Average size paddler - QCC 600 or 700? `

-- Last Updated: Aug-21-07 2:34 PM EST --

I've become intrigued by the QCC line with their long waterlines, plumb bows and sterns, and sleek design. Two weeks ago, in a large group outing I talked with an experienced paddler in a QCC 700. Looking the boat over during a rest break, I was struck by the build-quality and seemingly flawless construction, which I have every reason to expect throughout the QCC lineup. Comments here back that up.

The 700 paddler did say that its taking him some time to get used to the stability profile of the boat in rough water handling but he had no problem in the relatively choppy conditions we were in that day. It was something to see him just cut through it all and cruise ahead while the rest of us worked to push through the chop at half his pace. He didn't seem to be working all that hard to stay ahead.

My question concerns the contrast between the 600 and 700. At 175 pounds or so, 5' 9.5", and average size feet, I'm getting the impression that QCC would recommend the longer 700 for me. But I'm reading here and other places that the 600 would be more appropriate for an all round boat, and that the 700 would be more for a larger paddler or long expeditions requiring kitchen-sink cargo levels. The site complicates it more by hinting that the hydrodynamics of the 600 start to change at my weight level.

Anyone care to dive into this quandry with real experience in these boats?


not sure what you mean

– Last Updated: Aug-21-07 3:45 PM EST –

by the hydrodynamics beginning to change at your weight. They change with every change in weight.

the data on the 600 is figured at 275lbs displacement and the 700 at 325lbs.

For unladen paddling in the 700 you've got enough hull to carry another 100lbs,,,and still be 50lbs below the figure the displacement data is configured for. That says to me you should put on another 50lbs of fat and muscle to enjoy the 700 as a day paddling boat in high winds. You'll need the muscle because a longer boat carrying more weight will require more muscle to propel it and steer it at all speeds.

For the 600 you could carry 50lbs of stuff and be 50lbs below the designed displacement the data is derived for.

The 700 could feel tippy because it's floating high on the water, the 600 could feel tippy because it's tippier than the 700. Kinda depends on your skill level and experience in kayaks.

I wouldn't associate the other guys ease of paddling with the 700 as much as he's at ease paddling. A long time ago I went on a group paddle and there was a guy in a 13' Coaster,,leading the group with ease. Later I went paddling with folks in faster boats but in bigger waves I had no problem going faster as I was at ease. Paddler is one thing, boat is another.

I got a QCC400 as a spare kayak,,it's HUGE yet it's hydrostatic data is configured at 250lbs compared to the 600 figured at 275. Go figure. I'm 200lbs at 5'9 1/2" and wouldn't figure the 600 as able to carry more weight than the 400 but the hydrostatic data says otherwise given the higher 'sinkage' number for the 600. 92lb/in compared to 90lb/in immersion. The 700 is 101lb/in immersion. If anything that should tell you the 700 can carry a LOT.

You'll feel tippier in the 600 than the 400 or 700. You'll put out the LEAST amount of energy in the 600 and be less affected by wind/waves IF you have basic paddling skills regarding bracing and body/kayak connection.

If this is your first kayak purchase just file away that most beginners buy a kayak that's too big than too small.

What boats are you used to paddling? One of the things to keep in mind is that long waterline length is important IF you are putting out the horsepower to utilize it. If the average pace of the group you're paddling with is going 2.5mph then the QCC300 would probably be the best boat. If you desire or are accustomed to more stability a boat like the CD Carbou could be a good choice for speed potential and your height/weight.

my $.02 is that for unladen paddlng the 700 will be a bitch in high winds and having the capacity to carry 100lbs of gear when one rarely carrys 75lbs begs the question why chose it?


– Last Updated: Aug-21-07 3:44 PM EST –

What kind of experience do you have? What other boats have you tried? What did you think about them?

People do tend to (or used to) get boats that are too big because they are intrigued by "expeditioning".

Don't buy a boat you haven't paddled.

I'm about your size and camp out of a 16 foot kayak.

Is ANY of that based on paddling a 700?

the 700, no, 400,600 yes
My experience has been that long boats with the capacity to carry significant weight present more area for wind to impact upon the hull for the amount of hull that’s in the water than shorter boats that sit deeper. Likewise a long boat that is hit at the ends by waves will present more force back on the paddler than a shorter boat for manuevering in wind/waves.

when I say “a bitch in high winds” that is in comparison to the same paddler and same weight in a smaller boat. Not that you find your 700 dificult in high winds. Given my druthers if I was in 20-25mph winds I’d rather be in a kayak that could carry another 75lbs of gear than one that could carry another 150lbs of gear.

That said I was surprised that the 400 paddled well in a breeze without rudder or skeg given that it feels kind of tall and boxy.

… I just like the feel of the 700 better in the water. I’m 50 lbs heavier, but also know several close to your size that agree. It also has a nicer/flatter rear deck.

I have paddled both, but my 600 experience is limited to short demos. That was enough to tell me the 700 was for me.

Take comments from people who have only paddled one or the other with a grain of salt - or at least keep it in context of single boat impressions. While similar, paddling one can’t really tell you what you much about the other. There is a personality and fit difference.

JackL should chime in soon and has a good bit of experience here, having both in his family fleet.

Ignore posts from non-users of 600/700. They will be relying on a lot of assumptions, vague generalities about kayak designs, and some outright nonsense/myth. These are very capable designs - with more rocker than non-owners imagine - and much better rough water manners than typically credited with.

The 400/500 are totally different animals - quality is the same, but these are older designs (pre-QCC actually) so ignore ALL performance info/comparisons from these folks as for all intents and purposes they fit into the above non-user category.


Some details

– Last Updated: Aug-21-07 4:30 PM EST –

OK...here are some more details:

I've been seriously paddling for three seasons now in a WS Tsunami 145. (Yes, it seems too bulky for me.) I can handle: wet exits/entries; self/assisted rescues; some bracing; an OK forward stroke that could use some tweaking; fairly choppy conditions; good leaned turns (I try not to use the rudder except for tracking in wind/quartering seas). Not rolling yet.

I'm looking for:
- some more speed. (who isn't?)
- Good tracking
- some rough-water capabilities
- Capacity for up to a week of camping. (I'm a backpacker, so its all light stuff.)
- Excellent secondary - for which I am willing to learn how to handle modest primary.

I've recently tried:
- Eddyline Fathom
- Edyyline Nighthawk
- P&H Capella 166 poly
- Impex Currituck
- Impex Cat Force 4
- Necky Chatham 16 and 17 poly
- WS Tempest 17 poly
- Boreal Design Fjord
- Boreal Design Ellesmere

The Eddyline Fathom and Impex Cat Force 4 have been the standouts so far. The WS Tempest gets some extra credit for the seating...which I have grown to really like.


there you go
at 225lbs (you say you’re 50lbs heavier) you’ve got the extra 50lbs of fat and muscle to enjoy the 700 as a day paddling boat in high winds. And if you lost 50lbs of fat you’d be a lean, mean paddling machine able to rocket it to all kinds of racing potential.

Or you could add on another 25lbs of fat and still be in the right boat.

Exactly - not good to generalize/project
Works in some cases, not others.

In my limited “rough” water experience, I find that in over 15-20 knot winds the wind waves begin to shelter the hull and this sail area issue becomes a bit of a moot point. Weather helm is most noticeable around or under 15 knots (unless you’re on really small water with no room for wave buildup) - and skeg or rudder is there for exactly that and easily compensates. Over that, it’s more about wave action and everything changes (rudder users will still be using rudder - skeg users may or may not depending on wave action, as skeg use follows clear rules for wind, but not so clear for wave).

In many cases - the 700’s slightly greater reserve buoyancy and stability could be more of an asset than a liability. Depends on where and when…

Key word: “potential” L
I guesstimate at least a half a knot increase in average speeds from the decreased displacement of your fist option (all else same). Over 200 sq/in less wetted surface AND 50 lbs less water to push!

Your second option is not an option!

Ideally, I think I might prefer to weigh in around 185, with a slight nod to the power side of the power to weight ratio. 10 lbs of muscle should more than compensate the 1/10th inch of extra draft.

For your height and weight get the 700

– Last Updated: Aug-21-07 4:44 PM EST –

I am 5'-9" and weigh 162 pounds and have a 700, a 600 and the baby QCC.
With the 700 you will have the most cargo space and it will be the fastest and the best in rough water.
If you were shorter and around 140 to 150, I would say go with the 600, since the 700 would be a little too much for you.
I seem to be able to handle rough water equally well in both the 600 and 700, but if I had to choose one it would be the 700.

For speed the 600 won't even come close to the 700. (with equal paddlers)


1. more speed, that requires paddling with more horsepower and better technique. If you aren’t already paddling at some energy level that involves deep breathing then you really don’t need something that can go fast because the motor isn’t going hard to begin with.

Sorry if that sounds tedious but a kayak with greater potential top speed will still require very high energy output to achieve it. In other words if you’re comfortable paddling at 3mph in your Tsunami you aren’t going to paddle at 6mph in a 600 or 700 with the same effort. It’ll take MORE effort. Of course that greater effort will result in greater speed in the 600/700 than the Tsunami but the question is whether you are comfortable putting out that effort to begin with.

2. good tracking: anything with a rudder will track well. Do you have any dificulty going in a straightline with the kayak you’ve got?

3. rough water capabilities…in the realm of “sea kayaks” that’ll be dependant on paddler skill. If you are taken out of your comfort zone by a kayak “that really shines in rough water”(P&H Sirius?) then it really doesn’t matter if the kayak is capable if you aren’t. You gotta learn to roll if you want to enjoy the characteristics of a kayak designed for rough water. Seriously, to get a more efficient/“fast” kayak it’s going to be tippier than your Tsunami, that means in rough water you have to brace/roll.

4. capacity…if you don’t use it,you don’t need it.

ed. oh hell, just saw the list of kayaks you’ve paddled already. You don’t need our opinions. My only suggestion is to learn to roll with your new “fast, good tracking, rough water capabilities” boat. If you don’t want to learn how to roll then get something you can hang out in choppy water with without bracing.

I wasn’t projecting on you at 225lbs in a QCC700 but on the guy who is 175lbs in a QCC700 based on my experience in a QCC600. I’m the same height as the poster but with an extra 25lbs of lard, the 600 felt a smidge tippy but not moreso than a CD Extreme and less than a CD Stratus.

A light person in a big kayak discovers that the windage isn’t moot when the bow crests the top of the wave. A STRONG light person will drive the kayak against that wind vector but if that relatively light person isn’t DRIVING the kayak with energy against those forces they will be struggling more than the same person whose kayak is sitting a bit deeper in the water with less length.

I’m not a fast paddler or particulary strong so I opt for efficiency and control when things get stinky.

Thanks one and all. That was quick.

For the record:

  • Learning to roll…and well…is top of my to-do list.
  • I am willing to apply more horsepower in the interests of better cruising speed. Right now, extra horsepower is largely wasted in the Tsunami beyond a certain point that varies with the conditions. I want to move that point up.

    Your expertise is most appreciated.

the 700 has been through three seat/coaming locations with I assume three different deck molds yet the 600 hasn’t changed. Is the present cockpit location for the 700 optimized for a particular payload configuration?

I solved the speed problem
by getting a slower kayak. My Chatham 16 is a little tugboat when people start paddling hard. Paddling slower solved that issue. The QCC400 is a rocket in comparison,ok, not a rocket but it doesn’t develop a bow wave dolphins can jump through.

Sounds like you’re being tempted by the QCC sale?

weight limits
The weight range suggestions on the QCC website seem pretty low. Two of my paddling buddies have QCC 600s (which they like). Both guys are in the 180s to 190s, and for both of them, the 600 is riding very high in the water when they paddle without heavy gear. If anything, the boat seems too big for their weight. My 140 lb friend loves the QCC 10X. If you prefer the 700, that’s great, but if you prefer the 600, don’t feel you have to worry too much about the suggested weight ranges on the website.

it’s all calculated values
I’d be surprised that QCC or any manufacturer giving a paddler weight range took out a boat with someone in the lightest to heaviest range in a range of conditions with payloads that corresponded with the numbers on the catalogs.

While you could get a 115lb paddler in the QCC400 I’d be surprised they even had the muscle mass to maneuver the boat in a 15mph breeze. If they had the corresponding height for being 115lbs they’d be 5’ tall and swimming in it.

On the other end of ridiculousness a Perception Eclipse is rated for a max load of 425lbs???


– Last Updated: Aug-21-07 6:51 PM EST –

"With the 700 you will have the most cargo space and it will be the fastest and the best in rough water."

I think the capacity is the least important constraint you listed.

You don't, in my opinion, need to pick the boat that has "the most" cargo space. You probably want a kayak that performs well for day paddles and has just enough space/bouyancy for camping.

but with all that cargo space
you could fill it with lots of dry bags filled with light stuff for a pillow fight.

Let’s see, five 30lb bags of pre-mix concrete, two in the front hatch and three in the aft should do it.