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In 2009 Current Designs redesigned the Kestrel 140 Sit-on-top to reflect many of the points made by long time forum member kfsrmn of Lake Havasu City, AZ.

The Redesigned 2009 Kestrel 140 - Outfitted with a front hatch, mesh covered rear storage area, front deck bungee, and reflective safety lines. There's a built-in water bottle holder. Quick adjustable foot braces and an extra high seat back and pad provide back support.

Rigged for Fishing:

kestrel 140 rigged for fishing

kestrel 140 rigged for fishing
I put 2 Ram balls on the deck behind the cockpit. I made 2 angle brackets that go on the forward end of the foot rails.

A plate attaches to the angle brackets that holds the FF and GPS along with an arm for the transducer. The battery sits on the floor in a waterproof box.

I made an insulated cover for the live well from a 1/2" thick piece of closed cell foam.

5 of the small ice packs stayed cold for about 4 hours. I want to see if I can use it for a fish box.

kestrel 140 tankwell cover
I am thinking of ordering a spare hatch cover and putting a T handle 6" hatch on it. The hatch is recessed and I don't want to swap it out and leave it in a well. There is a water bottle holder formed into the floor so I cant put a hatch in there.

If I had someone I could trust, I would have the seat lowered and heel depressions put in. I am 5'10" and 170.

When the original Kestrel 140 SOT came out, I made a special trip to look at it. I was ready to buy. The hull looked good but the cockpit was a disaster. Actually painful. I emailed CD with a list of complaints and they may have listened. They did almost everything I asked for. Almost.

Original Kestrel 140

Redesigned Kestrel 140 for 2009

The seat and floor could be deeper which would require a venturi instead of the scupper. Probably why they did not do it. They got rid of the "cast in sharp stone" foot braces and put in adjustable peddles. There is no rudder option and it does not need it. It comes with a seat and thigh straps. There is also a tank well and it has 3 bulk heads. The weight was 40 lbs according to my bathroom scale which was not in the bathroom. Fit and finish was excellent.

We launched in calm water on Lake Havasu and I paddled around the bay to get the feel of the boat. The first thing I did was take out the seat and put a towel over the Velcro seat holder. The seat raised the CG and it was not that stable. It was quite a bit better with the seat out and I did not need a back band. My other SOTs are deep seated and extremely stable even though they are narrower. The boat is not that unstable either. The secondary stability picks up quite nicely and it edges easily. This boat tracks like it was on rails. The edging is necessary for turns. After I got the feel of the boat we headed towards Friendly Island 4.5 miles south. The boat is quick. I easily cruised at 4.5 mph and it went up to 4.9 without much strain. Above that is another story. I did hit 5.1 mph but over 4.9 is not worth the effort. My wife complained about my cruising at 4.5 so I pulled in behind her and let her set the pace. We covered the next mile at 4.8 mph so go figure.

We looped around the island and the wind started to come up. Forecast was for 10-15 mph. Reality was a building wind of 15-20 with gusts in the 25+ range. I was holding the boat 10-15 degrees off the head wind and it tracked like there was no wind. At one point I turned into a cove and had the boat at about 60 degrees also with no problem. The chop built to 1' with wind capping. I was expecting to get very wet. I could not believe how dry the boat stayed. A lot drier than my other SOTs. The high V of the deck shed what little water that came up on it. One bigger wave made it up to the cockpit but not in. The bow flare deflected most of the spray. I did catch a little wind spray but no more than my wife in her SINK. A bilge sponge over the scupper sucked up any water that got in.

More on stability:

The boat is stable enough until you get some extra weight above the Center of Gravity. It was not designed for fishing where being able to move around is an issue. The CG on the Kestrel is lower than most SOTs but not as low as the Kaskazi boats. I have not come close to flipping it but I don't use the seat they supplied with it. I have a 1/4" foam seat with a 1/4" foam backrest glued to the back of the cockpit. It hits me about at the waist. A lower seat would let me add a little more foam and stabilize the boat better. 1.5" would do it nicely. I am impressed with the hull enough to consider rigging a sit in version or even the 160.

More on modifications:

I insulated the rear hatch compartment with a 1/2" foam pad from WalMart I put in a couple of small holes so as not to cover up the bulkhead vents. I can toss a couple of frozen 1/2 gal. bottles in there to help offset the fishing gear. It really keeps stuff cold. I can transport fish in there also. I use a plastic bag so I don't slime it up. I am getting the kinks worked out. Lowering the front clips for the thigh straps helped a bunch. I added 2 pad eyes below the bow end of the foot peg rails for the thigh straps. The lower strap allows me to get my knees down lower which makes it more comfortable and improves stability. I was able to move the foot pegs forward a couple of inches and still maintain good contact with the straps. I have about 50 miles on the boat now in mostly windy conditions and it is still the driest SOT I have paddled. I am thinking 180 lbs would be the max paddler weight.

TopKayaker.Net Field Review by visitor: "lyricalpursuit"
THE KESTREL 140 - Pre 2009 model, By Current Designs
& Hurricane's Phoenix 140 - Compared

May 2008 - After researching for a year I finally decided on the Kestrel 140 SOT. My criteria was a Sit-on-top that was as fast and efficient at tracking as possible for as close as I could get to $1000. The boat retails for $1650 but I was able to get it for $1500- well over my budget but I think worth it.

Kestrel 140 By Current Designs

The PROS: fast, light, tracks in a nice straight line and glides for quite a ways after removing paddle from water. The boat has front and back hatches; the 2nd hatch is double sealed for very dry storage. It also has several hook points and bungee lines.

The CONS: It does not have foot pegs therefore you miss a bit of the custom fit and comfort. My 6'1" husband could not use this boat as his long legs laid on the foot ridges and was immediately uncomfortable for him. I'm 5'5" and was OK with them.

Bottom line: REALLY NICE BOAT! The boat feels very tippy when I get in but only takes a minute for me to feel settled in. I guess if it were a more stable boat it wouldn't be so fast! I can't wait until we get the top of line Werner paddles so we can really enjoy longer paddles.

Note: If you're looking for a nice, non-roto-mold plastic Sit-on-top for much less $$, look at the Hurricane Phoenix 140. It has a hatch plus open storage and is very comfortable.

Phoenix 140 by Hurricane

My husband bought this boat. It has the foot pegs and the benefits of both closed and open storage; looks great and retails at just under $1000. It's not quite as fast as the Kestrel but that's a good thing for my husband and I since he is a much stronger paddler.

The fact that my boat is a bit faster enables me to keep up with him. Questions? Please EMAIL ME and I'll try to help.

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