New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

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New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by M-J-B » Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:53 pm

Valley recently published a new kayak, the Nordkapp Forti. Does anyone have the specifications? Is it simply a new deck with redesigned cockpit and day hatch on the Nordkapp hull or is the hull also modified? Some pics on Valley FB page but no specs.

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?

Post by swagstaff » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:27 pm

Is this what you were after?
Nordkapp Forti!!
Taking Sea Kayak Design “Back To The Future!”

2015 will be the 40th launch anniversary of undoubtedly the most influential sea kayak ever produced, the Nordkapp! Designed specifically for a 500 mile sea kayak expedition up the Norwegian coast, to the northern most point of Scandinavia, the Nordkapp marked the beginning of sea kayaks being designed specifically for extended recreational sea kayak trips.

Whilst, in these intervening years, the Nordkapp cemented its reputation as the benchmark “Expedition” sea-kayak, there were still some who believed it had, had its day. For the kayak’s 25th anniversary it went through a major face lift, in part this was to make it more user friendly, as it had gained a reputation for being unstable, especially with lighter paddlers or those paddling predominantly unladen. This Nordkapp Jubilee, as it was called, again proved very popular but some traditionalists felt that it had lost some of the originals soul. The release of the LV, some years later, gave back the liveliness those traditionalists felt they were missing but there were still those who missed something intangible, about the original.

In these past few years, whilst archiving some of Valley’s history and recording the evolution of its range, we were able to systematically look at the chronological development of the Nordkapp model. What came to light was quite revealing and has ultimately led us to produce this new 40th anniversary version!

Before starting, we looked at, measured and paddled the Nordkapp ‘Classic’, effectively the last production version of the ‘HS’ version, supposedly the original version and a model still in production until relatively recently in Valley’s ‘classic range’. Whilst it was responsive and agile on the water, both primary and secondary stability were poorer than the current model. In itself, that wasn’t surprising, given that the ‘Jubilee’ version set out to improve on the stability of this design. What was apparent, however, was that the stability was less than would be appropriate, for a kayak designed as a rough water expedition kayak. At first, we just thought this might be us being unduly critical or not taking into account, how far designs had advanced over the years. However, other things weren’t quite ‘right’ the back deck was quite rounded and high. Surely, this couldn’t be, the low rear decked, easy rolling original Nordkapp that older paddlers fondly remembered! Then we noticed the hung glass seat was quite high off the hull. Slowly but surely we started to realise that the design must have changed noticeably from the original.

In hindsight, the reasons are fairly obvious. This model was one of the most popular kayaks of all time and had been in constant production for over thirty years. Over those years many features had been added or changed; different hatches, deck-line recesses, areas for fitting compasses added etc. these improvements, coupled with the need to change moulds, as they became worn-out, had led to countless rounds of: producing a new plug from the mould, modifying it to add a new feature and then making a new mould. Even taking the upmost care, the shrinkage in resins meant each round of this process results in a slight pulling-in of radii and surfaces , this tends to accentuate all features i.e. over time a slightly rounded rear deck, becomes more noticeably rounded. The keel ‘V’ becomes more acute. The gunnels pull-in and show less flare etc. So each incarnation is very slightly different than the one before, an incremental process repeated again and again, over the years!

Whilst the changes above were unintentional, The Jubilee changes were very intentional but again, in hindsight, many of these were probably only deemed necessary because of those incremental changes that had crept in unnoticed. In short, the recent Nordkapp classic or HS as it was originally called, wasn’t the true original Nordkapp design. Yet it was this mutated design that was used as the basis for the Jubilee and then the later LV. Given all the change, popular though these new models were, is it any wonder, some felt it had lost something of its soul.

With the 40th anniversary approaching, we wanted to do something special but given the above, we equally wanted to understand what made the very original model such an instant success. Neither the original blueprints nor the original mould survive today, so the next best thing would be to track down and paddle the earliest possible example we could. Earlier this year, following a chance approach, we purchased back, a Nordkapp from the very earliest mould. Paddling it was a revelation; tracking, stability and trim on the water, were all felt to be better than either; the current version or the ‘Classics’ that were recently in production. When viewed next to the current model, visually the later appeared to have become a caricature of the original, features had clearly been emphasized; the fish-form was more pronounced and had moved further forward, the ends thinned more dramatically in plan-view and there was much more rocker, especially in the bow above the waterline. In contrast, if you looked beyond the original’s metal hatches and ocean cockpit, the actual lines were, if anything, more contemporary, cleaner and more flowing. Just a very ‘sweat’ look.

From that very first paddle, we decided, the ‘New’ Nordkapp could not be based on the current model but instead would be based on that very first incarnation. The hull we’ve hardly touched, the deck, only to incorporate the modern hatch layout and cockpit.

Effectively the Nordkapp Førti, is the kayak that we’d produce today, if we were given the original blueprints and the original design brief. After all, the sea hasn’t changed!

Is it better than the original? No, put simply, it’s just as good as ever!

My Forti something says I can buy one>
WHITEWATER ALL YEAR LONG

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?

Post by M-J-B » Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:51 am

Thanks swagstaff,

That was an interesting read which supports my experiences with the pre-Jubilee Nordkapp range. I have always felt my first Nordkapp from very early 80:s felt and looked different in comparison to any more recent classic Nordkapp I have paddled. Some key measurements, volumes and forms have definitely changed over the years although the official truth until now has been that nothing has changed prior to the introduction of the Jubilee.

You may call me an incurable sceptic, but glass fibre constructions are known to slightly sag and deform in use over the years but also memories fade and people change. This in combination with the many shapes and forms of the Nordkapp over the years I would like to know which one of the "current" pre Forti Nordkapps, ie. the full size, PE and LV, comes closest to the Forti in terms of size, handling and load carrying capacity. With Valley still stating false measurements for the PE on their website and dodgy photoshopping of the Gemini I'm not too optimistic an update to the pages would surface anytime soon. Also the current Valley layup and options available for the Forti would be of great interest.

As I'm turning 40 next year I'm thinking I could place an order for a Forti with all bells and whistles as a birthday present to myself. :) Realising the fact that I have gained some additional weight in the past 30(ish) years I have paddled Nordkapps I would very much like to know how the Forti compares as I won't be able to test paddle one before ordering. The current full size Nordkapp has grown faster than I have and when carrying camping gear I have slightly outgrown the LV. Nordkapp PE is inbetween in capacity but I don't like the material, the seat or how the boat handles in comparison to the LV. Given all the models availabe I thought I was stuck with the LV and going UL with camping gear was the only option, but now Valley has my full attention with the Forti.

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?

Post by Graham T » Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:31 pm

is it possible to say up to what date an original Nordkap was built anyone ?

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by MikeB » Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:45 pm

Well, the Jubilee came on the market around 1998/2000 and production of the "originals" more or less ceased around the same time - although I did come across one made to special order in early 2001/2 for a woman in the Glasgow area, if my memory serves me properly that is.

(If anyone can be more precise with dates that would be helpful in the context of updating the Nordkapp article in the Almanac.)

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by M-J-B » Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:52 pm

It would seem difficult to define "original" in this context so I guess setting dates would be next to impossible as old moulds no longer exist. The classic (in production after the Jubilee) was supposed to be "original" but I guess it was not. Also my second Nordkapp from late 1980s had slightly different nose shape when comparing to my first Nordkapp, perhaps some other subtle hull shape changes were present already then.

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by MikeB » Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:33 pm

M-J-B wrote:It would seem difficult to define "original" in this context so I guess setting dates would be next to impossible as old moulds no longer exist. The classic (in production after the Jubilee) was supposed to be "original" but I guess it was not. Also my second Nordkapp from late 1980s had slightly different nose shape when comparing to my first Nordkapp, perhaps some other subtle hull shape changes were present already then.
" - in or about 2007 they started producing a slightly updated version of the "original" design which they call the "Classic". This has the same hull shape as the early Nordkapp, but uses the up to date deck layout of three hatches. Available either as HS or HM, it was built with an ocean cockpit. As of Jan 2013, when I viewed the Valley website during an update of this article, it seems to have been dropped from the range."

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by M-J-B » Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:57 pm

MikeB wrote:slightly updated version of the "original" design which they call the "Classic". This has the same hull shape as the early Nordkapp.
Perhaps the same hull shape as a late pre Jubilee Nordkapp, a slightly mutated version of the original I believe. I'm familiar with the model but never owned one. A club member bought one of those new "classics" but it turned out to be slightly longer than my late 80's Nordkapp when comparing them side by side. I don't know if the difference in length was due to differences in nose design or if the waterline length also differed.

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by Jim » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:31 pm

I used to know someone who remembered most of the tweaks throughout the life but maybe not exact dates.

It was possible to buy an HS or HM well into Jubilee era (maybe still is) by contacting Valley directly (or through Dave Felton) - moulds still existed and custom orders were accepted even though they may have stopped advertising.
My friend had an old HM - I think it had early 80's expedition stickers on, or maybe late 70's. It was getting tired and he had been thinking of replacing it. At that time the Jubilee deck mould was about finished and Valley were proposing to build a new one with an oval hatch in the foredeck. He is/was old skool and didn't like the idea of a big hatch on the foredeck for green waves to dump on and blow in. Now I've never paddled in seas that could do that, he almost certainly has....
I'm not sure what the condition of the HM moulds was at that time, but he was well connected and ended up deciding to get a Jubilee before the mould was changed. I suspect he had noted a lot of the minor differences listed in the quote from Swagstaff because I know it was big decision for him to switch to a boat with a mechanical skeg, but I'm sure part of his reasoning was that a new HM hull would never be the same as the one he had (although that is partly because his deadwood had worn to the perfect balance :-) ), HS and HM were definitely available, and it was a hard choice for him.

Plugs don't last forever, for best dimensional control you need to make all your moulds from the original plug, but I'm not at all surprised that over 40 years it has been necessary to replace plugs from progressively later generation moulds even leaving aside the desire to tweak and improve aspects when fairing a new plug (which may or may not be successful).

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Ain't she cute???????????

Post by nickcrowhurst » Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:19 pm

They are very elegant kayaks. Here's my early HM:
Image
Nick.

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by Graham T » Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:54 am

I hope someone who has owned previous Nordkaps of which ever type may demo the Forti and give comparison information. Certainly looking at Nicks HM the lines look nothing like the latest incarnations to my eyes at least

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by MikeB » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:39 pm

Graham T wrote:I hope someone who has owned previous Nordkaps of which ever type may demo the Forti and give comparison information. Certainly looking at Nicks HM the lines look nothing like the latest incarnations to my eyes at least
Ian Miller is the man for that!

"Ian Miller, by his own admission one of the "bearded paddler" brigade and a long term Nordkapp paddler active on the Scottish scene provides some interesting insights into Nordkapps - it seems there were some significant design changes during the life of the original Nordkapps (pre the Jubilee version). He comments as follows: " I bought my first Nordkapp, an old HM with Henderson hatches - probably a 1976 model. At that time in our club no one paddled them because strangely the east coast was largely P&H territory and the west coast had the Valleys. According to most people you needed to be a bare chested seagull eater to handle one and I was delighted when I discovered I actually had a fast stable boat that even improved when the weather worsened.

I (now) have two Nordkapps, the old HM is very stable and more to the point predictable and also very comfortable with a legs straight out position and good knee grips. The 'newer' HS (mid to late '90's) is an unstable pig and is unpredictable. A factor which may be attributed to the fact that somewhere along the way Valley altered the mould significantly adding a couple of inches height to the deck and also added a bigger cockpit coaming with no obvious way to control the boat".

Ian goes on to say "It is also significantly less comfortable with knees forced out to the side to give any form of control. I did recently consider a newer (early '90's) ocean cockpit HM but it had the raised rear deck which made entry to the cockpit a bit of a time consuming wriggle to say the least and certainly not something I would want in a launch into a big sea".

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by flat earth sails » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:56 pm

Ther wher nordkapps made in NZ as well, I think the artic rader was a spin of of the mold in NZ .

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by MikeB » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:04 pm

flat earth sails wrote:Ther wher nordkapps made in NZ as well, I think the artic rader was a spin of of the mold in NZ .
"A version from the Southern Hemisphere was on the market too until recently - built by Grahame Sisson of Sisson Kayaks, it is clearly a Nordkapp descendant and it's interesting to see how the designs have evolved over time and geographic distance with rudders clearly being an accepted part of paddling culture "down under" (and indeed in the US as well) whereas UK and European paddlers generally prefer non-ruddered boats. Graeme also built a variant known as the Arctic Raider which his website describes as being "a more stable, user friendly boat that offered our customers all of the advantages of the Nordkapp".

Paul Caffyn mailed me this in December 2012 - "Interesting thread here in NZ with the NK design. Grahame Sisson imported a two piece HS mould in 1977, the boats he built through to the early 90s were all HS hull models. In 1985, we built a 30 pound JapKapp, and in my desire to minimize cockpit volume, Grahame built a full seat/ bulkhead, which allowed a third compartment deck accessible from the cockpit. From then on, all Graham's boats had that middle / seat bulkhead.

Grahame was asked to make a boat for a bloke with big legs, and made a raised foredeck model - still with the HS hull. But in 1996, Grahame's Nelson factory burnt down, losing everything, bar for a trailer load of kayaks he was taking on a selling tour around the North Island.The only NK on the trailer was a high foredeck one - he built a mould off this, and it became the production boat in NZ until he retired earlier this year."

A look at the website in Jan 2013 finds this - "On Monday the 3rd October 2011 we shipped out the last boats - a Nucleus 60, Arctic Raider - and a Nordkapp".

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:21 pm

Image
Here is another interesting oldie that looks nothing like the current Nordkapp...

Image
...but carries the same great name, despite having come out of a very different mould.

More photos here,

Image
I love the instrumentation.

Douglas

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by Graham T » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:59 pm

the next questions are how small a paddler will this kayak suit ? and will the P&H connect seat fit into it ?

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by MikeB » Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:05 pm

With thanks to Peter at Valley, some more pictures here - http://www.ukseakayakguidebook.co.uk/no ... _forti.htm

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by swagstaff » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:48 pm

I have ordered one and expect to have this available to Demo at Sea Kayak Oban's demo days in November, Rosemarkie near Inverness on the 2nd and then Stonehaven, nr Aberdeen on the Sat 8th and Aberdour on Sunday 9th. Or you could rent it from Oban and take it for a spin when the weather suits your needs.
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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by MikeB » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:56 pm

It would be very interesting to get Ian Millar into one - I'll let him know. Mike

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by rowlandW » Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:39 pm

Just back from a blast down Loch Etive (Taynuilt to Connel Bridge) in the Forti in front of a F6, gusting F8 with 4 ft seas (some breaking). My first Nordkapp was late '70s and over the years I have had 7 in total. The Forti is 'back to the original' in terms of looks and handling; it seems well balanced on the water (the Jubilee in particular was/is bow high) and although lively does not seem to have any vices. It surfed like a demon and when the seas dropped a bit it was easy to maintain a high speed hopping from wave to wave. I didn't have a GPS on, but it took us an hour and a quarter to cover 7 nm, and we stopped for a breather twice! I'm 6 ft 3 ins tall, weigh 16 stone, have a 34 in inside leg and size 12 (UK) feet - and although there was not a lot of room left over in the cockpit, I was by no means cramped, squeezed or squashed. The foredeck layout incorporates a deck hatch and the Jubilee's pronounced upward Vee deck has gone (thankfully). The hatch didn't impede entry or exit (and I've never been able to do a 'backside then legs' entry anyway). The rear of the cockpit is delightfully low and I could lay back over the rear deck without any difficulty.

I think the only question may be one of colour....

Rowland

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by bondo » Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:28 am

Rowland, you really make me want to give one a go. :-)
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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by orton1966 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:30 pm

Hi All,
Just thought I would give some information from the horse’s mouth.

The Hull on the new Forti is, as close to the original NordKapp, as humanly possible. The deck layout, hatches, cockpit etc. are obviously based on our newer models BUT deck heights, seat position (i.e. the balance of the kayak) etc. are, again, as close to the original as possible.

By original, I mean the kayaks from the very first mould that were used on the original Nordkapp expedition.

Graham T asked when was the original in production until? In theory, until a couple of years ago but being pedantic, the only originals will be ones from the first mould, taken off the first plug. Every time a change was done, that required a new plug then new mould to be made, incremental and unintentional design changes will have taken place. So when deck recesses were incorporated, rubber hatches, compass recesses etc. i.e. 30 plus years of incremental change. So yes, Nordkapps, sold as HS’s or classics, were the original but with some incremental changes that unintentionally crept in. This will be equally true of any fibreglass kayaks, of any manufacture, that have had revision since their launch.

Douglas Wilcox shows pictures of a very early, no hatches, Nordkapp and comments on its lack of similarity. The Nordkapp was available, with or without hatches originally. Certainly that kayak's hull will be very similar to the new Forti. The ‘Red’ Boat further up in the thread is a HM, again early. HM meaning Hatches Modified i.e. with the hull modified to give the effect of having a fixed skeg. With modern retractable skegs, there is no point having a modified ‘fixed skeg’ hull.

The trouble with trying to draw comparisons form these pictures is; firstly, the deck and what it does or doesn’t have on it, has more visual impact than the hull. Secondly, the angle the image is taken from and the angle of the light (creating shadows) distorts things like the relative length of bow to stern and the shape/flow of the chine area.

I can say without any doubt (because I did it) the new Forti is based on one of the very earliest examples of the Nordkapp. I can say this because the kayak used as the basis for the plug was of the exact same spec. as those used for the Nordkapp expedition i.e. metal hatches, no recessed deck fittings, deckline running through ‘glassed in’ pvc pipe. The same removable ‘tube’ holder behind the paddler etc. All, as per, the detailed spec’s described in the expedition’s official report. Interestingly, by the Cape Horn expedition, a couple of years later, the Nordkapps used, already had some little changes, recessed deck fittings being the most obvious.

Anyone wanting further information or a pdf copy of the Nordkapp expeditions original report can always email us directly at Valley.

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by Graham T » Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:32 pm

Hi Peter thanks for that information.
To be clear as to what lay behind my question there have been a fair number of old Nordies for sale and I wished to be as informed as possible if I should offer to buy one.
I have never paddles a full size Nordkapp of any vintage although I bought a new LV some years ago. So owning a Nordkapp is sort of still on the to do list.
I have read so much about many people finding that the Nordkapp rides too high for day paddling as they are not heavy enough to do so without bobbing around. I am 5ft 4inches and currently 12 stone hoping to be lighter, so it is my size which has put me off.
I do hope to demo the Forti however I have found getting a demo of sufficient duration to make a properly informed decision is never that easy requiring wind and waves of sufficient size and strength, before finding out how good a match of kayak to myself is.

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by pathbrae » Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:05 pm

If you are ever up in Scotland I have an old HM (Ocean cockpit, round hatches) which you are more than welcome to take away and try.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by Graham T » Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:40 pm

A very kind offer thank you

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by MikeB » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:00 pm

Just for the record, I have both the Nordkapp Exped and the Cape Horn Exped reports available in the Nordkapp article in the Almanac. I got these in late 2012 having been searching for them for years - they weren't available on-line anywhere so it was great to be sent a pdf of the Nordkapp one, and I even have a pristine hard-copy of the Cape Horn report. Also included in the article are pictures of the 1975 boats - as Peter mentions, they have some notable features including a large hole intended to take a BDH bottle.

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by pathbrae » Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:25 pm

The only warning I'd give about these old Nordkapps is...... they're a bit seductive :-)
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Seductive?? Surely not........

Post by nickcrowhurst » Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:50 pm

Image

My red HM, pictured earlier, but now with the fixed skeg removed, and a Kari-Tek skeg added. It now paddles beautifully, similarly, I presume, to the new Forti.
Nick

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by SLovrien » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:50 pm

I am looking forward to getting my Nordkapp Forti some time soon now. I hear they are putting on the keel strip I wanted and will just have to wait till it makes it to the states from the UK.

I just hope our record snow/ice storms stop by the time she gets here!

Scott in CT

P.S. - however, if Nick decides he wants to slip his vintage "HS" in the container, then I will gladly take that one!

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Re: New Valley Nordkapp Forti?^

Post by nickcrowhurst » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:19 pm

SLovrien wrote: if Nick decides he wants to slip his vintage "HS" in the container, then I will gladly take that one!
Scott, unfortunately I'm on a three day drive north to Minnesota (I know, I know....) so I'll have missed the dead-line for shipping when I get back to the U.K. Nice try, though ! I'm sure you'll love the new kayak.
Nick.

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