Submitted: 10-06-2003 by Bobdobbs
Have owned a glass 700 since spring of 2003. I am 6'1" and a lean 200#. I have used this boat in conditions ranging from dead ass calm flat water to 4-5ft Lake superior dumping chop, accompanied by 30mph wind. Have not paddled in the ocean with it.
The outer layup is flawless. The deck bungies and lines are a bit thicker than those I've seen on other boats. The deck hardware is first rate. The hatches are flush, look very pretty (esp the one with the built in compass!), and will leak like a sieve when rolling. Despite two gaskets and a fairly deep recess, a whole BUNCH of water seems to find its way in, no matter how tight I get the straps. They do not do day hatches (ouch!).
The inner layup is a bit rough. Not a boat you would want to paddle barefoot. The inner seam is not glassed like I have seen on other boats, but I have no doubts as to the seams durability (and I believe qcc will replace the boat should it fail). There are one or two screw tips from the deck hardware that could concievably catch drybags. The bulkheads are translucent, which conveniently lets light into the compartments, but still seem to be robust - more on those later. The seatpan is very comfortable - so much so that I am considering replacing the rapidpulse seatpad/backband combo with a backband only. The seat is too close to the rear coming to do good laybacks. A high wasted pfd (I wear a misfit) will cause serious discomfort when doing numerous rolls, as the back coming digs into my back.
The keyhole cockpit is big enough to get into butt first. I recommend the "thigh braces", which are merely a different cockpit coming with flanges. They do not provide much "hook" though, and I will need to pad mine out. The footpegs are not very good, as they have a rounded and ribbed face which hurts the balls of my feet after a short time.
The skeg is rope operated, spring loaded and is controlled by feeding the end of the rope through a jam cleat on the side of the boat. While the cleat is convieniently located, I do not care for this type of controll and would prefer a solid rod slider system. I have had the skeg deploy on numerous occasions when the toggle slipped out of the cleat - not very good when involved in rolling practice. The skeg also jams faily easily - not a good thing, as this boat is heavily skeg dependent in wind (though much less so in "windless waves".) The skeg box also leaks through the pivot point where the rod holds the blade to the box - small amount of silicone caulk on a semi regular basis is mandatory.
Paddling the boat is a blast. It really is "all that" in terms of speed, handling, and tracking vs turning. It is amazingly stable for a 21" beam. I can enter the cockpit butt first in waste high water, pulling one leg at a time into the cockpit. I have even done this in small waves. Turning is very good, considering the length - but you will need to commit to a strong lean. The 700 loves following seas, and will reward you with some nice rides, as long as you stay awake and handle correctional strokes proactively. Even aft quartering seas do not cause this boat to behave badly. I have had waves dump on my head during an exposed crossing, and did not get the least bit unbalanced. Confidence inspiring predictability in hairy conditions.
It is sooo easy to roll. I have even done norsaq rolls (to the disgust of greenlanders everywhere!)
In high winds the skeg is a must. It is the same blade as is used on qcc rudders, and extends very deep under the hull. At first I was puzzled by this design, but have become a convert to the idea. The reason being, that in ferocious wind, and with a load, the boat will weathercock slightly (and this is PROPPER), trimming the skeg to about 1/4 deep will put the hull on a dead ass straight course. Lowering the skeg fully will cause the boat to leecock quickly. Due to the amount of freeboard, coupled with the plumb bow, a working skeg is a must in strong winds. I have been in a storm when the skeg, unbeknownst to me, slipped out of the cleat and became fully depoloyed, and I almost took the express out to the open sea. When cresting a wave in high winds, the bow will get pushed around quite a bit, as it is a very large surface area for the wind to grab.
The bulkheads are too far forward and aft, wasting storage space, and increasing the difficulty in draining the cockpit (as many gallons of water will stay behind the cockpit when the boat is inverted and tipped. Despite speaking personally to phil about the placement of the bulkheads when I placed my order (esp for a footpump), they were not installed to the agreed upon measurements.
One of the most controversial aspects of the boat, is the decision by qcc to move the cockpit (and hence the center of gravity and turning point) back almost 8" from the original design. This causes several concerns. The first is the boat will leecock a bit without some weight in the bow. Another is that wide bladed paddles may not fit under the back deck bungies. I plan on moving my seat forward a couple inches in order to rectify the leecocking and the back bashing while rolling.
QCC is known for having "legendary service", most likely because most other kayaks have almost no service after the sale. While Phil and Steve are indeed very pleasent to deal with, and will continue to be pleasent after the deal, with extra help, they did NOT respond to any of my half a dozen emails. I find this strange and dissappointing, esp as they are a 'net only business.
Final conclusion - the most innovative and well thought out hull on the market. Top rate materials and rigorous attention to quality. Questionable ability with mechanical parts (skeg - and I'm told that the rudders will drag when up to speed.) Lack of follow through with customer specs (front bulkhead), poor placement of rear bulkhead (hard to dump h2o out of cockpit). And the best damn warranty in the business. The bottom line is that I WILL NOT return the boat, as it is too close to being the ideal kayak for my purposes. Oh yeah - and I saved a lot of $. Definitely not the most important aspect, but important none the less.
Order yours with the bulkheads and seatpan uninstalled, ask the guys if they will cut you a deal for not including the seatpad/backband and footpegs, and you should end a boat in the 99th percentile - wish someone would have told me that!