Carolina 14.5 or similar good buy?

I currently own a 14.5 carolina airalite with rudder its been a great boat. I am trying to locate a boat for my BF. The goal is to be able to do up to week long river trips. So 14ft is smallest I want but not much larger being on rivers. I want a boat with a rudder as maneuverability is a lot higher. Most the rivers I enjoy are swifter class 1 with some lulls. We have found a 14.5 carolina w rudder, paddle, skirt thats newer then my current one for $450 but it is a drive (day trip to go get it). Any other boats comparable to the carolina I should be looking for? I’ve found mine to be fantastic. We did about 18 miles on sunday, however we had to alternate between paddling the carolina and a 9.5’ sound(my 1st boat). The rec boat was really slowing us down and the seat is uncomfortable.

Thanks for the help!

good deal
That’s a fair price for a Carolina 14.5, especially with all the gear thrown in, if it’s in good shape (not oil-canned or otherwise damaged.) I would drive that distance for a package like that, but I would ask the seller to text or email me some well lit close-up photos of all parts of the boat before I made the trip.

Having the same boat will keep you and your paddling partner well matched on trips UNLESS he is much larger than you. But since you say he has used it already, it sounds like this is a good choice.

Wilderness Systems tsunami 145
Either a Wilderness Systems tsunami 145 or 140 would be close to a Carolina. The tsunami might either have a rudder or not but if not one can be added as the tsunami is what’s called rudder ready. The 145 is a little bigger than the 140. So search craigslist or were ever for a used one. Good luck

I own a Carolina…
I found it used at a used sporting goods store for $385. I traded in some old tournament fencing and archery gear because I wanted along-&-narrow boat to go UP the Colorado River.

Pro: the Carolina went up the river easily.

It carried as much gear as my beloved OT Dirago-12 so that was a toss.

It was light enough to carry.

Con: The thing is so light that it oil-cans on my trailer.

The cockpit opening was so small I had to squeeze in.

both hatches are 9".

So I bought a Current Designs Whistler 145 which has the advantages of the Carolina with a larger stern hatch.

Cockpit is the same but the seat is further back so I could get in and out easier.

What I want is a Tsunami 145!!! but we all dream.

What is the reasoning for the tsunami? Just more cargo space? Any tsunami around me is $800 used and all are rudderless. My airalite carolina has not had any oil canning issues issues as long as I make sure people don’t overtighten it when transporting. Hatch size isn’t a problem for either of us.

slightly off topic…
Slightly off topic, but your comment of “I want a boat with a rudder as maneuverability is a lot higher.” This caught my eye.

For a single kayak, a rudder is not going to be more maneuverable than proper turning strokes. Much less, actually. You and your partner may want to take a class at a kayaking shop on the basics of sea kayaking, which should include the proper strokes along with rescues. This may allow you to broaden your boat choice to include non-ruddered boats, plus make you a better/more efficient paddler.

I p-addled one on Mission bay
at a kayak event and liked the way it handled.

rudders are not for "maneuvering"
I noticed that comment too. I’ve paddled with a couple of people (all new to the sport) who thought that rudders were intended to be used for steering and turning a kayak – they are not. Rudders are to aid in tracking straight in wind, surf and cross currents and most paddlers don’t need them.

Because they add weight and drag, I prefer to NOT have a rudder and have removed them from several of my boats – in fact none of the 5 kayaks I currently own has one. I found them more bothersome than useful. A good skeg, tucked under the boat, will perform the same functions as a rudder without adding as much wind-resistance and weight.

about turning tho
Does a rudder not offer any turning assistance even when used with proper turning strokes? I prefer to kayak rivers usually class 1 and not flat water ones. Very twisty usually and downed trees are common. I’ve used ruddered and non ruddered boats and lenght to lenght find turning ruddered boats on rivers much easier.

opposite - rudders can make it harder
Actually, a rudder is more of a hindrance when doing the sweep stroke, the most common turning stroke. 2 reasons I can think off of the top of my head:

  1. when turning the stern of the boat needs to move to one side or the other while the boat spins around a center point. Having a fin (the rudder) in the water at the stern reduces the ability of the stern from moving side to side.

  2. most rudders create floppy foot pedals (ones that move under pressure), which make it harder to lock yourselves into the boat. Sweeps are best done when you can use pressure on your feet to help you unwind your torso (so getting power from torso, not arms) and also when you edge the boat. Both benefit from solid foot pedals. Gas pedal style rudders reduce the problem some. As would having the rudder in up position in a bracket (for boats that have such).

    Here is a video on sweep strokes - You can see how much he is able to turn the boat with a single stroke.

I have a Carolina 14.5
with a rudder. It’s not an Airlite. Tried to email but it came back.