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I took it out on a relatively calm lake with periodic chop and minor-medium winds. VERY stable craft. I love to canoe, but this little rig is more stable than anything I've ever paddled without an outrigger. Gear storage is very good, and after six hours of water time, perhaps a few tablespoons of water had gotten into the boat, and only after a few squirrelly kids had taken it out for a while, making a concerted effort to rock and splash the craft and each other. The rudder makes for effortless orienting, a positive mark when my young and inexperienced paddlers are sitting in front, hacking at the water.
It is a little cumbersome to move around. 70 lbs seems like a lot more when it's so large, but it seems very rugged. I'm looking forward to getting another one or two kayaks like it.
The bad: the hatches are really hard to pry off, especially when the weather is colder. With just a child in the front seat (ie: no cargo), the boat gets pushed around a bit by strong quartering head winds (even with the skeg deployed). It's not fast (about 3 knots cruising speed). It's heavy and hard to manage on shore solo.
The good: it is super-stable. It turns very easily (lots of rocker). Below-deck storage is ample for touring. The main hatches are large. The day hatch is conveniently placed between the stern paddler's legs. It's a very dry boat, since the seats are placed above the channels with the drainage holes. With all the room and stability, it's comfortable for both parent and child (the child can crawl all over the place without making it feel tippy).
All in all, I'm happy with the boat. It may look like a barge and it won't win any races, but I feel confident that I have chosen a versatile boat for me and my son. For safety alone - great stability and easy turning - I recommend the Cruiser II to parents who want to go out on the water with their young kids.
I highly recommend this kayak for the purposes of non-whitewater river expeditions and all kinds of fishing including ocean fishing...and casual surfing as well. BigFish gives it a Thumbs-up!
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