Ok, boys and girls, the long-awaited saltwater shakedown cruise in the new Santa Cruz Kayaks RAPTOR is finally on the books. FishinSETx (Chris) and I took her out in the heavy wind yesterday to see what she could do. http://www.santacruzkayaks.com
What first turned me on about this boat was its unique shape. The raptorlike nose and the split rear deck take me back to the days when I tried to get this modification on The Ride. Its way past time for a radical new approach to safety and stablilty! If these are criteria you are looking for, you have found your boat! Jim Martin has really come up with an innovative, forward-looking design that opens the door for a new generation of fishing kayaks that sacrifice little to get the most fishability for the money!
The split tail on this boat gives it unprecedented stability without extra drag created by added sponsons, floats, and other add ons. I was really concerned that this split tail would slow this boat down a lot. Actually, I didn't notice any extra drag as you'll see in one of the You Tube videos that I've attached. I'm 5'10" X 250# and this boat was easy for me to stand up, turn around, cast, reach to the tankwell and spot tailing reds (if they are present
). And, this also makes entry and exit really eash because you can step in and THEN sit down, or stand up and THEN step out. Those guys on the west coast won't appreciate this as much as we do, but we'll certainly like these features.
By the looks of this boat, you would think that it had very little, if any, storage room. Well, how do rod racks INSIDE THE BOAT that will secure up to 4x 7ft+ rods for travel or spares. Also, there's a generous tankwell that will accomodate any crate-based pack. Two flush-mount rod holders are the only drawback that I found. I don't like 'em! But, they are fine to store your anchor and net. While fising, if I'm not standing, I usually lay my rod with the butt in the seat between my legs and the rod leaning against the front of the cockpit. This is no problem on this boat and its not hitting any metal that can bruise the rod blank and cause future breakage.
This boat has paddle holders on both sides so one can be used for your Stake-Out stick or push pole. I'm sure Jim meant these features to be needed by the West Coast anglers, but they sure work for me too!
Another thing that you might think about this boat is that it might get WET on the inside. NOT! Even the paddles drip OUTSIDE the coaming. I stepped into the boat from dry land and stepped out with my sponge totally dry! Not even a drop inside the boat! Comfort is not a problem inside the boat, either. A generous cockpit situated on a carbon fiber floor insert accomodates a Surf-to Summit seat or any other that you might chose. IF you do get in a situation where the boat swamps, the standard flotation bags for front and rear will keep the boat afloat. Get it to shore and drag it out with the rear drain plugs out and the boat will immediately start to empty. Stand it up to finish the job. The optional cover fits snugly over the cockpit and keeps rain and prying eyes out when traveling.
This brings up another great feature of this boat...
Pick it up from the front and you'll immediately notice that the boat does not spill all of its contents out on the ground or in the water! The split tail remains flat and can be dragged across the grass or sand without assistance! Equally easy is lifting it from the rear.
This is where I thought this boat would falter. NOT! Easy to get going, good, straight, glide and no deviation to either side. I opted for the optional rudder but Jim said that I wouldn't need it. I told him how we use the rudder to control drift downwind. He said to try it out and see. I finally found a boat that tracks downwind without a rudder! I think I'll take it off and start working on the trolling motor mount! Silence is golden in kayakfishing and besides a miniscule hull slap when you first get rolling, there is absolutely none when the boat is stopped or drifting.
I will have to admit that Jim has a convert in me. I'm ready for something fresh and new. But I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to give up any of the features that I need for fishing. This Raptor is a breath of fresh West Coast air!
Enjoy the videos. Pics to follow...http://youtu.be/PkmjOwp7svchttp://youtu.be/qUVmgUf_dL0http://youtu.be/57pVP7WOEhUhttp://youtu.be/Kb7_B94aWzohttp://youtu.be/PkmjOwp7svc