact, I find it to have decent speed too (I'm 5'-8" and weigh-in at 165 lbs. for reference purposes). It actually performs quite nicely into the wind. On a recent 5 hour tour of some local lakes, the wind kicked up to approx. 15 knots with at least a 1 ft. chop, the Dirigo performed beautifully (I could however sense that secondary stability as I expected, would be questionable in choppier coastal conditions - the standard cost for having exceptional primary stability).
The Dirigo 140 is TRUE to Old Town's renowned craftsmanship - it is a beautifully crafted boat from its hull, deck design and finish to its rear watertight storage (bulkhead) compartment. Old Town's easy to open "space hatch" is ACTUALLY watertight. The large open cockpit design makes entry and exits a breeze and allows for exceptional ease for fishing and stowing of your equipment, etc. The included child seat I find works quite nicely, remove it and again you've got a nice open space for a relatively good sized tackle-box. The small dashboard waterproof compartment is a really nice feature too for your wallet, keys, cell, etc. Old Town's new open cockpit control panel design really allows for a great deal of comfort, flexibility and control of the boat. I added a “Seals Sneak Spray Skirt” for my day/tour outings to keep dry – the large cockpit design does lend itself to paddle drip inside the cockpit. Personally, I also found the fully padded "Extrasport" seat with its on-deck adjustment controls to function extremely well - it provides adjustably great support and comfort. The Dirigo is also equipped with a generous amount of functional deck bungee rigging.
In closing, my only reason for not giving the Dirigo a rating of 10 is due to what I presume was an arguably rare flaw in the foam thigh control pads - approx. a week after receiving my new Dirigo (shipped directly from the factory) I found the foam thigh pads were deteriorating. I called "Old Town" direct - they informed me they would promptly ship replacement pads but I was courteously instructed to place a warranty claim through the retailer I purchased my Dirigo (Cabelas). Cabelas' great customer service dept. contacted Old Town directly on my behalf and my replacement pads were shipped - I've since replaced them and they're holding up fine to date. Although the boat was shipped well wrapped by Old Town, it did arrive with the gratuitous shipping and/or pre-wrap dents and scratches, however I must say that Old Town's Poly Link 3 material does display a great deal of resiliency (it's unquestionably highly-durable).
The Dirigo 140 is definitely a winner in its class!
The seat, which looked like it should be VERY comfortable felt flimsy at best. I'm a big guy (6' 250lbs) and just didn't feel stable in the seat. Also, while the cup holder seems like a perfect idea, it comes down right where your let wants to be. I had a chance to paddle a Loon 138 back to back with this boat and was much more impressed. Both boats tracked well, but the Loon was much more comfortable and tracked a bit better. A number of people at Beans said that they were less than impressed with the new seat and that they were constantly fixing the ones in the rental fleet.
Like I said, I'm no expert but I'm going out to buy a Loon! *grin*
I use my boat all the time and have gone from "casual" paddler to "avid" paddler as a result. In fact I had it out on Lake Michigan last weekend in some moderate waves (2-3 feet) and it handled great and was a heck of a lot of fun. Okay, I might not do a 20 mile trek in it (if I want to do that I will get a Sea Kayak) but for most everything else it's great! I am going back to the big lake this weekend and will spend hours out there fishing and relaxing! I love my Dirigo!
The fit and finish are top quality. The material that Old Town uses is not only great looking but durable and stiff. Stability is excellent and speed and tracking have been great. The seat is very comfy, there is plenty of storage and the deck lines are a nice touch. I have fished from my Dirigo for as many as 8 hours at a time and have had no problems with comfort. Modifying this yak for fishing is easy with many options. If enough folks are interested, I will post some of the mods I have made. I have also purchased every conceivable option imaginable (spray skirts, cockpit cover, deck lighting, rod holders, anchors, etc.) and am happy to share what seems to work best. To the guy that compared it to a Prijon, no kidding the Dirigo is slower, but then my Infinity QX4 SUV is slower than my Audi Quatro. They are two different yaks for two entirely different purposes.
I also own a Wilderness Systems Pungo which is a nice boat but nothing like my Dirigo. The Dirigo is a much more "solid" craft with greater speed and stability.
The only caveat I have about the Dirigo 140 is the weight. It is not a lightweight 10 foot boat. This is a full 14 feet long and is a bit on the heavy side. I get it up on top of my car by leaning it upright against the back and then "sliding" it up top. A smaller paddler may need some assistance car topping it.
For comparison/comfort purposes, I am 5'10" tall, weigh 185 pounds and have more than enough room inside the cockpit for comfort and gear.
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