"I tried one of these last year; very nice. The handling was not surprisingly similar to the Alaw's. "
Tried someone elses Alaw 2006, found it too high above the water. With hindsight should have gone for Bach or PERHAPS NDK Explorer LV that I have come across only recently, very tight cockpit fit for me but lower deck so less wind load. Obviously too big as a day boat. Smaller cockpit, almost classic ocean style/Inuit cockpit - better leg contact.
Manufacturers weight recommendations seem to secretely assume 30kg touring luggage - I am 184cm/93 kg but short legs/top heavy. For fun put someone of my weight in and myself on the front deck - still freeboard left..
Xcite is oversized as day boat for me - someone of 110 kg was spot on happy with it. Greed for a carbon version (I wasn't aware of the copy cat going ons then - see Gbasport quality thread) ended me up with this one.
By now I have paddled solo and in conditions I maybe shouldn't have more or less at least once weekly the last half year, e.g. Britany, IOW Needles Bft 4+, and it saw me through chop and races where my previous Quest would have ended me in trouble.
Any beginner I have put in was happy with it after a few minutes, except those who cannot edge yet. Huge secondary stability.
Paddling in strong cross winds/head wind > 5 or at some speed is a strain, due to weather cocking ++ that is a design issue due to the extreme rocker.
Downwind and surfing is fine but not very fast, broaches somewhat but well controllable.
"I was out in the Firth of Forth with a very short fetch and about a force 4 or 5 wind, so quite choppy but no big waves. I found it did slam a lot going into the waves but was really easy to handle going down wind. "
Yes it slams a lot, part of the reason is that factory fitted seat is way too far aft, a slight nose heavy trim is better, mostly, a little forward lean helps as well.. The slamming doesn't bother me really. But then it doesn't get the bow stuck in a wave trough as well, comes up early.
Smaller/less total volume ~280 litres, less rocker, lower foredeck, much lower aft, longer waterline would probably be better for a day boat.
That boat doesn't exist as a production model, as far as I know, hopefully will get something together http://www.thomassondesign.com
at some point. Al made a nice offer, but he lives in France, no regular flights there either, we'll do it hopefully this winter here.
I read elsewhere here that Aled has a Angmassalik copy, and Thomasson claims his designs are loosely based on East not West Greenland designs...
A beginners and rough water boat for big heavy chaps up to 120 kg, for long distance touring way too slow.
Something a regular paddler is going to grow out of at some point but inspires confidence in the rough foamy stuff.
Having said that NDK Explorer arguably handles just as well in the rough stuff, but the standard cockpit is somehow ill fitting and dodgy to me.
"The boat I tried had a Hydro-skeg fitted which has quite a large blade, far more blade that the boat needs."
The small Kayaksport skeg that is fitted in my copy cat has a protected guide wire but doesn't do that much really, mostly I am happy without.
" I found the knee braces very high which made edging something I had to work at."
Initially bruised my thigh when rolling on that brace which is why I have padded some foam in and moved the seat foreward > 10 cm from the cockpit end, now much better control, still experimenting with the right set up.
"It would be nice to see a test report comparing the Menai 18, the Tiderace Xplore and the P&H Cetus.[/quote]"
From what I have seen of the Cetus it looks very posh & shiny as usual with P&H, shape very similar to me compared to the standard Quest that I had before and that I think is very similar to the Kayaksport Millenium which was on the market long before...
Both make sense only if fully loaded. Menai 18 and Xplore - don't know who should need that if the Xcite still has > 1 " free board with a 110kg person in it and lots bow and stern sticking out.
With a low centre of gravity, heavy objects/water supplies well wedged in the bottom the Quest handles a keel boat, without can have a life of its own, when edgeing there is no "end-feel" unlike NDK/Xcite.
Would I buy it or something like it again ?
No - see above, and quality issues are apparently also a Tiderace thing as you say. How to control a manufacturer in Poland who does kayaks as a sideline is anybodies guess.
Hmm, certainly a bet for clubs, centres/coaches, due to seat adjustability and foot plate, if its only one user all excess space in the cockpit should be foam filled for lots of reasons, will do that once I get round it. Foot plate thyen won't be needed, glass seats tend to crack, so why not a foam seat.
Then I have better ideas still as for seats.
Adjustable thigh braces - not in sea boats unless the law kicks in ...
Do away with the back rest that flips round in so many boats, just a padded slopeing aft please.
With more and more women around there should be a much smaller version.