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Submitted: 04-16-2002 by daveshames
The first thing I noticed when I put the QCC 600 in the water was that the paddle I had been using for a year seemed to have lost its bite on the water. The boat's acceleration and speed was producing this deceptive effect. Further exploring the speed factor, I put in at the same dock where I had earlier tested a Wilderness Systems Arctic Hawk and a Shenai, two of their nicest, fastest, and longest boats. Making several sprint runs between the same buoys where I had previously timed the other two boats at 38 seconds each, I shaved off 3 seconds (upwind) to 4 seconds (downwind), or about 10% faster. I was surprised, given the worthy competition.
If you've ever examined hull shapes, or perhaps seen a number of kayaks together with their hulls turned upward, it really shouldn't be a surprise where the QCC gets its speed. Every inch below the QCC's waterline works to allows efficient movement through the water. The mild uniform rocker throughout the length of the hull contributes to that effect. Add to that a 16' 3" waterline, as much as found on many 18 - 19 foot boats, and you can really cover some water.
Although the waterline width measured only 19" with a 150 pound paddler, the boat was not particularly tippy, and a bit more stable than a few other boats I've paddled - the CD Andromeda, CD Slipstream, and Eddyliner Nighthawk come to mind. Perhaps the extra stability is due to the QCC's more rounded rather than V-shaped hull. The QCC's secondary stability was strong and predictable, letting me quickly became confident about putting the boat on edge.
The QCC tracked very nicely under power and remained reasonably straight when set carefully on a glide, but didn't "ride on rails" as do a few other boats. When putting down the paddle to get a drink of water, it was possible for the boat to begin slowly yawing right or left after a few seconds. Weathercocking was apparent but mild, and controlled without much effort in winds of 15 to 20 mph. Deploying the skeg eliminated any weathercocking, but I noticed that a little weathercocking was a good thing with the QCC. In tending a little toward the wind, I ultimately stayed right on course rather than being swept slowly downwind as I would otherwise have been.
In one to two foot chop and some boat wake, the QCC handled well, cutting through the water without any pounding or tossing. The bow was buoyant, and the foredeck shed water nicely and kept me dry. There weren't any surfing opportunities, and the water was a bit cold still for rolling, so that will have to wait for another day.
Despite it's very long waterline, the QCC was very maneuverable, especially when on edge. It fortunately has one of those hulls which produces noticeable turning force when leaned. I was all the more pleased to find that this effect was enhanced with the skeg about 1 inch in the water. This works because the skeg is barely a foot from the stern where it can act as a flipper to generate turning force when the boat is rotated onto its side. (Any greater amount of skeg started to impede the turn more than assist it.) I had quite a bit of fun carving controlled turns using just the boat's forward momentum and some leaning, completely without the paddle. Gliding back to the dock, I edged the boat to execute a 90 degree turn in close quarters, steering the boat perfectly into a 4 foot wide slot between the dock and a piling. Talk about parallel parking!
QCC's quality is very high by virtue of outstanding design, excellent materials, and good production technique. You can't expect absolute perfection - I found glue oozing from hidden seams, and foam outfitting under the deck which could have been more carefully laid and trimmed. They also somehow forgot about the teal stripe I requested, for which they were very apologetic and offered a discount. The guys at QCC are tremendously helpful and will do anything possible to make sure you are happy with your purchase.
At 5'9" and 150 pounds, I fit pretty well in the boat. It has enough room to easily accommodate someone a bit larger as well. Except for a much heavier molded plastic seat made by Wilderness Systems, QCC's fully padded seat with attached backrest was the most comfortable I've ever tried. I really would have liked some built-in thigh braces, though I can still get a decent grip with my knees under the sides of the deck. And with some outfitting foam, a good knife, and contact cement, I'm ready to roll. Well almost -- I did have to relocate the skeg control wire to a lower position to remove some hardware from under my knee. Now the comfort and fit are first rate.
The kevlar boat with skeg came in at about 49 pounds, but that was with nearly a pound of extra hardware already added. The QCC balanced and carried very nicely on my shoulder, and I found that I could easily walk it 50 yards down to a put in spot, and back up the hill, where I had to drag my plastic boat. The interior kevlar surfaces have what may be called a "cloth coat" versus "skim coat", meaning that the kevlar weave can be seen and felt right at the surface. Obviously this saves weight but makes it more susceptible to abrasion in high traffic areas than if you had a hard glossy coat of resin. The floor of the cockpit, especially under your heels needs some protection, perhaps with some foam, a sheet of vinyl, or a coat of resin or varnish.
I highly recommend the QCC 600, especially with the skeg and in kevlar, which can be had for less than the typical cost of fiberglass.. If you must have a rudder, they now install the SealLine SmartTrack system with fixed foot braces and pivoting toe control. (On rudderless boats, you may want to specify that you want flat-surfaced foot braces since SealLine's non-rudder foot braces, being an afterthought to their rudder version, have an annoying hump with must be ground off for optimum comfort.)
Overall, I can't imagine being much happier with an as-designed product. And yes, I had to buy a new paddle to keep up with the boat.
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