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Submitted: 03-12-2013 by jaws
I bought a used Valley Skerray XL based on the fact that it was unbelievably cheap and in pristine shape. It was built in 1994 and the quality was excellent. The fiberglass layup was great and there was no flex in the hull or deck. But you would expect this when composite kayak weighs 76lbs. Yes, I weighed it and that is what the scale registered.
The seat was one of the best I have sat on. Nice support for the legs and shaped just right for myself. The thigh braces were also good. It was equipped with a rudder which was controlled by a tiller bar that was mounted on flanges glassed to the hull. This was a clean design as no holes were needed in the hull for bolts to hold foot brace tracking. But this also created a problem as the bar was held with bolts which you needed to remove to move the tiller bar forward and back. You cannot adjust the bar while on the water so when your legs cramp you are out of luck.
The Skerray XL is for big paddlers which I am not being 5'9" and 190lbs. Even though the cockpit fit fairly well and I had good contact. The handling of the Skerray was very confident inspiring, which it should be at 24" wide. I have paddled many kayaks and this one made big water (lake Michigan, Superior during high winds) seem boring. Secondary stability was outstanding.
This is not a stiff tracking kayak and did weathercock quite a bit and this is where the rudder helped. You could put it on edge to hold course but at 24" wide this took effort. As far as speed is concerned this is a VERY slow kayak. I no longer own the Skerray as I could paddle longer distances, using less energy while carry more in a QCC 500.
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