I'm no engineer ...
Posted by: nebeginner on Sep-04-12 8:20 PM (EST)
... Nor a craftsman in glass, kevlar - or plastic for that matter - boats.
But I have been around boats my whole life, literally, growing up on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. As did my father and grandfather. Always had boats, so I learned to appreciate them from a young age, listening to my father and grandfather discus boats. All kinds of boats.
Ever since I started playing with sea kayaks, checking out local shops for fun before I bought my first one a dozen years ago, every shop had multiple brands of boats .... and it seemed that the Brit boats where always top shelf. You didn't have to examine them hard to see why.
So to me NDK, Valley, P&H, these are the "gold standard". When I decided to get back into this after a few years off (injury), I decided to get one of the best ... bucket list kind of thing.
Now I know there are many fine non-Brit boats these days that can compete on design. And more than a few that can complete on built quality too. That's a good thing.
But better? Looking at my Valley, as someone who has been around glass boats since I could walk, and who has been through at 5 kayaks before, I can't see how any consumer grade, or volume produced boat, could be better made.
That's not snobbery, or saying Valley is the best, etc. Just that these boats are as good as it gets, equaled by several non-brit boats as well.