The subject probably tells you all there is to know but for the sake of a good story I'll give some background. I used to own a Current Designs Sirocco, got into kayaking hot and heavy, took a class but only went out a couple times in a local lake when I lived in Upstate, SC and did a half day tour of the coast near Beaufort. I loved it but 1: my wife had little interest in kayaking her own boat and 2: my love of motorcycling kept my interests at the time. Over time I sold both boats and all my gear.
I've been a motorcyclist (6-8k miles/year) for about 14 years and that is also a hobby my wife has little to zero interest in and I'm to the point where I am tired of the cost of maintenance, tire replacement and my interest is really just regional touring now and am considering selling my Ducati to fund a re-acquaintance with Kayaking. I have thought about missing out on motorcycle touring, but the few times a year I do that I could honestly rent a bike for a few days and be completely satisfied. Yes, I could keep the bike while getting back into kayaking but not at the level I want (more to come on that).
What interests me about getting back into Kayaking is the large amount of water we have in the N. GA mountains and SE region to explore and the change in scenery. I already know I enjoy paddling and feel like there's much I haven't done to explore my region and I'd like to get to know some other people. Another benefit to me of kayaking would be the need to improve my health as I age and getting outdoors keeps it interesting. A second hobby I had at one time that I really didn't explore to the extent I wanted was photography, something else that got put to the side due to motorcycling (I don't like stopping for photos but rather preferred a photography focused trip). So there's a bunch of ideas in my mind behind this change.
I'm 43 years old so I wouldn't call this a midlife crisis b/c I don't feel like I'm aging out and gotta do something to feel youthful again, lol.
On to the boat - I loved my Sirocco except for the weight of it and I was always intrigued at the thought of a Gulfstream
. Beautiful boat and I think it suits my idea of kayaking well. I don't have much interest in shorter boats and am looking to explore lakes, slower rivers and coastal waters again so I think that boat fulfills all of those things well. I'd like to be with a group of people who have more experience to learn from and maybe do some overnight camping. I'm thinking too it would be a good idea to maybe take another class to reacquaint myself. Unfortunately the closest CD dealer is in Alabama - only 80 miles away but I like to deal locally when possible. The dealer I spoke with said he would give me 10% off the MSRP of the boat and cover the shipping (I'd have to special order) along with discounting other things like racks and the various things one needs on a touring kayak.
A bit long winded but that's where things stand at the moment. Would love some opinions on maybe other boats similar to the Gulfstream worth considering. All in budget (boat/racks/supplies) is probably in the $4k-$4,500 range. I have a Pathfinder to do the duty of hauling boats around. Secondarily, my wife said she would possibly be interested in a Sit on Top kayak with a much lower budget (I'm the spender, lol) so if there's any recommendations on that front I'd take them. The local dealer carries Wilderness, Jackson and maybe one other I'm not thinking of.