Thoughts on Old Town Castine?

I’m considering buying a used one, but the 56 lbs for the standard boat really makes me hesitate to make the several hours round trip to check it out.

For those of you that own Castines, is the pleasure of paddling the Castine worth handling the heavy weight of the boat? I know a guy that owns a couple and he brags about how great the boats are to paddle, but he hates the work of getting the boat from his truck to the water because of the weight. I’m going to try to test paddle his this weekend.

Thanks for any thoughts you can share to help me with the decision of whether to make the trip to check out the boat.

I’ve read all of the reviews on and the main complaint seems to be leaking rear hatches/bulkheads. Most seem to praise the speed and handling of the boat.

I’m 5’6" and 150 lbs and would use the boat for lakes and slow to moderately quick and shallow rivers for putzing around, birdwatching and day trips.

My wife has owned a Castine for 4 years and loves it. We use it mostly at the NC coast in the sounds and estuaries. She easily keeps up with me in my Eskia. Very stable and cuts through the waves gracefully. Never encountered any problems. You’re correct 56 lbs is sort of heavy but the material is practically bullet proof.

As an old canoest(30+ yrs.)and a recently new kayaker(2 yrs.), I have a Castine. My friend has a Current Designs Kestrel 120. Although I like the castine, it is a bit heavy. Very stable, seems to track well, no problems with leaking hatches. Since trying out my friends Kestrel, I’m considering selling the castine and going with the Kestrel. The weight difference alone is the major point. Hoisting that castine on and off of the SUV is a chore. I’m no longer a “young buck”. I need to save my energy for paddling not loading and unloading. Other than the weight issue I have no problems with the castine. I also have an OT-Sebago: smaller and lighter than the castine, with essentially the same design lines. As always said on this forum try before you buy. Good Luck, Dave

OT Castine
I went from my ‘starter’ OT Loon 111 to the Castine and have enjoyed the Castine for two seasons now. It’s a great all-around boat. Tracks well, even loaded down with a night’s worth of (sparingly packed) camping gear. No problems with hatches leaking … just barking on occaision… I have a Jack Russell mix who fondly knows the back hatch as “his” seat. Definately take that opportunity to ‘test drive’. Weight can be an issue, with the boat feeling about 20 lbs. heavier after a long trip. At 5’5", myself, I’ve been fortunate to receive (often unsolicited) help from fellow yakers to car-top at take-out. Enjoy your time out this weekend and let us know your take upon your return to terra-firma.

I think the Castine
is a great boat. I have had one for 5 years. I use it for the smaller rivers where dragging is a possibility. It is a good boat for camping too. I have never had any trouble with the hatches leaking. It tracks well, carves turns nicely and rolls fast. Yes it is probably the heaviest boat I have but it is very sturdy. Be careful with a lighter boat, I don’t have any oil canning with the Castine.

I yanked the factory seat and went for a carved foam with carved hip braces too. Add in some thigh braces and it is glued to me now.

I know that it will fit you as I am 6’5" so you will have a lot of room.


got a Castine
about 6 years ago. Both my wife and I have put many miles on it, exploring, fishing, you name it. Very nice boat. A bit on the heavy side, but tough as nails. My wife keeps up with me quite well, and I paddle a QCC boat. Old Town makes some of the best material on the market. The Castine has served us well, and should for many more years to come. Good luck, and happy paddling.

My wife has a 2002 OT Castine Poly 3 boat. The sticker that came on it listed it at 50 lb., but I’ve never weighed it.

She, at 5,5", and 140#, loves it. Also, she just turned 50.

Sure, she needs someone to help her get it up on the SUV’s rack. I can do it, but I’m taller and stronger. Doesn’t keep her from going on every trip she can. With or without me, she finds help easily, as she paddles with friends, groups, or reletives.

I am impressed by the features it offers for the price. Where else do you find the seating, bulkheads, and rigging in that range? What other material can you slam into anything and not be concerned with the outcome? Seems to me to be quite responsive, with decent tracking, but she doesn’t let me in it often…

All kayaks compromise something.

Good paddling,


Thanks for your replies. Light weight
is such a nice feature in a boat. I paddled my 29 lb Phoenix Isere this evening and it is so nice to be able to just take the boat off the car and carry it over my head by the cockpit rim to the water and set it right down without straining myself. I wouldn’t even be looking for another kayak if the Isere tracked better for me, but it tends to turn when I stop paddling to get a drink or pick up the binoculars etc. My 150 lbs doesn’t seem to put it deep enough in the water to take advantage of supposedly good tracking of the Isere. It’s rated capacity is 350 lbs. If I could find an easily installed and deployed skeg or rudder for it, I would do that instead of looking for another boat.

I hope to paddle my friend’s Castine tomorrow if the weather permits and I’ll report back to you on my experience.

going from 29lbs to 56 lbs…
…doesn’t sound good. I had a 60 lb. behemoth before I got my 37 lb. boat. Now I smile every time I load/unload it. There is not always someone around to help and after a long trip, that 60 lbs felt like 160!

That extra 30 lbs is not just a pain at the put-in & takeout; you also have to paddle it!

Certainly some hulls track better than others, but lots of boats will turn when you stop paddling. It is not necessarily the hull; can also be the wind/current/tide/eddies and other underwater factors. If this is your main complaint with your present boat, by all means try installing a rudder…it may well do the trick for you.

Good luck, whatever you decide.

Castine–pro’s vs. con’s
I have a Castaway, which is the same hull as the Castine without hatches.

From your post, your concern is about tracking (unless there is more to it?). The Castine should be like many other rec hulls; if you stop paddling, it will turn based on wind, your last stroke, waves, trim, etc. I enjoy my Castaway but it is definitely the 56, not the 50 pounds sometimes advertised. I believe it has a rudder kit available, but I have never found it really necessary (although if I were out on bigger water–over 10 square miles–more often, I might).

That said, the kayak’s weight to me is a minor consideration. I am not much larger than you, and I always remind myself that loading and unloading the kayak takes perhaps 5 minutes total. If I had to walk it a LONG way to or from my car alone, my song might be different, but that is almost always the exception. The one time I had to go 100 yards over soft sand, I had a friend with me, and we walked two 56 pound boats through it at once.

I like the Castaway (Castine hull) because of the hull advantages; that Polylink plastics is practically bullet-proof, and I have none of the oil-canning and warping fears that so many plastic boat owners have. To me, the weight is worth it.

While I like my hull, if weight and tracking are your primary concerns, I don’t think the Castine is going to be much of an advantage–but I haven’t paddled your current kayak, and can’t say so authoritatively. Let us know how your test paddle goes.

Results from my Castine test paddle:
I took my friend’s Castine out on a local pond for about 45 minutes tonight and I think I like it well enough to make an offer on the Castine that’s available and even make the 7hr round trip to get it. I’m still not that excited about the 56 lbs weight, but I think it’s manageable.

It seemed to track just fine when I stopped paddling, certainly better than my Isere, and seemed to respond quite well to a lean for quick turns. Actually, I was quite impressed with how quickly it turned. The hatch covers seemed rather difficult to remount, but maybe learning the right technique would would improve that experience. I’d probably also add some 1/4" padding for knee bracing. I like the 34" long cockpit for ease of entry and exit. The seats (older, non padded) seemed plenty comfortable, just like my old Loon 160T. The backs are a little too high to be able to lay back very much to go under a low branch, but that’s pretty common for recreational canoes. It would be nice if it was a little faster and a little lighter, but it’ll probably be pretty good river runner just the way it is. If the deal goes through, I may add a paddle holder also.

It is kind of ironic that the guy I bought the Isere from was selling it so he could buy another Castine.

Thanks for all your input.

Most used kayak
I have a Castine which is the second kayak that i purchased. The weight factor is a small problem for me because of my height and age. It’s a problem loading on my truck cap roof racks. This summer i bought a truck bed extender for my Ford Ranger which allows me to load in the bed. Much easier. I use this boat more out of the 3 kayaks that i have because most of my trips are fishing/paddling trips. The rigidity of the polylink3 material is great. I feal this boat will last a long time and take a great deal of abuse. The handling is great and speed is not too bad for a 12’ boat. I’m very happy with the boat and the features it has. This is the third year for the boat and it shows very little wear. My other two boats are an Old Town Otter and a QCC 400 XL.

My second kayak is a Castine and I love it. The weight is no concern for me. I load it on top of a Suburban or Chevy pickup with a camper cap. I have the Yakima saddles rack. I use it on still waters – small lakes. I fly fish out of it. I am 5’ 7" and weigh 165 lbs. I am 70 yrs old. Don’t have the strength I once did, but can still load and unload the Castine. If I am going to have to carry it very far, I have a little kayak cart which I got from Cabelas. The cart comes apart easily and the wheels go in a hatch and the frame lashes on the deck. My first yak was an Old Town Loon 111 which is also a nice boat. I enjoyed it a lot, but I wanted a boat with the sealed compartments for flotation and also the ability to roll in event of a capsize. The Loon is now used by my grand kids. I did install the paddle holder (elastic cording – kit sold by Old Town).

Happy paddling.

The banana twins arrived in new home
this evening (two yellow Castines, that is). I made the 7 hour round trip to pick them up today. These 2001 model Castines have never been on the water, but I got a good deal on them. They have several scrapes and scratches from storage and moving them around, so they’re not in showroom condition, but appear to be structurally sound. I’ll put plenty of scratches on the hulls going down local shallow, rocky rivers. The owner had blown out her shoulder shortly after buying them, but before she could paddle them. She kept them in hope that her shoulder would heal enough to be able to load them on her car some day, but alas, four surgeries later, she finally accepted that they are just too heavy and too long for her to carry and load effectively. She’s looking for a shorter, lighter boat now.

The big surprise was that when my wife saw them, she said “well, I guess I get to try one of these out now”. This was a surprise because, until now, we’d always paddled solo and she had said she would never go out in boat by herself. I guess she likes the fact that the boats are twins and look very attractive. This could be good. I’ve always thought she would like paddling solo if she’d just try it. I’ll start her out slowly on familiar local lakes.

I’ll take one out for it’s inaugural paddle tomorrow if I can get off work early enough.

Wooo hooo!

Good luck
with your new boats. I also have 2 Castines along with a few other boats including my faverite the O/T 174 Millenium. If you are having a tough time with the rubber hatch covers, wipe them down with 303 oil or Armorall works good too. Make sure you get the inside of the lip. It does wonders. Also use lemon Pledge furniture polish on the hull. It cleans them up like new, doesn’t leave an oil slick in the water and has a UV protectent to it.

Good Journey’s


New Castine’s maiden voyage was sweet!
I only had it out for about 1/2hr on a local lake for a fast paced work out and shake down of the new boat and I am very pleased. I’m still very impressed with how well it tracks when you want it to, but turns so quickly with a good lean and doesn’t feel like I’m going to roll on over. Great handling.

Sure, I’d like it to be 20 lbs lighter, but I’m learning to handle it. I do like this boat.

And a special bonus is that my Bending Branches Insusion crankshaft paddle has a black shaft and yellow blades so it matches the Yellow Castine with black rigging. You’d think that this was intentional rather than conincidental.

I learned that I can paddle with pretty good torso rotation even with the high-backed seat by having the seat back leaning back a little and just pressing my lower hips up against the lower part of the seat back and sitting up straight. Pumping with the legs really helps with the power and endurance. I may pad the lower part of the seat back a little to cusion my hip bones while pressing them into the into the lower part of the seat back. I had to take my leather belt off because it was digging into my hip bones, but I still had hip bone against the hard plasic seat back. I just lean back on the seat back when I want to take a break.

Thanks again to everyone who replied to this post and offered advice and encouragement.

Thanks to Nena for making these boats available to me.

seat pads
O/T has seat pads that attach to that seat. There about $39.00 It goes on by drilling holes and using plastic push pins like the ones that they use on cars to hold the panels on. The seat back on the Castine like most of there boats is really high. The new Extra sport seats are or can be lower. But I’m still not sold on how good they are yet.

Good luck and Good Journey’s


Short foot brace peg = foot pain
Anyone else had this problem? I paddle using torso rotation and I push off of one foot brace then the other and my right foot starts getting sore at the ball of my big toe because that’s where the foot brace peg ends and digs in to my foot.

Does anyone know if there are extensions that can be slipped over the stock braces to make them longer or longer replacement braces?

This is the only complaint I have with this boat so far. My Phoenix Isere and Poke Boat both have longer braces that support the whole width of the foot.


Re: foot pain
I have an old town Nantucket, Its the same as a Castine except two foot longer. It too has the same problem with small foot pegs. I ended up getting Yakpads for the foot braces. You can get them with or with out the heel pads. I got mine with them. Yakpads also makes a good seat w/back for this model, but if you want to make me a offer, I will send you the factory pads that come with the boat for a whole lot less then the 39 bucks they want. The factory pads are not bad. I needed more pading for my boney butt without raising my center. By the way when you decide to get a spray skirt. Make sure its big enough to fit over the high seat back or it will keep poping off. Since I play out in the surf a lot, I need more control, so I ended up cutting the seat back down to the coaming, and using the short seat back from Yakpads for a custom fit.

Thanks for those suggestions, phanku.
I’ll check into those.

Any other suggestions out there?