Submitted: 09-26-2007 by fixer
Picked boat up this past summer (1998 model I think). I've paddled for years in a 17 Hydra roto boat in all kinds of conditions on the Great Lakes and on trips lasting up to 7 days. Needless to say the Valley was a major upgrade! It did not take long to get used to the initial stability and the 2ndary stability is amazing.
The boat is very easy to roll and surprisingly easy to turn on edge. I love the style/look of the boat and the Valley hatches are truly watertight (I spend a lot of time just practicing rolls and never get a drop in the hatches).
At 6' 175# size 12 feet, the boat is very comfortable and roomy in the cockpit. The storage volume is good but not as much as I was expecting. The tail and bow is very long and slender. I paddle on long trips with a bunch of guys that own the QCC 500 that can carry more load (and they have no trouble keeping up or handling big waves).
As far as the ride, the boat handles extremely rough water with ease. The only complaint is that my skeg needs some attention. On a recent trip in September to the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, I ran into trouble with the skeg sticking. We set out one day into 20+ mph winds and I had dropped the skeg by hand before taking off (we were heading into the wind but about 2 miles later we would be turning around the point of an island and coming with the wind). About half way, I had to pull the skeg up and let the boat weathercock into the wind, which made it much easier to paddle. I was a bit worried as we approached the turn, however, on how the boat would go with the wind with the skeq up. It was a bit scary until I managed to get the skeg to drop again. With the skeg down, the boat tracks like a missile in the following seas (4-6' swells) and was a blast. Extremely seaworthy boat, but the skeg is a must. I'm going to try to modify my bungee style skeg to make it operate more reliably.