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Submitted: 08-16-2013 by Brett C
I had a major issue with this Overnighter 17 from NC Kayaks. I compete in races with kayaks, and I was looking into faster kayaks to purchase to help get my time down. I got online, and started doing some research. I came across NC Kayaks, and read some pretty nice reviews. Then, I read some about their customer service. At the time I was ready to make a purchase, there was $1,000 off of any kayak purchased. The discount was too amazing to pass up, and thought I would give it a go even though I had never seen any of their kayaks before. My purchase was based off the reviews I read, and how happy everyone was with their kayaks. Not to mention how great they looked.
I sent out an email about purchasing, and ordered the LT version with the lime/yellow fade. I also got the black seat and coaming, with a white hull. It really does look much better in person than what these pictures tell you online! Once I received it, I took it out as soon as the ice thawed off the lake, and this is where it all started going downhill. When I paddled, the boat had a strong enough pull to the left to the point I was just annoyed to paddle it. I tried different lakes, in calm wind and strong wind. I went out in choppy water and calm water. I got online and researched everything that could make a kayak do this, and tried correcting it. Nothing was working! The boat just wanted to drift left! I literally had to paddle a few extra stokes on the left every 5 or 6 complete revolutions to keep the kayak on course. As one who competes in races, this was not acceptable!
I got in touch with NC Kayaks several times about this issue, and was informed by the guy who actually built my boat as well as Doug that they would look into this, and find a solution to this problem. I guess I was blown off for a month or so. Maybe longer, I forget. I was irritated at this point, and figured I was stuck with this and started shopping for a new kayak, even though I was out the money I put into this. It wasn't until I off loaded the boat from the car one day. I flipped it upside down to clean it, and that is when I noticed what was causing this issue for so long! The funny thing is, my fiance noticed it at the same time as I did, and we just looked at each other and noticed the beam along the bottom of the boat was not straight! There may be a special word for this part of boat, but the beam (bottom of the hull) is responsible for the straight tracking. Towards the back of the boat, it had a curve to the left. I immediately grabbed my camera and took a picture.
I wrote a review on this site to state my experience with NC Kayaks. It was not a good one at all! I sent my picture to Doug, and hoped that maybe I would receive a response from him this time. In the mean time, I was contacted by a couple different guys from this site (paddling.net), and was asked about this, and if I wanted to post the review before discussing the issue with NC Kayaks. They, too, contacted Doug about this issue. I agreed to hold off on the review to see what happens.
Doug finally got back in touch with me. He apologized about not getting back to me, and said, "I guess I really dropped the ball on this one, I'm really sorry". I was just happy to hear something back from them. He said he could clearly see the issue in the picture, and the only fix to this was to send me another boat. The only thing is, I am responsible for shipping the boat back, which is going to cost me another $335 dollars, or so. I'm not happy about it, but I'm getting the problem corrected. The math just means I didn't get $1,000 off the kayak, but $665. Still, this is a great deal for what this boat has to offer.
I took delivery on the new boat today, and immediately took it out of the box and headed to the lake by my house to see how it performed. Night and Day! That is all I can say about this! It went straight! The box was not damaged, and the boat didn't have a scratch on it! I forgot to mention the first boat I received was scratched up from the freight company. The box was also damaged pretty good. The boat was still structurally sound, so I took it. God, it was an awful experience with that first boat! But as I said, the new boat arrived today, and I couldn't have been a happier guy!
I was dealing with Doug through this whole issue, and was very helpful! Anytime I emailed him about how the boat was coming along, about shipping the boat back, and any other questions. I got a prompt response back! I was notified when the boat shipped, and it took one week to get here (I'm in western Massachusetts). The company who delivered it this time was Land Air Express, and even that guy was great along with their dispatch! The first boat was last left with Sweeney Transportation out of Chicopee, MA, and I picked it up at the warehouse. So I hope that anyone in my area who buys one of these gets it delivered by Land Air! I am not sure if Sweeney was responsible for the damage, or the transportation company out in the Boston area was. Both were not very nice to deal with anyways when I tried tracking it. They also told me at one point that they lost an 18 foot long box.
Anyways, when all said and done, I got in the water with the new boat, and that boat was FAST, and it went STRAIGHT! They did an EXCELLENT job correcting this problem!!! Even though I have to pay return shipping on this first boat, I am still completely satisfied! I would rather complain about the return shipping for a week, than a boat that doesn't go straight for the rest of my time while owning it! True story!
Would I buy from them again? YES! Yes I would! I would recommend them as well! Their boats are fast! Their boats track well! Their boats look amazing! And, if you have a problem, they do fix it! Why would you not want to deal with a company like this?? They may have lost a little money on this, but a company who takes care of their customers is a company worth buying from!
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