Revised Q400X/Caspian Sea question

I understand now that they are virtually the same. Are there ANY differences? More paddlers seem to tend toward the 400X. I can buy the Swift locally but would have to order the QCC. Thanks.

I like the Caspian
It’s a really nice kayak. I eventually chose to go with the Bering Sea which is a tad bigger, and maybe a little faster than the Caspian. I liked the huge hatch openings on the Caspian, and the hard covers. The Bering has the kajak rubber lids that are good, but not as visually appealing as the hard covers. The cockpit on both is roomy and easy to get in and out for portly people like me. The build quality of the Swift kayaks is extraordinary. I test paddled 8 different sea kayaks over a two day period and kept coming back to the Caspian and the Bering. I contacted QCC to test paddle one of their kayaks in my area of central-western Virginia and they sent an email saying they would locate one for me to try but then I didn’t hear anything more so I still haven’t test paddled a QCC. I probably wouldn’t have bought one anyway because several people have complained the cockpit on the QCC is too small and there are several who have replaced the seat and backband with something more comfortable.

I took a rolling class and another person brought the Caspian Sea, I own the 400x. Can’t comment on paddling comparison but did notice the finish and detail of the QCC is much better than the Swift.

Was the Caspian an older model?
Since Swift went to the fusion process their boats have been very well finished. Again I can’t compare to QCC since I’ve not paddled one, but I don’t see how it could be much of an improvement over the Swift finish.

this was a couple of years ago so don’t know if it is or not.

Swift and QCC
I was discussing with the QCC folks the relationship between the Caspian and the Q400 since I was interested in the 400 and knew of the similarities. My thinking was if they’re similar enough I could rent a Caspian Sea locally in order to have a better idea if the Q400 suited me. Steve at QCC told me that they used to build all of Swift’s boats for them. Eventually QCC sold Swift the necessary tooling and helped them to get set up manufacturing the boats themselves. At the time QCC was interested in producing their own line of boats, a higher performance, more advanced product line that would appeal to the intermediate to advanced paddler. As it stands today, the Caspian Sea is the Swift model that happens to still share the exact same hull design as the 400x. From the deck up the boats obviously differ but I was assured they would paddle almost identically.

Seat and back band replacement

– Last Updated: Jun-29-08 7:17 PM EST –

First off, QCC boats do not come stock with a back band. They do come with a stock seat pad/seat back combination, which appears to be manufactured by Reeddesign LLC of Palisade,Colorado. The bottom of the stock seat pad/seat back is velcroed to the seat pan and forms a "high" seat back - sort of like a Crazy Creek Canoe seat. My wife and I have two mint condition stock seating/seat back "pad-like things" gathering dust. And you're most welcome to them - stop by the house any time.

Some QCC owners love the stock seating set up and don't change a thing.

Other QCC owners remove the stock seat pad/seat back and install a variety of after market back bands for a variety of reasons. My wife has great hamstring flexability and ended up removing the back band I had installed and paddling her 400X without any back support.

Then there are other QCC owners who removed the stock seat/seat back and the stock seat pan and replaced the pan with various other options - I'll let them tell you all about it.

Other QCC owners leave stock seat pan in and paddle with a bare seat pan and an after market back band (or not), and they too appear to be very happy.

And still other QCC owners affix various "stuff" to the stock seat pan. Me, I velcroed a SealLine Kayak Seat Cushion (tractor seat shapped and readily available)to the stock pan and added sticky back neo to stop slippage when wearing a dry suit. Trick is to only MINIMALLY inflate the cushion. Oh yes, I too have installed an after market back band.

By now, if you are getting the impression that the QCC seating options seem endless, you are correct.

I have paddeled my wife's 400X, and one of my regular boats is a 700X.

I'm 5 ft 7 in, 210 lbs, built like a sack of cement, and my wife's 400X cockpit is way too big for me. I like a snug boat and I would need to do some serious outfitting to achieve that fit in the 400X. In my 700X I still had to snug the boat up just a tad. Never paddled a 600X, but I bet my butt is too big for the 600X - but maybe not for the newly re-designed 600X cockpit.

As to addressing the design displacement of the QCC400X - well, I don't have the energy to go there right now. Please, just read these other recent linked QCC threads

Used to think that the QCC coven didn't get enough threads posted on p-net. I don't know the about the rest of you QCC owners, but right about now I'd love to just kick back and listen to the Brit boat folks discuss this and that.

broad beam
Found this thread while looking for info on the 400. Your comments about the cockpit being too large for you caught my interest. The QCC website states that the cockpit width is 16"; my ‘beam’ is a bit broader than that (I’m not quite plus sized, but I’m a woman, not a girl!) Any comments on boat fit/seat comfort for the 400 would be appreciated! I’ve been trying to find a glass boat that doesn’t require a year of carrot sticks to fit into.

Worth a look

– Last Updated: Jul-02-08 10:57 PM EST –

Ziggi - I have a Pachena which is a transitional sea kayak from Current Designs. It comes standard with a wide seat and largish cockpit which is quite comfortable. It's a short and stable boat, fun to paddle but not in the same league as a Q400/Caspian. I've had it for almost 3 years and will probably never sell it - it's very comfortable, great for noodling around looking at the birds and a perfect loaner, and can actually handle rough conditions with some grace.

Ignore the 16" x 30" measures…
… as this is the COAMING rim size and it is the same for all QCCs but the 10x(?).

The differences in depth and beam among the different models make for very different cockpit size/space.

A boat for a "woman"
Hi Ziggi,

I wear a size 16 and bought a QCC 500 when I was a size 20. The QCC 500 was plenty big for my hips to fit into and I actually sold it 1.5 years after purchasing in favor of a brit boat (explorer) due to where I wanted my skills to go. I actualy demo’d 9 boats before buying my new one. A few notes from this experience:

  1. Most HV models of boats should fit you. If you have thighs and hips like mine also try to find a boat that possibly has a foam seat directly in the bottom of the boat. I actually fit an explorer with foam seat but not the fiberglass version and also the HV version.
  2. Sit in and paddle the boat. Some models and seats are just fit differently where they are HV or not.
  3. Figure out what you really want to do with the boat (large lakes, rolling, oceans, rivers, swamps, etc). I was specifically shoping for a boat in the 16’-18’ range that fit my needs.
  4. List of boats that I fit: QCC 500 and 700, Impex: Currituck and Force 5, CD Caribou, Romany S (aka posieden), Aquanout HV (aka Argonaut), Explorer with foam seat, Explorer HV, Eddyline …( I don’t remember the name as I didn’t like it much because of it’s really high back deck)

    Send me a message if you have any more questions about boats for us women… :slight_smile:


ditto your comment

– Last Updated: Jul-04-08 2:42 PM EST –

QCC 400X and QCC 700X have the same cockpit opening size and thus the same spray skirt, Seals Extreme Tour 1.4, will fit either boat.

But, when comparing the two boats, my butt can sure tell the difference between the inner cockpit "total" fit experience.

Q400/Caspian Sea impressions
Per above post, my wife and I recently rented a Caspian Sea. We both have Q600X and were not sure of our choice so tried the Caspian/Q400. Wow. What a fun little boat. The tracking was amazing. So effortless and yet very maneuverable. It answers instantly to corrective strokes while seldom demanding same. Also very easy to edge despite the much better initial stability over the twitchier 600. On top of this the 400 was surprisingly quick and effortless to paddle. I’m getting more seat time in the 600 but still find its tracking (w/o skeg down) to be disappointing. Not just me either as my wife (who is not a lot smaller than me) found the exact same thing. It wanders off course at random and takes some effort to get back where you want it. Anybody else find this? The 400 is rather roomy but with some padding I think it would be OK. It is just so much more fun to paddle than the 600–at least for us. We also tried a Tasman Sea (13’6") which I suspect may be the same boat as the QCC 300) and it was downright squirrelly. Had quite a time keeping it straight. Probably could get used to it–but why get any boat that you have to be fighting all the time? The 400 owners seem to be of one voice in their enthusiasm for this boat and now I know why. Some say it’s more of a “paddler’s boat” and they’re probably right but I think I’d rather be a happy paddler than a frustrated kayaker.

Former Caspian Sea owner
and have paddled the Tasman Sea as well. The Caspian Sea/400X is a hard tracking boat and somewhat difficult to turn. Interesting that you found it easier to turn than the 600X, which I’ve never paddled. Your observation about the Tasman Sea (which is the same hull as the 300X) is spot on. It is not a very good boat for tracking and also lacks the speed of the Caspian Sea.

In my fleet I currently own a Bering Sea, another John Winters design. This is a newer design than the Tasman/Caspian and only made by Swift Canoe and Kayak as far as I know. The Bering Sea is a far better boat than the Caspian IMO, but to each his/her own. The Bering is slightly short of 16 feet, has excellent speed, but is far easier to turn (with a little edging) than the Caspian Sea. The Bering is about 1/2 inch narrower than the Caspian and has excellent primary and very good secondary stability.

I would expect the 600X and the 700X to be faster and more twitchy than the Bering, which is not a bad thing depending on your interests. With additional seat time in your 600X and maybe some lessons you will become very comfortable.


Turning/tracking in 600
With skeg down, it will be a bear to turn. 600 should not need skeg, except to balance for wind.

See this:

Click on “Flash Lesson” at upper right

As for wandering - I hate to say it, but unless you’re paddling over a lot of invisible eddies, that’s ALL paddler. Usually through limited paddle skills/technique and over correcting for every little thing (both easy to fix).

Learn to spread course corrections and changes out over several strokes. Look at the horizon, not the bow. Steer with your feet (works without rudder too). Learning to edge the boat will really help too.

If it turns and then doesn’t want to come out of it - wiggle your hips and shake it out of it’s rut (and keep working on edging and various control and turning strokes).

Mostly just give it time, and distance.

a funny thing happened today in the Q600
Greyak… you and a lot of others told me “seat time” and you were right. Steve at QCC told me “get wet”… and he was right too. I’ve paddled a bunch the last several days. After each day’s paddle I became more and more convinced this boat has got to go. Even today, on the trip downstream I was still more convinced I need a different boat. Then I spent some time “playing” in the boat at a nice beach spot an Lake Ontario at the mouth of the creek we had just paddled. I did some wet exits too. It was great to find out just what secondary stability is all about. And yes–the Q600 has plenty of it as I finally learned. Well, the trip back upstream was a brand new experience. I was definitely more relaxed in the boat and my hips started working a bit. I discovered just how much turning power could be invoked by edging. Suddenly I could make it go where I wanted (comparatively at least). I’ve got a ways to go naturally, but what a revelation! Feeling more at ease in the boat was really important and allowed me to do some basic edging and the Q600 rewarded my efforts by going (almost) right where I intended. Very cool. Now I have to rethink my previous plan to go to a wider boat. Appreciate you guys putting up with idiots like me on here!

congrats on putting your 600

– Last Updated: Jul-06-08 9:17 PM EST –

into the "zone".

For me, the last year has been a year of submitting myself to the learning curve of a 21 in boat, in my case a QCC700; but it wouldn't have mattered which 21 in boat really. It's a bunch of little steps and lots of seat time. And the potential rewards of a 21 in boat are huge!

And at the end of the day, maybe for several very good reasons, you'll choose a 24 in boat; but now you're sounding like that move would be a "choice" rather than your feeling that you're not up to learing to paddle a 21 in boat.


You are definitely NOT an "idiot".

See you on the water.


Yep, swimmin’ & messin’ about…
… is a big short cut (the only bigger one being rolling and the deep bracing that’s really the same thing - even before you can do it, it pays dividends).

Day like that are great, and you’ll have more.

I still remember two days in my 700 that made a difference. Sort of like accelerated learning days.

One was my 3rd paddle in it (had a 28" wide SOT before) and I was being a bit over ambitious. At the 15 mile mark, and 12 miles up the coast (alone) - I had my (so far) only unplanned capsize). This was way before I was rolling, but an easy wet exit and P-float rescue made it a non-event.

The other was a day I spent some time criss-crossing a confused wake chop area at all angles and speeds, and my stability separated into upper and lower body action (bad description), effectively doubling my comfort and control in my 700 (I’d been leaning on the paddle heavily before, and not letting the hull dance enough under me).

Those stick out in my memory, but the cumulative effects of seat time, and rolling - were more significant overall (though the day I actually got my first rolls wasn’t really all that much of an event).

You may still switch boats, but now that you’ve had a taste of what may be possible - I’d bet it’s a lot less likely.