It was warm and sunny this morning—a perfect day to try out my new Sea Eagle! A couple weeks ago, I decided to go ahead and upgrade my original 2011 FastTrack with the newer, lighter, slimmer FastTrack 385.
Then the big launch!
Before buying this boat (my third boat purchase from InflatableBoats4Less), I exchanged a few emails with the owner, Tim. I told him I liked my original FastTrack but now needed something lighter and smaller that ideally would turn a bit easier too. He said the new FastTrack would fit the bill perfectly and he was right!
The new FastTrack zips through the water a tad faster than the old one, and now turns easier as well. The smaller side tubes were a bit disconcerting at first, but the new boat still seems as stable as the last one.
Afterwards, I inflated my original FastTrack to take some photos of it (for posting to Craigslist!), and did some side-by-side comparisons of the two boats. A bit hard to tell from this photo, but the new boat is less deep and has a slightly longer keel than the original. It also places the rear skeg a bit more forward.
The 2014 FastTrack has a number of subtle refinements over the original 2011 model. The keel is more streamlined (2014 has the all-black bottom and white tip).
The skeg is also much easier to insert and remove thanks to more rounded edges (2014 on right).
The side tubes on the 2014 are smaller than the 2011 and more tapered at the bow. This will likely have some pros and cons—while this design reduces the weight of the boat about 5 lbs (to 31 lbs), it also will likely be more challenging for a front passenger to stay dry on a windier day with choppy waves. The rear of the 2014 also only has 2 drains (rather than 4), so definitely more of a flat water boat. Still, although the original could handle more waves, you never wanted to take it anywhere other than flat water because it liked to only go straight!
Carrying the new boat is MUCH easier! When inflated, it’s lighter and easier to sling one of the smaller side tubes over your shoulder. Deflated, it’s also a few inches smaller all the way around (2014 is the all-black one below), and the carry bag’s straps are now much longer so you can (finally!) use them as shoulder straps—so much easier!
Best of all is how the new one fits in the back of the Tracker. The older one was always a bit too wide to stand on end and fit sideways into the Tracker’s narrow cargo bay. But the new one fits sideways just fine and will now only take up about 8” of cargo width floor space!
So even though this upgrade seemed a bit frivolous on paper, in reality, this new boat should work out much better in all the areas that really count—performance on the water, transport, and storage!