Fess up, QCC 700 owners

I’d like to know if anyone of novice ability who has bought this boat with dreams of paddling forever at 5 knots or better has found otherwise.

As anyone who has read this board for awhile and searched the archives (like I’ve been doing too much lately) knows, quite magical properties have been ascribed to this boat. One guy even implied it went 5 knots only by barely putting any effort into it at all.

I’ve always found this table to be quite interesting:


I know it isn’t worth getting too hung up on splitting hairs between boats there, but there seem to be a couple observations that ought to have some validity. Save for a few handfuls of slow boats in there (that we’ll charitably just say probably had other design goals than speed), it can readily be seen that the fastest boat still takes more effort to paddle at 4.5 knots than most any of the boats take to be paddled at 4, and likewise comparing the best 5 knot boat to all the rest at 4.5. It’s not even close.

The Q700 isn’t in there, of course, but some pretty fast hulls are. The only Q700 numbers I’ve seen show it to be inferior to the CD Extreme at all those speeds, though it is argued the numbers aren’t based on the same payload. Fair enough, but it seems clear, since it doesn’t have any sort of radical hull design, that it fits somewhere in the fast-kayak/surf-ski ballpark.

So, here I am, with my Caribou. Very good 4 knot numbers, pretty good at 4.5, losing ground at 5. However, not being a very buff paddler, I confess that I cannot push it at even 4 knots indefinitely, though after one season of once-a-week outings I may be getting sort of close to that.

Based on that table, I don’t see how, at my current level of ability, that paddling a Q700 is going to buy me more than at most a tenth of a knot, or maybe two, over distance. Certainly not even half a knot. I’d have to work up to a 5 knot sustained level with the 'bou before I could see that realistically happening.

If the Q700 could really give me a whole knot right off the bat, I’d be quite interested in getting one. Especially because paddling on the Hudson quite often I’m working against a 2 knot tidal flow and a whole extra knot would be quite a nice relative boost in ground speed.

So, let’s hear it. My own theory has been and continues to be that the guys claiming such effortless performance from this boat are a lot stronger paddlers than they might like to let on.


Hey did you know that
Thule is pronounced “Tooly”.


Well, it’s efficient enough…
…that I’ve gotten weaker since paddling it! It is my first sea kayak - I paddled a 16’ x 28" SOT before - and that only a year. That should count for your “novice” requirement I was regularly cruising at 5 kts or better when I first got it (I will stick to knots - since that’s what you started with).

I guarantee it’s faster that your 'bou - but yes, you’ll still have to paddle as hard to get that extra. After all, it’s only a couple inches longer and 3/4" narrower. Much more LWL - but similar wetted surface. More efficient is not the same as free speed. If it only buys you 10%, that’s actually a lot. Enough that it can make it hard for others to keep up.

4 kts is so easy it’s hardly any effort at all. 5 kts is not hard. My average paddle is 3-4 hours at around 4.5 kts. I can pretty easily hold that speed “indefinitely” - with a Greenland paddle - and I’m 42 and overweight (5’9 - 210#). Some weight loss and/or (not too serious) training could easily buy me another 1/2 knot sustainable (all day) cruise, and maybe a knot at race effort.

While I have OK endurance - I am certainly not a strong/fast paddler. I know, I’ve paddled with some! Still, I don’t know too many locally who cruise at 4.5 knots for hours like I do. The racers are faster - other tourers are slower. I’m in my own zone.

Below 4.5 kts the Q700’s not going to be radically more efficient than similar sized boats. It’s all frictional drag at those speeds, and paddling’s easy enough there in just about any decent sea kayak. Efficiency is a bit subjective at those speeds as the drag curves for a lot of boats are close or even overlap there.

The real big speed benefit with the Q700 begins around 5.5 - 6.0 kts and above. That’s where it really becomes a lot more efficient as it will have less wave drag than your boat. That’s faster than I hold over distance now - but is common for many Q700 owners.

Speed-wise it is a just fast sea kayak - not in-between that and a surf ski. It was designed for efficient touring - not racing.

FYI - As you mentioned, the only Q700 numbers I’ve ever seen published were for a very heavily loaded boat. Apples and oranges to most other numbers you’ll see. That’s part of why QCC pulled the numbers from their site (the other being that few understand what they are looking at on drag curves and stability graphs and Phil doesn’t have time to get into that sort of discussion/education with every potential buyer).

There are other factors to consider as well. You mention the CD Extreme (another nice boat). It is longer - but not where it counts - and is fish form, with widest point ahead of paddler. Q700 is wider aft and narrower up front letting you get a little bit more efficient stroke (x a few thousand that adds up). Your 'bou is also fish form.

FYFI - I tried a lot of long/narrow boats before my Q700 - all types (Brit, PNW, other): NDK Explorer & Romany, Nigel Foster Legend, KajakSport Viv, EddyLine Falcon 18, Seaward Quest X3, Q500, Q600, Epic TE 18, and a CD Caribou “S”. Of these, Caribou was my favorite overall - but the Q700 beats it on more than just speed. It also is at least as stable, tracks better (a little slower to turn - not enough to matter), surfs better, has lower foredeck, etc. View from the cockpit is quite similar.

Don’t just consider a Q700 for more speed - it is a fantastic overall kayak. 'Bou’s very nice too but, as much as I like it, I’m glad I got the Q700. Since you already have a 'bou though - why not just work on the motor?

Sea Kayak Speed

– Last Updated: Oct-14-04 12:09 PM EST –

First, it is only my point of view, and I don't want to start an argument, but this is what I know and see:

To me there is no Fast Sea Kayak efficient in the range 5.5 to 6 knots, which means 6.33 to 6.91 mph (don't forget that the EFT is not a Sea Kayak, for instance), and in race results around the U.S. only very, very, very, fast paddlers are able to finish a 10 to 20 miles race above 6 miles per hours (using a sea kayak of course) and not knots without the help of the a current or wind. I am talking about real race results because to me paddlers talking about speed are like fishermen talking about the size of their catch :D

I feel that we alway forget that the fastest kayak is paddled by the fastest paddler and not the other way around. If someone want to be fast forget about buying a new kayak, and start thinking about getting a sound training program.

Some people talk about kayaks like racing cars. If you buy the fastest racing car, you have a great deal of chances of winning a race. However, buying the fastest kayak means nothing if you don't break your butt paddling, lifting weights, and doing cardio very hard...

By the way, I Q700 is a great and beautiful boat no doubt about it, but if don't put a fast paddler, like in any other kayak, it won't do anything for you.


Didn’t ya’ll know
that internet crap surpasses the laws of hydrodynamics? C-mon man this is about sales!

Another novice I guess,

– Last Updated: Oct-14-04 1:14 AM EST –

Been seriously paddling for about 2 years only (more or less). Used to have a Seda Glider which I consider to be faster than an Extreme and a Caribou. Boat was fine but I was a horrible paddler,, no technique no training. Entered a 13+ mile race and did poorly,, finishing behind a Tarpon SOT. Got a Q700 about 11 months ago and was bit by the paddling bug. The boat was more stable than the Glider and felt faster. My poor performance in the race the previous year gave me an incentive to train and the Q700 was a magnificent boat for me to put some serious miles in. Managed to cut something like 21 to 23 minutes off of the race time the following year and now consistently paddle my Q700 at 6.5 mph plus for many miles. I have beaten Gliders, Extremes, Falcon 18's, Epic's and even an EFT with the Q700. I am not saying that the Q700 is faster than all these boats,, just that it is a boat that is a pleasure to paddle fast and one that motivates to train. I have now become an avid paddler and put in about 120 to 150 miles a month,, most of it at race pace.

So for this novice the Q700 has taken me to a different level. It probably is not the most efficient kayak to paddle at 4.5 to 5 mph,,, the Q600 probably has better numbers at those speeds, but overall,, speed, stability, turning, quality (fit and finish) and customer service the Q700 is hard to beat. Best move I ever made! BUT,,, there is NO magical boat out there,, it takes many long miles and hours of hard training,, differences in boats are only 10,20, maybe 30 seconds per mile,,, which can easily be made up with some good ole fashion training.

My two cents,


Iceman,What do you mean?
The Mako doesn’t paddle itself at 8 mph plus speeds? L

See you at the Santa Fe river next week.


If only it was this easy…
Customer: Hi, I’d like a pair of fast running shoes.

Salesperson: Sure, how fast would you like to run?

Customer: A marathon in less than 4 hours would be fine.

Salesperson: Ok then I’ll recommend these new shoes over here…

If there are any novices…
who can get into a QCC-700 and maintain a 5MPH pace over a long distance, in my estimation they are either not a NOVICE, or they are a natural born racer who should start training for the Olympics.

I had been racing my big heavy plastic Eclipse for about five years, and did quite good in it when I was up against just other heavy yaks, and then last year decided to get a QCC.

My first race was a 13 miler, and even though I got a second (in the over the hill class), my time was less than 5MPH.

Since then my times have improved steadily, and it is stictly from hard and continuous training.

I doubt very much if I could maintain a 6 MPH pace for that same race now, but I am pretty sure I will average over 5MPH.

For a five mile race in good conditions, right now I think I could maintain 6MPH.

So I think if a novice can maintain between 4.5 and 5 MPH, he or she is doing quite good, and they will see that improve with training.

Just my take!



My experiences have been similar to Hex. I was bitten by the paddling bug and purchased an Explorer. Superb boat, which afforded me the opportunity of a willing platform to extend my skills. Raced it a number of times with actually, very good results, given its intent. To this I attribute being fit (even though my forward stroke technique was abysmal. It still has a looong way to go.) and sheer competitive drive. As I gravitated more toward the racing/fitness end of the sport, I began having more of a need for speed. The Explorer is reasonably efficient at the slower speeds, but I found I could easily hit the ‘wall,’ and it was sheer work to keep it there; I just couldn’t make it go any faster. I might compare your 'bou to this-great boat, but not its design intent.

Enter the QCC700. I purchased this one based on all the positive accolades on this site, actually, my wife purchased it for me, as I had an EFT lined up that extra unforeseen household expenses nixed. It’s a decent touring boat that just happens to be quite fast, and yes, it’s markedly faster than the Explorer and your ‘bou. I’ve loaned out my NDK to a friend, and then he’s paddled the Q, and he commented immediately on its glide. My wife, who is more of the ‘legs dangling in the water for maximum sun time’ type, also tried both. She was amazed at how quick the Q was, although she had a hard time keeping it straight with the rudder up. In terms of race speed, the last couple of races I’ve been in, 12-14mile distances, I’ve been able to keep it above 6mph for the duration using a wing. Frankly, no way, no how I could do that with the Explorer without having a coronary. It’s fast.

Now whether or not you’d get the benefit at slower speeds depends largely on you. I wouldn’t say it paddles itself, but its glide is deceptive. You’ve seen the figures, you know that at slower speeds, shorter boats with less waterline are actually more efficient, although I expect the pure numbers don’t exactly reflect the seat of the pants feel. If you want to go fast, try a CD Extreme, Falcon S-18, Seda Glider, QCC 600 or 700, Epic Endurance 18, EFT, or Nelo Razor. Some are better at others at the touring thing.

The QCC is not a magical boat, but I’ve grown to really admire its ability to do most things well. It’s wonderfully built, with a great support network, extremely well priced, has cavernous cargo room, handles predictably in conditions, and goes fast. Its owners are not cult members, they just recognize its attributes. What would I change about it? Well, I’d like to see maybe a little less cargo room, a lower rear deck for laybacks, angled bulkhead for easier emptying, possibly a higher foredeck for knees up paddling/rotation, and a narrower cockpit entry in front of the coaming like the Epic has, for a closer catch. Oh, and a rudder housing that doesn’t drag constantly in the water, a real back band versus the tractor seat that feels like a baggy diaper :slight_smile: … While we’re at it, how about an optional tiller bar setup for a solid platform (I feel those Seal Line rails a flexin’…)? Now we move closer to surf ski ideals, which is most likely my next step.

Try one, after your 'bou, you’ll miss certain things; I do as well, lamenting my now sold Explorer at times, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Owning both for a while, and given the direction my own interests were heading, I found the Explorer hung on the straps. Depends what floats your boat. :wink:

Im not here to praise QCC
but I did a 12 mile ocean race a while back, Im not a racer in the mind, in physique 240#, in training, hell I can’t even keep up with sluggish sit on tops, I did the race for the T-shirt, damn no t-shirts handed out.

I was the last finisher at 2:52 minutes about twice as long as the top guys on surf skis, Bruce Gibson may have been one of them. I stopped to talk to some friends along the way for about 10 minutes, a little power bar break and still my average speed comes up to about 4.3 mph.

I think I would prefer a CD Extreme though for ocean conditions but for a flat river QCC700 I think would be fine. Im pretty sure I could push my CD Storm at about the same rate but with more

confidence in bumpier water.


Speed one of the most often cited reasons for having a QCC700. It seems a very fast boat for a touring kayak.

Rough seas handling is one of the most often reasons cited for having other than a QCC.

All boats are compromises. Different boats excel at different things.

Some on this board have a QCC for speed and a Brit boat for rough seas.

Brent Reitz has a column

– Last Updated: Oct-14-04 9:54 AM EST –

in this month's issue, of the soon to be defunct Hullspeed, in which he discusses "boat speed." He advises paddlers to invest in training and stay focused on the motor, as Iceman and others here have suggested.

I don't race, but I am developing an interest in paddling for fitness. My training this past year has focused on rowing on the erg(I am training for a half marathon/marathon using a HR monitor and interval training), and weight training. I have also been working on my forward stroke and took Brent's workshop this year as well. My resting HR is in the mid 50's and I am down to 19% body fat (I am 46). My touring speed when out in my avocet is defintely becoming faster, and is easier to maintain for longer paddles.

Personally, I would just concentrate on training for now, unless you have some other compelling reason to purchase a new boat. I find it more satisfying to attribute my improvements to my training-and not the boat!

I knew I was going to attract mostly racers with this message, just seems to go with the territory. I’m a once-a-weekend few-hour paddler, in it mostly just to get out in the beautiful Hudson. I don’t think I’ll ever do actual “training.” I would, however, be happy to get further up or down the river, and, since life is short, if all it took to do that was a different boat, I’d think about doing that right now.

I’ve argued with Greyak about this before, Sea Kayaker considers sustained 3lb effort paddling to be a “fit” paddler, and 5lb effort paddling to be only achievable by a few. Based on the numbers in the table (Kg, of course), most people here are talking about efforts way beyond that. I seem to be right around that 3lb level now, I guess.


I think that both points that
people have made here are good: on the one hand, buying a “fast” boat alone won’t win you races. But on the other hand, some boats are definitely faster than others.

I liked the link–it ranked my Superior Kayaks Hawk #1 for 4-5 knot speed : ) Boats like the QCC700, P&H Spitzbergen, Seda Glider, or EFT are significantly faster than Hawk, however, and surfskis are faster yet.

The first year I did the Blackburn Challenge, I used my Hawk and did 4.9 knots for the 20 miles. The next two times I did it in the Spitzbergen and was .1-.2 knots faster. With some training I was .3 knots faster this year in the Spitz (I didn’t do the race officially this year, but left just after the racers and timed myself).

My experience suggests that the speed gain for a paddler of a typical sea kayak moving up into one of the speedboat class would be around 5%

But Greg Barton did the Blackburn in an Epic 18 at 6 knots, i.e. as fast as the best surf skis, which shows the truth of the “It’s the paddler, not the boat” idea as well.


paddlers vs. boats
it is the paddler, not the boat, that determines how quickly one is able to cover distance. having said that, a fast paddler will be faster in a fast boat. maybe we should create a new racing format with a handicap system. if you’re a great paddler, you get a 13-foot SOT that weighs 80 pounds. if you’re a weakling, you get the skis or ourtigger canoes. sounds fair, right? :wink:

4.5 knots
I am not a strong paddler at 54 years of age but I can maintain 4.5 knots almost indefinitely in my 700. I usually only go out for 3 to 4 hours with a euro style paddle but the distance covered works out to about 4,5 knots. I have no experience with other SINKs to compare that too, though.

So True
Eventually, you reach the point where in the need for speed quest, you just can’t make a certain hull go any faster. Certainly, training reaps the biggest dividends. Fitness, especially for more marathon oriented events, is key. Stroke training is also paramount, as is skills training, and finally, experience. Interestingly, I’ve found that years of competitive cycling transfer in certain areas, namely strategy, wash hanging, etc. From what I can ascertain, kayaking and kayak racing are extremely technique oriented, probably why you see that so many paddlers deemed proficient at the sport are older; it takes time to acquire these skills, and thankfully, endurance doesn’t drop off as quickly as sheer power and recovery as you age.

I’m pleased as punch to be making the strides I seem to be. The change in boat helps, but it’s also commitment to training and acquisition of skills that makes the biggest difference. Case in point, last race the winning paddler simply paddled away from me; couldn’t catch him. He was older, and had a similar boat-he was just flat out better, or in better condition, or both. In that same race, I put a good amount of time on a Westside Thunderbolt-to this I can only attribute fitness, intensity for duration, as its paddler had a very smooth stroke, and it was dead calm. Quite a few variables here.

I’d not put the QCC up against my Explorer in rough water handling; the Explorer seemed to scoff at darn near anything thrown at it, and make it enjoyable in the process. By the same token, I’ve recently been pleasantly surprised at what the QCC can entertain; it’s weathered some pretty challenging conditions in confused chop and swells going out on one leg of a race, and then was a hoot surfing same coming back. :slight_smile:

You have become a very fast paddler no matter what you paddle!!!

By the way, have you received the FCPA newsletter? I haven’t :frowning:

Which is the “Santa Fe” river race?