Submitted: 06-28-2006 by beaowolf
QCC700X in carbon/kevlar with thigh braces and SmartTrack rudder system.
For me, this kayak represents American engineering and craftsmanship at its best. Really smooth, efficient, fast sea kayak, even when loaded with gear. This kayak is like a Suburban (in terms of storage capacity) that handles like a Porsche! And at the same time it is very stable for its 21" width (though for the first few seconds it did feel tipsy, but that feeling quickly went away). With my weight (190 lbs) in it and 3' plus waves it was really stiff, in fact I haven't felt it flex yet. And what a great surfer!
Wherever I take it people stop and eventually ask me how much does it weigh and at 45 lbs (digital scale), including the rudder and thigh braces, it is comfortably light. Of course, they never quite look like they believe me until I lift it and carry it on my shoulder with one hand! QCC lists the weight for the 700X in carbon/kevlar at 44 lbs "without the rudder and thigh braces" (the rudder assembly alone weights 14 oz), so their listed weight are right on.
I am 6' tall and the kayak fits me perfectly. Beautiful design, perfect gel coat, the inside is clean, they really put the time into doing it right. Also, the inside carbon cloth is so "dry" you would think it was vacuum molded.
SEAT: The seat is durable, has a high density foam seat cushion and back band, and is comfortable "for me" (have been on a number of 6-8 mile paddles). Would be nice to have a seat that could be adjusted back and forward maybe 6", however, the seat placement is perfect for me.
RUDDER: The SmartTrack rudder system is great though I wish the foot braces had a bigger contact patch for my size 12 feet. The rudder cable lines exit through the taped seam joint, I coated the junction where the rudder cable exits the seam tape with clear epoxy to reinforce the thin edge of the seam tape in that area.
HATCHES: The hatch covers fit so tight that I can hear the air escaping from the bulkhead hole! I am using silicone spray to lubricate them for easy on/off. Have not rolled it but have surfed a lot and been in big crashing waves, the hatches stayed virtually dry. The reason I say virtually dry is because they are dry until you open them. When you open the hatch cover you will always get ~1/2 oz of water inside the hatch, after being in waves, because the hatch seal is recessed below the deck and so a small volume of water can sit on top of the gasket and not drain out easily. Also, because of the new hatch seal design (not shown on their web site) the hatch cover is an integral/structural part of the deck. Note: the hatch cover buckles have raised manufacturer letters on the bottom side that will scratch the gel coat over time, I used contact cement to glue on some neoprene to cover the letters-could also use a piece of bicycle inner tube rubber.
THIGH BRACES: If you will be out on rough seas, in wind/waves, you will want the thigh braces for added control.
On my last overnight trip I was paddling the loaded kayak at low tide over sand bars/flats in water that was so shallow the sit-on-top kayakers had to get out and pull their kayaks, while I just paddled on by!