That model was made from 2003 to 2005. Here is the archived Perception catalog from 2004 that lists the America 13.5 specs, about 3/4 of the way through in the “Recreational” section.
Based on the specs, this is a recreational boat for sheltered flatwater. The oversized cockpit won’t support a spray skirt well and it’s quite wide, so it wouldn’t be a good boat for rough open water or coastal paddling. It’s a little heavy for its length. No indication in the catalog as to whether it has a bow bulkhead – if not you should get a flotation bag for that space for safety. No mention that it was available with a rudder either - I can’t think of why you would need one for a boat of this type anyway. Rudders are for countering strong wind effects and surf, not conditions for which this model is intended.
The Perception boats from this era were well-made, so if you got it for a reasonable price and it’s in good shape it should be a nice boat. It won’t be fast but it will be stable, probably track well and hold a good amount of cargo. Good for fishing, photography and leisurely river and lakeshore paddling.
Sounds like a good buy - a red one just went up on CList here in Northern Michigan. Asking price: $600
Wow, excellent deal! I bought a Perception Monterey 14 from that same era last year for my sis in law and thought I got a good deal on it for $400 (including a decent paddle and an OK PFD) but you really scored.
I see from your detail shots it does have the pin and control cable fittings – could probably accommodate a variety of aftermarket rudders. My Venture Easky has the exact same set up and so have the various Perception kayaks I owned over the years. A new rudder kit would run you around $200 so I’d watch for a used one – some people (like me) don’t care for rudders and remove them from their kayaks. I had a couple I had removed but ended up giving them to the people to whom I sold those boats.
I have noticed rudder kits from China listed on Ebay for around $30. Hard to believe these would be very good for that price but you could try one. I have known people who built their own rudders from scratch from various materials and hardware – maybe some of the components from the cheap Chinese kits could be supplemented to construct a decent set up. It’s the foot controls that make the rudder assemblies costly – if you were OK with building one that was adjustable by manual controls (lockable pull cords within the cockpit) I think it could be done pretty cheaply. I notice the Chinese Ebay sellers are also selling foot peg control assemblies for around $30 or complete kits with rudder, cabling and footpegs for $70.
That plastic Perception used to use was formidable. I figured that Monterey 14 we picked up was a 2004 and you could tell it had been well used by the superficial scratching on the hull, but there was not a bit of oil canning, gouges or dents on it.
Perception kind of went crazy in the late 90’s and early 2000’s with a vast range of kayak models, constantly changing from year to year and even mid-season. So even though that one you picked up doesn’t appear in any of the archived catalogs with a rudder it is not that surprising that it turned up that way. It’s almost like they were beta-testing a new model name or tweaked version every few months back then.
I have a Perception Sonoma 10 from that era that I really like (paid $320 on Craigslist).
I put flotation bags in mine—good for peace of mind.