Touring Kayak - Eddyline or Swift?

I am relatively new to kayaking and in the process of shopping for a boat. I have determined that I want a light touring kayak about 14 feet (storage constraints), less than 50 lbs (lighter the better) and one well suited to a person who is about 5’5" and around 130 pounds.

I am currently looking at the Swift - Saranac 14 and the Eddyline Merlin LT. I can’t, however, find anyone who is familiar with both and can tell me how they differ with respect to quality. One difference I know of is that the Swift often comes with a skeg and the Eddyline does not. Does it matter? Are there other differences that will have a material impact to tracking or simply overall use? Any and all feedback you can provide will be appreciated.

Also - if you know of a boat that is better suited to my needs, all suggestions will be welcomed.

but I am only familiar with the Eddyline Merlin LT. My sister has one and loves it. I have a Eddyline Nighhawk 16 which has the skeg and though my sister doesn’t mind not having a skeg, I think I would. I don’t use my skeg very often, but once in awhile it really helps.

I’m about your size (5’4", 125 lbs) and I really like my Impex Mystic. It is 14 ft. and around 43 lbs. in glass or around 38 in carbon/kevlar. I think it is worth finding one to demo. I posted a review on it recently here on P-Net.

Or, if you’re inclined to build a kayak, the Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 would be another wonderful choice. Mine weighs in at 37 lbs. and handles like a dream (without a skeg).

Good luck and happy paddling.

Merlin LT
I liked the Merlin LT, and might have purchased one except that the boat was not a snug enough fit such that my legs could easily lay against the hull so I could control the boat with my hips. If you will be paddling in very calm conditions this may not be an issue for you. Otherwise, give it a try and see how it fits you. I chose the Night Hawk because it’s narrower and fit me better.

By the way, a class really helps with picking a boat. Once you know how a boat should be hanndled in the water, it becomes clearer which one is right for you.


Class and the EddyLine
The advice to take a class is very good - it’ll give you a much better idea of what fit is about.

As to the boats - I also found the Merlin to leave my legs awkwardly far apart (5’4" and 136 pounds). However, if I had to choose between the two for allaround performance I’d still go with that one over the Saranac 14.

If you really want to tour though, I’d strongly recommend that you move immediately to the 16 ft range. More volume, longer waterline and likely a long term easier boat to be in to cover distances, especially if you are going out with others.

There are threads in the archives on tracking v. skegs - I doubt it matters which is present in either of these boats since they both track OK.