Submitted: 11-15-2010 by Steve Jensen
I've owned this Kevlar boat for over seven years and have paddled many hundreds of miles in the Gulf of Mexico in it. It is fast and comfortable to paddle long distances. The hull is very strong and the boat is nicely built and brilliantly designed. I like the position of the skeg because it engages steep waves when surfing, unlike a stern rudder which sticks up in the air. For these reasons it deserves a 10.
I downgrade this boat for two reasons.
The problem of leaking hatches has, I hope, been addressed in subsequent production. When I paddled rougher conditions (paddling and surfing three to six foot breaking waves, burying the front three feet of the boat in green water, and getting through tidal races with confused big waves), or rolling the kayak, the bow and stern compartments would ship water and eventually destabilize the boat. I had to add my own gaskets to the hatches.
When changing directions in the same confused conditions, taking time to change the skeg position was dangerous because I had to free a hand to move the skeg and could not brace. An understern foot-controlled rudder like a surf ski would be safer to use.
My boat has aged. The stainless steel screws that hold the deck fittings to the boat corroded, one side of the plastic seat broke away from its vertical support, and the skeg cable broke out of the plastic skeg.
I contacted QCC and they said "normal wear and tear, get it fixed on your own." OK, I guess that's reasonable. I took the boat to a local kayak shop which has an international level reputation and hosts a major sea kayak symposium every year.
QCC shipped them some parts, but hasn't sent other parts that were promised. QCC hasn't taken telephone calls, or responded to emails from me or the shop for several weeks. It's like a black hole of communication and followup.
So now I'm looking at retrofitting some other manufacturer's skeg system to repair my boat. I don't know if QCC is out of business, don't know if they can't get the part from a subcontractor, don't know if someone there just doesn't care.
Fortunately, I've got an even older Mariner Express that my girlfriend uses which has even more mileage on it. That boat has had no problems and is insanely seaworthy.