QCC 400 w/o rudder or skeg?

Do any of you paddle a QCC 400 or Swift Caspian Sea that doesn’t have either a rudder or skeg? From what I understand, they are the same hulls. I’ve never paddled one and I don’t think there are any in central IL for me to test paddle. I would be looking for a used boat and may have to settle for one that doesn’t have a skeg or rudder if the price is right. From what Phil at QCC told me, the 400 cruises pretty easily up to about 4.5 mph. To get one that weighs in at less than 50 lbs with either the rudder or skeg, it looks like I’d have to go with the kevlar/carbon construction at 41 lbs (without rudder or skeg).

What is your size? I’m 5’6" and 150 lbs.

Do you think it needs either a skeg or rudder?

I currently paddle a fiberglass Aquaterra Sea Lion with rudder and think I’d like to have a shorter and lighter boat. Shorter to fit in my garage better - 16’6" total length or less is what fits best. Less than 50 lbs would be preferred. I got the Sea Lion toward the end of last summer and so far, I like the fit well enough and am pleased with the handling.

Thanks in advance for any input.

To answer your question
the key factors, in my opinion, are your skills and the conditions in which you paddle. I have a QCC600 with a rudder. I’ve gone the entire season without ever deploying it - virtually forgetting I have it. I can also remember being out one day and wishing I had pulled the bungee off it because I could sure use it in the wind and waves that were hammering me as I was trying to come across the Chesapeake Bay. I can correct for it but I’m one of those people that doesn’t think I should tie one hand behind my back to make things more challenging. It might be good for experience, but ok - been there, done it. Now let’s just get home.

Summary - I don’t think the hull is your issue here. Foredeck is a little high but the simple point - if you use a rudder a lot now, you’ll miss it. Do you want to do without or do you see it like power windows in your car - you can certainly use a hand crank but why would you? Understand?

So far, I’ve preferred the Sea Lion w/o
using the rudder - I like the lively and playful feel of it without the rudder down. I haven’t had it out in any challenging conditions yet - except trying to keep up with cooldoctor1 and Chuck_IL :slight_smile:

shorter and lighter boat
I’m guessing your glass Sea Lion is somewhere around 55lbs?

The QCC400 is a nice stable big boat, and light in glass. Mine doesn’t have a skeg or rudder and I’ll put a rudder on it someday. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same as the Sea Lion in speed/efficiency. But I wonder if it’s too big for you. The glass Sea Lion is in between a QCC600 and 400 but the 600 is a better size for you.

Unless you’re set on big boats, would you consider lower volume boats like an Eddyline 16’ Night Heron?

Check here

The is the yahoo group site for the St Louis caoe and kayak club. I think on of there members has a QCC boat. Not sure what model

“16’6” total length… is what fits"
Angle a bit to squeeze in 2 more inches and go for the 16’8" 600!

A lower volume boat would be fine.
The Sea Lion is bigger than I need, but doesn’t seem too big so far.

I test paddled an Eddyline Night Hawk 16 with a skeg last summer and liked it. It seemed to fit pretty well, was maneuverable enough with the skeg up and tracked solid with it down.

I’d also like to try an Epic Cruiser 16 (older version before this year’s rudder change). I would expect it to be a decent fit and it’s definately light enough.

For now, my budget limits me to whatever used boats available. Even if I sold both my Sea Lion and Phoenix Isere, I still wouldn’t have enough free cash to buy a new Epic, QCC or Eddyline.

I would even consider a straighter tracking version of the Phoenix Isere, but I’m not aware of anything like that in the market place. Maybe I can mount a rudder or skeg on my Isere and make the cockpit fit better for me and just stick with it, but by the time I added rudder and skeg, cockpit outfitting, the weight would probably go up to about 35 lbs or more compared with the bare bones stock version at 29 lbs. The air bags I installed already added a couple pounds.

Thanks for your feedback.

16’8" would be fine. The Sea Lion is
17’10" from the tip of the bow to the end of the rudder.

For some reason, I was thinking that the 600 was 18’6" rather than 16’8". That’s a big difference. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

Just weighed the Sea Lion: about 55 lbs.
This seems pretty consistent with what other people say the fiberglass Sea Lion weighs.

I weighed it by weighing just myself on the bathroom scale in the garage and then me holding the kayak.

So, if I got a replacement for the Sea Lion, I’d want the replacement’s weight to be less than 50 lbs when fully outfitted in order to make it worth the effort to make the change.

Qcc 400

– Last Updated: Mar-28-07 7:53 AM EST –

yanoer, I am 5 6 and 150lb also and I have a Qcc400 with rudder and I just received it at the end of Feb.

Tracks very well with out using the rudder, Had it out last weekend on the Kalamazoo river to Lake Michigan and it did great. On the way back I used the rudder mostly because the tentenitous kicked in on my right arm and we had 20 mile winds late in the day. If you want to give mine a try. E-mail me and we can set a date

I bought the 400 instead of the 600 mainly because I wanted to also fish from the kayak on day trips and my patio was too short to accomodate a boat longer than 16’. With the 400 I get the shorter 15-3 length but long waterline. I ordered it in kevlar and the finish is flawless and has taken abuse like you would not believe. I paddle in a shallow oyster reef environment and have heard the scraping sounds of accidental groundings and it’s not even etched the gel coat.

I bought mine with the rudder but mainly use it to steer while I fish or when in a long crossing with high winds and I am too tired to correct and just need to make some time. It really does not need a rudder but you can always add one later. I am 5’6" and weigh 170. The boat is wide (wider than any other boat I’ve had) but the seat on all the Qboats are the same dimension so it won’t feel sloppy in the seat. You will have extra room on both sides of the seat hanger which is great for extra storage. I still have good contact with the hull as it slopes up on the sides then peaks in the center. A very comfortable boat for long trips and have had mine on 6 night tours here in the Everglades carrying all water/food/equipment and the boat handled beautifully and never felt sluggish. BTW the boat actually feels better with a few extra pounds in it so if you want it for camping it’s a good choice. Speed: I have the shortest, fatest boat of my paddling group and I keep up with no problems they can however get into a sprint and pass me easily.

Thanks Sundowner6996 and beachcamper
for the great feedback. I’m glad that you’re enjoying your boats.

Yanoer- I didn’t read the whole thread

– Last Updated: Mar-28-07 1:43 PM EST –

but this is for sale in the classifieds on this site in IL with a rudder.

(IL) 2005 Q400X kayak Excellent condition. $1750.00. Color Sand deck, with black accent over artic white hull. Boat has bow bulkhead rear hatch and Sealine smartrack rudder. Includes cockpit cover, Veecart kayak/ canoe carrier with oversized 12-1/2 inch by 2-1/4 inch pneumatic tires with heavy duty strap and metal cam buckle to get your boat to and from the water. Boat has only been in the water 2 times. garage kept! Very Nice Boat! -- Submitted by: leet63

Does the extra 1.25" width of the Q 400
adversely effect the stroke mechanics when compared with the composite Sea Lion, or do other aspects of the design render the additional width a non factor? It seems like I hit the side of the Sea Lion a lot last fall when getting to know it. It seemed like I was hitting the boat less often as I got more seat time. I haven’t paddled it yet this year.

The QCC 400 is 24" wide.

The Sea Lion is 22.75" wide, I think.

The Sea Lion weighs about 55 lbs.

The 400 / Caspian Sea weighs about 48 lbs without rudder or skeg - about 53 lbs with rudder, so not much weight savings if I added a rudder to a 400 or Caspian Sea. There would still be about 2’ of length savings. Maybe I actually want a carbon 400, that should please envybull.

carbon/kevlar 600
your criteria of a lighter and shorter boat than a glass Sea Lion but at less than retail price and less than 50lbs for a composite boats puts you into awkward territory. Getting a 400 is an odd choice as it’s waterline does not make if feel like a shorter boat. It’ll feel noticably more stable, which is fine if that’s what you want, if you don’t want more stable why get it?

Are you seeking shorter simply to fit in the garage or lower volume/more maneuverability? The 400 is wider and the deck whacking will be no less. At 5’6", 150lbs you are light for a Sea Lion and a QCC400. If you never paddle where it gets winder than 10mph then that’s probably not an issue.

The 600 is substantially faster with less tail swinging weathercocking than the Sea Lion. But if you want less than 50lbs then you are looking for kevlar,used.

If you’re able to sell the glass Sea Lion for a good price I’d suggest going for a carbon/kevlar 600.

Deck whacking will be more noticable with the wider boat but that’s a matter of accomodation/technique than the boat. Deck whacking could happen with a 20" wide kayak. The SeaLion is deep and the 400 is wider, I’d suggest looking at something else unless you really want another big roomy kayak.

Shorter to fit in the garage better.
Lighter to reduce the chances of me hurting myself while carrying or loading/unloading the boat on/off the car.

With my budget constraints, I probably can’t get what I’d like.

I won the Caspian Sea on Ebay
It doesn’t have skeg or rudder, hence the question regarding QCC 400X/Caspian Sea handling without skeg or rudder. I bid the reserve price (which I requested from the seller) and then waited for someone to out bid me so I wouldn’t have to make the drive to Coldwater, MI from Urbana, IL and back to pick it up and to make space in my rental garage for another kayak. I’ve worked the last five weekends and probably will the next few also (other than Easter). Surprisingly, nobody else wanted it and I think I got a pretty good price on it. I was one of two bidders. It appears to be in pretty good condition from looking at the pictures and from emails with the seller.

The folks at Swift told me that it should weigh 46 lbs or less and that they usually high ball the advertised weights so that customers will be pleasantly surprised that their boat is lighter than advertised. At 46 lbs or less, it should be noticeably easier to lift and shoulder carry than the 55 lb Sea Lion.

From looking at my Sea Lion and pictures of QCC400s and Caspian Seas, it appears that the water line length of the 400/Caspian sea should be at least as long as the Sea Lion’s because of their relatively plumb bow and stern and the Sea Lion is upswept on both ends. It should be interesting to compare the feel and handling of the Sea Lion and Caspian Sea - I wonder which I’ll like best.

My Sea Lion feels very stable, maneuverable and well mannered to me and has a rudder, so I may see if my wife wants to try it out. I know that it’s much larger than she needs (she’s 5’2" and lighter than me), but she likes paddling the 26" wide and 12’6" long Old Town Castine which is very stable and maneuverable. I have to be careful with what I put her in because she doesn’t swim, is afraid water that is over her head or in which she can’t see the bottom. She doesn’t lean boats or put them on edge to turn, that’s why I think the ruddered Sea Lion might be the better of my two Sea Kayaks for her. On the other hand, the larger and longer Sea Lion may not be any easier for her to paddle than the 5’ shorter Castine. We’ll find out when the water gets warmer.

Care, feeding and suggestion for getting

– Last Updated: Apr-01-07 11:28 PM EST –

the most enjoyment from a rudderless/skegless Caspian Sea?

Any situations or conditions in which you'd recommend against paddling it?


Paddler Weight vs Optimum Load?
QCC uses Paddler Weight: 115 to 180 for 400X.


Swift uses Optimum Load: 150 to 280


Those numbers sure give the impression that the boats aren’t actually the same hulls and that the QCC 400X is a much lower volume boat than the Swift Caspian Sea and a better choice for smaller paddlers, but everything else I’ve read says that they’re the same hull. No wonder people get confused when trying to compare boats from different buyers.

First impressions of Caspian Sea.
I picked it up and paddled it a couple times over the weekend.

  1. It is heavier than the Swift web site and the seller listed it to be. Fully outfitted with hatches, seat and deck rigging, it is supposed to weigh 46 lbs or less (w/o skeg or rudder) and I weighed this one at 55 lbs, which is very dissapointing because I was was only interested in it because it was supposed to be 9 lbs lighter than the Sea Lion, but instead it’s only less than two pounds lighter. I weighed both boats twice, one right after the other on the same scale. Oh, well. Now I’m still looking for lighter boat for every day use.

  2. This is seems to be a hard tracking boat (compared to the Sea Lion) that handles wind from all angles quite well without a skeg or rudder. It didn’t strike me as a “lively” or “fun” boat like the Sea Lion. It actually kind of reminded me of the Solstice GTS that I test paddles last summer. It does turn pretty well when edged or leaned.

  3. It seems to get up to speed pretty quickly and have pretty good glide. I didn’t have a GPS with me.

  4. The front deck and front of the cockpit do seem to be cavernous and loose fitting compared to the Sea Lion. If I decide to keep it, I may add some padding under the deck to assist with knee bracing.

  5. The fit and finish seemed to be very good and solid.

  6. I have no idea what model year this boat is because it didn’t have a title and I haven’t found the serial # yet.