No, not interested in racing. I began hanging with the race crowd because I wanted to learn the best possible paddle technique, and who better to teach a forward stroke that'll take you over the long haul without killing yourself . . . . . or make shorter trips a breeze? I've stayed with 'em because you never stop learning, and because it turns out to be a heck of a fun and interesting spectator sport for me.
Sea kayaks are pretty much the fastest solo boat you can get your hands on short of a purpose-designed race hull. They are configured to tackle open water, not stillwater, hence the term 'sea' kayak; whereas cockpits are designed for use with spray skirts, and as with hatches, the smaller the opening the more watertight seal can be achieved; the upwards-pointed "elf shoe" ends of the yak are all about dealing with waves to advantage. So yes, the "overhangs" and smaller cockpit openings are very much out of place on stillwater venues, and serve no practical purposes.
But having said that, generalities are always -- ahem, I mean generally -- dangerous, and using them to describe sea kayaks is not otherwise. In a word, they are simply not as tippy as has been suggested here on TKF. Some may be, but not all sea kayaks are created equal. For one thing, they're not always twenty inches wide; there are plenty of popular boats 24 and 25 inches wide, and more than just a few are used comfortably as recreational kayaks for birding and fishing by casual paddlers with no more specialized boat handling skills than anyone else. Some of these boats have surprisingly large and open cockpits. Only a few people actually use spray skirts here in Texas, and far fewer yet know how to roll, let alone have practiced the skill sufficiently to legitimately call it a bombproof combat roll. Go to Armand Bayou any old weekend to see the paddlecraft parade for yourself.
The Outer Island is, among other things, one of the most stable sea kayaks ever. Other factors make it less than perfect for river racing, but stability is not one of them. Of course, stability is a hopelessly subjective subject, and if your mileage is going to vary, it is going to do so the very most right here.
And since I'm on a roll, as it were, I'll go ahead and bust the myth that the Eskimo roll good mostly for the amusement of spectators on shore. Like the high and low braces (and so many other things in life), it's only as good as what you put in it; as with most skills, worthless unless practiced enough to become second-nature. Once the roll becomes intuitive, it raises your safety margin several orders of magnitude. Whitewater paddlers absolutely rely upon rolling, and will not allow noobs to join them on most runs until a reliable combat roll has been demonstrated to their satisfaction. Sea kayak groups are far less stringent because assisted rescues are almost always perfectly feasible. Few have a roll here in Texas because our paddling conditions are just about the safest in the entire freakin' world with warm, shallow water under gentle, if any, currents being the rule. There are three primary reasons why I am big on the roll: First, because I paddle open ocean solo mostly; secondly, because it's how I cool off; and finally, because it's so incredibly FUN. And that list probably would be more honest if presented in reverse.
Here's the glass yak Ron was referring to, my new Valley Nordkapp in its proper element: