I bought the Kaboat XL 18 footer to test out at my bear camp this spring. Here is a brief review: So far I have approx 65 hrs on it hauling clients, fuel, camp, bait, bears etc. I' am very impressed with the boats stability and durability. It's top speed with a 15 hp merc 2s and two guys is 21 mph and cruising speed no matter how heavy is 18 mph. The Kaboat XL 18' has truly impressed me and I love many things about the boat except for a few issues that are holding me back from ordering more of them and turning to other otions:
-Cavitates some when not loaded with much, seems like no matter how hard I pump up the floor it gets an air bubble under the floor on smoother water. The bubble makes the floor deform and bulge up, you let off the throttle and the bubble spits out the back causing the boat to cavitate.
-Cargo space is limited. The tubes make the boat super stable which is a huge plus when hauling clients and big loads but take up a great deal of cargo space as there is only 18" of floor space between the tubes.
-The bears will chew it if its left on its own for any amount of time
-High maintenance with its air pressure as the temps fluctuate throughout the day. When its cool it needs more air so you end up constantly having to pump it up or let some air out so that it won't swell to much in the heat or cavitate with not enough air when its cool.
If I could solve the cavitation issues I wouldn't hesitate to order a few more 18' kaboats. I'm going to get a 19' Grumman to test out also and decide which boat will serve me better. I need a total of 8 boats that can carry 2 hunters and a guide plus all their gear, be portaged by one guy on a wheeled cart, small enough to be able to haul them from the truck in to the rivers on a rack on top of my Polaris 6x6 and be stable enough that clients feel safe in rougher water on the lakes and in the rapids on the rivers.
What I really need is 21' or 22' freighter like the Scott Hudson Bay only in aluminum with a total weight under 200 lbs. The price and weight are holding me back from being able to consider a fleet of fiberglass Hudson Bay's. The 18' Kaboat XL would be a hell of a boat if I could figure out a remedy to stop the massive air bubble from forming under the floor on smoother water without much weight in the boat and if it was a little less maintenance... I have ordered an air gauge so we will soon see if it just needs more air in the floor (had it rock hard) or if its something else causing the problem. Maybe if enough people where in the market for an aluminum Hudson Bay like canoe we could convince Grumman, Osage or some other aluminum boat builder to do a super sized aluminum freighter...