A lot of the group members have purchased kayaks so far in 2009 and quite a few have not been satisfied. Many liked the stability when they first got their boat, but after a few months got tired of being slow. For those that are willing to buy their kayaks new, the sea kayak expos work well. For those looking for a 5~10 year old used kayak, it's tougher to get a good comparison. For those with good balance a narrower boat is usually faster, while those with poorer balance typically need to compromise a bit so they are comfortable paddling hard instead of bracing contnually.
To help people understand what older kayaks work best for them, I will post a few time trial paddles where you paddle a set course for time, switch boats and do it again. We'll record the data and I'll analyse it statistically so we can adjust for factors such as tiredness and wind variation. I'm thinking that each person will paddle 5 kayaks in a 2 hour period on a 10~15 minute long course.
I'll post the first one later today.