I have finally managed to get out on the water in my new Tiderace Xceed (standard size, G Core epoxy layup); these are my first impressions:
The very first impression is of a fabulous looking boat. The seemingly simple act of removing the seam has radically changed the look of the new Tiderace boats. The smooth, uninterrupted clean lines creates an impression of a sleek, stunning sea kayak. Interestingly, this new production method is not just an aesthetic, it is actually a much stronger design with a significant overlap of the two halves, which is glued as usual, but then laminated again.
Aled and Dave (the designers) have designed this boat for speed and efficiency: a true expedition boat. The Xceed has more volume (378 litres) than either the Xplore, Xcape or Xcite which this boat supersedes. The lines carry the volume further forwards, providing significant volume and impressive load carriage.
A shallow V hull and very long waterline promise a fast turn of speed and excellent tracking. The design is aimed at efficiency, and this boats is designed to move effortlessly through the water. Tonight I found that the boat smoothly accelerated to cruising speed. In a Force 2 gusting low 3 I was able to easily maintain 7.5km per hour with absolutely zero effort; this promises to be a fast and easily driven hull shape.
The chines are soft, which combined with a surprisingly significant rocker allowed for easier edge turning than I had anticipated for a boat with such a long waterline. I could easily spin the boat in eight strokes - and expect to reduce that as I get used to her. The boat appears to have a rock steady secondary stability that is comfortable to maintain, but actually at quite an aggressive edge, allowing the stern to readily disengage and skid through the water.
I love the look of the recessed cockpit, it blends in seamlessly with the deck, particularly with the very low profile back deck which enabled very easy rolling, all the while remaining super comfortable, even when wearing my large guide towrope. The cockpit retains the signature Tiderace design, with high knee position, positive connection, miminal back rest and seat that actually provide a hugely comfortable and responsive position.
What stands out most is the build quality.
Bombproof stiff, with not a rough edge in sight. I had a Kevlar keel strip fitted at the factory; beautifully bonded, the strip runs the entire length of the bow and keel, and even covers the vulnerable skeg box, well worth the extra money for the added protection.
I am really looking forward to getting her better and
testing her properly in some more demanding conditions.
I hope that this first impression is useful, do feel free to comment or ask questions - very happy to help!