I recently had the good fortune of stumbling upon a used 2002/2003 X-Ray for sale in our local classifieds. Having been in the market for a fiberglass boat for a few years, I was excited to pick this boat up for a very reasonable price. I'd never heard of Point 65N, but I have to say that they make a terrific boat, and I have had lots of questions regarding the boat, especially where you can buy one!
It is very fast, I've done several 10+ mile paddles averaging 6 mph without completely killing myself. It has terrific stability, a bit tipping initially, but once you've spent a few hours in it you learn to appreciate the hull design that much more. The hull also cuts through large waves with ease. On a 35 mile paddle we got into some 2-3 footers, and I stayed dry all the way across the bay, with 50+ pounds of gear. It also tracks straighter than any other boat I've ever paddled, which is good and bad...see below. The large cockpit makes for easy entry/exit, and I appreciate the extra foot room. At 6'2" and 195 lbs, this is truly the best fitting boat I have ever paddled!
My only complaints are with regard to the complicated, not very user-friendly rudder system, which I have since removed. The boat can be hard to steer, due to it's dimensions, but what do you expect as you close in on 17'? And the other issue I have is related to some gel coat cracking, which is repairable, but not something that I would have expected on a boat that seems to be of superb overall quality.
If you can find one, buy it! You won't be disappointed, unless you are looking for a racing kayak, or a tugboat, this is about as nice an all-around sea kayak as you will find.I set out looking for what would be my 5th Kayak. I had a few certain criteria, as I was going to be spending a lot of money, it had to be exactly what I was looking for. Over 16.5' long, under 23" wide, fiberglass, under 57lbs, rudder, comfortable padded seat, low backband, lots of deck rigging, a yellow deck and white hull, good tracking, capable of week long trips, well made, rubber hatches. I looked at, and researched a lot of boats, and kept coming back to the X-Ray, which is currently only available at 3 stores in Canada. I suppose price had a lot to do with it, almost $1000 cheaper than any other boat that I considered to be comparable.
I test paddled it first and immediately knew it was much more advanced than anything that I had ever been it. The initial stability was medium to low, and actually a bit tippy, compared to what I was used to. The secondary stability was great. I felt almost locked up on edge. This was reassuring that it wouldn't just keep going all the way over. I quickly got used to the slightly tippy primary stability, and after a few hours, I didn't even think about it anymore.
The finish of the boat seemed top quality, and the deck rigging was more than ample. At first I didn't like the angled sides of the deck, but they soon grew on me, as this really sets the look of this boat apart from the rest. The speed was impressive. I could easily cruise at 6 mph, according to my GPS and could hit 7.5 mph in a sprint. I couldn't get the rudder to work properly, but I figured it just needed to be set up correctly, so I didn't worry about it. I finally talked myself into it, and made a deal.
Once home, I completely went over the boat and found a few points of minor concern. The rudder cables were a spectra type material, and stretched terribly, thus rendering them useless. I replaced them with a non stretch orange braided synthetic cable that I got at some outdoor show, and it worked perfectly. However, I shouldn't have to do this on a new boat? The seat back kept falling down too low, so I added a second ss bolt on each side which corrected the problem. I found a few slight imperfections in the gelcoat finish upon closer inspection, but nothing serious. The inside finish is medium to poor at the bulkhead seams and stern, but the rest looks good. I like the fact that it has a fiberglass seam inside and out, and a coating of some sort over the interior fiberglass. This costs extra with some manufacturers. I can tell that this will be a boat that I will have to grow into.
I feel that this would make an excellent 2nd or 3rd boat depending on skill level, but likely not a good first boat. I am sure that I will enjoy this boat for many years to come.9.5 nothing is perfect. I paddled a crunch poly and X-ray composite @ disvovery this past fall. They are both very nice kayaks, that rival my valley and ndk explorer in many ways.
The (x-ray) can carry more, gear, traks better and is much faster. I would highly recomend these kayaks to someone looking for a good kayak to grow with. These are not boats for true beginners, but offer unique features for paddlers, great feet leg room for larger paddlers, a nice for-deck taper that adds strengh and looks very sleek. These boats are welcome change to the UK boats which dont have the quality of finish that Point 65 boats have. These boats are also priced much better than other composite boats, you can get into a new X-ray for around $2100. I cant wait to try the 18' XP, this spring it has me thinking of 3-5 week expedition this upcoming year. The xp also looks like Rocket ship!