November 14, 2013 - Tom Eveleigh
P&H Quest LV – review
I’ve owned the Quest LV for three years and used it in conditions up to force 5, 6kn tidal races, surf and in a few sea kayak races. Here’s my thoughts on the boat.
This is tricky to quantify because I’ve not been out with a GPS, so I can only compare it to other boats I’ve paddled. It’s overall cruising speed feels slower than the Nordkapp, Cetus MV & Northshore Ocean but faster than the SKUK Romany and Northshore Atlantic LV. It’s acceleration is excellent and feels better than most boats
The Quest LV hasn’t had a particularly good press when it comes to stability, however I really don’t find it too bad.
The initial stability is definitely better than the modern Nordkapp but certainly isn’t in the league of the Cetus or Tiderace Xscape. The lack of initial stability is only noticeable in certain conditions and circumstances, it’s particularly noticeable when it’s empty and you’re stationary. So taking photos or read the map in choppy or confused water tends to feel quite unstable and occasionally a little unnerving. In forward motion or making maneuvers the boat feels stable and covers ground quickly without drama.
The secondary stability feels quite gradual and the limits arent immediately obvious, but after a few days in the boat you start to learn how far you can push the boat. In rougher water and windy conditions the boat definately performs better loaded. Although it doesn’t compare to the performance of the modern “play” orientated boats in rough water and choppy seas it’s really not bad and most kayakers will enjoy its stiffness and fast acceleration in these conditions. It’s worth noting my boat has the traditional glass seat rather than the plastic moulded seat/EVA foam moulded cover, I understand this substantially improves the stability and handling.
Performance in wind
Performance in wind is an area which I’ve been far more disappointed with the Quest LV than any other. I find it particularly difficult when trying to maintain a course with a strong three quarters wind, the boat continually turns into the wind and anything above 15kn becomes a wrestle to keep straight. After paddling the Cetus and similar other newer boats in these conditions it’s obvious the manufacturers have made real advances in this area. Having said that I’ve recently started to wonder whether it’s simply down to the design of the skeg rather than the boat. The Skeg on the Quest LV is more of a keel extension rather than a fin (like the Cetus or Scorpio). I’m considering changing to a Karitek Skeg, so if it improves the performance I’ll update this.
Fit and comfort
I’ve paddled many boats over the last few years and the Quest LV is without a doubt the most comfortable I’ve paddled. I think this comfort largely comes down to it being big for an LV boat, I’ve size 10 feet and have absolutely no problems getting in and out. Like most glass boats the thigh braces are moulded into the cockpit rim, however they provide a good snug fit and are secure and positive for rolling.
The general construction and finishing seems very good. Mines now showing its age with numerous gel coat repairs and star cracks, however the glass is still immaculate. It does seem to be quite a wet boat and despite my best efforts to seal the cockpit and trying various different spray decks, I nearly always end up sitting in a puddle after a long day. However thankfully the hatches seal 100% with no leakage.
Good speed, acceleration, dry hatches and general good quality.
Below average initial stability, poor performance in the wind (especially above 15kn) and a leaking cockpit.
I really like this boat, especially the fit, comfort and quality. I purchased it as a relative beginner and going straight from a Necky Chatham 16 it did feel unstable for the first few trips. If you are purchasing new I wouldn’t buy this boat over a Cetus MV or similar, however if you’re buying from the second hand market, it’s a bargain and will be a great buy you won’t regret.