Has anyone paddled either of these 2 boats on Lake Michigan? What was your experience and how did they do?
Has anyone paddled either of these 2 boats on Lake Michigan? What was your experience and how did they do?
current designs solstice ss
There is a message board under Advice with that title that I posted and you should look at. The CD Solstice ss is the very slightly older version of the GTS (the HV is a larger model of teh same). I even called CD directly and they were very helpful as I was looking for a possible buy on a used Solstice SS (now GTS), and they said the SS and the GTS come from the same mold. Anyhow, much information on the vessel on that posting board; because of the postings, I decided not to buy the Solstice. The overall shape of this vessel--very slender on ends and fatter in middle--makes, as the 25 replies mention-- for a very odd ride in choppy water. In addition, it has pearling (bow diving) tendency. Read, important. Also mote that, like any boat, many fans posted there too, but I feel when yak has about 50% people disliking it (some vehemently) I trust their judgement.
Here is a speed chart ranking the Solstice versus other yaks. the column on the right is efficiency at 4-5 knots speed, ranked, for the top 104 selling kayaks. See where yours lies.
I am a Prijon fan (and am purchasing another Prijon). You should consider a Prijon Kodiak.
I have a Q
and I paddle on Lake Michigan. It’s a great boat when fully loaded; it will hold a line in any condition. However, when your hatches are empty you’ll get blown all the way to Mackinac Island! I am amazed how much the aerodynamics of the 500 change with the weight of the cargo. Don’t get me wrong, though, as I love the Q on the great lakes. Just don’t leave the dock empty.
Rather than loading down a 500, just get a 600 or 700!
efficient hulls lightly loaded
I wonder if one of the reasons for such fine ends on the Solstice series is a way to accomodate a wide range of paddler,you don’t have to sink the hull down for it to track well whereas a hull with a higher prismatic coefficient will ride higher in the water with less resistance to sliding sideways when lightly loaded.
I might have to trade
my 500 for a 700. I’ve seen a couple of them on the water - they are sweet. I’ll have to call Phil.
Solstice in the wind
My GT HV (24" wide vs 22 for the GTS) with only my 190 lbs in it got blown around pretty good. On flat water with no wind it was an easy paddling, fast, efficient hull IMO. When the wind came up I was forced to use the rudder if I wanted to turn into the wind or hold a course in a following or quartering sea. It still had good speed and the rudder worked fine.
If I was camping out of the boat I’d still have it but since I’m 90% a daytripper I sold it and bought a more playful boat.
I had a regular Solstice
When you say “forced to use a rudder” was that simply to turn because the only way you can’t be blown downwind is to make forward progress against the wind. If you can’t turn then the wind will take you albeit more slowly than a hull that slides more easily across the water. I got a Necky Swallow and then a Mariner Express after the SOlstice. Although the Mariner could slide sideways a LOT faster than the Solstice I could turn it upwind in one or two strokes and halt my downwind slide immediately,with the Solstice it was pretty much using the rudder to turn up into the wind,loaded or unloaded.
You wouldn’t be the first to do so.
500 is an older design carried over from the Swift line (QCC built for Swift). The 600 and 700 are newer original designs for QCC. Hard to go wrong moving up.
A lot of 500 paddles have upgraded. 500 is simply huge. A nice ride, but an on water semi. Big time gear hauler. Maybe good for 250 lb plus paddlers too?
700 is a gear hauler by design too, but sits a couple inches lower so catches less wind. It still get grabbed a bit between 10-20, but easily managed with a little skeg or rudder. Above that the waves start to shelter the hull and it's not as affected. 2" narrower and 2" lower translates into more fun, more control, even better in rough, and easier to roll. Any initial stability loss coming from the 500 is minimal and quickly adjusted to. Secondary is fantastic.
Back to the original poster - my bet is a 700 at 21" has better primary than a Solstice GTS at 22". 700 is only 3" longer (but quite a bit faster), and it's front deck is 2 1/4" lower than the HV. Plenty of room still, but better contact/control and less in the wind. QCC cockpit opening is 1/4" longer and 1/2" wider.
I have a Solstice GT and I bought it for Lake Michigan and the chop around Diversy Harbor. I read the 25 posts where cooldoctor1 was talked out of buying a Solstice. The Solstice does tend to want to breach as mentioned in the other posts but I feel very comfortable and stable in that boat in chop and close duration 3 foot waves. I was just out in those conditions on Lake Ontario last week (3 foot wind blown waves that where close enough to be starting to break over) with 8 other paddlers in a wide range of boats and the Solstice tracked better into the waves and stayed drier than any of the other boats. With following seas I did not pearl once and I think I was about the only one that did not have that happen.
In following seas I put the rudder down and did not have a problem at all. With following seas and a longer duration between waves the boat does tend to want to turn when trying to surf. I encounter this in a rental Solstice GT on Monterey Bay with 8 foot swells 3 foot wind blown waves 16 second duration between swells. The Solstice GT is my first sea kayak I have had it for 5 years and I am thinking of a new boat (I am 6”2 190lbs). However this boat has served me very well in learning to Kayak and gaining experience and fun. I would and do recommend it.
you might try
Any Mariner or the Chatham 17,they won’t be as fast (well the Mariner II is good) but you’ll get a kick out of down wave control. For a fast boat the ruddered extreme is less abrupt in broaching than the Solstice.
What about you?
How tall are you? How much do you weigh? What kind of trips do you plan to do (day trips or multi day camping)? What is yout experience? What other boats have you tried and what was your opinion of them?
The QCC 500 has a lot of volume (the 600 and 700 are very different boats). The CD HV Soltice is also quite a large boat. I suspect these boats will be much "happier" with gear. The current "trend" is boats with much less volume (the Necky Chatham is a good example). A smaller (less volume) boat might be more pleasant for day trips and will work fine for multiday trips (just pack like a backpacker).
he’s 6’2" , 190lbs
I already know what I want
Forced to use the rudder
The Solstice was my first kayak. Since my first love is whitewater canoeing I paddled it mostly in late summer early fall when the rivers in New England are pretty dry. All of which is to say that I am not nor ever was a highly skilled kayaker.
I really wanted to paddle without the rudder. I prefered the foot pegs fixed and hoped that I could control the boat by edging it.
In relatively calm conditions that worked pretty well. Not great but OK.
In a 15+ knot wind I could not turn the boat into the wind without the rudder. In following or worse quartering seas the boat really wanted to broach. Without the rudder it was a struggle to maintain a course in those conditions.
I believe part of that was the volume of boat out of the water catching the wind. I was trying to use an expedition boat as a playboat. Part of it is the hulls resistance to turning.
My next boat was a Caribou which I found to be much easier to control in all conditions. The combination of rocker and chines make that boat much more responsive to edging and I’ve not had any trouble with the wind.
A “better” alternative?
I am assumiong since you are looking at a QCC500, or a Solstice GT, that you are either a larger person, or like to haul a lot of gear, for overnight trips. I have paddled a "500" a couple times, and a Solstice GT also.
The Solstice GT is great for hauling a lot of weight, in a straight line. But you need the rudder to turn. It is not a very manouverable kayak at all. It is good for straight line touring.. It is also a larger volume kayak, for plenty of gear, or a larger paddler.
The QCC 500 is a better boat for turning, and touring, but it is not the fastest kayak. A faster kayak also means it is easier to paddle at slower speeds. The "500" turns a LOT better than the Solstice GT.
If you are either a larger person like me (270Lb), or want to carry a lot of gear, check into the Impex Assateague. It has more rocker than the Solstice GT, so it is more manouverable than the "GT". But the rocker is not too much to hurt speed. Speed and tracking is very good. It has a skeg to help you go straight if you need it, but with the skeg up, it turns a very tight curve. It is a sea kayak designed from the bottom up for the larger person. I bought mine in April, and love paddling it whenever I can.
The Assateague is designed for bigger water too, so it would excel in the great lakes. The speed is close to the QCC 700 also, with comparable paddlers in each kayak.
Before you buy, you owe it to yourself to test paddle the Impex Assateague.
GTS Wins Lots of Races
I was looking for info on racing, hull efficiencies, etc.
Wish I could remember where, but I found a site which showed who and which boats won races. The GTS won lots of races. Maybe because there are a lot of them out there?
I own a GTS and a Caribou S. I like the Caribou more for rougher water. The GTS doesn’t like the surf zone (someone says it “side” surfs well). Nonetheless, lots of people like these kayaks (as do I for moving along in a straight line).
So many factors involved - hull shape is MUCH more important to efficiency than many will admit. Also, more length doesn’t necessarily mean more speed. My son (strong, young, light) can outpaddle me in EITHER his 18’ Hop-on-Top Shearwater OR his SEDA Vagabond (14’ & 25" wide).
Once again, hull design - the Vagabond has an incredibly efficient hull for a lighter paddler. GREAT all-around kayak.
My woodstrip Guillemot Night Heron SHOULD be my fastest kayak (according to water resistance, etc), but I think the GTS is just as fast…
This is where I fire people up
I own a QCC 700 and a CD Storm, plastic version of the CD Solstice. I did paddle a Solstice GT a few weeks ago and it a big boat, solid stability and tracked great. The 2 boats are like comparing apples to pineapples, no comparison to each other, no similiar charateristics or in my opinion same category of kayak. QCC 700 might be better compared to a CD Extreme but I have no experience with that boat.
I’ll tell you this much, I would take the Storm into rough seas or surf with confidence and it has no tendancies to tip, roll, keel over or wobble as the bow is splitting the top of a oncoming wave, waves from the beam tend to make
the vessel and lack of a better word swivel from the mid section and maintain sitting on its bottom. No its not a race boat or race hull and yes you will sacrifice a smidgen of speed but thats fine unless you think you want to race in a touring boat. If you think you want to cruise, tour, fish, photograph, paddle surf or think you might get caught in rough seas this could be the type of boat your looking for, more of a kayak kayak by design rather than a canoe with a deck.
I find the QCC 700 to be great in flat or slightly choppy water,this is when it truly excels, I like the over fit of the cockpit versus the CD, Offshore fishing from it is out of the question, Photography probably would work well either in waters with movement.
Yes the QCC 700 will out stow the Storm and probably the Solstice GT and HV, Yes the QCC 700 does get more comfortable with 50 pounds of gear in the holds. I find when using this boat in the ocean with swell and wave the QCC 700 is happier laying on its side using secondary stability than
on its bottom using its initial stability. Call me crazy or an amateur but this is my findings.
Determine exactly what you want that boat for and consider where your going to use it. The QCC and Current Design boats are worlds apart, night and day in design and the way they perform.
The 500 might compare a little more in stabilty with the CD but the 700 is way different.
CD solstice GT is 24"
Solstice GT is 24" wide
Solstice GTS is 22" wide
The storm is the GT in plastic
The Solstice SS is more like a GTS (22" wide)
The Solstice ST is 24" wide with an SS entry
The wider GT is more stable, slower, and holds more gear. The GTS is a bitch to turn when really moving, but it REALLY moves…
Why not try an Eddyline
I paddle Eddyline’s boats on Lake Mich (12 - 18 foot crossover and touring) and love them, so much in fact that I now run a paddleshop specializing in Eddyline in Chicago’s north suburbs. As try before you buy is a solid mantra why not give Eddyline a go. I’ve paddled a lot of boats and keep coming back to Eddyline.