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Submitted: 01-30-2012 by HappyPaddler
NC's boats are very nicely finished are really beautiful to look at. That being said, they are really meant for placid water paddlers who enjoy getting out on the water but don't really care to advance their paddling skills (which means beating your boat during the process). Here's a few reasons why I say this:
While the fit and finish of my NC15 was super, the light layup simply could not stand up to any abuse, whatsoever. Practicing rolls, T-rescues, cowboys, etc., quickly resulted in spiderweb cracks around the cockpit area.
The hatches that NC uses also miss the mark. The front hatch is so small as to be almost useless. The rear hatch is large enough to be useful, but the small, non-slip nubs that are molded into the hard plastic hatches shred your knuckles when turning the handles to open or lock shut the covers. Besides this, they are not dry. The perimeter deck lines are pretty much for looks only. They don't extend far enough toward the bow or stern and they are so tight that only a stick person would be able to get a gloved hand under them.
Lastly, the "performance flange" (where deck meets the hull) makes a nice rub rail, but it catches on your pfd if you are doing cowboys and T-rescues. A flush seam would be much nicer.
Okay, this review is quite critical, but there are positives to this boat, too. If you simply want to get out on the water and don't plan on hammering your boat, this is a great choice. The choice of colors is super and NC boats are really nice to look at. The light layup makes the NC15 easy to carry and load without help. The craftsmanship is excellent, and, oh, the hull really scoots through the water, smoking without effort the Romanies, Explorers, etc. that might be paddling with you. The boat has no rudder or skeg, but one was never needed, despite wind, following seas, etc. If that were not enough, NC often has killer sales where you can pick up a spiffy looking boat for not much money...just be sure of what you hope to get out of and put into paddling and you won't go wrong. My wife and I now paddle NDK boats. Not as fast or pretty as NC's, but tough as hell and, for us, that is more important.
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