SeaBird Designs' Scott HV – Review by Scott Edwards

Scott HV by SeaBird Designs

Shakedown Cruise by Scott Edwards

Through the miracle of aligning planets, great people and a lot of driving, I am very happy to say that I am the proud owner of a delightful kayak that literally and figuratively has my name written all over it.

When I first laid eyes on the Scott, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful fit and finish front to back. All the little details covered, extra classy things added. I am still thinking about the first time I wrapped my hand around the polished red wood toggle to put the boat on some camp chairs to give it a good once over.

I could find no flaws in the finish or seam work. The boat was as smooth as glass, no lumps, no bends in lines that didn’t belong there. The boat is amazingly light for it’s size (and volume, this being the HV model), yet, it felt very solid. I had no trouble getting it on top of my Honda Element, which is not exactly a shoulder height car. The Scott nestled into the saddles and sat the rollers perfectly, allowing me to confidently secure the boat for transit. Something that I never hear anybody mention, but, I’ve always taken note of, especially when so many paddlers travel great distances to get in the water.

I always enjoy the peace of mind when a kayak sits in the racks well. The hull design here works very well.

The design of the Scott keeps the paddler in mind at all times. From the very comfortable seat, the twist off deck storage compartment, the ample amount of hard lines and bungees, a very serviceable day hatch…’s all here for you. You would have to work very hard to a)fill up all this space, making the Scott HV an excellent expedition kayak and b) think of anything else you could add. The hardware is exemplary and the lines taught but usable. It is obvious to me that a lot of thought went into designing the very user friendly cockpit.

The foot pegs are of the turn and slide variety and feel exceptionally solid. I found them easy to adjust and helped keep a strong connection to the boat.

As I am sure you can imagine, I was very anxious to get this boat in the water, so a couple days later off I went. A beautiful late spring day, accompanied by 20-30 knot winds, gusting to 40. Exactly what I was hoping for…a chance to get bounced around in the Scott. I climbed in, and got situated and took off straight into the chop, the Scott sliced through it like a hot knife through butter, as one would expect it would with it’s ample rocker. What really impressed me was first, when I turned the Scott to take on quartering seas, and then beam seas, it handled them with equal grace and ease. The boats stability was solid without being limiting. At no point during my shakedown cruise did I have any issues with feeling secure in the kayak.

As the wind strengthened, and I felt myself getting blown around a bit, I simply reached for the skeg slider and dropped what has to be one of the best performing skegs I’ve ever used. It locked me into a straight on track, a real plus for those long open crossings a kayak like this is made for. That being said, the minute I pulled the skeg up, I could make the kayak dance whichever way I wanted, truly enjoying it’s responsiveness to every paddle stroke.

I am truly looking forward to some much larger, lumpier water this July when I head to Maine, for some of the finest kayaking in North America! The Scott HV seems to have been made for the Maine Island Trail.

The Scott HV was everything I dreamed it to be. Solid, nimble, steady, fast and a pleasure to paddle. If I had to pick out one place that I would improve it would be the seat, back band and thigh brace adjustability. When I first sat in the Scott, I found that I could not pull the back band far enough forward to catch me in the small of my back with the seat in it’s original position. Fortunately, the seat tray itself is scooped enough and comfortable enough that I could still put it through the paces and adjust everything later. It cannot be done on the water. I discovered that I had to move the seat tray back two notches for the back band to be in its proper place. Which in turn means the thigh braces needed to be moved as well. To properly adjust the seat, I had to completely detach the seat and slide it backwards, and then re-bolt it back into place. I set about moving the thigh braces and found that the holes for the bolts did not line up perfectly, so, it took some extra elbow grease to get the bolts back in. In summation, before you take the Scott out on the water, sit in it and make all your adjustments on land. That being said, it is a delight to paddle and is a worthy addition to the SeaBird line.

Length 544cm (17’1″)

Width 58.4cm (23″)

Depth 41.9cm (16.5″)

Cockpit size 85x42cm (31.5×15.7″)

Volume 340L

Best Features: Fit and finish, maneuverability, stability throughout, functionality of skeg

To be improved: Back band and thigh brace adjustments. Thigh braces could also use some padding.