Performance, Stability, and Style.
Story and Photos By Vincent S. Rinando Jr., Necky Kayaks Pro Paddler and Team Ocean Kayak Founding Member
At first glance, you can tell that this isn’t your Dad’s sit on top. The new Vector 13 from Necky Kayaks blends performance, stability and style into a stable sit on top platform that tours and performs like a sit inside kayak. Starting at the bow/top-side of the kayak, the new Vector is sleek and sharp but retains volume and wave punching ability. You will also notice the rounded style of the top deck of the bow instead of the stock flat top on top of a “v” shaped bottom. This helps retains little water keeping your bow dry. The front grab handle has a molded area that accommodates your hand while carrying the kayak. Personally I prefer a hard plastic grab handle built into the kayak (kayak anglers live by Murphy’s Law, “If you can hang a hook in it, you will”).
The front end of the Vector has a sharp keel and makes constant contact even in rough water. I took the Vector out with moderate 15mph winds and chop that measured up to 2ft and was impressed at how dry it remained. Despite the conditions, I didn’t take on any waves over the bow or side rails. The Vector also maintained contact with the water and didn’t create hull slap under a strong paddle and moderate chop.
The bow hatch is ample in size and uses the Crosslink Buckle for easy one-handed opening. What I really like about this hatch was the lid. You can really “feel the seal” when you push down on this hatch. The combination of the Crosslink Buckle and tight seal on the lid kept the inside of the kayak dry through rough waves and even pressurized car wash blasts.
The overall deck layout consists of a mesh bag, device holder and water bottle or drink holder. The mesh bag is held in place with molded in nuts and machine bolts providing a secure attachment. The device holder is large enough to accommodate a hand held GPS or mobile phone case. All of the hardware used on the Vector 13 is first rate brass and stainless. Stainless bars replace nylon pad eyes, which are flat and provide a low profile. This prevents snags and the possibility of breaking pad eyes when carrying the kayak upside down or stacking and storing.
The foot wells are flat but have molding towards the cockpit, which aids in drainage and footing while standing. With the scupper plugs removed, the footwells remained dry and any standing water drained out once you started paddling. The draining was also quiet with no gurgling sounds.
The seat is built in and the pad is recessed to maintain a lower center of gravity. I found the seat cushion to be ample, comfortable and it remained dry. Two scupper plugs are located below the seat but I kept those on to keep the seat area dry. The seat back is adjustable, padded and very comfortable. Side straps allow for adjustment and provide additional support. The cockpit seems to sit a bit closer to the bow than most 13 foot kayaks which makes reaching the bow hatch easier. It also helps when trying to maneuver a rod tip around the bow when you have a fish on the hook.
Towards the rear of the boat, the rudder lay-up has a receiver that catches the rudder eliminating loud noises when the rudder is retracted. A drain plug is located just to the right of the rudder assembly on top. The tankwell is large, but maintains a low profile. It has two scupper plugs for drainage and the floor is designed to channel the water towards the scupper holes. The ridges also help elevate your cargo to keep gear dry when the plugs aren’t in and traction to keep gear from sliding around. The adjustable nylon cover provides secure storage and adds to the stylish appeal of the Vector. There is also a small hatch located in the rear area of the tankwell, which allows access to the rear of the hull’s interior and provides additional storage. This is very important if you ever need to make a repair on the keel or rudder assembly.
The bottom of the Vector is as impressive as the top. It has a well-defined keel and the bottom molding has a slight edge that creates additional volume and stability and also helps channel the water along the keel for straight tracking. The Vector has a removable rubber keel guard that prevents damage to the kayak’s keel while dragging.
Turning a “Touring Sit on Top” into a Kayak Fishing Machine
Being from Texas and spending 100% of my time in a kayak with a fishing rod, I decided to “RedNecky” the Vector up a bit with a few modifications. Just like the race car driver that removes door handles and window glass, sometimes you have to ugly things up a bit. Back to Murphy’s Law #1 for kayak anglers, “If you can stick a hook in it, you will”. I decided to remove the front mesh bag and place a flush mount Scotty rectangular mount between the two molded in nuts for either a rod holder or fish finder. The mount fit perfectly and allows me to replace the bag if I wanted to in the future. It also allowed me to place an Otter box on the smooth flat deck, I also added a bungee strap attached to the two molded in nuts that’s not pictured to hold the Otterbox in place. You can also loop the leash to the Otterbox around the rod holder for safety as well.
The second thing I did was replace the nylon cargo strap in the tankwell with a more traditional bungee cord. Again refer to Murphy’s Law of kayak fishing. For touring events and when I just want to show off, I will remove the bungee and put the nylon strap back on.
I placed two Scotty rectangular flush mount rod holders behind the seat next to the Necky logo in front of the tankwell. I prefer these mounts for several reasons. They are modular and allow me to place a light, conventional or spinning rod holder, fly rod holder, depth finder, camera or GPS mount into any one of the receivers and they maintain the sleek lines of the Vector. To install the mounts, I first used a piece of chalk to outline the bottom of the mount, using a non-scientific method of “eyeballing” where I thought they should go — they weren’t hard to line up. I l like using chalk because once you are done, it doesn’t leave any marks. Be careful not to punch too hard through the plastic when drilling though, as the rudder cables are located just below this area. I decided to only use two screws to secure each mount. If you prefer, rivets can also be used.
I also decided to add a bungee paddle holder. When you fish, you sometimes need a place to secure your paddle. As you can see in the picture, I used a three-point method. I probably should have spread out the triangle a bit more than I did but my first test showed it will hold the paddle in place just fine.
The new Vector 13 is quick and agile like a sit inside kayak, but is stable and tracks like a sit on top. This is one sexy kayak. I had no problem standing and fishing from this platform. I didn’t have any problems keeping up with anglers in their Prowlers on its maiden voyage. I found the Vector 13 to have great glide, good tracking, and optimal top speed with little effort to maintain that speed.
Here are some pictures of the fish we caught on its maiden voyage, total for the day one limit of trout, one limit of Redfish and one limit of Flounder. I’d say the Vector 13 passed with flying colors.
To view originally published article and additional photos, click here.