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Rare to find a kayak of almost 16 feet, 20" beam that's sized for the small paddler (I'm 5'3", 115 lbs, 32" inseam, size 6 feet). The cockpit is low and aftdeck flat which mates well to smaller torsos, and which facilitates rolling and self rescues. No thigh braces are needed- plenty of grab area under the 16"x26" cockpit, nice low 10.5" foredeck (8.5" in the rear). Water ready the kayak is 44lbs (as weighed in at the freight depot when I picked it up) thus very nice to carry & cartop. The layup is thoroughbred and the finish gleams. The seat & combing are also red and smoothly edged. On my very first paddles I felt no tippiness. The cockpit is in neutral (centered) position.
Although the Fuego is wellmannered, it will respond if pushed. It has beautiful glide. The slider skeg moves smoothly & allows you to pinpoint how much skeg you are using. About 1/4 down in mild conditions worked for me. Full on into moderate wind and 15" chop the skeg went 3/4 down & I made good progress. Very nonfatiguing to paddle. I never battled this kayak in wintry Michigan river waters.
Little things to like:
* hatch covers are fiberglass, with extra texturing for grip. The aft hatch has two buckles, the front hatch one, for extra assurance (along w. minute blowholes in each bulkhead.)
* Float pump squeezes nicely into the left side betw. seat and kayak.
* Deck rigging is extra thick 1/4" with full perimeter lines. The U-cleats are embedded in the fiberglass - no padeyes.
* the rectangular afthatch is so easy to load. My tent, sleeping bag, and mat all fit nicely w. more room for clothing, etc. - not even getting the 10" round hatch on the long foredeck!
On January 1, in its group paddling debut, the Fuego won much admiration from the paddlers, incl. two kayak shop owners who examined her closely. A month after that paddle, one athletic canoeist of years' experience recently told me "that kayak is fast, usually I don't have to push myself to keep up w. a kayak, but with that one I did." Sadly, the Fuego is no longer made. My Fuego was built in 1997 and gleams w. the pride and craftsmanship of a small British company who forever changed the concept of what a seakayak could be.
The storage size is okay and rear hatch is rectanular so it is easy to load things. Both hatches are water tight. I have paddled and demo quite a number of kayaks and this is in the top 5. The cockpit size is on the small size. Probably good for smaller size paddlers. I'm 5'8-1/2" and 155# with a size 7 shoes. That's about the maximum limit.
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