Speed on a budget

I am looking for a faster boat. At this time I have an Inuit 12.5 with a rudder as my open water boat. It is comfortable and I can do most everything I need it to do, except keep up without a third higher cadence than everybody else.

I have tried out many higher end boats and cannot justify paying over 2k for a boat that will only see the water 10 times a year, and used longer boats are rare to find around here. I am also limited to 18’ due to pulling a fifth wheel. I have been considering the Necky Looksha and Chatham lines as a skeg or rudder is nice due to high wind conditions common on mid west lakes. I have a Manatou 14 that lead me to look at the longer Necky boats.

I am 5’10" 190 lbs, size 10 shoe. This boat will haul very little cargo. I will be traveling on very few multi day trips, most 8 hours or less.

kansas city
Has a decent paddling scene. There should be some used boats. If you aren’t too picky, and I wouldn’t be if you are really only interested on paddling ten times a year, any boat that fits you decent and is 14 and over will help you out a good bit.


Your reasoning is sound.
I have an old Necky Looksha Sport. If I were in windy Kansas, I would not get a longer boat just for speed, but only if I needed the capacity.

Here’s the thing. To avoid blowing all over, you need the kayak to be loaded enough to firmly engage the hull in the water. And, you need NOT to have excess hull above the water to catch the wind. Some upcurved bows, even upcurved sterns, on kayaks for the ocean, are not as useful on Kansas lakes or rivers. You need enough space in the middle of the boat to be comfortable, but you don’t want exaggerated high ends.

River travel means maneuvering and landing/debarking, so touring kayaks in the 14 to at most 16 foot range might be the thing.

This is one of those cases where, if you could see spending the money, certain QCC models might be especially suitable to your environment.

You could buy my QCC 400X for $1200
if you come through central IL. I think you would fit in it ok and have enough volume if you were just doing day trips with a light load.

It’s a very efficient boat and has about a 14’9" waterline length.

Older model Plumb Bow
Kayak with long amounts of wetted surface tend

to be more stable in large open water waves.

They span the waves allowing a bit of glide

(adding efficiency) instead of

just riding up and down like a

cork in the wave action.


Good boat

– Last Updated: Jun-05-12 12:45 AM EST –

Nice glide, does a lot of things well, love mine, etc.

If you are handy, you might consider building an SOF, they are quite inexpensive to build and can be very fast, e.g.:

Chatham 16 is slow
The Chatham line, especially the 16 (so maybe not the 17 or 18) is considered a slow boat. Probably faster than your Inuit, but not fast as compared to other 16 foot boats. Lookshas are known to be pretty fast, but strongly recommended you get the rudder.

QCC 400
Is a fast boat that easily keeps up with the longer boats.Has lots of storage too.

I agree an 18’ Greenland style skin on frame would be a good choice for what you are looking for. Keep your eye out for ones for sale. I bought a used one for $800 a few years ago and it is like a rocket (the low deck makes it slip under any winds, it tracks like an arrow and the glide I get per stroke is remarkable – doesn’t hurt that it only weighs 31 pounds). Check for sale ads on here and over at the QajaqUSA pages. A lot of folks seem to build one and then sell it to build another. I’ve been surprised at the good prices I have seen them go for.

Surf ski for sale
locally their is a Current Designs Surf Ski for sale for $600. I think it was a design by Greg Barton of Epic Kayaks. It is fast, light, and tippy. There are lots of old race boats around if you are willing to be in a really tippy boat.

Some good suggestions plus
On top of the other boats mentioned, I think you can’t go wrong with a used Tempest 170 (the 165 might or might not fit you well enough for a full day trip as it has lower cockpit that will be fine for short paddle outings but you have to make sure is OK for longer ones). A good condition can be had for $600 to $1000 used for plastic and $1200 and up for composite, so they won’t break the bank. While not the fastest possible, they are reasonably fast, comfy, very predictable…

Some of Valley’s longer plastic might be good for you too…