I want to express my thanks and appreciation for your NC 17. As an American Red Cross Kayak Instructor since 1992, and an owner and operator of Vashon Island Kayak Company since 1994 I have had occasion to pay close attention to the price and performance of a lot of sea kayaks.
Vashon Island Kayak Company offers sea kayak rentals, instruction and custom trips and tours. We serve a lot of beginners of all ages and, because of our high-end boat mix and great "close-in remote" salt water location, a lot of experienced paddlers, too.
I tried an NC 17 in the Spring of 2001 and bought an NC 17 and an NC 15 at the end of May 2001. Since I find the NC 17 plenty maneuverable for everything I want to do and I like to go fast I still haven't paddled the NC 15 much but it seems equally popular with customers. I paddled the NC 17 a little in the course of instruction and it felt fine. However, I quickly found that beginners loved it. It was stable and went where they wanted it to. Not only that, it was fast. Strong paddlers ran away from everyone and weaker paddlers had less trouble keeping up.
Since the purpose of the company is to please the customers, I didn't get to use the boat much during the summer. For all its use the boat held up well in the rental trade. One thing I appreciate is the sturdy seat. We get lots of people sitting down on seat backs in boats on the beach or flopping on them pretty hard learning rescues. This seat is bulletproof. In addition to being tough enough to please me as an outfitter, as a paddler, I love it. It is the best kayak seat I've seen. Sometimes someone will complain because they want a more upright seat back. I tell them I don't have a backrest on my cross country skis or my bicycle. If you're leaning back you're not paddling correctly.
I have the good fortune to live on the beach on the perimeter of Vashon where I can paddle in all but the most ferocious storms. In the off season instead of jogging or going to a gym I try to paddle out and back about five miles in an hour five times a week. This winter I've usually paddled my long time favorite Arctic Hawk or the NC 17. I think I have a new favorite.
I usually think that stability in a kayak involves unattractive trade-offs in speed and rollability. My times indicate that the NC 17 is faster than the Arctic Hawk which is 18 feet long. I frequently paddle in 10 to 25 knot winds. As the Sea Kayaker Magazine reviewer "TE" said in the April 2001 review: "The boat seemed to be wind-neutral. I had no trouble holding a course in any direction relative to the wind." I agree. He goes on to say that it's slow to broach and easy to roll. That's true too. As a paddler and an outfitter I carry boats a lot. Ten pounds more or less doesn't mean much in the water but it sure makes a difference carrying a boat to and from the shore or hoisting it onto a car. The NC is one of the lightest fiberglass boats around.
There are a lot of good sea kayaks and I haven't owned or tried them all. Of the many I do know, the NC stands alone as a deserving favorite of many beginners and at least one expert. All that I've said is without regard to cost. That the NC is one of the least expensive fiberglass boats available is just one more attractive feature.
Wow! Received my NC-17 Overnighter this past Thursday and took her out
> I could tell the second I got in her that initial stability was
> incredible and at 0 degrees too. Tracking was incredible and later I
> was to find secondary stability excellent also. As usual on this lake
> the wind started to kick up and ski boats and jet skis start to litter
> the water. Only better to check out the kayak. I paddled in the
> middle of four ski boats all going different directions technically
> illegal here for the boats to do this pulling skiers and kicking the
> biggest wakes possible for the skiers. It was like being in the
> middle square of tic tac toe. I got hit with 3 foot waves from all
> directions. I will admit I was a bit white knuckled on the paddle for
> a bit but the boat handle it like a pro. I knew than that I had found
> my final kayak. Of the eight kayaks I own this is by far the best
> paddling boat of the bunch. It is everything you advertise it to be.
> I love my Gulfstream, but it is a far different type of boat. When in
> rough water it is meant to tip and roll. You right yourself and keep
> going. In this boat you just keep going. It is so stable I am planning to fish from her.
> Thanks again,
> Albert Newton
Thought you'd like to hear about this one. It's probably not something that would impress an experienced kayaker from the Pacific but it was a big deal for me, here in Shreveport.
I'm not an experienced kayaker and I'm glad I was in your boat. It was stable and forgiving of my mistakes and kept me upright and moving. I was in the middle of the lake and glad I thought to turn the boat around, and into the wind. I think that made it easier to steer. I've only been in a couple of other boats but with any of those I'd have been floating around ihe storm relying on my PFD and hanging on to the boat.
Thanks for a great design and terrific workmanship. I'm not worried about the wakes from those barges on the Missouri river in the MR340 any longer. I know this thing can handle them.
Purchased an (Overnighter 17) from you last year. I live in Burlington VT on Lake Champlain. Just wanted to mention again what a great boat it is. Tracks great and handles all kinds of water from waves to still water beautifully.I do not miss a skeg or rudder and I think this boat makes you realize they are a bit of a crutch anyway. It's a great quality boat blending lots of kayak design features and I get a lot of comments on the water from kayakers or boaters about how beautiful it is or how fast it moves. I really enjoy this boat. I often tell people to look up your website.
I love my two NC kayaks. Relatively new paddlers with three kids, we were looking for boats that are easy to handle AND relatively fast. The NCs beat all expectations.
They are light, strong, very stable and very fast at the same time. Our ten-year old loves paddling the 15-foot red Excursion in Puget Sound, and we all love the bright yellow 17-foot Quest.
They cut through the water very easily and track extremely well. They are also elegantly beautiful, graceful, better looking than any kayaks I have ever seen.
I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed. To the contrary, you will be thrilled to own an NC boat.