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Submitted: 06-16-2006 by crowan1900
The only other kayak I have paddled is a Pelican Pursuit 11, so please keep this in mind as you read this review. My frame of reference is limited.
The first time I went out on the water with my new Quest, I felt very unstable. The Quest is a lot narrower than my other kayak, and I had to learn (or unlearn) how to sit in a kayak. I am convinced that at least part of the problem had to do with the "squishy" sliding foot braces that came with the kayak. These braces are good for controlling the rudder, but not good for pushing against when paddling or bracing. I replaced the "squishy" foot braces with a pair of solid, pivoting foot braces from Duckworks.com. now I have something solid to push against, feel much more stable in the water, and do not tire as easily. I strongly recommend replacing the "squishy" foot braces with foot braces like mine.
The cockpit is not nearly as roomy as the Pursuit. Just getting into the kayak was a challenge at first, but after a few day trips it was no longer a problem. It would be nice if the Quest had a day hatch.
The spray skirt fits snugly around the coaming. And fitting the spray skirt onto the coaming isn't nearly as difficult as it was with the Pursuit.
The Quest came with a full complement of bungees fore and aft, so there were plenty of spots to place my paddle float, deck back, water pump, etc. There's a round, recessed spot for a compass (I think).
I am amazed at how well the Quest performs on the water. I know my frame of reference is limited, but comparatively speaking this kayak STREAKS across the water. I use less effort with each stroke and glide further and faster than I ever did in the Pursuit.
It is easy to put the Quest on edge to carve turns, practice bracing, or do eskimo rolls. I learned this the hard way. Or is it the easy way? In any event, I lost my balance and suddenly had the opportunity to practice a self-rescue. I was able to re-enter the boat easily enough, pumped the water out of the cockpit, and was on my way in just a few minutes. Some water had entered the storage compartments, though. I don't think the water entered the compartments through the bulkheads. I think the water entered through the hatches. The rubber lining on the hatch lid does not form a perfect seal. In fact, the rubber lining is not permanently glued to the hatch. It can be removed, and in doing so one can see that it is a length of rubber, not a circle of rubber. In other words, when the rubber lining is attached to the hatch there is a tiny gap between the beginning of the rubber lining and its end. I think this is how the water got in, and I'm going to have to do something about this eventually. The storage compartments themselves are roomy and can easily hold enough gear and supplies for an overnight trip.
The rudder is a godsend in heavy seas and windy conditions. Deploying it requires twisting around to locate a loop of rope on the rudder control line with my left hand and locating the other end of the control line with my right. The left hand pulls while the other pushes, and the rudder plops into the water. Stowing the rudder requires a reverse action, but I have to be careful not to pull too hard or too quickly, otherwise the rudder will slam onto the rear deck.
One thing I noticed right away was how smoothly this kayak travels through chop. I was used to the bow of my Pursuit bobbing UP and down, UP and down, even in little wavelets. The Quest just slices through waves with little or no bobbing motion.
I fashioned a V-sail out of sailcloth, a couple of fiberglass tent poles, a length of clear plastic tubing, and 2 PVC "tees" for the Quest and attached it to the hull with plastic clips. Sailing the Quest can be a real challenge, but it sure is fun.
Overall, I highly recommend the Quest to anyone who wants a fast and relatively stable sea kayak, but doesn't want to spend a small fortune to acquire one.
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