I'm the mostly Proud new owner of a Vesper made in 1993. In those years, it came to me with severely oil canned hull and generally beat on pretty hard.
I've really wanted one for a while( some do call me crazy) despite the myriad of bad reviews overall lack of total reviews or any real internet/word of mouth information about the model. i kinda think mine may have been one of the warped ones,as it does the very same hard left turn,but with proper paddling it's no problem.
First impressions: This is a seriously fast boat for sub-14 feet. I've impressed the local college rowing team one of the first times out,when i barged into their glass smooth training lanes! Enough so that they didn't kick me out,hah. you really have to tweak your paddle technique for this boat to wake up,but once it does the performance is stellar for the size and shape of the boat,and all this is an old beat to death,oil canned boat.
Quality: As good as anything else from the 90's. Maybe even better. I much prefer the hinged hard mounted seat back of the vesper to my Necky Looksha sport. Other than that, it's all the same. Dagger has been around long enough to afford high quality throughout the product line.
Performance: As stated. For what it is( shape x size) plus mine being old,ragged out,and severely oil canned, This boat is a hot rod. You just have to spend time with it and learn it's quirks. My boat does the same hard left as many others on here. Warped mold or not, proper paddling deals with mine almost entirely. as you take a paddle stroke lean the boat into the opposite edge. This balances out the boats drift and keeps it tracking razor straight. Were not talking secondary stability, just edge away from the stroke slightly. I still plan on Fabricating a drop skeg from Aluminum and carbon, but that's only for open water crossings, Which do take some chess games,but confident paddling will send the boat where you want.
That's pretty much my conclusion. You have to be confident in this boat. You have to very smoothly manhandle it. (oxy moron,eh?) Maybe some just don't accommodate,But i had the same problems with the boat. Tweaked my long practiced paddling technique and the boat just woke up like a sleeping beast. Is it the best boat in the world? not by a long shot,But I do like it much more than my Looksha( crazy remember?) When the vesper is in it's element. Which I find to be lazy rivers and glass smooth water. For high winds and heavy hop, I'll be in a looksha, For everything else, you find me in the old Blue beat up Vesper with a huge Grin on my face!I've borrowed a friend's Vesper (no skeg) a few times. I'm 6'2" and 165. Once I squeezed in, I fit fine (but it wasn't like I spent hours in this kayak).
Tracking - Oh, but the tracking was miserable. After a few powerful strokes, it would pull to the left and it took several left only strokes to get it back in line. Then it would go to the right....
I wouldn't own this thing without adding a skeg. Maybe it is a later one with the worn mold tooling.