If you're going to be spending time in salt water, you'll want a 14ft-17ft kayak. The longer a kayak, the more gear it carries and the straighter and faster you can paddle it. The trade-off is that the longer, straighter, and faster it goes, the harder it is to turn.
A 6ft-10ft boat is usually a "creeker" designed for the wildest whitewater, going over waterfalls, doing spins & tricks etc.
A 12ft-14ft boat is manoeuvrable enough for most twisty, rocky, ledgy streams and rivers, and just fast enough for most lakes and coastal bays but not fast or seaworthy enough to cross the Northumberland Straight.
A 16-20ft kayak is what you would use to tour Passamoquoddy Bay, cross to Grand Manan, run Grand Lake in a storm, cross to PEI, etc.
I have 7ft creeker that i'm a little afraid of, a 13ft Old Town Cayuga for spring trips of 2-4 days in faster water, and a 16ft Old Town Cayuga that I use on big rivers and for week long lake trips, and that I'd like to use to explore Passamoquoddy some day.
You'll need a skirt, a smaller skirt works better than a bigger one, so don't go for a co ckpit any bigger than necessary. Skegs and rudders can be helpful, but not worth paying a lot of extra money imho. If you're gonna splurge, spend money on a nice, well fitted, good looking Lifejacket that you really like wearing, that way you'll always wear it.
Last Edit: Mar 9, 2011 9:16:31 GMT -5 by ryanward10