Extremely deceptive; this boat has the appearance and specifications of a larger version of the highly successful and excellent performing 'pungo'. It is in fact designed by Joe Walton but similarity ends there. It tracks fairly, maneuvers poorly, lacks acceptable primary, as well as secondary stability and easily becomes weather cocked in minimal seas. It obviously doesn't perform as intended, as Wilderness Systems quickly dropped support from the print catalog and from their web site. Additionally, it's frequently dealer discounted (priced to move), and is too often found in the used marketplace. Seems a waste of a great name.
Wilderness Systems is a great outfit, Joe Walton an excellent boat designer; kudos to them for pulling the problem quickly. Hopefully the 'Cape Hatteras' will reemerge in the future, redesigned anew.I purchased a ruby Cape Hatteras in early October, my first kayak. It is 15' 3" in length, 25.5" across the beam and 14" deep. It weighs 61 lbs. I ordered three more within two weeks for my wife and sons.
New at the sport, I wanted something that was stable and fast in the water that had good storage capacity. The initial stability is fine and the secondary stability is superb. The Manteo was my first choice until I read about the Hatteras, which is narrower by several inches and longer by two feet. It flies across open waters like a bird. I was first drawn to the Hatteras by its design, but the performance and storage capabilities (large front hatch opening and larger back hatch opening) also contribute to its overall worthiness.
The catalogue (WS) states that it takes a little more skill to maneuver than the Manteo, but on the other hand, my 6th grade son Woodrow has no trouble handling his new lava Hatteras and my 7th grade son Zack out-maneuvers us all in his rasta. I look forward to future camping trips and day excursion all across the southwest. Through a little luck and a lot of extensive research (internet & talking with dealers) I feel like I came up with perfect kayaks for our needs. The quality and workmanship on each boat leave nothing to be desired. We have lava, rasta, ruby/maize and ruby and consider them to be real beauties. I'd make the same choice again. Wonderful kayaks! Wonderful new window on the world.