I really like my NDK Romany HV. I am 6' - 240 lbs. The construction quality is excellent. Well finished both inside and out. I am a beginning paddler with about 25 hours in seat time. I bought the boat new and have had the boat 4 months. My paddling has been in calm to lively water on bays and lakes. The lively water sessions are the result of strong afternoon winds in the greater San Francisco Bay area. My Romany HV tracks well when the winds come up. I have only used the skeg one time and that was more of an experiment to see what it would be like deployed. After paddling this boat for a while I was beginning to think I made the wrong purchase decision. I started to get negative and think this boat was too much for me at my beginning development level. I got to the point where I was thinking of buying a wider second boat so I could start to enjoy kayaking.
Then on a paddle into very strong winds it clicked and I taught myself how to implement that "relax" advice the experienced kayakers who paddled with me were giving me. The experienced paddlers knew I was fighting my boat and it was draining my energy and putting me in a negative mind set. Wow learning to relax let the true quality and pedigree of this boat design come through! I did a mental 180 and now I am pushing myself to look for even more challenging water. While I still have respect for the winds and waves, I don't fear the winds and waves the way I did before. I love the round hatches. Yes you have to think about how to pack the boat because of the hatch size but the compartments stay bone dry. Being a beginner I have capsized this boat a few times and not always in my rolling classes! That's where the angled rear cockpit bulkhead really adds value. I find my Romany HV can keep up with the longer boats without a lot of effort. While I am still perfecting my edging this boat seems to turn well for my current skill level. The cockpit fits me well. I had the dealer foam up the bulkhead and leave the foot pegs out. Now my legs don't go to sleep the way they did when I paddled other Romany HV with foot pegs.
The Romany HV was the right purchase for me. I took the advice offered on this board and did many demos and rented many boats before making my purchase. While I had my doubts if I made the right purchase initially I am very happy today and look forward to continuing my skill development in the Romany HV. Thank you Nigel for building such a fine boat! I can't wait until I am ready to buy my first Explorer!