Nighthawk 16 vs Shadow 16.5

2000 Eddyline Nighthawk 16 vs kevlar 2003 Perception Shadow 16.5

I’m 5’6" and 160 lbs fully dressed and have size 8.5 feet.

  1. The Nighthawk 16 has MUCH more foot room than the Shadow 16.5. I can comfortably wear my size 9 Chota Quicklace Mukluks in the Nighthawk 16 and I have to stuff them into the Shadow 16.5 and then it’s very uncomfortable and I can’t use the rudder.

  2. The recessed deck fittings on the Shadow have a set within the range of the foot peg adjustment, which get in the way of the toes of my shoes. The Nighthawk wisely has no fittings in the range of the foot peg adjustment to get in the way of foot placement.

  3. Weights measured by me on a digital bathroom scale with me holding the boats: Nighthawk 16 - 49.6 lbs, Shadow 16.5 - 48.0 lbs, but the Nighthawk feels quite a bit heavier to me, for some reason.

  4. The Shadow seems easier for me to keep moving a moderate cruising pace than the Nighthawk, probably related to two issues: 1) Slightly longer waterline length of the Nighthawk and the accompanying increased skin friction and this particular Nighthawk has some surface abrasion to increase drag.

  5. Shadow feels to me to be easier to maneuver around than the Nighthawk. I seem to have to work harder to edge turn the Nighthawk than the Shadow.

  6. Shadow cockpit is more comfortable for me than the Nighthawk.

  7. Nighthawk is much more V shape and therefore trickier to enter and exit than the Shadow, but they both feel quite stable to me once I’m in the boat.

    I’ve had the Nighthawk 16 since last fall and just got the Shadow 6 days ago.

    I test paddled the Shadow 16.5 on Crab Orchard Lake in Carbondale, IL on a day of pretty challenging winds of 25mph to 35mph and one of the largest challenges was keeping hold of my very light carbon paddle, which I was very glad had the option of a 90 degree feather to help reduce the grabbing effects of the strong winds. Even with the 90 degree feather and length set to 215cm, I still had to be careful to keep a low angle when the wind was to the side, or the wind would get hold of it and temporarily set me off kilter.

    There wasn’t enough fetch for the waves to build very large, but they were up to 18" trough to crest and white capping.

    The Shadow seemed surprisingly easy to paddle against the wind, across the wind and with the wind. I didn’t use the rudder most of the time, but it was quite welcome when turning 180 degrees to go from with the wind to against it, or visa versa and when hugging the downwind shorline with the wind to my beam.

    I haven’t paddled the Nighthawk in similar conditions, but did test paddle it before buying it on Lake Michigan with 15 mph to 20 mph winds with 1’ to 3’ waves (trough to crest) and it seemed to handle those conditions quite nicely.

    I’ll add more as I think of it.

    My impression is that if you favor tracking over maneuverability and have larger feet, you may prefer the Nighthawk 16 and if you favor maneuverability and have smaller feet, you may prefer the Shadow 16.5. They’re both more maneuverable for me than my QCC 400X and less maneuverable for me than my Phoenix Isere. Of course, YMMV.

Foot room is REAL TIGHT in Shadow.
I haven’t found a good option for warm, waterproof footwear yet that’s compact enough to allow use of the rudder, because of the restricted space. Heck, I can barely get my feet to the foot pegs at all. If I wore a size 7 instead of an 8.5, I’d probably be in hog heaven.

The only things I don’t like about the Shadow 16.5, so far, are related to foot room. Clearance for shoes is very restricted because of deck height and the recessed deck fitting placement.

If I don’t find an acceptable footwear option, I’ll be selling it and looking for a replacement boat with similar handling, quickness and cockpit fit, but with more foot room. It would be a shame to have to sell it just because I can’t resolve the footwear issue.

I keep telling you to clip off your toes
but you never listen to me.

The Nighthawk is a quirky boat. It’s got a deep V-hull and the seat rides high which combine to to make it a wobbly, higher-center-of-gravity boat, but a number of people like it. The reason it feels heavier, I think, is probably because the cockpit is off center which makes it like carrying a broom by one end.

I already clipped off my toes.
My issue with the Nighthawk 16 is that I have to work too hard to edge turn it. It’s trackier than I’m looking for right now. I have the QCC400X for straight tracking and it serves double duty as a boat for my wife, who appreciates the easy to enter cockpit - she’s a bit stiff.

I find the Shadow 16.5 to be more playful and easier to put on edge for quick turns than the Nighthawk 16.

It is a constant wonderment to me how different people have different perceptions of the same boat. I have paddled the NH 16 quite a bit and would never describe it as hard to edge or turn. Nor would I call it hard tracking. I would agree it does not have a big “shoulder” that is easy to hold when put on edge, but the other side is you can dial in any amount of edge you like.

I don’t know how Yanoer is edging it
but I discovered long ago that those deep-V Eddylines want to be laid over on their side. However it lies on the ground on the sidewalk, that’s how it wants to be edged. Do that and it should turn on a dime. One of those dimes that’s been stretched and squished in one of those novelty insert-the-coin machines.

It’s just more work for me to edge turn
than the kevlar Shadow 16.5 is at my height & weight of 5’6" and 160 lbs fully dressed. We’re talking relative ease of turning between these two boats with me as the driver. YMMV.

My Nighthawk seat is 1" forward of usual
Maybe that is why it feels less nimble than I expect. I bought it with one side about 1" forward of the factory side, because it had been repaired with stainless steel rivets and hadn’t been aligned properly. I couldn’t drill out the stainless steel rivets, so I drilled out the aluminum rivets on the factory side and moved it forward 1" to match the repaired side and make the seat angle straight.

Maybe this small shift of the weight 1" forward makes the boat track straighter and reduces it’s responsiveness to turns when heeled.