Help with First Sit-in Boat

After one season on Lake Michigan with a SOT, I intend to buy a 12-14 ft. hybrid or light touring boat, for use on the Lake and local SW Michigan rivers, probably not overnights for now. Would appreciate advice re the desirability of 2 bulkheads, and any specific comments re the following: Prijon Dayliner, Dagger Axis, Pungo 12, Tsunami 12-14. Would consider used boat in good condition if one becomes available in our area. Thx!

2 bulkheads

– Last Updated: Apr-11-14 1:00 PM EST –

"very" desirable for Lake M. I would go 14'.
Say something about your size (there has been much discussion of the Tsunami sizing -- 145 huge, 140 less so).
I bet it gets windy! -- skeg or rudder are most likely a must for you -- i prefer a skeg, but that's debated like mad.

my size
should have mentioned-- I am 5’9", 170 lbs. and my wife is similar.

so, IFyou go Tsunami

– Last Updated: Apr-11-14 1:03 PM EST –

go 140; I'm 6'2" around 175lb and found the 145 too big -- especially since you say your are not loading it up with multiday trip gear.

Yes on two bulkheads
I can’t comment on the boats you listed, but keep rear deck height in mind as one of your “screeners.” When you learn to do self-recoveries such as paddle-float re-entry or assisted re-entry (or cowboy remount), a boat with lower, flatter rear deck makes things much easier. It also should reduce windcocking, therefore lessening the amount of time you would need to use a rudder.

Differences - Pungo
The Pungo 12 is way different from the others, barely a closed cockpit and not something I would advise anyone take on a place like Lake Michigan. It has its place and indeed I have recommended it to friends. But if the Tsunamis and the Axis are on your list, I’d take the Pungo off.

Also, if you plan to learn skills for bigger water down the road. like rolling, like with waves etc, it would be a hindrance rather than a help. True for any of the Pungos - that is just not their intended market.

Boat for you, for your wife, both?
Just scanned your reply above and it sounds like you are talking two boats, or one that both you and your wife could use. Is this in your plans?

The prijon looks ok

– Last Updated: Apr-11-14 3:28 PM EST –

The Prijon looks ok no personal experience with it though.I had to go to to find info on it. A tsunami 140 would also be ok.Not the 145 at your size. Don't go Pungo there a not something you wold want. If it all possible test paddle first but I know that's not always possible. I really like having a day hatch which the larger Tsunami's have.

Thanks for the comments this far.

The boat will probably be mainly for me but my wife expects to use it too. I realize that the size that is best for me might not be for her, but we’re fairly close in size. If she continues to be interested, we will probably be looking for a touring boat for her next year…

Try Craigslist
If affordability is a concern, you can get a much better kayak on Craigslist than buying new. I recommend 14’ to 15’, although 13’ would work in some designs. (See for example the Delta 12.10—very stable and I would trust it in rough water.)

Definitely two bulkheads.