Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Delta Sixteen - In Depth Review.

We received a Delta 16, as our third boat, for AGAP about a month before departure. Beth Spent a lot of time in it, during prep, both paddling it and packing it. We did self and assisted rescues with it, and then in Alaska, spent a lot of time in it, in all sorts of conditions. I didn't paddle it until recently, so much of what I am going to tell you, is from Beth's perspective.

Straight out, it is a beautiful boat, with clean lines, and the amazing Delta attention to detail. The boat we received is a year old, and has been slightly updated in the product line, but I believe the changes are pretty minimal. Sixteen feet long and 22 inches wide, with spacious bow and stern hatches, as well as a small deck hatching front of the cockpit.

Beth immediately found the boat comfortable and responsive. She found the cockpit outfitting comfortable - I found the seat back a little high, not surprising since I replaced the seat back on my Seventeen. The rudder pedals were easy to adjust, and she found them to be in a good location. We both had room in front of our feet for more storage. The seat bottom is adjustable, and is the standard Delta seat, which is very good.

Packing the boat was easy with her large hatch covers, that utilize hooks inside the compartment to hold it closed. No neoprene internal covers, which we both liked. It took Beth a couple of days to get the hang of the locking mechanism, but I found them easy to use, and very secure. This boat is surprisingly spacious in terms of storage. Beth loved the day hatch in front of the cockpit on day paddles, but didn't use it on the actual expedition. There tended to be gear on top of it, like a deck bag, and it made it a little more difficult to get a pelican case with a camera into the cockpit. I don't use day hatches, but this one is nicely designed and built, I am just glad it isn't behind the cockpit like most.

The boat we received was the skegged version, which has a small skegbox in the center of the rear compartment. While this wouldn't let me use my large tapered bag, Beth had no problems packing. Speaking of the skeg, it too is well designed and we had no trouble with it, with the one exception being the cord that holds the skeg in place needs a refined mechanism, it sometimes slipped out of the cleat, and the skeg would fully deploy when she only wanted it to deploy halfway.

When I paddled it first I was immediately impressed. Its rounded chines don't hold an edge quite as well as the hard chines on my seventeen, but is very easy to get on edge. The boat is very quick to accelerate, and carries speed well. It is a very fast little boat. I say little, but it is only a foot shorter than mine.

I think this is the perfect boat for the smaller paddler - just like the eighteen is great for the really big guys, my friend who is 6' 6" fit in it perfectly - it gives you the ability to easily do multi day trips, but is still fun, and agile for day trips. I would highly recommend this boat.

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