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The boat is a bit sluggish, as most plastic boats are but is a decent paddle. With a pretty wide beam, speed is sacrificed for stability. I have never had a beginner capsize in the Acadia 12.5.
Over the years, my confidence in the boat has never wavered. It has taken a beating: Blew away in a wind storm, crashed into rocks, and dragged over gravel which proves how durable it is. I am now 71 years old and I know I will never part with my kayak. We have bonded!! We have a small place on a lake now and each night I take my awesome kayak out fishing. We still travel during the winter, the kayaks go into the fifth wheel, and we head to Florida to paddle with the gators!
I will continue to promote kayaking and the Perception brand! Four couples we met on the road tried our kayaks, loved kayaking, and all bought Perceptions! What more can I say about this great love affair I have for my kayak!!!!
Cons: The boat paddles like a barge, has got a wide cockpit that will most likely dump you out if you capsize in it or try to roll it. This is a boat to learn in and grow out of it quickly. It weather cocks like crazy and forget about edging in it.
Pros: I may bash its performance because it is a recreational kayak, but at the same time this boat acts like trusted old war horse. Probably because of its 400 lb load capacity its stability is excellent. I've abused the heck out of it, rescued swimmers, rode 4 ft swells in a 40mph headwind, and even used it successfully in a game of battleship against a team of scuba divers.
If you're after a good performing touring yak, get a Necky. If you're a paddler on a budget, a lot of creativity, and just want to get out on the water for some light touring, this boat will work great.
We mostly paddle flat water -- local ponds, lakes, swamps, tidal marshes, occasional blackwater streams -- and the Acadia does fine in those areas. The boat stores easily and loads quickly, making it handy for those after-work "let's go paddle for a little while" trips. With a pond in the neighborhood, we can go from loading to launch in about 10 minutes.
The Acadia is very, very stable, enough so that anything that approaches a lean or what might be loosely termed edging, actually takes some substantial effort. I've never come close to capsizing it. The boat is wide enough that I find it a bit awkward to hook my knees under the gunnels for maneuvers like those. I'd also like to have something to put my heels against with my feet on the foot braces.
We added half-covers to keep drips out of the boat and to provide a little shade for our knees from the sun. Those work well and I'd recommend them to others using the boat for recreational paddling. They are, of course, no substitute for a full skirt where that is needed.
I've found the boat forgiving, stable, relatively easy to transport and to launch, comfortable enough for the day trips we take (max about 6-8 hrs), handy enough in slower-moving water, and sturdy. The rear hatch is big enough for day-trip supplies (lunch, water, extra clothes, etc.), but I don't think I'd try to cram camping gear into it.
This is my second boat, a move up from a Swifty, and I think it's been fine for learning some basic skills. As plastic boats, both have been an inexpensive way to get into kayaking. After about four years now, I'm feeling ready for a better performer, but I think the Acadia will stay in the stable for the gunk hole trips we have come to like.
Every boat is a collection of compromises, and the Acadia is no exception to that rule. If you're considering it, think through what kind of paddling you want to do and what the capabilities of the boat you'll get need to be. Prioritize all that. The Acadia meets our needs, but it isn't -- and can't be -- a perfect boat.
The Acadia is perfectly adequate even for experienced (the length of which is measured in years, not weeks!) paddlers who are aware of its limitations. These are:
1. It is not, and was never designed to be, a sea kayak. It will handle inshore waters in fair-good conditions, but so will a GP whitewater kayak too.
2. It is not designed to be a whitewater boat either. It will perform well on larger Class 2 waters, as the limitation is simply one of maneuverability when it comes to weaving between rocks.
If, on the other hand, you want a boat which is easy to transport and store, and excels at inland touring (touring rivers, lakes, etc.) then the Acadia is hard to beat. I've managed to do a couple of 10 day trips in mine. If a girl like me can manage this there is no worry about storage space!
PROs: comfortable, handles well and fun to paddle on still water and light enough to lift onto the car roof after a long day on the water.
CONs: thin shell which requires a thick foam block in both bow & sterm for support. This interferes with gear capacity so my normal day gear of lunch, float cushion, throw bag, camera, bailer & sponge are really cramped and mostly on deck. But the main problem is that the cockpit rim is set flush with the deck so ANY wave goes into the boat. A raised cockpit rim would solve this problem easily but now we have to wear a skirt when on a lake and in the Arizona heat, that bakes the inside.
Personally, I'd gladly trade this for another boat. preferable a Pungo or Manteo or Loon. Something with a thicker shell and raised cockpit rim.
Pros: At 47lbs it is easy to load, but that is the average of a kayak that size. The rigging on both the front and rear comes in handy for gear. The dry hatch on the rear really does have a water tight seal. The seat has built in lumbar support with a hand pump. There is plenty of leg room. Overall the kayak is sturdy.
Cons: Handles like a tank in class 1 or just plane rapids. This is the only real negative I can come up with but to me the handling is the most important part of a kayak. From 15-20 feet away in rapids I could not steer clear of a big rock.
Bottom line: If you want a good deal on an Acadia 12.5 that has only been used once let me know.
I have been very happy with it, and got out several dozen times last year, mostly on flat, slow, rivers. It is light enough to put up on my minivan by myself, and is a lot of fun to paddle. My 7 year old son was able to paddle it around a lake without too much difficulty, and I would sometimes let my smaller daughters ride in the rear cargo hatch like a rumble seat (with PFD of course).
I am hoping to try it out in the ocean this summer, and if I don't die, I'll post an update on how it goes. I know it is not a sea kayak, but it handles motorboat wakes well enough.
The salesman described the Acadia 12.5 as "the Honda Accord of Kayaks", meaning that you really can't go wrong with this boat if you aren't quite sure what you plan to do with it. I would mostly agree, but I may change my mind after putting it in the Atlantic.
We now own two Acadias and an Old Town Otter (for the pre-teen member of the family to use - the rest of us think that at only 9' in length it's too slow and tracks poorly compared to the 12.5' Acadias)
Neither of our Acadias has a storage hatch - we just use a dry bag tucked under the front bungee cord if we want to bring some snacks or other items along, so we don't miss that feature a bit.
Our newer Acadia has a padded seat - actually I prefer the older seat that's just the hard plastic because if the padding gets wet, then your seat stays damp the rest of the day. It looks like I could just pop the padding off if I really wanted to though, so I'm not taking points off for it.
The only reason I give this boat a 9 instead of 10 is because we dented the top of our first Acadia when we initially tried tieing it down on the car top (the ding later came out, but I would hope a boat would be a little sturdier than that) We had the boat upside down on the roof rack and the cross bar just pressed in too much when we had it strapped down securely. Now when we car top it, we make sure the padded cross bars of the roof rack are supporting the boat just outside the cockpit opening (right at the rim, actually) so we haven't had a repeat of the problem.
The boat material is a little grainy-textured so you have to kind of scrub it to get any scum off after a day on the water - the Otter has a smoother, more glossy finish that seems to pick up less scum in the first place. So if you get an Acadia, have a bucket and a sponge handy at the end of the day because you are going to love your kayak so much you'll want to take good care of it. Enjoy!
My first trip a mile up the local river in class one ripples, and back, proved to me that the Arcadia can handle a fair amount of crosscurrent and flow[took me a half hour to go the mile upstream in 2.5 mile a hour current] but had to stop because of a downed tree under a bridge. Pulled up under the bridge and replentished my fluid level from the my cooler in the rear hatch[ nice option] slipped back into the Arcadia and had nice ride back to the vehicle chasing kingfishers down the river as I happily enjoyed my new toy. Hope to update before the snow comes.
The boat was stable (due to the flat hull) but seemed to catch alot of wind almost like a sail on a sailboat when paddling perpendicular to the wind, it also came over the swells and wake from all directions with ease..even when a jet ski thought it would be humorous to swamp me.. but in flat calm water, an easy relaxing paddle..anyone can paddle this boat. The next weekend we went to the santa fe river in central florida...this river has a moderate current as it is spring fed..we paddled 5 miles downstream, camped and paddled back upsteram the next day... a little tougher but determination (and natural ice) got us there.. i hung up on a hidden rock underwater however the water was maybe 1.5 inches ddep at that point and 3 good butt-slide/momentum shifts later i was unhung and back in action our third estination was st augestine beach fl... this was by far my personal favorite destination... paddling through the break just required a little timing and beach experience..or you could just hang on the stern to raise the bow and kick/paddle out then climb in and paddle the larger stuff. a skirt however would help tremendously as the large cockpt opening takes on water in quickly.. surfing in this boat is interesting... fun as hell but not much control.. an attempt to ride the line found myself upside down (and full of water) once and the next (after a 20 min delay consisting of dragging my now 400lb half sunk boat back to shore, bailing out enough water to flip it over solo.. then eventually standing it on end to drain the remaining water)the next attempt i leaned in towards the wave face and found myself planing straight toward shore but lengthwise.. all this said (beach-wise anyway) it was an absolute blast at the beach, we also paddled outside the break an 8 mile round trip in a thunderstorm with 4-5 foot swells no problem, untill i dumped it when caught off gaurd by a rouge wave... then it was back to the 400 lb boat but this time in much deeper water... all in all a great time ..until both boats were stolen :( same day.. 30 mins later and only 2 weeks old..if we see you.. whoever you are, you should call the police, because we refuse to be polite about this.. we WILL take our boats back by force if necessesary.. (see "hardcore" and "you took the only thing we cared about away from us")so all that aside..
rivers: pros- easy paddling,very stable
cons- almost too-stable, dosent respond to lean at all...
ocean pros-fun fun fun
cons- no skirt=sinking fast if you spend anytime in the breakers..
and the whole theft thing....
all in all i think the acadia is an excellent enry-level boat for those on a budget and looking to paddle mostly flat waters with the ocassional chop..however if you really want to you can pretty much take it anywhere. just dont be expecting sports car performance from your "4-cyl pickup truck" it can go anywhere, but it might take some effort....
I was worried that at 400lbs I would sink the Acadia or at least make it impossible to use. But the 400lbs max capacity seems to be just about right. Donít get me wrong, compared to what Iíve read in the other reviews my boat handles like a barge and is WAY tippy, but Iím sure that is just due to my weight and limited experience. My previous boat was a Keowee. I loved that duck boat back when I was under 300lbs, right up until I was paddling alongside some friends in real sea kayaks. Iíd be paddling at top speed, waddling along while they maybe dipped one paddle blade in the water about once a minute and easily left me in the dust. So while Iím still uncomfortable with the lack of stability I know it will improve with experience and weight loss.
I was impressed with the bow/stern balance (sorry, donít know the proper nautical term). I liked the adjustable seat back but not where they placed the adjustment lever (on the inside lip of the cockpit on the right hand side dead center). This really presses into my thigh, but more importantly it really gets in the way of carrying the kayak on my right shoulder. Iíll probably just carry it stern forward instead.
I like the deck rigging and stern hatch, but I was initially expecting there to be a waterproof stern bulkhead behind the seat. All thatís there is a foam block about 5 inches wide extending from the seat to the lip of the hatch. This foam is very important to me, other than it keeps the boat from sinking in that I put a lot of weight on the aft deck getting into and out of the boat. Without the foam Iím sure the deck would just collapse under my weight. I plan to add a foam waterproof (or mostly waterproof) bulkhead just behind the seat as soon as I am able. Iím told it is not a difficult modification. I think Iíd also like to replace the bow flotation with a waterproof bulkhead and add a bow hatch, but first things first.
Iím rating the Acadia an 8. I took one point off for the poorly placed seat lever and one point because I think they could have put in a waterproof bulkhead behind the seat for very little additional cost.
High Points: Great tracking & speed, decent maneuverability
Low points: A bit towards the heavy side, a little less of a starter boat.
The Acadia is, in my opinion, a decent boat for even experts who want to spend the day goofing off in the lake or mild river. It has the best tracking and speed of any of the Perception recreational yaks. The cockpit is the smallest of the three, but still large enough for anyone to get in and out of. The smaller cockpit contributes to much better control. General comfort is very good, although the back could use some padding.
This boat has, IMO, a little less initial stability than the Swifty or Sierra; not to say that it's tippy, but it is a little closer related to a touring boat than the Swifty/Sierra. Maneuvering is decent but a bit more work because of the added foot in length. It is somewhat heavy for a rec kayak, which may be something to keep in mind for smaller or single people.
Overall, though, this boat is a great boat for the money - at less than $600, you really can't go wrong here. Not only would I recommend it, I'm going to pick one up myself!
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