The boat we had intended to buy was the Ultimate 14.5. But when a clean used Ultimate 16 came on the local market, with paddles, for less than the discount price on the 14.5, we jumped on it.
Our dilemma of how to cartop the boat on our (tall) Honda Element was solved. We eliminated the Yakima Hull Raisers ("J" saddles) and added pads to the crossbars. Now, using the extendable Boat Loader bar to get one end of the boat up high, Carol and I are easily able to put the inverted boat on the car and take it off again.
Compared to the 14.5, the 16 doesn't turn quite as easily, but seems to be about the same in all other aspects. The extra room between the paddling positions makes paddle clashes all but non-existent. We carry our dolly in the rearmost space, a large cooler aft of the front position (between my feet), and the little doggie goes wherever he likes!
We've done up to 4 hours at a time in the boat, and I come away with NO back issues at all. That's a relief, since my attempts at getting friendly with sea kayak seating just about had me giving up on paddling. The boat is so stable that I can pull alongside a dock, Carol can stand up and take the dog ashore to do what he needs, and re-board with no fear of capsizing.
For those looking for stability, comfort, and ease of transport, look no further.I chose this boat because I wanted a two seat kayak but also needed a high load carrying capacity. Another reason for this yak was I wanted a good platform for fishing. This boat has tons of room and plenty of places to mount all your fishing accessories.
I paddled it for the fist time today and was very happy.It tracks well and moved along comfortably with two paddling. Of course it's not a super fast boat by any means but still had a nice speed. I tried it by myself and it handled fine for me. I still have some tested to do such as getting back in should it get dumped. I consider this boat to be a hybrid - part kayak and part canoe. This being the case, I did install a small electric bilge pump to pump it out should it get swamped.
One thing I really like is you can customize this boat like crazy. If you`re looking for a stable two person yak to just paddle or especially fish out of, this boat is hard to beat.We paddled the 14 foot version at a symposium this summer and liked it, but felt it didn't have enough freeboard for our weight and gear. So we tried the 16 footer and bought it two weeks ago and it lives up to it's claims of being stable and super comfortable.
We have spent several long days fishing and paddling it and can't believe the comfort and ease of getting at gear. With the seats out it's just barely at our limit for loading on the roof. The snap on covers are doing a good job of keeping our gear cool and covered but they are not easy to take on and off. My husband says he wishes the sides were a wee narrower in back for a more natural paddle stroke but we can still get this big boy to cruise when we want to. We haven't hooked each other while fishing (yet)and think we might have in the 14 footer.
Dealer told us there were seat bags coming which would be nice to keep stuff off the floor. Our four hour trip down the Manistee was great and we had no trouble going through the tight S bends of the upper sections. We are used to nice day touring boats so of course the Ultimate 16 feels slow by comparison but we were looking for a comfortable ship to pack up for fishing and birding and are very pleased with the Ultimate 16. Our only complaint were the footbraces would not lock in place but the dealer replaced them and they now work great.