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Submitted: 07-16-2008 by Coastal Yakker
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!
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