I am considering the local purchase of a Current Designs fiberglass Solstice SS fiberglass kayak, 17 ft 7 inches, 54 lbs, year 1998. I will be using on large lakes. I am wondering if anyone owns one of these models specifically (if anyone owns the Current Designs GT or GTS please also comment–those are newer models). Tracking. Turning. The 3 reviews in paddling.net suggest that the bow can dip in seas, true? Speed? Transporting? Thanks to anyone that has information or owns or has owned one will be appreciated. cooldoctor1
nice glide, hard to turn
I had the ST or SS
I liked the kayak. The finest entry bow I’ve ever seen means it pearls (bow dives into waves) quite easily.
In following seas you could wipe out. I think this is a cool kayak for inland lake chains…
I thought it was quite fast - the ST that is. I think the SS would be a nice kayak. How much and what condition??
I had a Solstice GT HV, what they now call the Titan, and I’d go with Lee’s assesment. For a wide boat it did have a nice glide. It was a boat that needed it’s rudder at times though since putting it up on edge didn’t seem to do much for turning. It also was not much for surfing as the bow would dig in pretty quickly and turn you sideways. Once broached though it would sidesurf with the best of them.
I didn’t see the SS on the CD site. How does it differ from the GT and GTS?
$1500 asking price including…
…fiberglass Werner paddle and sprayskirt. I have seen only photos, but looks to be good condition and I woudl not buy until tested. This pearling does seem to be a concern, but I will be using in inland lakes. I own a pickup truck, and have front and rear cab bars on uprights (kayaks go over cab), but wondering if I can batton down the fiberglass 17 footer as I do with my platic yaks, or will this take extra care. How does anypone transport at 17 footer? The SS is the 1999 version of the GTS, but very similar. Thanks for your great input!
pigs don’t glide
but guinea pigs on linoleum do.
Had a Solstice ST
as my first boat and enjoyed it for years. It's fairly quick and has great glide. Very stable (which is why I bought it). The bow entry is very fine which will, indeed, mean it is easily buried in seas. This wouldn't be of concern on flat water where, quite frankly, the boat is most at home. It tracks like a train and can be a bit difficult to turn into a stiff wind. Weathercocking is moderate though I seldom found it necessary to use the rudder. So, for flat water lakes, point to point paddling, it's a decent boat. On the other hand, if you want to work on boat handling skills, turns, edging, surfing, etc. probably not the best choice. Lots of choices in the $1500 range.
I built my rack from 2x4's which work fine for canoes and plastic kayaks. For glass boats IMO you need some sort of cradle. I made some from ethafoam backed with panneling. I'd also tie the bow and stern off as a backup.
Even a pig will glide
If you grease it enough.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programing.
Provide some info about yourself…
How tall are you? How much do you weigh? What experience kayaking do you have?
The Soltices were popular boats. They still are but the trend is towards smaller boats and boats with less volume.
Thank you all for wonderful opinions.
I am 165-170 lbs, 5 ft 9 inches. Sounds like teh Solstice is a reasonable boat, but with tendancy toward smaller yaks, and with my budget of $1500, is there a better fiberglass boat? Please advise. The new Solstice GTS at rutabaga.com is $2200. So, used (plus Werner and spray skirt and no sales tax) seemed reasonable. I truly appreciate every one of these postings though. Very he;lpful info from prior owners, and racking ideas too.
my first glass boat was a Solstice
the 24" wide version before there was the 22" version.
It could be a fine choice in ruddered kayaks if it's your first one and it comes with paddle and skirt. Most folks who paddle a lot will object to it's stiff tracking but that's a characteristic many beginning paddlers prefer as they're still figuring how to put the blade in the water. If it's in good shape (no cracks in glass, cracks in gelcoat don't matter too much) it's a fair price.
For that money you really can't chose the boat,,the budget is pretty much chosing for you.
With your size and weight the 22" wide boat is a better choice. There are too many other possibilities after that to suggest since the determining factor of availability is what someone is selling. Basically you pick this one or wait until something else shows up and ask the same questions.
In my case I stated with a plastic Sea Runner, got the Solstice and sold it after 18mo because I wanted something more maneuverable and less twitchy in waves, could have been my lack of skills but the stability with very fine ends makes for funny handling in waves for me. After that got a Necky Swallow 15'x24" and learned a lot with it then sold it and got a Mariner Express which I've had for 12yrs. Everything from that Solstice to a QCC400 to a Caribou to whatever could work,,the determiner is still your budget.
At 5’9" and 170# I Think Solstice Good
Good Choice, with some reservations. DON’T even think of taking this kayak into 3-4’ swells or greater. PARK it if the wind comes up on the great lakes or kicks up large waves on inland lakes, period.
Otherwise, this is a nice kayak, me thinks. I’ve paddled the ST and I have the GTS. Is the SS 22" wide or is it 24" wide. Either way it is a pretty good boat for that money (with the pearling being a HUGE exception).
I sold my ST for $1200 without a paddle. There are some other good kayaks in that range for your size - Dagger Meridian or Necky Chatum come to mind. Dagger no longer builds the Meridian, but I am impressed with the new Necky Chatham at 16’
are you serious?
“DON’T even think of taking this kayak into 3-4’ swells or greater.”
As much as I dislike this kayak (due to stiff tracking, poor edging, high rear coaming, and poor outfitting), it is a confidence inspiring kayak. I would have no problems taking it out on 3-5 foot waves. I don’t think the Solstice would give you any more problems in those situations than any other large sea kayak.
it’s the period not the height
I had my Solstice GT out in 5’ high 20’ peak to peak deep ocean swells and was very comfortable. I also had it out in 2’ high 5’ peak to peak wind waves and got pretty nervous when I had to turn around. That said the boat did fine it was the paddler who was twitchy.
IMO steeper waves coming from behind would be most challenging in this boat due to it’s tendancy to broach quickly on a surf.
the very fine ends with a broad mid-section makes for some abrupt movements in shorter waves.
And the efficiency
I paddled a Squall (plastic counterpart to the Solstice GTS) from 2002 through 2004. It never capsized me but it was a major PITA in any kind of confused water and when it broaches, WATCH OUT because it does it all at once, very little warning or transition.
You can get used to this. I did, and I was a rookie sea kayaker. The caveat is, while it is forgiving enough that flexible hips and calm attitude can avoid capsizes, it is hard work to get it to continue straight in wacky water. The bow never pearled on me–it pivoted side to side, hobbyhorsed, etc. This happened both empty and loaded with camping gear, so it was not just a matter of me being lightweight. Yet despite its crazy lack of tracking in rough stuff, it was slow to turn as desired. It was VERY slow and hard work to turn into a strong wind.
I agree that the bulging mid-section and narrow ends make for some bizarre handling traits. And though I got used to it and still enjoyed paddling it, I am much happier with some very different hulls I paddle now. I will never buy a kayak with that type of shape again.
Thank you all sincerly…
I think each of the above replies are very expertly written and your experiences are super to read. I have decided, after taking in an amalgam of all your valued advice, to offer the seller $500 (or one third of his asking price) and trying to–in essence–steal this twitchy, no good, rotten fiberglass hulk, or else walk away from it.
I am KIDDING. I think his price is fair, but through your fabulous insights, I think I prefer a shorter, easier to handle, less spear-shaped yak… if I decide to dive bomb and play submarine for the day, I would rather do it on my own terms than suddenly pearl as described. The large inland lakes that I paddle (largest being Lake Michigan at Chicago) would tear me up on a windy day in this poor turning, snow-shoe of a kayak. I will be on the lookout for a different fast yak, used, for similar price. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a new expensive rudder for my Prijon Calabria to install, so that it will track at all.
what did you get after that?