Ryan, good work! although the info from SOTAR really isn't what i was after, they are just kinda telling how they build there boats.
I guess what I was after was more of a " lets fill that thing up, and break out a stopwatch"
Like I mention before, I had really never thought about it until your post, it had just not made that much difference to me.
As far as boats go, It sounds like you know what the good companys are.
I won't post any, as I wouldn't want to offend any proud owners of boats I don't list..
I row a maravia willawa 2 Its 15'9, and its the boat I row on mult-day trips.It came to me by accident really, I was shopping for High end boats, when an offer came from a buddy, that he was going to part with it. The price was right, it was in perfect shape etc.....so i bought it. after learning more about maravia, Im sold, and would be hard pressed to buy any other boat, unless it was a similar situation. Custy service, warranty, quality..Its just sooooo fine.
I like the larger than "normal" ( normal being 14' ) I like the extra space, and i pack a certain way. I use either a 4 or 5 bay frame, and everything has its home. 14's , as popular as they are, are kinda limited for me, and the way i like to pack. I have seen a lot of 14's on multi day trips, and they are fine, and honestly the size to go with if your going to have just the one boat.
My choice came from already having a small catboat (12' hyside) so, i thought getting a raft 2 foor longer would be kinda silly.
so, I have the 12' to play with, and the 15'9 for gear trips. IMO, best of both worlds.
I think all in all, get a boat that is something that is going to work for you what ever you do, although kinda like kayaking, no one boat is going to do it
Hope this helps.......( buy a maravia)........
Let us know what ever you decide