Submitted: 07-19-2004 by robb
I purchased a fully-loaded Aquanaut just under a year a ago and have frankly been very disappointed. It would be impossible for me to recommend this boat to another experienced user, though I believe less-demanding beginners and intermediates would enjoy it.
I have been paddling for almost 30 years and owned other Valley boats, other high-performance boats and several I built myself. I was looking very forward to paddling the Aquanaut but it has not measured up. The boat was delivered with an out-of-alignment skegbox. Strangely, it tracks well with the skeg down, which slows the boat significantly, but pulls to the left with the skeg fully retracted. Though it does not track well with the skeg up, it is a slower boat to turn than it should be. Additionally the skeg control cable conduit allows water to leak into the aft compartment continually. The dealer has been unwilling/unable to address these issues. The seat pan was shortened up and does not provide enough thigh support, though I understand Valley is scraping that seat and returning to the older design.
On a positive note, the boat handles rough conditions very well, the finish is excellent, it is fast (even when it does not run true), and very stable when leaned. I am keeping it as a loaner for undemanding friends, but caution demaning paddlers to really check this one out before buying.