Just reporting on recent incident involving the Diamonte kayak. It is a beautiful boat, in my experience, a Canadian-made Porsche using classic British design, big rocker, highly manouverable. Eye candy and a terrific handling boat. On a recent weekend kayaking course, I had an obese paddler in this new Diamonte they just bought, and they capsized practising draw strokes. Effected a stirrup rescue, and the rear hatch filled, causing cleopatra's needle. She jumped out of the boat again and clung onto my bow as in standard T resuce, we rafted and pumped out rear hatch on the spiffy new boat. Took 3-5 minutes of 2 persons pumping with victim hanging on(72 degree water, high body fat). It was properly attached, but has a rubber gasket making contact with fiberglass hatch cover, and NO neoprene seal.
Later that day, after 1 self rescue practise in shallows, the boat had taken on about a litre of water in the front hatch. That SHOULD NOT happen with a new boat.
If you own a Diamonte, I recommend equipping it with a neoprene hatch seal or good old orange garbage bag to make it water tight. Had this occurred in deeper water, this would have been much worse. The couple taking the course were until then self-taught, and arrived with 2 new kayaks, 1 hand pump between them, 1 paddle float between them, and she was a right hander paddling a left feathered paddle. His new Seaward Quest made me drool also, and performed flawlessly, the Seaward hatch system is fantastic.
Otherwise, the Diamonte seems to hold up well. My thought is that the HUGE picnic basket full of food in the rear bulkhead had not been properly stowed, it had pressed up against the hatch cover. Even though both fastex buckles on the rear hatch were done tight, the picnic basket pushed up on the hatch cover enough to break the seal, although this was not visible when inspecting the boat prior to launch. Diamonte would be advised to carefully evaluate their design, had Cleo's needle occured when she was boating in Newfoundland (which she had just returned from, nervous about her skills, and hence her appearance in our kayaking intensive course), this design flaw would have been much worse.
Also, us instructors ought' to practise Cleo needle recoveries more often, this was threatening to become a serious "third-lemon" as it was.
I mentioned the paddler's obesity as a complicating factor in what should have been a routine assited re-entry. They lacked the upper body strength to marginally pull of a stirrup rescue. I advise all paddlers with obesity to spend 6 weeks in the gym working on shoulder, pectoral and tricep muscle strength with a good trainer. Alongside maintenance routine such as push ups 3X per week, this should help give you the upper body strength to effect a paddle float or assisted rescue under reasonable conditions. There is a minimum level of physical fitness required for kayaking, the obese paddler is safer in cold water, has a low center of gravity and shouldn't be disuaded from paddling. They MUST however, have sufficient muscle power to move their body onto the aft deck of a rescue kayak. All kayakers must be trained in stirrup rescue, without it, we would not have been able to get her back out of the water.