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Submitted: 07-25-2001 by Reid
Got my fiberglass 600 four weeks ago and love it. It's fast, tracks beautifully (especially with the skeg deployed), and can be leaned to obscenely steep angles (flood the cockpit without a skirt). My previous experience in kayaks includes clunky recreational boats like the spectrum and the Seacret. My Seacret is still my workhorse though (fishing and river running).
The 600 is a speedster. I held off a review until I could test it in ruff water. I went out into the mouth of the York River with a 15kt NE wind blowing across the Chesapeake Bay into the river against a dropping tide. The result was a very steep confused chop to about 3'. I logged 11 miles (out against the wind, back against the tide) in 1.75hrs for a speed of just over 6mph. I didn't think that was too bad givin the rough water. I would like to see how fast a Q700 is (The salesman actually talked me out of a 700 due to my size and the fact that I usually just day paddle and don't carry much gear. He said that the 600 would be more fun for workouts sprint paddling). I did have to pump out the cockpit 2-3times because of flooding by whitecaps (I didn't use a skirt).
The boat cut through head seas well. It also surfed well when I turned to move with the waves. It did get squirrelly on some really steep waves when I popped the stern out of the water and skidded sideways. I think a little inexperience may have been a factor there. I was concerned that it would pearl when surfing because of the steep bow entry. This fear being propagated by the fact that many manufacturers claim the superiority of the Inuit design (high bow) in climbing seas. It didn't pearl at all. Even in the short steep seas I was unable to bury the bow when surfing into the back of a wave.
The boat is finished beautifully. I almost cried when I bumped the stern deck on a metal railing and scuffed the gel-coat. It is really light for a glass boat. It's hull is thinner than my brothers Walden Legend, hence 12lbs of weight savings, and not quite as rigid. I haven't (nor do I plan to) tested the durability of impacts. It doesn't flex when being paddled though, not even when slamming headlong into whitecaps. I may enter some amateur races. I'll review its performance in that setting later.
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