Introducing 'Lucia', a used kevlar Necky Looksha IV

posted Nov 2, 2014, 9:33 AM by Richard Sevenich   [ updated Dec 16, 2014, 5:08 PM ]

I obtained this kayak (now named 'Lucia') at the very end of our local 2014 kayaking season; so I won't really test it out thoroughly until spring of 2015. It was used, built in 2001 before Necky moved from Abbottsford, British Columbia. This kayak, quite dirty when I got it, cleaned up quite nicely. It is actually in very good shape, but with obvious signs of frequent use. There are two hull gelcoat patches, each about the size of a large index card. These were well done functionally, but not color blended esthetically – only the fish and other sea creatures will notice. The deck, with recessed fittings, features a somewhat bizarre color scheme (blue deck with mango hatches) that may help prevent theft. However, my wife rather likes the colors and will possibly steal Lucia from me, preferring its appearance to her current kayak's staid blue over white.

This kayak replaces a smallish kayak (an iconic Romany 16) with skeg, keeping our fleet at three kayaks. Note that I still have my preferred day trip kayak, a Boréal Design Ellesmere. The motivation for getting this Necky was to have more storage space (no skeg box) for camping gear etc., while still retaining adequate performance. With a 17' length, 22.5” beam, a double chine, and more rocker than I expected, this kayak is reputed to perform well; reasonably fast and maneuverable. It is said to have somewhat twitchy primary stability and very firm secondary stability. With a form factor so close to the slightly narrower Ellesmere, I am wondering how similar the feel will be. Weather cocking is supposedly slight and the rudder not needed until the sea becomes rough. The hatches are configured with neoprene covers secured by an outer hard hatch covers and straps. The neoprene covers are in unexpectedly good condition; maybe the originals had been replaced at some point in the past.

When I get a used kayak I tweak it until it fits my wishes. One or the other of the prior owners added a bit of keel strip at the stern and glued in hip pads. Planned changes to the kayak include:

  • adding a bow line for securing the kayak when beached

  • adding a rudder retainer so the withdrawn rudder stays put

  • adding an under deck bag (North Water)

  • adding diy spare paddle storage tubes at the bow, reachable from the cockpit (sometimes called the 'Flatpick invention')

  • replacing the sliding rudder footpegs with ones which provide firmer bracing (Sea-Lect Design)

  • amending the keel strip so the entire kayak keel is protected

  • performing minor tasks such as tweaking the rigging and applying 303 UV protection

Any newly acquired kayak typically has a seat back that needs major modification for me, because I have a compromised lower back due to an injury in my youth, However, this Necky back band has an adjustable height and also a cord restraint which keeps it from leaning back too far. At this point it appears that these adjustments will suffice for me i.e. no major modifications needed. It's a clever design.

Once I have made the modifications bulleted above and then tested Lucia in spring, I hope to post a followup report reviewing the boat's performance. This should be reasonably dispassionate since, by now, I've owned enough kayaks to avoid NPS (New Parent Syndrome), so common in kayak reviews.