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Submitted: 04-09-2005 by jmden
I've had this boat for over four years. I guess it's what you would call a high-performance tandem. Mine has the deck-mounted Henderson bilge pumps, three VERY DRY, oval VCP hatch covers (didn't want that big center hatch VCP offers) and the small ocean cockpits (many other options available from Valley), 26 recessed deck fittings...the list goes on. This boat spends alot of time in the Pacific and I like the security of the small cockpits and subsequent small sprayskirt in the surfzone. It tracks like a train and it's fast, but it's not too maneuverable at 22' 4 1/2" (with rudder) x 26".
I think it's a beautiful boat. The fit and finish and thought to detail is outstanding--VCP through and through. It really stands out in a tandem crowd and gets lots of positive comments until the paddler used to the stability of most North American doubles gets in it and capsizes due to the lower initial stability.
It's solidly built but heavy to carry--mine weighs about 105 pounds with the built-in pumps--a price I'm willing to pay for it's toughness. It has a solid wood rudder blade which is very durable (unfortunately, I've tested this many times...) and milled very nicely with great detail (touch is up with varnish after hitting rocks as this rudder does not "pop-up" and it's very long to keep it in the water in the rough stuff). Most rudder systems seem so dainty. I think this is the most solidly built rudder system I've seen. This rudder system seems like that it can take a bit of a beating with huge stainless steel through bolts and heavy nylon castings. When stowed, the rudder is partially nestled into the deck making for low windage--another of many VCP details. The rudder system on my boat has the butterfly steering system allowing you to brace and steer simultaneously and I have had few complaints with it after many miles. It weathercocks without rudder deployed, especially if it's not loaded so it is fairly rudder dependent--but this is an expedition boat and the hull is designed to be heavily loaded. On ocean trips I take along a complete spare rudder system. It rolls fine if you can coordinate with your partner.
I've heard a lot of complaints about VCP backbands from this vintage boat, but I don't have any.
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