I would say this is the nicest double I've paddled. Over the years I've rented various models. Most of them were rather "barge-like". The Passat feels very stable but yet more lively than most doubles.
We ordered ours at the end of Jan/09 and received in 2nd week of March. Our boat has some new features. Most notable the slider rudder control - very nice. I like this much better than the traditional rope pull setup. The seats are also bolt-in foam cushion on plastic seats as opposed to previous foam flotation seat.
We've only had the boat out 3 times but one of the times was in 20knot wind. It has a pronounced tendency to turn up wind but I was able to keep us on course with a little pressure on the rudder. Most boats have this same tendency. Tracking and turning have been primarily by rudder input at this point. My partner is somewhat inexperienced. Two experienced paddlers could probably paddle and maneuver without rudder in calm waters.
IMO few boats could live up to a 10 rating. I've been paddling now for about 6 years. Here's some of my thoughts about the boat:
Hatch system seems really good. Haven't rolled the boat over yet but front hatch was bone dry after taking a number of waves over the bow. I'm currently adding additional deck lines along my cockpit in the rear. I'm currently modifying the seats to add a tad more contour to make them more comfy. I love the pivoting rudder pedal system. I prefer that over the sliding pedal system. However if the pedals were slightly larger that would make them a bit more comfortable and easier to operate. Also if you're a person with large feet you might have an issue with space since the hull tapers down on the sides quite a bit for the aft paddler.
Overall a great boat that I'm really happy with. I'd recommend it.A wonderful double and well suited for medium range (up to 10 days or 200 nm) trips here in Southeast Alaska. We've had our boat for two summers and have used it on a dozen multi-day trips as well as sharing it with friends who have less experience on the water than we. It is confidence inspiring.
It is also fast. We can cut our time to known points by 20% over our singles. We also tend to take the shortest route in crossings rather than hug a coast if there is wind.
Carries a surpsringly large amount of gear. Dry storage is adequate for a five day trip. The hatch covers are great and have proven to be effective even in rough water. You must use the space in front of the pegs for anything longer than five or six days -- tarp bag, bear can, fire pots.
Handles well, even when coasting among the rocks near shore. We use the rudder in following seas or when we are lazy. The rudder is a bit spongy, but it is turning a 22foot long vessel, and I guess that is ok. We can lean and brace easily and I'm sure we could roll it, if we were silly enough to try. Why roll when you can brace has been my mantra for decades.
I've made a sail from a triangular tarp and have deployed it with good results.
The Seaward seats, which double as a paddle float, are comfortable if you fit them to your size. I've added some height and am comfortable for the 4-5 hour marches we tend to do.
At 85 lbs it is easy to walk up and down the beach, and with carry straps four people can move it out of the surf if needed.