Submitted: 07-17-2009 by magooch
NC 19 Expedition LT Update
I've had my Expedition for over seven months now and I've put a lot of water under its keel, so it's time for an update.
The Expedition continues to surprise me in ways I never expected. I knew all along that the boat is very stable, but along with that, it is just remarkable how the boat acts like it has a gyroscope on board when it comes to confused sloppy conditions. It is actually fun to play around in tide rips where the waves are often quite daunting in a lesser craft. The Expedition leaves no doubt that it can handle anything that I am likely to blunder into.
After an outing in one of my other boats and then switching to the Expedition, I still sometimes have to ask myself if this thing is really faster. I've checked it with the GPS several times and it really isn't even close; the Expedition just slides through the water with such ease.
In my initial review, I mentioned that I had the builder position the seat as far back in the cockpit as it could be. I'm very glad I did; it makes getting in and out much easier and there is no downside to it. The seat itself has got to be one of the best in the industry and is more than just a spot to plant your rear end. Along with being very comfortable and supportive, it is an integral part of the structure of the boat. It obviously creates an additional connection between the hull and deck and serves to stiffen the entire boat. The seat is very solid and stiff, which means that it contributes some to the overall paddling efficiency. I have to say though, that I very much enjoy the pad my wife made for me, especially on longer trips.
So far there have been no problems with the finish, or any of the fixtures, but I did have to check with the builder about something I thought could lead to trouble. The front hatch and to a lesser degree, the rear hatch are sealing so well that pressure builds in the compartments. Up until the weather got hotter it wasn't enough to get concerned with, but recently it got to the point where I was worrying about it. They told me to bring the boat by and they'd fix it, or I could just drill a tiny hole in the bulkheads. I drilled a very tiny hole in the forward and rear bulkheads, but I left the one behind the seat alone, because the day compartment seems to be fine. As of this writing, I haven't had the boat out in the sun to see if the problem is fixed, but I'm reasonably sure it is. Oh, by the way, I love the hatch covers and wouldn't trade them for any other type.
One of the unique features about NC kayaks is what they call the performance flange. It is created by the method with which they join the hull and deck. It really does do all the things they say it does (stiffens the perimeter of the hull, deflects spray, lifts the bow in waves, etc.), but I have found that it also helps enormously in handling the boat out of the water and keeping it stable on the trailer that I haul it on.
To sum it all up, the Expedition has satisfied my quest for a long distance cruising kayak, far beyond my expectations. If there is a better boat out there for that purpose...well I guess that's just a matter of opinion.