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I've loaded this thing down with a LOT of camping gear, and very little of it lightweight backpack stuff either. I've had packs of gear on the deck both front and back of me and with only 3-4" of freeboard at each side it tracked perfect, and fast too! My GF has a Dirigo 10'6" model and she's always behind and weaving all over the place, lol. She's looking for another Nantucket cause she loves mine so much.
I've added a single stainless stud just in front of the cockpit railing to mount my digital camera for videos and pics. I also added a 'sticky backed' Go-Pro mount on the left side for some action shots. I also fabricated a paddle holder and installed it on the left side as well because I like to fly fish from it and this stores the paddle safe and sound. I have a spray skirt but only use it to keep the trash out while hauling it and at camp if it rains.
The hull is solid, the water tight compartments are plenty big enough for the gear but beware that packing your camping gear in a dry bag and then trying to stuff it thru the smaller of the two hatches will result in frustration... but if you pack the bag about 1/2 full and then feed it thru the small hole it's easily packed in the space below deck provided.
I don't have a cup holder or anything like that so I'm always spilling my open soda can in the floor but a water bottle with a screw lid is safe. The stock seat lacks a little in the comfort area but I cut out a 1/4" thick neoprene pad and used contact cement to glue it to the seat bottom, butt problem fixed! I have no need for side pads and since I'm not intending to roll this thing over, I figured it was fine without them.
I'm only 5'-5" (130 lbs) and I have no issue lifting it into the back of my pickup and using a piece of foam on the cab I rest the other end on the tailgate and with some ratchet straps I can easily haul it to wherever I want to go. It's a great boat, well worth the 1/2 full retail price I paid of $700. I'm looking for another one now for my GF.
I would recommend a Nantucket, mine tracks good (no left tracking as mentioned in some reviews). Even after 10+ years of being stored at temperature that go down to minus 30 degrees C in the winter and paddling it in temp. up to +30 degrees C in the summer, the rubber hatches as still in great shape and do not let any water in. This kayak is almost 15 feet long. I weighed it last week after I completed all the outfitting for rolling, weighs 68 pounds, kind of heavy compared to other brands but you can drag this kayak anywhere you go and it won't show much signs of wear and tear.
I'm satisfied with my Nantucket, would never get rid of it, we've been through too much together
This kayak is amazing for Lake cruising, river gliding, ocean viewing and all kinds of fun. You will not be disappointed with this old town. If you are looking for an amazing kayak for a decent price, THIS IS THE ONE.
All in all, I'd have to say the boat is good value for the money, and is extremely stable, and with the Polylink 3 construction, very durable. Being a newby, I do like having the security of a rudder.
I have had a Perception Contour and a Current Designs Pacifica. Both great boats but I was constantly cramping up on longer paddles and had difficulty extracating myself from the cockpits.
I was initially going to have an Old Town Adventurer 160 shipped to Australia site unseen as it is not available here. I was advised by Ian Pope at Adelaide Canoe Works that he was getting in a Nantucket (NZ manufacture) and I decided to wait before outlaying the cost for the 160 up front.
When the Nantucket arrived I was surprised at the massive volume and room in the boat and decided to buy it after comunicating with DTGSK a previous reviewer.
I must say I have not had any problems with my Nantucket at all in fact I am absolutely wrapped in its performance. It is extremely stable and surprisingly fast even with my 140+ kgs. The finish is good and although I have made a couple of personal modifications it was good to go straight off the floor. Although slightly hevier as described by other reviews I can still easily handle it solo onto the roof racks.
I would highly recomend anyone of larger stature in the Australian and NZ region to take a look at the Nantucket. I would also like to thank Old Town (US) for all of their help in getting info and contact numbers here in Australia.
I have had to repair both control cables, as the crimped connections popped loose, one as I was setting it up at home, and the second as I first put it in the water.
My first use was therefore without benefit of foot pegs or rudder, and that, combined with my lack of paddling skill, made the tracking reminiscent of paddling an inner tube!
Yesterday I was in it for about six hours. It tracks great with the rudder in the water, less so with it out of the water. It seems to be exceptionally stable, much more so than the craft used by the firm I took instruction from a few weeks ago. I exited and reentered several times for lunch and bio breaks, at either docks or up feeder creeks on the lake I was on, and the stability made me look as if I knew what I was doing.
I think this yak will be ideal for lake and bay/estuary travel.
A full blown sea kayak they are not but for weekend touring their, ruggedness, storage, stability, size and price makes them hard to beat. They are capable of decent size trips as long as you are aware of the limitations of any touring boat compared to a sea kayak. They will leave Arcadias and discoveries for dead but would be slow and not as seaworthy compared to a Greenlander, but also half the price.
They are heavier but living in Tassie we like the poly3 insulted hull. If you want a good stable boat with acceptable touring speed, good storage, rugged insulted hull and workmanship then have a look but check the hulls out for straightness.
Iíd get the rudder, I like it but thatís me. Other people think itís a waste of money. If your going to be out for more than 1/2 an hour get the rudder.
People have obviously suffered from quality control problems. And we are grateful for the "heads up." A good boat that is lots of fun and providing you check it out, excellent bang for your buck.
So...I have done my best to duplicate the shape and will be building a cedar strip version of the Nantucket this winter. In duplicating the shape I also found that the keel line was not straight. Hopefully the copy will have the good qualities without the weight, the oil canned bottom, or the warped keel. The Nantucket is a great design for its intended use - it just didn't come off the assembly line as drawn. By the way - I had heard that the Nantucket was discontinued so I felt that it was not unethical to make a copy for my own use - now I see it still for sale in some places so I am not sure of its production status.
The Kayak was delivered I took them home for the first paddle and many of the fitting were not secured. I thought not a problem, but concerns over quality came to mind.
Both Kayaks had dents in the bottom. I though these were to do with shipping and would pop out. I tried everything and contacted the manufacturer in NZ for advice. The dents are still there and cause some cavitation problems when paddling. The dents would be about 8 inches in circumference directly under the seat.
The Kayaks are heavy and the dents in the hull are still there I store them on a rack with padding to prevent the dents which return shortly after the kayak is put into the water.
I have sent e-mail to Jonson Outdoors in NZ, but there is radio silence on this. I struggle to recommend this craft because of the quality control issues I have had to deal with. this is a shame. It's a pity they didn't put as much effort into their product as they do to their web site.
I'm still paddling my Nantucket, but it's disheartening to see they still don't care. My next one won't be an OT! Happy paddling.
As far as performance goes the boat really needs a rudder. I took it out on the bay and it had a tough time in about 10-20 knot winds. Once I had the rudder installed it really made all the difference. One thing to remember this is not a full 17 to 19ft touring kayak. It was designed to be a recreational/light touring boat and in this catagory it performs well.
Both kayaks had been purchased from L.L. Bean, which is just up the road from our house, so I called them and explained my dilemma. They were more then happy to take them back for a full refund or exchange. Other then the tracking problem, I do like these kayaks and Beans allowed me to look at all they had in stock for a replacement. The wife and I went through 7 kayaks, flipping them over and looking at the keel. 3 of them were straight as an arrow. The other 4 all veered to the right. Where is the Quality control ?.
LL Beans is going to looked into this further but Iím not sure what the outcome will be. So now we have 2 decent tracking boats that suit our purpose for day trips on the lake and a little island hopping in the ocean. The stability on this model, both initial and secondary, is very good. Even for a beginner like myself, though I realize speed is sacrificed by the 26" width. There is plenty of room under the hatches and so far we havenít had any leaking problems.
I realize that a kayak should be rated based on its intended use. This is not a sea kayak, nor is it a WW kayak. This one was made for day trips and seems to be geared more towards lake paddling. Which it is very well suited for. With that in mind, I give it an 8. It lost a point because I shouldnít have had to return the first ones and a 10 is unachievable. Nothing is "Perfect".
On the good side, it is fairly stable, attractive, and nimble. It has acceptable speed too. It is relatively comfortable for a guy that is 6'1" and 215 pounds. I even fished out of it with no problems. However, having to constantly correct for direction every three or four strokes is not an option when purchasing a touring kayak that is supposed to cover water quickly without difficulty. I was going to sell it immediately, but my retailer agreed to take it back. Thank you Cabela's for your fine return policy. Sorry, Old Town, but I think you have a problem.
UPDATE 06/14/02 -- I have had more extensive experience with the boat and I am pleased with the purchase. The boat is stable and comfortable. My wife uses the rudder but I find it unnecessary. Have been in heavy chop and 2-3 foot surf on Lake Michigan. In general the boat feels stable in these conditions and rock steady on flat water. I paddles 3.4 miles in 42 minutes (down stream on a slow current) the other day so the speed appears adequate. I have capsized once when running in on a wave which spit me out sideways. I wasn't fast enough with my brace and rolled in shallow water. I wet exited, emptyed the boat on shore, and went back out to the surf. No further problems.
However, it is not a fast boat by any means. It is much harder to paddle fast than my Looksha, but then again, it's quite a bit wider and heavier. I've also had it out on Lake Erie once. In some windy chop, it was quite stable and tracked very nicely. Since it is short boat (14'9"), I did try using the rudder to offset wind induced weathercocking. The rudder really does the trick, but is not really necessary except for the worst kind of weathercocking.
Overall, I really like this boat. It's not particularly fast, but it has great initial stability, good secondary stability, and handles fairly well. The Old Town foam sandwich construction makes for a handsome and extremely stiff boat, but also adds considerably to the claimed weight (it also makes for a warmer cockpit in cold water as it insulates quite nicely). Hatches seem quite dry, and the overall fit and finish of the hardware is good -- much better than I've seen on some of Old Town's older models.
This is a very versatile boat for beginners: stable at all times, usable on large flat waters (great lakes and oceans) as well as broad rivers and impoundments (I don't think I'd use this boat on any fast moving water unless I had a lot of room to maneuver as it's not the nimblest boat), plenty of dry storage for kayak expeditions (especially if fresh water is available), and at less than 15 feet, pretty easy to store and transport (although the weight makes rooftop loading a bit difficult).
An agressive paddler would probably outgrow this boat pretty quickly, but it's a very nice boat for anyone else, and offers great value. We picked up the expedition package for $875 -- quite a bargain compared to other small expediation ready sea kayaks!
All of these perks are good selling points for the Nantucket. So, if you are just out bobbing around on the lake, fishing, taking photos and then back to camp..... what more would you need? If, on the other hand, you plan on putting some mileage between you and the launch site, you'll most definitely want a different boat. All you need to do to convince yourself of this is rent a Nantucket one day, then rent something slightly more 'serious' the next. The difference will be apparent. A friend of mine and I recently took the Nantucket and the Cape Horn on a two-day camping trip (just 15 miles round trip) on Colorado's Lake Granby. My buddy spent most of the trip trying to catch up, and I spent most of the trip trying to let him (of course... he had to carry more of the gear since the Cape Horn couldn't!). At any rate, I give the Nantucket a 7 out of a 10 because I think Old Town could have put a little more effort into making the Nantucket a more enjoyable boat to paddle. To those who say it tracks straight, I suggest they have not paddled a boat that truly DOES track straight (again, it's a direct comparison thing). If you're still not convinced, next time you are in the store, flip the Nantucket over and take a gander at its bottom. The keel line completely disappears between the bow and stern. The hull becomes completely flat bottomed for at least half of the boats length. Paddling any boat with a hull shaped like that guarantees the need for constant adjustment of direction (I could not imaging paddling the Nantucket any great distance without the rudder down!) Again, you have to compare apples to apples.
In short, the Nantucket will hold plenty of gear, it is not likely to tip over on you and will give you hours upon hours of enjoyable and stable time on the water. But.... to ensure you don't get bored, you owe it to yourself to paddle AT LEAST ONE 'higher performance' boat prior to purchasing the Nantucket. This boat (in my opinion) would deserve a ten if the hull shape was a bit more performance oriented. If you're hot on Old Town products, you may want to check out the 'Millennium 16'.
Because I was a beginner, I wanted a boat I could grow with. My target area of use is for flatwater in the many creeks by me and a little lake or river trips, not really openwater oceans or anything. I also wanted to use it a bit in class 1-3 white water, if I ran into some on the creeks. I liked the boats in between length of 14'9". Not too long for the creeks and still long enough to track well. I did not have a problem with the finish as mentioned by others, But the rear hatch cover seems kind of loose. I have gotten water in the rear hatch, probable from the bulkhead seal, but have not repaired it yet. As for the look of the boat, it is great. I have the red, which really looks more like a fiberglass boat, and not a cheap toy.
Performance: I have had it out probably 12 times in the creeks and have been very happy with it. I even took it out for a couple of winter runs! It seems to track well. I purchased it with the rudder, but really have not used it much. I have heard that you should learn proper paddling skills rather than relying on the rudder, I find that works for me. Initial and secondary stability are both good (as I understand their meaning). Also, I wonder if I would like a boat with more rocker to handle the occasional rapid or the faster moving water found in the spring.
One thing I decided I'm not happy with is that the boat is fairly wide 24" and has no thigh braces or knee braces. I will need to add something as my skill increases, because it is difficult to brace without them on a boat this wide. I haven't tried to roll yet (will be taking class this winter), but I think it will be tricky.
Does anyone know of a knee brace available for this boat that will attach to the coaming like other mfg's standard braces?? Please feel free to e-mail me with question or your comments.
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