The Q-boat is showing its age. All of the hatches seep water. The day hatch is so leaky that I need to mop it out at lunch. The other hatches don’t seem to be as bad, but their size could be making masking the amount of water in them. The floor of the cockpit has pretty deep grooves were my feet sit. The keel strip is worn through. Some of the gel coat patches have patches.
I’m sure there is nothing that cannot be fixed. The question is if it is worth fixing. At some point an old kayak, like an old car, should be retired. The Q-boat has seen eight years of hard service.
If it is time to retire the Q-boat, what do I replace it with?
The recommedations I’ve gotten so far are to get a Cetus. They are the kayak-du-jour in my local kayaking circle. I’ve tried a few of them and not been impressed. They felt plenty stable, had decent speed, and were manueverable for a long kayak. They were easy enough to roll. In all that competance hid a lack of character. It was like driving a Camery or a Celica. Maybe the Q-boat’s quircks have messed up my expectations, but I want more than bland competence.
One other suggestion was a Tiderace Xcite. They get excellent reviews, but are also positioned as a jack of all trades kayak. I will definitely try one out, but based on the description it doesn’t excite me.
While checking out the Xcite, I saw that Tiderace has a new series called the Xtra that does excite me. It is billed as a rough water play boat for the ocean. At under 17’ it is a little short to be a great expedition kayak, but I rarely do more than day trips. It also gets great reviews.
The other kayak I’ve considered is the Greenlander Pro. I paddled one when I was looking at the Q-boat and liked it. It is a fast kayak and handled pretty well for a long kayak. It also looks good.
Both the Xtra and the Greenlander Pro are hard to find in my area, so I may be out of luck. Are there any other kayaks that I should put on the list to consider? I basically want a kayak for day trips and rough water. It also needs to be OK for the occasional overnight trip.