Tim S wrote:...obviously I can't go into details concerning prices and set-ups of different companies,
Sorry, I didn't mean to compromise your professional integrity with the way I asked the question!
MarkR has an import boat and is very happy with it, in fact I'd say he raved about it! So the question is more to him - I know he tried the boat and obviously it suited him, but what sort of level of optional extras are available?
Like I say I haven't seen a knoydart catalogue for a while, actually no I did get one through the door but misplaced it (have you seen my flat?) but I'm pretty certain that if ordered a Valley boat and I requested some extra recessed deck fittings up forward (for my camera bag), a couple of extras on the back (so I can store my paddles the opposite way to standard), the day hatch not to be cut out and no bulkhead behind the seat (it's a good place for outsized stuff like cameras and pans although these new fangled oval hatches will take them), perhaps no skeg but a C-trim rudder instead (now I'm being silly, I'd never order a rudder!), I'm pretty sure that not only is this "not a problem" but that there is a pricelist avaliable so I can pick and choose such options....
Oh yes, so it will be 3 months before this boat would actually get to the top of the queue to be built - I'll need longer than that to raise the funds!
Is this level of customisation available with cheap imports?
I have absolutely no doubt that the build quality is as good or in excess of what British builders manage (well from an engineering definition high quality leads to low prices) but I suspect that there is still a part of the sea kayak market that is looking more for the personal touch and the features exactly as the csutomer wants rather than a cheap boat they can paddle away now?
I suppose this niche market of hand built, almost all unique, boats that some of us love to cling on to is part of the "image" that Tim thinks might need reconsidering - perhaps it is only the seagull munching masochists that actually want anything other than a stock boat with a modular fitting kit and multi position footrests?
What do other people think, do you look at the list of options and/or is there anything you would have specified differently on your current boat if you had had the choice, or had known when you bought it what you know now?