Review of Tiderace Pace Tour 17 kayak. Manufacture date February 2015. This review will mainly compare it to the boat it replaced which was a QCC 700x 2003 kayak. both plumb bow boats with rudders. Lets start with the quality of the boat. It looks great, gelcoat is perfect. Layup being G-core Light is solid and smooth. The boat is well built. Bathroom scale weight at 54 pounds Now lets start with the problems with its build. There are vent wholes in the bulkheads to allow air pressure difference so not to implode or explode the hatch covers. Not all boats have them from the factory. My valley kayaks have. I added them to my past NDK kayaks and to the QCC kayak. The problem is two fold, the whole size used in my opinion are to large about 3/32 inch were I use 1/32 inch drill bit. The second problem is that the wholes where drilled right at the very top of the bulkhead. (picture shows this) When the boat is upside down in the water the whole is now under water. Water will go through into hatch compartments. I found this in 2 hour pool secession when I first got the boat were front hatch had about 1 cup of water in it after 2 hours in pool doing rolls and self rescues. Covered wholes with glass redrilled with 1/32 drill bit at about 2 inches from top of bulkhead. (No more water in front hatch). Now the second problem. The rudder cable housing/sheeth not sure what to call the plastic the cables go through. Any way water POORED around the plastic cable housing into day hatch from cockpit then into rear hatch through the around the cable housing/sheeth. Now the plastic cable housing/sheeth does not go all the way to the front smart track foot peddle controls like it does on the QCC kayak. since it doesn't Tiderace had to secure the plastic housing from moving some how. They did this by using what looks like a compression fitting right at the rear bulkhead to secure cable housing from moving. This fitting lets water just POOR through into rear day hatch and then continues on to rear hatch. Iam talking more that a gallon of water in a 2 hour roll session. I took the fitting apart couldn't see anything wrong with it, its just not even close to being water tight. I ended up putting Lexel glue around the fitting which finally stopped the leaking water into rear day hatch and back hatch. I also sealed the fittings at day hatch to rear hatch bulkhead as it had same kind of fitting. The QCC had on its bulkhead a rubber grommet the cable housing would go through which was water tight. SOMETHING Tiderace should do. Tiderace would have to extend the cable housing all the way to the foot control pegs in order to do this. The cable housing on the Pace stops at about the seat position and its just open steel cable forward of that. (picture)
Now on how the boats handles. Has fairly high primary stability and high secondary but thats a subjective observation you may feel differently. It has more stability that the QCC 700X. I can sit on the back deck behind seat and feel quite stable were the QCC was not so solid sitting up on high on back deck. Makes cowboy scramble easier with a more solid platform to slide up into cockpit. Rolling, very easy. Nice roller and can balance brace in this boat. Not even close to balance brace in my QCC as the rear deck is lower on Pace compared to QCC kayak. Reverse sweep, storm, layback ,butterfly, shotgun all easily done on the Pace (video) . In waves heading into them it does fairly well for a boat with not much rocker. The QCC and Epic kayaks tend to really slap down hard in waves like that . The Pace handles those better. the Pace has a little more rocker than an QCC or Epic 18x. Following waves the Pace is a little loose in the back. I think maybe do to that the hull is a Swede form and the QCC was Fish form. Speed the boat is fast. I think the QCC 700x being an 18 foot boat with 17.08 waterline compared to the Pace at 17.126 feet with a waterline of 16.6 feet makes the Pace 17 a little slower than the longer QCC. I did not to a head to head speed comparison. Now the Pace can turn without a rudder with a lean were the QCC would not turn much at all by leaning. The QCC was heavily in need for a rudder to run decently. I rougher water wind 30 mph gusting to 40 mph the Pace handles that no problem. It is hard to turn in that kind of wind but quite doable. Better boat in those conditions than the QCC. Waves were about 3 to 4 feet Lake Erie NY.
Weather cocking. With the rudder up and a side wind of about 20 mph it would slowing turn into the wind. Easy to correct for with a lean. Drop the rudder and tracks straight. I generally paddled the boat rudder down. but if the rudder broke the boat would still paddle fine. unlike the QCC I had which would be a bear to turn.
Now this boat is for camping. I have only got to do one Georgian Bay trip unfortunately. The boat is more stable loaded with about 60 pounds of gear. it has quite a bit of storage. As much as the QCC did maybe a little more. QCC bulkheads are farther forward and backward so even though the QCC being longer and taller in back deck area the Pace held as much or slightly more. Move QCC bulkheads in more then that would change. QCC does offer custom bulkhead placement Tiderace does not.
The hatch covers I really like, totally leak free easy on easy off. I love the little front day hatch. Tiderace says it holds 6 liters, that's a flat out lye or mistake, I measured it at 2.5 liters. Enough room for two 16.9 ounce water bottles and 2 cliff bars. I emailed Tiderace about front day hatch volume they said they changed the size of front hatch but STILL shows 6 liters on there website.
Now I always add an Electric bilge pump to all my sea kayaks , you can see pictures if bilge pump and pictures of the kayak and a few videos at links below.
So how do I rate this boat. Well its as close to a perfect expedition boat I can find. Bad points were the vent hole placement, easily fixed and the rudder cables leaking like crazy, harder to fix and not 100 percent satisfied with what I did but its 100 percent dry now. Boat is fast stable a great camping boat. I would be fine paddling into any conditions with this boat. Not for surfing in the surf zone I use a smaller high rockered plastic Valley Avocet for that.
Oh me Iam 5' 7.5 inches about 170 pounds. I had to add about a 1/2 inch of padding by the hips on both sides of the seat for a nice fit. (see picture) . Have any questions PM me on paddling.com. dc9mm is my user name
Pictures of kayak http://www.pbase.com/dc9mm/tideracepacetour_17
videos of me and kayak in use http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wSNxjWjwAg
Just got boat first time in it at pool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3PuHOCsMvk