I went to the local lake and decided to wait for better conditions. It was rougher than I wanted for the first time out. There was a moderate breeze kicking up some waves. It probably wasn't more than the boat and I could handle, but for the first test paddle I figured I'd wait for more optimum conditions.
I got her out this morning and was very pleased with how she performed. I put the UJ seat about 5" behind the center rib and think it was probably too far back, but the boat paddled okay any way. The bow was out of the water enough that paddling into a slight chop you could hear the chop slightly slapping under the bow and making a gurgling sound. if I leaned forward until my chest was on my knees it stopped and was silent. I didn't tinker with moving the seat because I didn't want to go ashore or slide the seat across the new paint, but figure that either clipped over the center rib or somewhere between that and where it was today may be about right. That or put Marley in front of me between my knees (she wasn't along today).
The seat was okay, but would be improved with a little padding. Something fairly thin would be fine (a piece of yoga mat or a thermarest seat pad). I think the pfd seat cushion would be overkill on top of the UJ seat. The backrest on the UJ seat felt just a little too upright. The extra thickness of a pfd on my mid and upper back seemed to maybe be what made it feel too upright. Also maybe some foot braces would help. They change the posture a bit. In any case it wasn't too bad and I could modify the seat if I decide it needs it.
I think the seat cushion pfd with one of those stadium seat things would work well too (it would be a little lower).
The boat feels plenty stable once in and seated. It felt much better paddling with the double bladed paddle despite the fact that I am usually a single bladed canoeist. This boat just feels more like a kayak to me in how it paddles. It paddles easily and tracks well enough with no sense of being tippy when under way in the conditions I paddled in so far. Getting in and out might be a little tricky in some situations, but that remains to be seen. It felt very stable and there seemed to be no fighting it to stay on it's line. Also shed seemed to make good time moving across the lake.
Other than the slapping under the bow, which can be eliminated by moving the seat to the correct position, she was pretty silent moving through the water.
I got some complements from fishermen at the put in and managed to get some hints about where and how to catch the local species of fish. That was helpful since I have no local experience here in Florida.
Way to go, Pete. It’s always nice to paddle a new boat! Or, a boat that’s an old friend.
Once I started using a kayak paddle, I never looked back. Every boat, where you aren’t sitting in a stem end, paddles better with a kayak paddle. Twice as much paddle in the water, almost twice as often. What’s to not like?