Submitted: 10-31-2003 by bgrimm
Well, this is the long term road test of my Kevlar-carbon Q400X. My initial assessments of quality and service are posted below. It's still a two thumbs-up TEN. Just perfect for what I need it to do - touring and camping. Quite stable when using binoculars on porpoise or sea lions, or having a snack with the leashed paddle floating beside the boat. The efficient hull design makes it easy to paddle all day - even when fully loaded with camp gear and sitting lower in the water.
The hatches are huge so its easy to stuff tents, food bags and sleeping bags. Its been on 3 day and 5 day trips with plenty of room for even more food and gear.
Its been upside down quite a lot as I practiced my capsize recovery - and neither the fore or aft hatch has leaked. The hatch covers are completely flush with the deck, structurally rigid, tethered to the hull and have an automotive door seal that compresses into a recessed channel with the adjustable straps.
The fore and aft bulkheads are structural carbon fiber composite (not molded plastic), epoxied to the hull (not glued) and are perfectly positioned to maximize storage and minimize the flood-able volume of the cockpit.
There is just enough room behind the seat for a large fanny pack, a pee-bottle and a jacket or rolled-up spray skirt. There is room between the seat pan and hull for a large bike bottle next to each hip. It tracks quite well - so I don't use the Smart Trak rudder 90% of the time. However in a cross wind, a quick flip of the cord out of the jam-cleat drops the spring loaded small rudder blade so I don't have to waste energy on a lopsided stroke. The fixed foot pegs can be used for bracing whether the rudder is up or down. For long paddles I have adjusted the pegs up and back just to change leg position. This is easily done while in the cockpit, without even leaning forward. The rudder is really an adjustable trim tab for enhancing tracking and correcting direction a few degrees to compensate for current or wind. Its not designed for turning the boat.
At 44 lbs (with rudder) I can easily carry, unload and load the boat by myself. That's the good news. The better news is....there is absolutely no bad news.