I got this second hand with the intention of using it for ocean fly-fishing in Boston Harbor. I have a Loon 138 but felt this may not be the safest craft in rougher seas if I needed to self-rescue since I mostly fish alone. I was looking for a narrower craft that can be leaned and rolled but still offer initial stability for flyfishing. I demoed a WS Cape Horn and a Looksha IV along with Cape Lookout. The Cape Horn and the Looksha especially felt too "twitchy" and made me think that I may capsize with strenuous casting in the wind. The Lookout, however, felt stable but yet was able to lean on turns. The lower price of the used Lookout also came into consideration. I am new to kayaking but I paddled the Cape Lookout on most weekends for the past several months and know more about it to do a better review.
I am 5'3" and 140 lbs. As I paddled more, it became apparent that the Lookout it a wee bit big for me. This proved especially true when I tried to teach myself rolling. Without outfitting, I kept slipping out of the pedals and the knee/thigh braces. So, I started modifying after each session of practice. I added hip pads, I extended the knee/thigh braces with foam and plastic glued/taped on. I had trouble leaning back in the sweep roll because of the high back and cut that down flush with the deck. I replaced the nylon seat liner with stickon minicell foam 1/4" thick. Also, even with the foot pegs at the closest position, I felt I didn't have enough contact to brace. So, I shortened the rudder cable and now the foot braces extend about three pegs further back (towards me) than the track. With these modifications, I have been able to do "C to C" and sweep rolls, though not consistently enough to be even pool ready never mind "combat" ready. But practice will get me there. More modifications to come -- the foot braces pop out of the track on strong braces and leans. Aluminum ones are now on the way. I think I will also be adding a little more foam to the knee/thigh brace area to maintain light contact without me having to constantly flex my knee and feet to do so. This gets tiring.
After all these modifications, the Cape Lookout is pretty close to where I want it to be. On my last paddle for a couple hours, roughly 6 mile easy going trip, the boat handled well in a moderate breeze. Tracking is pretty good I think, though I know I was doing leans and sweep strokes to compensate in strong gusts. But it worked.
In practicing rolls, I found that the rubber hatches leak. When I loaded the yak onto the car upside down to drive off both hatches were letting out water that had gotten into the bulkheads. I have since backed up both with floatation bags. Also driving along on the highway, the rear hatch cover blew off. Thankfully the attached cord from bulkhead to cover get things together. However,made me think this can happen in strong wind or crashing waves. So, I added on buckle straps to hold the hatch covers down. Since I intend to use this for ocean fishing. I also added perimeter lines so I can hang on to the boat in case of a wet exit in rough sea or windy conditions.
I am pretty happy with this boat with the various modifications and think the initial and secondary stability of this boat will be fine for I want it for. I do seeing outgrowing this boat though in the future. But the hands on learning with this boat through paddling and modifications will allow me to make a more informed choice for the next one. I do see keeping the Lookout for my wife and kids when I move up.