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Pros: lightweight construction, predictable primary and final stability, comfortable seat outfitting, maneuverable, tracks well for a shorter craft, Made in USA
Cons: Lacks static deck lines, smaller cockpit runs on the smaller size
Review: The Quoddy Light's performance is reminiscent of a much longer kayak. It tracks well for a 12'6" craft and does not shy away from agile, clean, and predicable turns. Its overall stability is forgiving and allows for an enjoyable paddling experience for...
First, let me point out that we got the fiberglass composite model -- no Kevlar in ours -- which brought the price down to US$1100 and the weight up to 35 pounds. This is still a good 20 pounds lighter than plastic models like the Pongo, and for us was a good balance of cost versus weight. Would we like the Kevlar model? Sure, but for us the 5-7 pound difference was not as important as the $1000.
Having said this, our Quoddies are still light boats, and this light weight is hugely important. The boat is very responsive and easy to paddle for hours at a time, and it's no problem hoisting the boats on to the roof racks on our car at the end of the day. My kids also love to paddle the boats, and I'm sure a big part of this is that they are able to do so easily because of the weight. Moreover, because of the fore and aft bulkheads and the light weight, if you swamp the boat, it's still easy to right and drain, even in the water. The boat is also very stiff -- stiffer than the plastic boats we tried -- so more of the energy you expend paddling goes into forward motion. It's just a pleasure to paddle!
It terms of hull shape, the boats do quite well in 1-2 foot chop and swells, and are easy to paddle against decent headwinds of 20 knots or so. I haven't surfed the boats on to a beach, but working through waves away from shore is no problem. We haven't pushed them extremely hard, but neither have we babied them, and the boats thus far don't seem to suffer any performance or handling problems in terms of inshore, coastal, or lake environments. Another aspect of the hull shape is the comparatively narrow beam compared to most of the plastic boats we looked at in this class. This not only makes the boat easy to paddle and provides for good tracking, but it also makes things easier on my back. Specifically, I had back surgery last year, and I found that wider boats required me to bend sideways more to reach a good paddling angle. For me, paddling the Quoddy is a very comfortable reach.
Finally, the boats appear to be well made both inside and out, and we have gotten many compliments on how pretty they are in their matching Lincoln teal color!
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