Need help choosing Kayak

Hi. New to forum.

Done lots of canoeing. now time to kayak. Looking for first boat. One I can “grow into”

Background data: 6 foot 255 pounds ( mostly muscle, bit of padding)

Will be using kayak in local rivers (slow current), large lakes and Gulf of Mexico.

Maybe a rare trip to the ocean but for the most part no rock gardens etc.

I’m thinking with my size I am a bit limited.

No preference as to thermoformed vs composite.

I DO NOT want a rotomold tub.

Ihave narrowed down to the following:

  1. Point 65 N Whiskey 16: Lively boat and from what I have read tracks well. Also would fit me. Only thing is it does not appear to have "eyelets " at stern and bow for tie down to vehicle.

  2. NC 17: good reviews. Also a good fit. However does not look it has deck lines for rescue.

  3. QCC: either the Q500 or Q700. I do like the seat in the QCC.

  4. Delta 17 sport. Again I think I would fit this boat size wise but know little about performance.

    Most of the kayaks I am considering are NOT available for demo except for the Delta 17.

    I lean toward the QCC due to what looks like good seat and price. Also lifetime warranty!

    Price also good for the NC 17. Buy direct from manufacturer.

    I believe all these boats have good initial and secondary stability.

    I do not plan on long overnights just fitness paddles during day. I do not need an expedition type kayak and for this reason also like the Whiskey 16.

    This is tougher than buying a car!!

    Oddly the NC has a soft chine but is said to have excellent secondary stability. I would think a hard chine is needed for secondary stability as in the Whiskey 16??

    Any input or other suggestions are appreciated.

Chines and stability
The only diff between a hard chine and a soft chine in boats of equivalent hull shape overall is that you land on the hard chine point with a thud and you approach the softer chine point more smoothly. But in exactly the same hulls with one having a more softened chine, once you are hanging at the secondary stability point you are as solid in both.

One diff between the two is that, when you are in messy conditions, the hard chined boat can feel like it is thwacking around hard whereas the softened chined boat will roll around more smoothly. I have one of each and the hard chined boat was my second. It took me a little bit to get used to that feeling after having been spoiled by the cushier ride of the softened chine boat.

Or you can skip chines altogether and get a Nordkapp LV - you’ll be bothered very little by the feeling of thacking onto an edge… of any sort. :slight_smile:

3 very different boats
I make an effort to try lots of boats when I volunteer at kayak demo days and these are very different boats.

The whiskey 16 is very maneuverable for a smaller framed person. I’ve seen Nigel paddle it during a class and it spins like a top. I found the construction a little light for my taste when I demoed one but for moving water it would be the best choice.

The NC17 feels like a very old school design. It tracks very straight and is an effort to turn. Kind of like an old pickup without power steering. They make these a few miles south of me but but I don’t know anyone who owns one of the dozens of serious paddlers I know.

The QCC boats are fast and straight with less primary than most. They are considered good race boats. They fall in the ‘fast sea kayak’ category in races.

Delta’s are mostly big fat boats with high decks and A LOT of cockpit volume.

I can’t imagine buying a boat without demoing first.

Eddyline fathom
You might have a chance to demo an Eddyline Fathom. I was about your size (a couple inch taller) when I got mine and with the higher front deck, it does fit bigger folks. Eddyline is very good with thermoform and the Fathom is one of their best all purpose touring kayaks.


On the QCC’s
The 500 won’t fall into the fast sea kayak class.

There is no comparison between the 500 and the fast 700.

Jack L

Let me help on the soft/hard chine issue
The chine has to do with the bite of the boat in the water. What affects secondary stability is what the entire side of the hull does when it is tipped a good ways from vertical.

I have a couple of old composite boats, a Phoenix c-1 and a Noah Magma kayak. The Noah has a flattish bottom and fairly hard chines. Those chines take a bite when edging the boat, yes they do! But the Noah, far from having good initial or secondary stability, is very “soft” from initial position to going over.

The Phoenix C-1 has an elliptical cross section and no chines. None. It has very good initial and secondary stability.

The difference is that the Noah, above its chines, has tumblehome flattish sides. So, as it tips, there isn’t anything above the chines to keep it from tipping over. The designer liked it that way. The Phoenix, despite its lack of chines, and distinctly NOT flat bottom, forces more hull, more “sponson” as it were, into the water as it tips. So it feels nice and firm.

g2d’s laws. 1.) A flat bottom does not predict stability. 2.) The presence of chines does not predict stability. 3.) The absence of a flat bottom and chines does not predict INstability.

Life is a river.

Agree - different boats
The Whiskey is a fun and maneuverable boat, and within its group it is fairly fast because Nigel Foster designs allover fast boats. But it is still not intended to be a racer. As above, the three Chathams are very different boats. The 18 is likely the fastest, it is also a boat that you really should try before you buy. It is more of a character than the other two in some ways. The Looksha line is solid, older and well-respected for its reliability. It also likes to weathercock, rudder not optional (it is pre-skeg trend in North American boats).

As to bow and stern lines for car topping - you don’t need eyelets whatever that is. You just run the lines under one side of the perimeter line (not two). Some people use the loops at the end but those are there for on water rescues. If you are constantly tugging at them for car topping you’ll have to replace them a lot more frequently. The perimeter lines tend to hold their maintenance longer, though if you are looking around used you should probably put replacing perimeter lines of your to do list.