Submitted: 02-18-2005 by Tom Murray
I have been using my Valley Canoe Products Aquanaut for 6 months now. I really like the boat and enjoy paddling in the Mississippi sound as well as the bayous in the area. Handling the kayak in the bayous is a joy because the Aquanaut steers beautifully by edging. I rarely use the skeg because the kayak tracks so nicely in open water no matter the wind conditions.
I am only giving the kayak a 7 because of the local dealerís performance in repairing a small gel coat blister. The dealer had the kayak for six weeks and finally lent me another kayak to use. The kayak still wasn't repaired at the end of 6 weeks. The dealer made the gel coat blister problem worse by excessive sanding in the blister area. I finally had the kayak dealer at my request return the kayak to me. The dealer gave me $75.00 to cover the cost of fixing the problem. I repaired the problem myself in a half hour. The job is not perfect but at least I have my kayak back.
The second problem is that the kayak came with an external control for the skeg. The skeg does not have the internal slider which is standard on the kayak. The exit in the deck for the control is a plastic flange with a sharp internal edge. I hand to sand this edge so that the rope didn't wear prematurely and also allowed the line to move freely. The small turning block to lead the skeg line forward is poorly placed and of not very good quality. The result is that when I do use the skeg I don't have the smooth and easy control that one gets with an internal wire control with a deck slider adjustment.
I like the kayak but I wouldn't recommend the dealer or the external skeg control to anyone.