Down to 2 boats: help me choose

I appreciate the input re: my first sea kayak. I have pretty much narrowed it down to 2 kayaks and unfortunately neither is available as a demo.

They are the QCC or the NC.

The QCC will allow me to paddle for 30 days and allow for return inc. shipping if I m not happy. Also a lifetime warranty.

The NC is not clear about their warranty. Also oddly the NC website discourages use of Kevlar??

I do like the look of the NC a bit more as the bow has a nice angle towards the water whereas the QCC seems to drop straight down.

Has anybody paddled both of these kayaks.

BTW: The QCC does not have a small day hatch which I would like.

I suppose its a bit of a trade off and Im just not sure which way to go.

There are both real and suburban
legend disadvantages to Kevlar. It’s hard to discuss the issue meaningfully unless we know what the maker is saying about it.

Pure glass or glass/carbon boats can be stiff, strong, and pretty light, but if rocky impacts occur often, cracks may propagate and, in the worst circumstances, make field repairs with tape difficult. Replacing some layers of glass with Kevlar or cheaper tear-resistant cloths like Nylon or polyester can reduce weight and make a boat tougher, less inclined to break catastrophically.

I have not been able to confirm concerns that Kevlar is markedly more likely to delaminate than other cloths. And the notion that, if water gets access to Kevlar, the water will travel through the hull and cause breakdown, is flatly not true.

If used, Kevlar is best used to replace one or two inner layers of glass. Being much lighter than glass, it saves weight while increasing strength. Replacing outside layers of glass with carbon results in a lighter, stiffer boat, but does not increase toughness because despite its strength and stiffness, carbon tends to fail abruptly if it fails at all.

which models?
I like my 500. Huge for camping, deck is high enough for a taller person, but still capable of keeping up with the 700 or other fsk type boats. I’ve only paddled with an nc17 never in it. The speed and glide are comparable. The nc kayaks do come in some pretty sweet colors and some people are against the plumb bow low rocker look of a qcc. If you are going to cover distance on flat water and see rough weather the qcc is a good design. Waterline length is the only real measurement that matters when comparing same overall length boats.

I have an all glass boat and it holds up fine. I’ve rolled over logs wacked submerged objects and I’m always amazed at how it comes out. If you can lift a Kevlar boat you can lift a glass boat, unless you are going carbon I do not think a 4 lb difference is that great.

Other advantage to qcc is the hatch size.

I would love to try the nc 19 footer.

Ryan L.

A QCC 500 will never stay with a 700
or any other fast sea kayak.

Don’t give out wrong information.

It is a good boat, but a barge compared to the 700, 600 or 400

Jack L

Depends how fast
That would depend on how fast you want to paddle. A lot of people think 4mph is pretty quick. I’m sure any of the above mentioned boats would be indistinguishable in required effort at that speed. Probably even up to around 5mph there isn’t much difference.


Not true
At 4 MPH it would take a lot more effort to keep a 500 with a 700, or vice versa. The paddler in the 700 would be cruising where the paddler in the 500 would be putting out a lot more effort.

At 5 MPH the paddler in the 500 would be working his killionies off to stay with the 700, and at 6MPH the 500 would be left behind.

Jack L


– Last Updated: Jun-05-12 8:58 PM EST –

I was simply referring to paddling for enjoyment. I have friends with 700's and epic 18x's, we paddle together. I didn't think the op was asking about racing his boat.

That aside I have hung with my share of epics in races.

Also at 4 mph the 500 and 700 aren't that far apart at all if any. Once you get to 5 mph it starts to show up, and at 6mph no way. Usually when paddling with boats of the 700's ilk crusing for distance is no issue at all, doing intervals I am a good quarter to half mph slower which shows up big time in distance.

Ryan L.

That ‘straight down bow’ gives
the boat more waterline length than a swept up bow.


– Last Updated: Jun-06-12 11:41 AM EST –

I strongly recommend the Q400 as a first boat. It is quite a competent boat in many conditions, and has remarkable glide. QCC used to have a designer's statement from John Winters on their site, but it doesn't seem to be there anymore. The original design was called the Caspian Sea, and used to be sold by Swift under that name. Plans are still sold by Green Valley Boat Works, and they have a little info on the design here, which I think describes the boat well:

You say there is no demo available in your area, but that's really what the 30 day guarantee from QCC is about - they will absolutely take it back if you don't like it. Interestingly, on their used boat page you almost never see a Q400 for sale (I know, because I checked the page for a year with no luck), which tells me they are rarely returned.

Had both.
I sold my NC 17 in favor of the Q700. The NC leaked badly, mainly through the funky and quite useless “performance strip”. The bulkheads also leaked badly and you could see clear spaces in where it should have been glassed to the hull. I also found the seat impossibly uncomfortable and replaced it. It tracked nicely, however, and seemed fast enough. The NC bow is exceedingly narrow and low volume.

I much prefer the Q700. Better constructed and much better handling.


Personal experience
I can only give my personal experience with my canoes and kayaks. Whether paddling a racing kayak (Thunderbolt), touring kayak (QCC 600), something in between (Epic 18x/V8), C1 (Crozier) or just a regular solo canoe (Bell Magic) 4mps is so easy that it’s boring in any of the above hulls. Even at 5mph there’s hardly enough difference in effort to be noticeable. In fact I’ve intentionally paddled those boats at those speeds while wearing a heart rate monitor to get an idea of effort required. If I remember correctly none of them required a heart rate of over 115 bpm (around 105 was the lowest) to hold 5mph for a distance of a couple miles.