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I rigged up a fishing console for her that hooks over the front of the coaming, so that I didn't have to put any holes in her hull to install rod holders and a dry box.
She's very light and comfortable, and she tracks and maneuvers well. She's also durable. I'm ashamed to admit that she's been dropped onto my garage floor, rammed into my garage door while on the roof of my car and dropped onto the ground from the roof of my car, but with no ill effects whatsoever. And did I mention that she's pretty?
The only disappointments I have are that her hull material is fairly soft (e.g., I gouged it the first time that I grounded her on some gravel) and she's not as fast as I had hoped, although my expectations were probably unrealistic for such a light and small kayak. Regarding her weight, since she weighs only 36 pounds, she's the easiest kayak I own to get onto the water and back, so I take her out a lot.
The seat is very comfortable and easily adjustable. It has a cup holder and protective pads on the sides of the cockpit. The carrying handles are comfortable. The boat seems to be as light as advertised.
The boat performs well for my purposes (which are mostly photographic). My wife doesn't like the way it tracks though.
The only negative I have is the material. We also own an Eddyline Skylark, a more expensive boat, but with some comparable specs on paper. The Eddyline composite is much more solid and stiffer than the Hurricane's. They're not even close. Before you purchase the Hurricane you may want to check out the Eddylines. That being said, I think the Santee will hold up and there is a significant price difference. My point here is that not all composites are created equal.
I feel the Santee is super manuverable, edges well for a rec. boat and has great primary and secondary stability (almost to the point of being a bit boring.) Compared with other recreational kayaks of the same size the Santee seems to track a bit better than most and has very good glide. Speed is also decent although I guess I was hoping for more. I would give the Santee a rating of 9 but Hurricane has provided my with such outstanding customer service I feel compelled to give it a 10. My boat started to develop slight bulges in the hull under the bulkheads and with a simple call to Hurricane they are rectifying the situation to my complete satisfaction. I even spoke with Hurricane's VP Brad Taylor and he was both very kind and helpful. Once again Hurricane appears to have wonderful customer service which is worth a great deal these days.
In summation, I would say the Santee Sport 116 is a fun, super stable good looking boat that is quite durable and is probably one of the top performing recreational kayaks available in the 12' range. My next kayak will be a Hurricane Category 5 as I am looking for a little more speed and excitement. Plus edging the swede form hull in turning is just plain fun!
My wife wants to get involved in kayaking so we went to a local lake and rented two Necky's. I thought paddling my Santee was much easier. Looks like I may be buying another one for my wife. I have a closed cockpit. Being 60 years old I am not as limber as I used to be, so getting in and out is a bit more difficult. The Necky's we rented were open cockpit. I think I might have been more comfortable with that. My wife's will be open cockpit so hopefully she will let me try it out.
After having it in the water 3 times I am getting a small amount of water in both the fore and aft lockers. I will keep an eye on that.
The pro's are transportability, ease of paddling (see no need for the optional rudder), pretty comfortable seat, Trilone appears to be rugged enough, and the looks.
The con's would be that the accessibility of the foot pedals is cumbersome, and possibly the hull to deck joining (were the water is likely to be getting in the lockers)although a bit of marine grade caulk will fix the problem once found.
All in all I am very satisfied with the Santee 116.
The Santee Sport has met and exceeded all my expectations. It is light, easy to carry and quick in the water. It tracks well, turns easily and is a joy to use. Highly recommended.
We may eventually move on to more serious boats, however we are having a blast with these. They are a great value for the money
When the wind is at your back, it doesn't track very well. It has excellent glide, but only fair speed. Being very expensive, compared to the roto-cast kayaks, it delivers on looks & comfort but is so-so on performance.
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