I got the XT-17 and have been giving it some sea trials. Right out of the box, in tandem mode it is faster than my Current Designs Sirocco 16’10”, a rotomolded brit form kayak with the same width and probably 2′ less waterline. After adding a section of PVC pipe as a foot brace (anchored to seat like you do with your inflatable version) to allow a more solid paddling position and advancing the seat a couple inches forward of instructions to optimize trim I’ve got it matching the Sirocco paddled solo too. There are faster high performance sea kayaks but your XT-17 matches or betters the speed of 80% of the boats sea kayak outfitters typically rent – while being considerably more comfortable.
I’ve been looking for waves to see what the reasonable envelope for the boat is. It has handled the small chop and boat wakes I’ve found thus far just fine. I’m inclined to believe it would do fine in anything short of waves dumping on the deck.
The other limiting factor for what I’d be willing to paddle in is capsize recovery. I tried rolling it without a skirt, and while I succeeded in getting upright, I had taken on a lot of water. De-watering wasn’t easy even once what now resembled a U-boat was paddled to waist deep water. Float bags seems a rather inelegant solution, so I’m thinking of going the sea sock route if not near a hospitable shore.
I noticed you have D rings along the perimeter of the hull. Are these intended to rig deck lines or as something one could use to reinforce the deck to hull Velcro connection (to keep pressure on the Velcro or stiffen deck for thigh contact)?
Congratulations on a fine boat design. I’ve run into a couple of people with other folding kayaks on the water and the performance differences are night & day different. Much of what is out there has performance approaching that of an air mattress while the nicer stuff costs and weights 2-3 times as much by the time you’re able to carry two people.
Thank you very much. We knew that the XT-17 handles well, but we have not had a direct comparison with non-folding hulls.
We have thought about a sea sock solution, but have not gone beyond a somewhat casual discussion. Our focus has been more on improving the deck-to-hull seal. Our current state in that regard can be seen in the newer Quest design, which has end caps integrated with the hull so they wrap over the deck and prevent any opportunity for water to splash up through the Velcro seal at bow and stern.
The D-rings on the XT-17 were included to provide attachment points for deck bags (the PakPod in particular).
Thanks for the reply.
I’ll try out a sea sock as insurance against capsize which should be very unlikely given this boats stability. The wrapovers sound like a good idea although I have yet to see an objectionable amount of water come through the Velcro even when leaning the boat to submerge the Velcro.
We spoke about the amount of structure in the XT while you we’re at Canoecopia in March. It is interesting that the I-beam is so stiff in one direction that you see a visible twisting of the frame when heavily loaded and forced to bend (see picture). You’ve got a lot more stiffness against vertical load than anything else out there and maybe less torsional stiffness with the smaller diameter tubes and lack of top members. This combination does a great job of preserving the full 17′ of waterline in calm conditions while allowing some flex to avoid damage when forced to bend.