05-29-2012Submitted by: MZP
Reviews for Skerrey RM Kayak by Valley Sea Kayaks
Based On: 15 Reviews
- Rating: 8 of 10 I've had my plastic Skerray since 2005. It was my first sea kayak. I wanted something affordable, robust and stable. I've not been disappointed. I've had the boat out in winds up to force 6 and waves 2 m high and it was a joy.
The boat has stood up well to some fairly arduous use, but there is one thing I would recommend checking if you are about to buy a secondhand Skerray: the hatch rims. On my boat these are black plastic items bonded to the yellow polyethylene of the hull. The rim of my front hatch has cracked where the vertical part meets the horizontal part. It's a hairline crack, but it means that water does get in if I'm taking water over the bow. Options for fixing it are either plastic welding or cutting the top of the old rim off and bolting a new one on. I've not been sufficiently troubled to do either as yet.
The only other problem I've had was the hatch covers, which perished more rapidly than I expected. Keep them out of the sun as much as possible!
All in all, I'd say a good first boat, especially if you're on a budget. Comparable in many ways to a plastic Capella.
07-17-2009Submitted by: Dan T
- Rating: 9 of 10 The weekend of July 4th I bought my first kayak, a Valley Skerrey RMX. I got a steal, $1000 including car rack, paddle, all accessories, it had been used only a few (5) times by the prior owner.
Even though this is my first venture into paddlesports (had tried a 13' once prior), this is a great boat. It is easy to handle with one person and light enough that you still have energy to paddle after you launch.
The cockpit is a bit tight on my frame (42" waist); but that's my problem, not the boats...
07-16-2008Submitted by: Coastal Yakker
- Rating: 10 of 10 My ("rescue me" orangeish-red) Skerray RMX is the best 17' yak I've ever owned, plain and simple.
Starting with the basics: the quality of the polycarbonate layup is superb, and its bulkheads are particularly robust and well-positioned (probably because the boat was designed for cold, stormy, salty water). I'm 6'1", and have fairly long legs (and size 14 shoes!), but I still fit comfortably in the cockpit without any problems on multi-day treks. Additionally, the boat creates a wonderful symbiosis between rocker and skeg position - it can either track like a 19' boat or turn like a 14' boat, depending on how you trim it. I've tracked the boat steadily across several open stretches in 20 kt. abaff/abeam winds, which usually spin a kayak in loops. Thus, I believe the boat hull's seaworthiness in waves enhances the stability usually associated with a skeg.
Although Valley originally pitched the Skerray as a "small-trip" boat, the compartments can store about a week's worth of gear, and there's a good chunk of space between the backrest and the rear bulkhead for storing day gear. While this isn't as convenient as a separate day-hatch, the deck line arrangement more than makes up for this (especially if you use the extra anchor points to design your own nifty bungee layout). It's also easier to adjust the skeg bungees/tensioners than on most boats because the skeg "compartment" is actually an integral component of the rotomolded hull.
So, overall, it's one helluva boat if you can actually find an owner willing to part with theirs, or find a Valley dealer that happens to have one around. Although I'd normally prefer a fiberglass layup, the quality of the rotomolding on the Skerray makes it particularly durable, fun, and seaworthy. It ain't too heavy for car-top, either!
09-06-2006Submitted by: Greg J Granger
- Rating: 10 of 10 WOW! I have own my RM skerrey for about 6 years now. The only thing I can't figure out is why the origional ower sold it. DRY RIDE! If you are looking for a boat to paddle in cold water this is it. It has to much rocker to be fast but it climbs waves like a duck.
11-14-2004Submitted by: 1951henryb
- Rating: 10 of 10 Skerray RMX: Iím 6í0Ē and 185 lb. Size 12.5 feet, which always matters in kayak reviews. After discovering that I just didn't have enough fun in my fabulous Kajak Sport Millennium (18'3", glass) or my soft-riding QCC 500, I sold the Millennium (worth more than the QCC) and embarked on a search for the kayak that would be the most fun in the most conditions. The Skerray RMX is the end of that search. It has terrific initial stability, lots of room for my big feet, turns on a dime despite its 17' length with the skeg up, tracks well with the skeg down, handles close swells, chop, waves, control in caves, and is just fun.
As I began my search, which I did by paddling every likely boat my favorite local outfitter, Aqua Adventures in San Diego, has. I loved the way the Romany and Avocet handled for others but didn't fit in them. Valley Canoe is bringing out a larger version of the Avocet, but while I was waiting for that I tried the Skerray and loved it. I put side views of the Skerray and the new Aquanaut on top of one another in Photoshop, and the Skerray's bow clearly stood out with a higher sweep and more rocker. I didn't bother waiting for the Aquanaut. I bought a used Skerray from Aqua Adventure's fleet this fall and am delighted with it.
Pros are fun and handling. Comfort is also a pro once you toss the foot pegs, which are too close anyway - I am just now putting some foam against the bulkhead on a slant, and change the uncomfortable back band. The only significant con is that it's not very fast or quick. I'm outfitting it now so that it fits me like a glove, but I'm noticing that when I get the foam knee bracing in, a thigh support, and the bulkhead foot bracing, it's wonderfully comfortable but won't allow for easy exits. The slightly keyholed cockpit won't let me get my knees up, and my feet won't shoot past the braces, since thatís now the bulkhead, to let me release quickly. Oh well; just have to expect to roll quickly or hold my breath.
I've been in surf with it, caves in smallish swells, and the open water off La Jolla, albeit in marginal seas. But I'm actually excited at the thought of messing around in some storm water. It's a fun boat.
08-03-2004Submitted by: epf
- Rating: 10 of 10 I recently purchased a used Skerry RM (modified ocean cockpit) from Atlantic Kayak Tours. Back to the Skerry. I had been looking for a kayak for months but couldn't find one that fit me well and felt good (6'2", 195#, size 12 shoe). The Skerry fits perfectly and is a joy to paddle. I have used the boat in a wide range of conditions - from calm days on the sound to days where the wind was blowing 30kts and the waves were 3+ feet. The stability of the Skerry in rough conditions is incredible - it inspires confidence. The hull has a good amount of rocker, so it is influenced by strong winds. The boat responds beautifully to edging and corrective strokes making wind a small annoyance, not a major problem, but you have to work. I have not used the skeg yet, and that is a good thing. The only possible fault on this kayak is the mechanism for controlling the skeg - a line passed through a jam cleat. There is virtually no feel - the only two skeg positions I can be certain of are retracted and completely extended. This is a small problem however and I hve some ideas to remedy it.
The boat is a tremenous amount of fun to paddle - it turns on a dime, accelerates well, and can be pressed to the very edge of balance without feeling unstable. Can't wait to take this boat out into the surf. If you are looking for a high quality kayak that is a blast to paddle and easily accomadates larger paddlers look into the Skerry.
05-11-2004Submitted by: GFB
- Rating: 9 of 10 I picked up a poly RMX a few months ago. I am a complete newbie, but wanted a boat that was A) seaworthy and B) affordable. For less than the price of a leftover boat at the local shop I got the Skerray and a full complement of paddling equipment, right down to the rack for my truck. Looking back, it might have been a bit of an impulse purchase, but my reasoning at the time was that, as a newbie, paddling several boats at product demos wouldn't yield much useful information beyond "gee, that one is a nice color and the seat was comfortable for the whole 5 minutes I paddled it". Anyhow, after many hours of flatwater paddling and a kayaking lesson I think I have some useful info for anyone new to the sport who might be considering one of these boats. It doesn't track like the proverbial train. This is actually a GOOD thing, because once I learned the leaning-turn trick it is actually quite easy to make the boat go where desired. Wind effects are easily compensated by dropping the skeg an appropriate amount - and no, I do not feel as though I am "cheating" by using the skeg - it's there for a reason, and why should I interrupt my paddling rhythm for compensating strokes if I don't have to? Second, the backband is as bad as the other reviewers described. It's narrow and placed very low. Low is OK, as I understand that this gives you the option to layback on the rear deck for certain Eskimo rolls, but I've seen plenty of low backbands that looked as though they offered a whole lot more support than this feeble thing. I've been practicing paddle float self rescues, and I was pleasantly surprised at how very little water was shipped into the cockpit after a capsize. The boat floats high when righted and it is easy to get back in. While I've not yet mastered the Eskimo roll, it is very easy to right the boat while swimming next to it, which bodes well for flipping it back over while seated inside it. Stability (remember, I'm a newbie) seemed twitchy at first - I'm moving from a fairly beamy canoe to this kayak - but over time I have become accustomed to this. I've yet to become "one" with the boat while heeling it over for turns, but blame that more on my experience level than the boat. My point here is that this is most definitely NOT a stable beginner's barge (I've paddled a few of those) - it seems quite fast, but you pay a price in that you can't fall asleep in it and expect to stay dry. The hatches are tight and dry, and there seems to be enough room for a few day's worth of camping gear. I'm a veteran backpacker, so it looks like a lot of room to me, but if your camping style tends more toward luxury/gadgets you may want more room. So far, I like it a lot. With some more time to grow into it I may fall in love.
09-02-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 After paddling some different boats and reading numerous reviews I decided to take the Skerrey RMX for a test ride. Itís a very quick boat and tracks well with the skeg; very playful without. Overall Iím happy with the performance, price and looks, but there are a few things Iím not so happy with after spending numerous hours in it.
The seat is adequate yet a higher back rest would be a plus. The foot braces are back just a bit farther than they should be which makes for a slightly more cramped ride that I prefer. Right now my foot braces are pushed to the end of the runners and itís still not quite enough to really let me stretch out. Hereís the kicker Ė Iím 5í 10Ē. A person over 6í would feel very cramped.
There is a problem with my skeg cable so it takes quite a bit of convincing before the skeg with either drop or retracts. This seems odd as I havenít abused the boat in any manner that should cause a kink. Iím sure fixing the problem will be a chore.
As many of the other writers have indicated, secondary stability is fantastic. With a few adjustments I believe this boat will keep me very happy for a lot of years.
My suggestion to shoppers is rent or borrow one first, if you can, and spend some real time in it. Many of the features keep this boat ahead of the competition; others might make a poor choice. Shop around.
06-30-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I have owned my Skerray RM since August of 1994. I bought it as a present for myself when my ex wife announced that she was moving out. When I was 26 and more in shape - this was the dream boat. It had all the features of its fiberglass sister - with the cost of (and surface blemish resistance) of plastic. Now that I am 35 and slightly out of shape - I still love this boat (but it can get a tad uncomfortable at times).
I have taken this boat everywhere. I have paddled it on rivers, guarded small lakes and three of the Great Lakes in 8-foot swells. I love everything about this boat. Previous reviews about tracking always puzzle me - I have absolutely no problem keeping this boat going straight by simple adjustments to the strength of the stroke on whichever side I'm starting to turn towards. Maybe it's me - but part of the draw of kayaking is me and the boat becoming one with the water. If it wants to push me around - then I have to figure out a way to counter that. The skeg on my boat NEVER goes down.
Initial stability is good on this boat. It tends to be a little tippy in small chop, but what boat isn't? Secondary stability is solid, and the boat pretty much rolls itself back up in the final stage of the eskimo roll. It also braces incredibly solidly in both low and high brace scenarios. It turns well, and with a slight lean it can turn on a dime. I have swung the boat 180 degrees in small areas without much issue with bracing a stern rudder stroke to get to where I need to go. My favorite picture of me in this boat was paddling the day that I got it when I launched into a low brace, the entire top of the boat is revealed, and half the cockpit is in the water with the sun setting behind me. Never once worried about going over that day, and haven't since.
The storage areas are unique in this boat in that the bulkheads are welded in place (rather than sealed with marine caulk). I have gotten a smidge of water in the hatches as a result of an all day surf expedition - but these hatches have never leaked otherwise. I have had to replace both hatch covers this year (which is to be expected in a 9 year old boat), and this is incredibly easy to do thanks to the VCP hatch covers which revolutionized the industry.
Deck lines are solid on this boat - and I retrofitted mine with some 1/4" climbing rope. It is much more solid than the black poly rope provided, and it adds a nice colorful element to the top of my boat. I also retrofitted a bungee system (using some old Aquaterra bungee cleats) on the back deck just behind the cockpit which is a great place for my bilge pump, paddle float, and anything else I can stick back there. There is also a standard bungee system for the storage of a spare take-apart paddle.
The carrying toggles on either end are comfortable on the hands. I actually usually wind up carrying my Aquaterra Spectrum (the boat I had before she wanted to move) on my shoulder (my paddling partner's boat) - then grabbing an end of my Skerray to carry both to the put in. The boat is light enough to be carried by a solo paddler - and my model features the small cockpit - so it sits well on the shoulder. No digging into the hip like with larger cockpits. I also love the dry ride that the small cockpit affords me.
I have 2 complaints about this boat - one minor - and one that I dealt with in a unique way. The minor complaint - there is NO back support in this boat whatsoever. This is fine for daytripping - but any extended paddling leave a slightly achy lower back. Again - when I was younger this was not a big deal. I'm used to this condition - but first time paddlers in my boat ALWAYS complain about the backband. The complaint I dealt with - the boat is a little shallow in the cockpit where my feet hit (I'm 6'2" after all) - and my size 11's don't fit with shoes on. I always wear water socks or neoprene boots so this isn't an issue - but I can't really put anything with a sole in the boat. That gets a little uncomfortable in the winter. I bought this boat in kit form, and I was able to put the footbraces wherever I wanted to. As a result, I was able to place them further down the boat (and they are still FULLY extended), which may have added to my inability to fit my feet that well.
All in all I love this boat. I would choose it over its cousin the RMX only because I'm a big fan of the smaller cockpit. I feel locked in - and the water is one with me and my boat. If you're looking for a plastic boat that has all the handling and leakproof features of a layup - this is it. I'm not sure how readily available the RM is anymore (the RMX seems to be the popular choice) - but if you can find one - RUN and buy it. I know I'm going to when mine eventually wears out.
05-15-2003Submitted by: Wayne c.
- Rating: 9 of 10 Love this boat! Have only taken it out 2 times since purchasing it 2 weeks ago. Primary stability sucks, however secondary is outstanding. Can't wait to try it in waves on Long Island Sound as I hear it is very playful and seaworthy. Definitely see myself utilizing the skeg on longer trips since this makes a considerable difference for tracking purposes. The only gripe I have is the
rotomolded shell is not as durable as I thought it would be. I've already sported the first dent. We'll see if some sun will do some magic. My friend
purchased the Prijon and the shell seems stronger. Time will tell.
12-11-2000Submitted by: J. Carlson
- Rating: 9 of 10 My boat, an RM, the one with the smaller cockpit opening, is a great all-rounder suitable for beginners as well as more experienced paddlers. As previous reviewers have noted, the boat is most agile, but will track with the skeg down. I've let beginners try my Skerray and all have found it easy to get used to. The small cockpit is hard to enter til you get used to it, but holds you well while rolling. The factory backband is pretty minimal, and could stand to be replaced with something wider. All in all this boat will provide most paddlers with lots of fun and with its dry storage, be very suitable for trips.
05-04-2000Submitted by: T. LaBlanc
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is my second kayak. I'm am 6'2" and 210# and I fit in it very nicely. The boat is a hoot to paddle. Very playful and maneuverable. It is a bit vague in direction for beginners, but for the experienced paddler technique makes this almost indescernible. Turns on a dime, easily braces in even the sharpest turns, water even coming over the back edges. Tracks straight, with the skeg like on rails. Hataches are dry even in 5-6 foot waves in the Gulf. Surfing is good, with broaching a little bit of a problem becauses of the rocker. Initial stabilty is good, secondary is great. The boat is so forgiving you'll feel like a pro in no time. If you want a good all around boat of English design this is the boat for you.
11-22-1999Submitted by: Clark Bowlen
- Rating: 9 of 10 Playful best describes the RMX. It loves waves, surfing, and doing eddy turns in tide currents. It will go straight without the skeg, but you have to use good technique and pay attention. With an inch or two of skeg showing it tracks without fuss, though there is a small but noticable performance penalty. Although a relatively low volume boat it holds tons of gear. A weeks worth of gear and food were no problem on a Georgian Bay trip, though we didn't have to bring water. A week on salt water might be a squeeze. A steady, stable boat to begin with, it is like a rock when loaded with gear. This is my third sea Kayak and far-and-away my favorite.
11-20-1999Submitted by: Slapshot
- Rating: 9 of 10 The Skerray RM(X) has got to be one of the most playful sea kayaks ever designed. Very responsive, turns on a dime. Great boat to instruct out of as it really makes you look like you know how to maneuver a sea kayak. Low shear line keeps it manueverable even in Force 8 winds. Performs great in big seas. Easy to edge and sweep in following seas to catch and surf the waves. Of course, with that same amount of rocker you won't be winning the San Juan Challenge or any other distance race any time soon. The Skerray RM(X) comes fully equipped with retractable skeg, which many a novice certainly will benefit from. It also has full length perimeter safety decklines with recessed deck fittings that have no hardware showing under the deck to snag dry bags (or skin for that matter). The bulkheads are plastic and are welded into place, gaurenteed not to leak as long as I own the boat! No cheesy plastic hatch covers here, the RM(X) has the tried and true VCP hatch and rim system, stays as watertight as tupperware. I prefer the RMX with after market thigh braces. I actually purchased thigh braces for a Perception Chinook and they fit and work very well. Its also lighter than plastic boats usually are at about 53#. Won't give it a 10 because the seat wasn't glued in very well, the back band needs upgrading to a Rapid Pulse, and the cockpit coaming could be recessed further back away from the backband for rolling purposes. Paddle one if you get the chance.
06-22-1999Submitted by: lbick
- Rating: 9 of 10 Stepped up to this boat from a cheesy little thing and like it a lot. It edges well and turns on a dime. Tracking is only fair without the skeg, but very good with it. Great touring kayak for a novice or intermediate paddler.
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