Happi, I got the Lt. model and I think it is well worth the extra money. Every time I lift the boat, I am extra glad I went with the Lt.
Yes, I have paddled the Expedition in following seas. I haven't by any means gotten to the point where I feel completely comfortable with my techniques, but the boat is rock steady. I was thinking about some different things to try the next time I go paddling.
NC kayaks are known for their tracking ability. They are designed to handle big water, but that doesn't mean that the paddler is just a passenger. I have had to learn new methods and modify others.
Last spring, I did go up to Tacoma to demo the Expedition (19'-2') and one of the 17'-2" boats. At the time, I was not impressed with the handling. All the same, I was so impressed with the quality and other features of the boats that I figured I could learn to deal with the maneuverability. I have in fact learned to turn the boat, but you have to appreciate that I was used to my Sirocco. The Sirocco is probably one of the easiest handling boats there is, so I was spoiled. The seventeen foot boat is somewhat easier to handle, but I wouldn't trade the Expedition for anything.
I do not use any of my boats for touring (camping). Yes, the hatch openings are a little smaller than those on some kayaks, but I guess if you have anything too big to go through the holes, you might have to carry it on deck. The front and day hatch holes are 5 3/4" and the rear hole is 9 3/4".
As I said, I was spoiled by my Sirocco and I still love that boat, but an NC will also spoil you, but in a different way. The stability, tracking and effortless speed will make it hard to want to be in any other boat. The quality of these boats is simply something that has to be seen.