You're wearing me down...I've been looking at the 17' Quest. Just would like to paddle one first and compare it to the Cypress.
Didn't you paddle one of the 17' boats during your test paddle?
You're strong testimony makes it worth consideration. You probably deal with a lot more stuff paddling the West Coast than I'd ever deal with here in Florida.
One of the reasons I'm looking for the open water boat is that my husband & I want to start paddling some overnighters along the Florida Coast. So the hatch opening concern also weighs on my mind.
I'm really glad that you are enjoying your new boat!