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Submitted: 03-08-2001 by Mike Thomson
UK -- by Mike Thomson (owner of Scottish Paddler Supplies). The P & H QUEST is an "impossible" boat. I have been a sea kayaker and sea kayak seller for many years now. A large percentage of my customers paddle the West Coast of Scotland where both sea and tidal conditions can be severe and the choice of sea kayak has to be taken very seriously. Throughout this time I have often been asked for a boat that is "fast but stable". I've previously had to reply that this was the impossible dream - the two were completely incompatible. If you wanted stability you went for a boat with a wide beam ( in the U K this was judged to be a boat of 24" beam or over) at the expense of speed and if you wanted speed you went for one of the lean, mean sea kayaking machines at the expense of stability.
However, following the arrival on the scene of P & H's QUEST, I will have to change my tune. This is a boat that changes all the rules. The impossible dream is here, NOW.
The Quest is long at 17 foot 9" and fast but the overwhelming impression is its quite INCREDIBLY STABILITY for a boat of only 22" beam. My first impression was that P & H had somehow managed to fit an invisible giro stabiliser and / or an equally invisible yacht type keel. The stability was unbelievable. Nothing seemed to worry the boat and I felt very comfortable in conditions that might have worried me a bit in other boats of similar or greater beam.
I have paddled a prototype and one of the first production Quests on several trips in various parts of the West Coast of Scotland in a wide variety of conditions including a trip through the Corryvrechan whirlpool where things got a bit 'interesting'. The more I paddled it, the more impressed I was. This is a boat that a beginner would feel at home in and could keep all their paddling days.
The Quest hull has a soft chine running from the cockpit area almost all the way to the stern. P & H have carried the width of the boat further forward than on the Orion giving the Quest broad buoyant 'shoulders' and the bows are slightly flared out at deck level. This combination greatly reduces the amount that the boat pitches and it planes through rough seas like an aircraft carrier, keeping the foredeck much dryer. It has as much storage space as the Orion despite being 2" narrower and is more stable.
The Quest comes fitted as standard with a deck mounted Silva P70 compass. P & H's excellent retractable skeg system, comfortable adjustable seat, a tow line or security fixing point and a cross deck recess for paddle float self rescues.
An astonishing design, in a class of it's own, and the answer to that 'impossible' dream of a fast but stable expedition sea kayak.
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