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This boat is very fragile. I've had light cracking, which they say is normal, and some other slight cracks. I have made special efforts to avoid rocks, but if you hit one even slightly you pay for it with a crack. If you have nice sandy beaches and no rocks, then this boat would work for you. But be warned, this is like a piece of fine china. Not for every day use in Maine!
I have looked at many kayaks over the years and I still think the QCC is best for me. Steve, the owner is wonderful and stands behind his product. My kayak has been flawless over the ten years and it is used primarily in salt water. I had a deck component fail and received a replacement in a few days.
QCC has been a great choice for me!
After 4 1/2 hours with one stop I am very pleased with my purchase. The boat is fast and comfortable. It looks great. It fits great. I am 5'8" and 180 lbs and am glad I didn't get the 700. I think it might have been to big unless loaded with supplies. Several commented about the boat being tippy but it hasn't been a problem. In all kind of conditions from fast water, flat water with a 10 MPH headwind, weaving in and out of trees in flooded timber, it performed better than expected. The other paddler had a rudder and could navigate a little better in the trees but I just picked the skeg up and it did fine.
The boat was listed as a two year old in excellent condition but it's more like a brand new boat. I put the box out this morning for the trash pickup because this boat is staying here.
The boat feels very twitchy at first but becomes rock solid as you become acclimated to the narrow beam. Due to the 600's amazing secondary stability, I very quickly found myself leaning turns aggressively enough to take on water. Wow, what fun! For a hull with modest rocker, she turns really quickly when leaned. A six mile "speed run" around an island and back with glassy conditions and only an 8 to 10 mph breeze took 45 minutes flat.
The 600 is pretty much a rocket if you have the strength and stamina to match its potential. It covers distance well at an easy pace but virtually leaps forward when you really crank on the paddle! I'll have to wait and see how she handles in a heavy chop and windy conditions but so far I'm quite pleased to say the least. My paddle is adjustable so after trying various lengths I was surprised to prefer 205cm the shortest setting which is down in the whitewater range. Not only is the boat narrow but also very low to the water so a longer paddle just felt cumbersome.
Conclusion: the boat is comfortable for me and really quick, but not a boat for a novice or someone with feet much larger than my size nines. I couldn't recommend a better boat for a moderately experienced athletic paddler who fits. This is your boat if you want to go fast and are willing to expend a lot of energy to tap its potential.
As far as performance, I have to say itís a great kayak. Fast, tracks great and still very maneuverable. Even rolls quite easily. The front hatch doesnít leak at all, not a drop. The rear hatch only a touch, even if I have been rolling or practicing rescues.
I will say that I donít feel the finish and details are so great like other folks seem to say. My wife got a Wilderness Systems Tempest which the Q600X does not begin to compare with in this regard. This is not to say the Q600X is a poorly or sloppily built boat, I just donít give it high marks for fit and finish. Also, the cockpit is not well designed for layback rolls but itís not a real issue since the kayak rolls so easily. For my aesthetic tastes QCC kayaks are a little homely looking compared to the standard kayak look but I am totally content to live with that considering its stellar performance.
Oh, I forgot to mention, I am a 5'8" 150lb male and fit in the boat fairly well. I did have to put hip pads in to prevent myself from coming out during rolls but I figure every cockpit needs some adjusting.
All in all a good kayak is about performance in my opinion, and this kayak definitely has it. Just cant quite give a 10 because of it's average fit and finish.
Faster than an Anas Acuta, and more agile! Exciting to paddle with good primary and outrageous secondary stability. Surfs without effort.
People whom I let paddle my kayak say they can not belive how the hull seems to track well, yet turn at the seed of thought.
The white hull and deck do not show scratches, the red stripe looks sharp. Deck elastics and hatch cover are top quality.
I am 5' 10" 185 lbs with size 10 feet. I also have paddled a QCC700, it also comfortable -- just felt a bit large for me. Also the QCC600 is faster for me, and far more agile.
If you like a kayak to go really, really fast and challange you to develope your paddling technique I recomend the QCC600 over all other kayaks if you fit. If you're BIG, then the QCC700 is a rocket. By the way, I also paddle and love our QCC400 with the Smart Track Rudder, and think it's the best kayak if you're not willing to live on the edge from time to time.
QCC customer service is simply the best you can hope for. A problem with me and my first kayak getting along was fully resolved. Check out the web site -- read about the kayaks. Very informative, with more than you want to know about hull design!
Construction: Very good. Some better, many worse. The front hatch of all versions has never leaked on me. The rear hatch takes on pint of water over the day. Not unusual and never a problem. They have always used top quality fittings. The new Seal Line rudder or skeg is a good example of that.
Handling: Tracks moderately well. In a cross wind it will weather cock significantly. I have a skeg and I recommend that or a rudder. I think a skeg is nearly ideal: with it up the boat is reasonably easy to turn and with it down the boat tracks straight as an arrow in all conditions. Their rudder is fine to. Low to moderate initial stability with good secondary stability. Tippy enough that it is hard to use binoculars in any sort of sea. A little more stable fully loaded. The boat is quite low to the water and small waves will splash into the cockpit so I always wear a spray skirt.
500: A bigger boat and harder to steer with out skeg or rudder. Fast. Good initial stability - you can easily use binoculars - but harder to put on edge. Higher and dryer cockpit. Same cockpit fittings. A lot more room for legs - more comfortable for longer periods.
400: Perhaps the best combination of handling. Because it is a short boat it can both track well and be easy to steer. You may be fine with out a rudder. Stable but reasonably easy to put on edge.
Fit: Very good for me. No keyhole, but my legs easily grip below the rim of the cockpit. Large enough for easy entry. The low deck and narrow beam makes a tight fit. Good for paddling but not much wiggle room for long days. I like having a narrow kayak close to the water. Same cockpit fittings. A wide boat with a high deck. Lots of room below. I was still able to grip the boat well. I felt like there was a lot of boat around me.
Customer Service: Excellent. I originally ordered a 500, was not happy with it, and they exchanged it for a 600. They wanted me to be satisfied and were very interested in my feedback.
I'm 5'9" and 200lbs so I fit tightly into the bone stock cockpit. I taught myself to roll two weeks ago and the boat rolls up very easily. I imagine that if I can learn a roll in murky Chesapeake Bay water by trial and error then it's about as easy to roll up as a boat can be.
I'm still pleased with the speed of the hull. I finished a 5.5 mile flatwater loop race in 44 minutes this past weekend to finish third overall about a minute behind two Savage River marathon canoes and about two minutes ahead of two more marathon canoes. There were several portions of the course through standing timber where I appreciated having a short boat that turns well when leaned. For long open water races I could probably use a longer hull, but for 16'3" of WLL, the shallow V with soft chines slips ahead very quickly. Helping the speed is the long cockpit (no thigh braces) that allows a knees-free paddling style to help exaggerate torso rotation.
The boat is great in flat water or a chop and being on the Bay I get to see lots of chop (any boat does well in rolling swells). I recommend a skeg. Without a skeg, a rear-quartering chop will drive you bonkers especially if you're trying to make racing speed. It's easy to lean to correct weather helming but that lean creates a constant turning force that robs energy from forward motion.
I found a serious weakness in the boat last week. The Velcro system on the hatches is weak. I have been in whitecaps and crumbling wind swell breakers without a problem but last week while playing in barreling surf down on Hatteras Island I blew the hatches off during an outbound sprint when I mistimed a wave and had the lip come down over my head while I punched through the back of the wave. There was a SE groundswell at 3' and 11 sec so the waves were punchy but not terribly big. The hatches should not have failed so I drop my original review from 9 to 7.
If you've ever examined hull shapes, or perhaps seen a number of kayaks together with their hulls turned upward, it really shouldn't be a surprise where the QCC gets its speed. Every inch below the QCC's waterline works to allows efficient movement through the water. The mild uniform rocker throughout the length of the hull contributes to that effect. Add to that a 16' 3" waterline, as much as found on many 18 - 19 foot boats, and you can really cover some water.
Although the waterline width measured only 19" with a 150 pound paddler, the boat was not particularly tippy, and a bit more stable than a few other boats I've paddled - the CD Andromeda, CD Slipstream, and Eddyliner Nighthawk come to mind. Perhaps the extra stability is due to the QCC's more rounded rather than V-shaped hull. The QCC's secondary stability was strong and predictable, letting me quickly became confident about putting the boat on edge.
The QCC tracked very nicely under power and remained reasonably straight when set carefully on a glide, but didn't "ride on rails" as do a few other boats. When putting down the paddle to get a drink of water, it was possible for the boat to begin slowly yawing right or left after a few seconds. Weathercocking was apparent but mild, and controlled without much effort in winds of 15 to 20 mph. Deploying the skeg eliminated any weathercocking, but I noticed that a little weathercocking was a good thing with the QCC. In tending a little toward the wind, I ultimately stayed right on course rather than being swept slowly downwind as I would otherwise have been.
In one to two foot chop and some boat wake, the QCC handled well, cutting through the water without any pounding or tossing. The bow was buoyant, and the foredeck shed water nicely and kept me dry. There weren't any surfing opportunities, and the water was a bit cold still for rolling, so that will have to wait for another day.
Despite it's very long waterline, the QCC was very maneuverable, especially when on edge. It fortunately has one of those hulls which produces noticeable turning force when leaned. I was all the more pleased to find that this effect was enhanced with the skeg about 1 inch in the water. This works because the skeg is barely a foot from the stern where it can act as a flipper to generate turning force when the boat is rotated onto its side. (Any greater amount of skeg started to impede the turn more than assist it.) I had quite a bit of fun carving controlled turns using just the boat's forward momentum and some leaning, completely without the paddle. Gliding back to the dock, I edged the boat to execute a 90 degree turn in close quarters, steering the boat perfectly into a 4 foot wide slot between the dock and a piling. Talk about parallel parking!
QCC's quality is very high by virtue of outstanding design, excellent materials, and good production technique. You can't expect absolute perfection - I found glue oozing from hidden seams, and foam outfitting under the deck which could have been more carefully laid and trimmed. They also somehow forgot about the teal stripe I requested, for which they were very apologetic and offered a discount. The guys at QCC are tremendously helpful and will do anything possible to make sure you are happy with your purchase.
At 5'9" and 150 pounds, I fit pretty well in the boat. It has enough room to easily accommodate someone a bit larger as well. Except for a much heavier molded plastic seat made by Wilderness Systems, QCC's fully padded seat with attached backrest was the most comfortable I've ever tried. I really would have liked some built-in thigh braces, though I can still get a decent grip with my knees under the sides of the deck. And with some outfitting foam, a good knife, and contact cement, I'm ready to roll. Well almost -- I did have to relocate the skeg control wire to a lower position to remove some hardware from under my knee. Now the comfort and fit are first rate.
The kevlar boat with skeg came in at about 49 pounds, but that was with nearly a pound of extra hardware already added. The QCC balanced and carried very nicely on my shoulder, and I found that I could easily walk it 50 yards down to a put in spot, and back up the hill, where I had to drag my plastic boat. The interior kevlar surfaces have what may be called a "cloth coat" versus "skim coat", meaning that the kevlar weave can be seen and felt right at the surface. Obviously this saves weight but makes it more susceptible to abrasion in high traffic areas than if you had a hard glossy coat of resin. The floor of the cockpit, especially under your heels needs some protection, perhaps with some foam, a sheet of vinyl, or a coat of resin or varnish.
I highly recommend the QCC 600, especially with the skeg and in kevlar, which can be had for less than the typical cost of fiberglass.. If you must have a rudder, they now install the SealLine SmartTrack system with fixed foot braces and pivoting toe control. (On rudderless boats, you may want to specify that you want flat-surfaced foot braces since SealLine's non-rudder foot braces, being an afterthought to their rudder version, have an annoying hump with must be ground off for optimum comfort.)
Overall, I can't imagine being much happier with an as-designed product. And yes, I had to buy a new paddle to keep up with the boat.
My first conversation was with Phil. What impressed me was that he gave me the names of people local to me who had purchased QCC kayaks! This gave me the opportunity to contact them and get a chance to see and paddle the boat I was thinking of buying. This was a tremendous help in my decision-making. The only mistake I made at this point was not immediately ordering the 600XL after I paddled it. There was no reason for me to continue debating.
Finally, I took the plunge and ordered the kayak. Now the hardest part was to wait for delivery. The kayak came as described. I took the boat to Monterey Bay Kayaks, my local kayak dealer, who looked it over. They were very impressed with the construction of the 600XL. The bulkheads were cleanly sealed and there was no leakage. They liked the recessed deck fittings and the high quality rudder. They were pleased with the rubber coating on the rudder cables (sounded like they had cut their hands on wires before). The only problem was that they identified some minor freight damage. I was concerned. The next day I contacted Steve and told him what we found. He immediately told me that they would build me another boat! I was shocked. Their web page said that they stood behind their product but this was putting their money where their html text was.
While I waited for the new kayak, I joyfully paddled the original one. It was exactly as described. As a novice paddler, I knew this was an advanced design so I was not surprised with my initial insecurity. I kept paddling and took a 2 hour lesson to improve my skills. Each time out, my confidence grew. I am still amazed at how well the boat cuts through the water. I kayak mainly in Monterey Bay and have been in a wide range of situations from calm seas to 5- 8+ foot swells. The QCC 600XL handles them all!
I have found the cockpit to be very comfortable. I normally paddle from 2 to 3 hours at a time. When I first started paddling, I found my left leg kept falling asleep. I told this to Steve, at QCC, who suggested I pull the seat pad forward. Since that minor change, I have not had any problems. The greatest part is that I take the boat out of the water, put it on my shoulder and carry it up the beach! I'm very glad I purchased Kevlar. It allows me the independence to paddle whenever I want.
I would recommend QCC to anyone looking for a kayak. I am very pleased with my 600XL. QCC enabled me to get a magnificent kayak that will last me for many years to come at a price I can afford.
The 600 is a speedster. I held off a review until I could test it in ruff water. I went out into the mouth of the York River with a 15kt NE wind blowing across the Chesapeake Bay into the river against a dropping tide. The result was a very steep confused chop to about 3'. I logged 11 miles (out against the wind, back against the tide) in 1.75hrs for a speed of just over 6mph. I didn't think that was too bad givin the rough water. I would like to see how fast a Q700 is (The salesman actually talked me out of a 700 due to my size and the fact that I usually just day paddle and don't carry much gear. He said that the 600 would be more fun for workouts sprint paddling). I did have to pump out the cockpit 2-3times because of flooding by whitecaps (I didn't use a skirt).
The boat cut through head seas well. It also surfed well when I turned to move with the waves. It did get squirrelly on some really steep waves when I popped the stern out of the water and skidded sideways. I think a little inexperience may have been a factor there. I was concerned that it would pearl when surfing because of the steep bow entry. This fear being propagated by the fact that many manufacturers claim the superiority of the Inuit design (high bow) in climbing seas. It didn't pearl at all. Even in the short steep seas I was unable to bury the bow when surfing into the back of a wave.
The boat is finished beautifully. I almost cried when I bumped the stern deck on a metal railing and scuffed the gel-coat. It is really light for a glass boat. It's hull is thinner than my brothers Walden Legend, hence 12lbs of weight savings, and not quite as rigid. I haven't (nor do I plan to) tested the durability of impacts. It doesn't flex when being paddled though, not even when slamming headlong into whitecaps. I may enter some amateur races. I'll review its performance in that setting later.
This review is based on padding most weekends and several multi-day excursions. I also did a few open water crossings of over 7 miles in smooth and choppy sea conditions. All of this over the past six months. I used it for BCU 4-Star training and surfed inlets loaded with gear and water (250 lbs). The boat is dry, stable and seaworthy. What can I say except that I love the boat. I wanted a boat that I could solo paddle, that was easy to load on a car by my self, easy to pack for 3 day trips, and be able to portage. I paddled my 600 in winds up to 20 knots and tested the boat at all angles to the wind, the boats tracks straight and reacts to edging very well. The 21" beam initially feels tippy but quickly becomes unnoticeable. The great thing is the efficiency you gain from the overall design. The hull is fast and efficient. What I noticed immediately was that I heard now sound as I moved through the water at 4-5 Knots proving the great laminar flow of the hull design. The hatch design is flawless and the best that I have seen.
One other important item is the seat is comfortable. I have paddled without getting out of the boat for 6 hours and many 12 mile non stop paddles all with no discomfort, which is not true of the other boats I have owned. The QCC kayak is a great value and a great boat to own!!
My Q600 is impeccably crafted. The construction is absolutely first rate and everything about the boat is excellent quality from the fiberglass layup to the deck fittings. The seat is very comfortable and there is excellent storage capacity in the fore and aft compartments.
As with all QCC Kayaks, my Q600 was designed by John Winters. After having read several articles I was confident that any design by Mr. Winters would be superb. I was not dissappointed. Although having a beam of only 21", my Q600 had a surprising amount of initial stability. The secondary stability was excellent. This boat is fast and tracks very well. On my initial outing, I encountered winds up to about 10 knots, tidal currents, and a fair amount of wave action. I found the Q600 to ride very dry and exhibit only a slight amount of weathercocking.
I highly recommend a Q600 to anyone of medium build who is looking for superb quality and handling at a reasonable price. This is a lot of kayak for the money and you will have a boat in which you can take a great deal of pride.
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