This was my first kayak, purchased 5 years ago.
What I loved about it at first -- rock solid stability, abundant bone dry storage -- recently just didn't make up for its drawbacks -- it's heavy and slow and just doesn't edge.
It's rated at 50 lbs., it's actually 64 lbs. (I weighed it). It also leaves a wake when I'm pushing it as fast as I can (never a good sign).This is a well balanced kayak with great stability, tracking and speed. This boat cuts through wind and chop like a destroyer! When I bought the boat new the first thing I did was to add silicone the bulkheads on the inside of the cockpit after reading all the reviews. Thank you! The result has been bone dry bulkheads front and back.
Nevertheless, it's a superb boat for beginners, so I'm keeping up at my Adirondack cabin for guests.
Bottom line, this yak is like a great beginner ski, but when you're ready for a racing ski, it just doesn't cut it.
In summary I would definitely recommend this boat. Its width of only 26.5" making it faster than most boats under 13'. It's stable, has beautiful lines, great for overnights and long trips, and fun to paddle. You also stay dry without a spray skirt. This is not a good choice for fishing. For the money this is a really cool boat.Have had my Castine for 2 years now, and continue to be pleased with it. What you should know is that for a 13-footer, it is an extremely happy compromise between initial stability, secondary stability, maneuverability, and forward speed. This is a hard balance to achieve, and OT has done it. Leaned turns are very effective (I put a rudder on mine and took it off after 1/2 a season; superfluous and gadgety). I have had it on long (5 mile) Chesapeake Bay crossings in 20-KT winds, nasty chop, and I was properly nervous but in the end, gratified by the boat's intrinsic seaworthiness (it got me there safely). It lies nicely to the seas when you stop paddling, doesn't weathercock excessively when properly trimmed, and is generally well-behaved. The aft bulkhead leaks after much fussing and lots of silicone, and my guess is it always will, because of paddler weight flexing the structure at that point. C'est la vie, and as Feathercraft says..."hello, it's a water sport..." Forward bulkhead, made the same way, is bone dry.
Cowboy and paddle float re-entry work fine even at my arthritic, 59-year-old 199lbs. HOWEVER, and please note for safety: The high, rigid factory seat back make both rolling and re-entry techniques extremely difficult. Even though the thing folds forward, imagine climbing back in and maneuvering around the thing to quickly get your center of gravity low...bearing in mind the conditions under which you would have wet-exited in the first place. I took mine out and installed a backband, augmented by a portable camp seat for long trips. Thus, the 8 vs 10 rating.
BTW, those who think that kayaks under 18 feet are toys should have a look at Tappan Adney's The Bark And Skin Boats of North America. In it they will find Inuit kayaks in the 13-14-foot range. The Greenland tradition wasn't the only one...This is a great boat. I recently sold my Old Town Heron, because I've started doing more overnight'rs on rivers with up to class 3 rapids and felt I needed a boat that's a little shorter. While I could force the 16'Heron down the river, it wasen't a lot of fun, which brings me to the Castine. This boat is great. Much better quality than my Heron. Maybe not quite as fast as the Heron, but fast non the less.
I looked hard at the Dagger Crossover, but all things considered, who really camps on class 4-5 anyway. I'll use my RPM for the day trips, and my castine for when I'll see you next week. This is a great crossover boat, check it out.I have had my Castine for a little over one week and have been on two river runs in central FL. I have not been paddleing for very long. I have only been on four trips and used three different kayak. I ordered my Castine from my milepoint shopper ( frequent flyer mile points). It took three weeks to receive. I am very pleased with the quality of my boat. As the previous person wrote the bulkheads are made of foam and not very substantial, but I can remedy that. I also will have to add a little sealant to the black strip around the cockpit, which will take all of two minutes.
I love the way the Castine tracks and glides throught the water. The rivers I have been on have had a lot of fallen trees and tight corners to negotiate and the Castine was a breeze to turn through these obstacles. I have had many compliments on the maneuverability and the over all looks of my Castine. I commend Old Town on the clean lines and performance of the Castine kayak and would highly recommend this model to anyone.The Castine was my first kayak, and it has accomplished its mission nicely: gotten me hooked on kayaking. While the boat is simply too wide for me (at 5'2" and 115 lbs) to have practiced moves that require edging the boat, it worked well as a stable platform for developing a smooth, strong forward stroke. That stroke, I found out recently, carried over beautifully when testing some boats with 22" beams.
I never capsized in this boat (except when practicing wet exits), and its stability and good tracking allowed me to simply enjoy the sights as I paddled. It was also easy to maneuver around obstacles. The surprising thing was how much fun it was to play in the motorboat wakes!
Another unexpected nicety is how well-insulated the hull is. Spring through late fall, I never got cold legs even when paddling with only a Farmer Jane shorty on. I started hankering for more speed and better fit for my build, so I'm selling my Castine. But I'll always have fond memories of my earliest kayaking jaunts, and this is the boat that sold me on kayaking.