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Submitted: 08-19-2013 by oldhippie
I came to the QCC 500 from a wooden kayak. I had that kayak for six years. Maintenance and nagging storage issues, however, finally reached a point which forced my hand to part with my wooden kayak.
By unmitigated luck, I discovered a used QCC 500 for sale in my locality -- Vermont. I had read about QCC's and how excellent these boats are on here and elsewhere I am an experienced paddler on the larger side, 6', 230lbs, and read that the 500 would best suit my skill and physique. This 500 was going for about 1/3 of the price it normally would have been if bought new. It was a kevlar model, about four years old. The original owner, who had it made for him, needed a smaller boat due to arthritis setting in and the desire to paddle on rivers more than open water.
The boat is kevlar/skeg version. It is heavier to lift than the wooden boat. It is also not as fast. Yet, as other reviewers have duly noted, it is as stable and secure as an aircraft carrier or the cargo vessel it seemed to be designed to be.
Coming from a wooden kayak with hard chines and a v-hull to the softer chines and the shallower V of the 500 is an experience like no other. Where the wooden boat was fast, but precarious in the water, constantly requiring steady balance, the QCC is a slower yet steadier and the more more stable craft. I have had this boat out in all variations of weather and conditions -- 20-30 mph headwinds, 1-2ft swells on Lake Champlain, "the big water," as we call it here, in calm conditions -- and the 500 has performed superbly. The 1-2 ft swells on Lake Champlain seemed hardly a bother; in the wooden kayak my heart would have been in my throat as each wave could have knocked me over. It also surfed well with the waves behind us. With a stiff headwind in front pushing back, the 500 simply plows ahead. Even in the 20-30 mph wind, it seemed undeterred. That was the only time I had to drop the skeg. I have also had this boat in small rapids where a 16'10" boat had no business going. It handled them pretty well.
The cadence of this 500 is slower than my other boat. You will not win any races with it. It's average pace is about 3.5-4.0 mph (via gps), though it can reach faster speeds if you push it. Once, just after I bought the boat, I was obliged to outrun a sudden lightning storm coming in behind me. The 500 got up to 6-7 mph then and we made it, though my muscles did feel it afterward. But the boat does cover distances well.
The cockpit is roomy enough. I can bend over and adjust the footpegs without a problem. With the wooden boat this was an impossible exercise which could lead to a capsize. The 500 had no problem with it.
My only complaints about the 500 echo those of other reviewers about the deck rigging. It seems flimsy. The hatches do seem to leak water, though in trickles. Those are my only complaints.
All-in-all, the QCC 500 is a solid and sturdy boat which can handle a multitude of conditions without flinching. Although not speedy, it covers distance well, and makes life in the cockpit easier without having to constantly worry about balancing, especially in the rough. This boat moves smoothly through all manner of water and is a joy to paddle. I'm excessively happy that luck found me with this boat.