Eddyline Merlin LT vs. ?

Sincerely appreciated the feedback and background on Eddyline (archived “Why So Few Eddyline Reviews?”). Part of me laments the manufacturer consolidations, local boat shop closings, and mass produced, mass merchandised product lines (definitely evident in this year’s new boats). On the other hand, I understand the effects, and some benefits, of price competition.

Last weekend, I had a chance to paddle the Merlin LT and Nighthawk at the CSO Demofest, sponsored by Canoesports Outfitters in Indianola, Iowa. Nice looking boats, simple and smooth, without a lot of superficial decoration. I’m just trying to advance from novice kayaker, but enjoyed both boats. Definitely less primary, more secondary stability than I’m accustomed to, with significant improvement in efficiency. Liked the fit of the smaller cockpit, low weight of the boats, and the easy footpeg adjustment. Seat and backband, as well as backband adjustment, are pretty Spartan, compared to many others currently available (i.e. Liquidlogic Pisgah); would probably require a seat pad, at minimum. With my short legs, I’d prefer to convert some of the cockpit volume to bow storage/flotation, but that plastic bulkhead looks very difficult to relocate.

Can’t yet justify the Merlin LT price, but haven’t found anything else with an equal combination of small cockpit size, low weight, weekend camping storage, and performance. If you have any alternative ideas, please send them along; this looks like a 2006 budget item, at best.

I bought the Night Hawk 16
I thought the Merlin LT was a little wide for me and that the Night Hawk was more of a “grow into it” kind of boat. I’ve been very happy with my choice. However, if I had to do it over, I think I would alsso try the Tempest 165 and some of the Impex boats. I’m not speaking with any expert knowledge of these.


Impex Montauk?

We have a Swift Saranac 14
This is a nice new design by DY (Spring 2004). A little small for my weight, but I do paddle it and it handles well. It should be coming out in trylon this year which will lower the price some. Probably still out of your current budget though.

Also, saw at dealer, but never paddled - Hurricane Tampico - similar dimensions as Merlin LT and in trylon for under $1,000.