Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

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Tiff
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Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by Tiff »

I ask this due to the apparent difficulty I'm having selling my Jubilee...I own three Norkapps (SS, HM & Jubilee) at the moment and could never see myself without one for long.

However I've spoken to several people who want a sea kayak for expeditions and when I mention it being a Nordkapp they all politely decline even a trial paddle or viewing??

It seems that if it was an Alaw, NDK Explorer, Aquanaut, Quest etc etc. people would be very interested, yet one of the founders of them all is of no interest!

Is it purely their reputation for being 'a bit tippy' that is putting people off, or have I missed a major change in UK kayakers boat preferences/requirements?
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wilsoj2
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by wilsoj2 »

On this side of the pond the majority of dedicated paddlers and coaches switched from Nordkapps to Explorers some years ago. When I was buying my first Brit boat in 2003, none of the dealers even offered a Nordkapp to demo. When I asked a very long established coach he pointed to his Nordkapp, attached to the side of his boat house, and said "I don't paddle mine anymore." He (like most coaches I met at the time) paddled an Explorer, in part because he didn't want "to have to think about the boat." I ended up buying an Aquanaut.

Of all the coaches in all the trainings in which I've participated over the past 6 or so years only one used a Nordkapp. Here many paddlers buy the boats they see their coaches paddle.

The Nordkapp LV revived interest in Nordkapps over here. I bought one myself. Unfortunately, many of the paddlers I know who bought Nordlows ended up selling them feeling they were too demanding/unforgiving. I've kept mine and still enjoy it. However, if I'm feeling unsure of myself, I paddle my Romany or Aquanaut and reserve the Nordlow for when I'm feeling on top of my game ;-)

I think Nordkapps are the most beautiful of production sea kayaks. I note it when someone is paddling a 'kapp. Fellow paddlers find my Nordlow sexy, but after paddling it decide they want something more reassuring.
Last edited by wilsoj2 on Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by renezee »

Hi Tiff,

The Nordkapp is not bad kajak at all.

The only thing is that you must, in most cases, customize the cockpit properly with some foam. Just because the underside of the deck and the shape of the cockpit rim are nor very ergonomical for knees and thighs.
Having not customized a Nordkapp means that she is not the easiest kayak to paddle in demanding conditions.

And THAT is where the other kayaks come into view: the modern kayaks have better cockpits offering more comfort and control without having to customize the cockpit.

As, to my experience, paddlers mostly are not very willing/enthousiastic about customizing the cockpit, they start buying better fitting cq. more comfortable kayaks not requiring that.
Besides that, the kayaks you mention are not bad at all either.
Last edited by renezee on Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:08 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by pamf »

One year into sea kayaking (ie last year), I bought a Nordkapp LV. I recognised that it was considered to be a more "challenging" kayak, but my intention is/was to meet the challenge. I was attracted to it by its aesthetic appeal, its feel (even as a novice I could appreciate that) and its reputation and history. I still think it's one of the most beautiful kayaks out there.

As a novice, I initially thought the kayak fitted me quite well, but I have since moved the seat forward and fitted some foam around the thigh grip and hip area for snugness, esp as I am a bit on the lighter side. That has made a big difference.

I can certainly appreciate why some might opt for a "less demanding" kayak and, indeed, I am now of a mind to complement my Nordy with something of that nature. Like wilsoj2 suggests, it would be nice to switch between the two, depending on conditions, both personal and on the sea.

Just my 2c.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by Nick P »

Dunno if they're going out of fashion, but there does seem to be a few on ebay all the time, and they seem to make quite a bit of money - even tatty ones, so somebody obviously wants 'em.
I've been looking for a classic HM - ideally a potential restoration job, but local ones have been snapped up quick, others are often too far away.
I'm a sucker for sweet lines on a boat and they don't come much sweeter than a classic Nordkapp IMHO (closely challenged by Tahe Greenland - sea kayak porn!).
OK they're a bit tippy unladen for someone my weight (~75kg) but the LV solves that and is also a great boat.
Never paddled a jubilee - whats the difference to a classic? How much you looking for it Tiff?

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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by MikeB »

I'm very surprised - perhaps what's happened over the years is that the range of available boats has increased rather than the Nordy going out of fashion?

I have a Quest - it was bought to replace the Nordkapp Jubilee I had before it, but only because I found I was just physically too big for the Nordy. The Quest is a nice boat - but I'd rather have the Nordkapp, and I can't say I found it challenging to paddle.

Are folk thinking HS/HM and all the old stories about perceived and real relative lack of stability I wonder? The Jubilee and the subsequent boats are quite different as you know so maybe that's worth stressing?

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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by Owen »

wilsoj2 wrote:On this side of the pond the majority of dedicated paddlers and coaches switched from Nordkapps to Explorers some years ago. .
Philistines.
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wilsoj2
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by wilsoj2 »

Owen wrote:
wilsoj2 wrote:On this side of the pond the majority of dedicated paddlers and coaches switched from Nordkapps to Explorers some years ago. .
Philistines.

There has been a real NDK cult among BCU coaches and paddlers in this part of the world. Though recently, P&H has seriously rounded up coaches and paddlers. Many of the BCU coaches who were dedicated NDK folk a few years ago are now paddling P&H boats and showing up at trainings with trailer loads of such boats. However, most of the folks with whom I paddle still prefer NDK or Valley boats. (though I'm the only one with any sort of Nordkapp).

The hot boat here this season seems to TideRace, especially the Xcite.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by 29er »

The Nordkapp std and LV have quite a good sucess in Norway these days. I paddle a Std myself, and I really dig the boat. Paddled my first Nordkapp (a hs) in -79, and has since been a big fan of Valley:)

I agree about the boat being a bit tippy, so - as with all other kayaks as well - one should always testpaddle before buying. I have a background from racing K1s, so balance is not of my biggest concern, and I really likes the looks and the sea going capabilities of the Nordy:) My brother has a LV, a Jubilee with OC and an old HS with rudder - I guess you can say that we have Nordys in our family blood:)

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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by smallbear »

In January 2009, I got a Nordkapp LV as my first composite boat after 18 months paddling an HV Aquanaut. Although it took a few trips to feel comfortable and confident in, that has developed steadily and even in more testing conditions, I can't see me wanting to paddle anything else. Like, Pam I was drawn by the 'history' of the boat and although I was a bit daunted by the "tippy" label, I find you do get used to it. So far, I haven't altered the cockpit but it probably would benefit from some foam 'assistance' although I can't use the excuse of being in the lightweight category ;o( I'll get round to it one day and it will probably help when surfing it and getting chucked around more.
I did demo the Tiderace Xplore, the composite Aquanaut, a North Shore Atlantic, a P&H Capella, a couple of Rockpools and a Romany while my partner test-paddled the Alaw he eventually chose but nothing really came close to altering my grim determination to get a Nordkapp - and I wouldn't be without it now! I agree with the point that there is a much wider choice out there now and I suspect whatever other 'new' makes may come and go, Valley Nordkapps will still be quietly paddling along... hurrah!!
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by puddled »

I bought a new Nordkapp LV from Desperate Measures at the Anglesey Symposium in the Spring. It’s my first ever boat and, although I tried out various other demo boats beforehand, only the Nordkapp held my fixation. This was reinforced when I used a Nordkapp RM at Surf Lines during one of their inspirational Discover Sea Kayaking courses. I guess my interest in the boat grew from its history and reputation; it’s also undeniably a very satisfying boat to look at.

Before parting with the cash I spent many months last winter checking out Nordkapps on Ebay. They came up for sale with reasonable frequency but most of them were quite old and either had the ocean cockpit or the earlier version with the keel being carried well aft like a permanently fixed skeg. I decided I wanted a new model but looking at these earlier design variations drew me further into an interest in the development of the boat from its first appearance through to what it is now. I realised that the design line has developed significantly and the current incarnations only bear a slight family resemblance to the one that created all the fuss.

I wanted a boat that I could grow into, not one that I would grow out of and I’m really enjoying my new Nordkapp LV. Although I wobbled around a great deal for quite a while, after almost 80 hours in it over recent months, I’m much more relaxed now and managing to get it to behave itself, even in some quite challenging conditions. The modern Nordkapp is still a viable contender for the top of anyone’s wishlist and I’m sure it will continue to develop and improve and remain popular with a solid following.

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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by islanders66 »

I got the Nord LV for the same reasons as pamf, I wanted to improve my own skills with a demanding kayak that would could handle high winds and rough conditions. I wanted to improve my high bracing and liked how far I could lean over in the Nordkapps and bring it back up with a brace. My previous kayak was a Valley Q boat that was very challenging as well but the hard chine had a sharper drop off for the skill level I was at.

I have developed effective bracing with the Nord LV. Some people ask me why I chose a Nordkapp, but I think they want a kayak that fits their skills and not kayak where they will have to improve or develop new skills.

Up to 30 knot winds it was really remarkable. The most challenging conditions were over 20 knot with 4 foot surf, and the Nord LV was the only kayak out past the breakers able to turn into the wind. One other person got out there but I don't think the Romany S could handle the wind as well as the Nord LV, although the Romany S was better in the surf.

The other time was in a tide race right at the mouth of an ocean river, and I'm reasonably certain that very few kayaks could have pushed though that much current.

I think it's a kayak for advanced intermediate and requires good bracing skills.

I would like to take it out in more challenging conditions and see how it compares to other kayaks, but the problem is finding anyone willing to go out with! Maybe what I consider challenging is moderate to most of you?
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by wilsoj2 »

islanders66 wrote:Up to 30 knot winds it was really remarkable. The most challenging conditions were over 20 knot with 4 foot surf, and the Nord LV was the only kayak out past the breakers able to turn into the wind. One other person got out there but I don't think the Romany S could handle the wind as well as the Nord LV, although the Romany S was better in the surf.

The other time was in a tide race right at the mouth of an ocean river, and I'm reasonably certain that very few kayaks could have pushed though that much current.

I think it's a kayak for advanced intermediate and requires good bracing skills.
The Nordlow is very impressive when pushing through surf, winds and waves. It is also amazingly neutral in beam winds and seas. A problem I have had is that no one can keep up with me if we are pushing through seas and/or wind. One friend who I usually have to struggle to pace, noted that she cannot keep up with me when I'm in my 'kapp LV. As the Nordlow gains so much stability as it moves faster in conditions, I have to consciously slow to not out run fellow paddlers. It also runs downwind very very well.

Islander66 is correct regarding the boat's performance and its need for good bracing skills. Even Douglas Wilcox (name corrected) noted he was bracing more than he was accustomed when paddling the Nordkapp LV. http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... hp?p=85975 & http://seakayakphoto.blogspot.com/2007/ ... -test.html
Last edited by wilsoj2 on Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:35 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by PeterG »

Just back from the CKmer international meeting in Finisterre which gave a 130 boat sample of what the French and other Europeans are paddling.

Polyform and Artika boats were of course the most common as there are many dealers and the price is low. Both have a reputation for poor quality control (where have I heard that before?) and UK boats have a 'Rolls Royce' reputation with some people prepared to pay the heavy premium. NDK explorers were the most common older UK boat and Valley Anas acuta the most common shiney new boat, amongst a broad cross section of Tiderace, Alaws, and Cetuses. All the Nordkapps were ancient battered specimens, whose owners, also old and battered, still swore by them.

The preavalence of the Anas acuta, and the many enquiries if I could find cheap deals on new ones or a one second hand in UK, is maybe due to the strong interest in greenland style in Europe as the Tahe Marine Greenlander is also popular.

I tried the Tahe Marine, not so 'all round' as the Anas, but such fun as a day boat, it must be next on my wish list.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by Wenley »

Hello Wilsoj2:
Even Gordon Wilcox noted he was bracing more than he was accustomed when paddling the Nordkapp LV.
Either there is a typo there, or Douglas has taken extreme knee surgery.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by mclaughlin »

No they have not. They are an amazing boat. I paddled from N.Ireland to the Mull 3 weeks agao and the boat excelled in all water conditions. They look great, can carry a decent load and are generally the best boats out there.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by Pam Bell »

Definitely not.

I recently replaced my first one (bought second hand and very well used in the 80's) with a Jubilee.

I use an Aquanaut for coaching, though.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by EK Sydney »

Like Pam, I use my Aquanaut for instruction, but will one day resume expedition paddling (when my kids & partner can do without me for more than a day), and I'll be paddling a Nordkapp. True it takes a bit of dedication to learn the nuances of the hull, but once you have, it is such an effortless boat to control in the sea, & like most good British boats it gets better as everything turns to sh-t. The narrow stern makes it a dream in even a steep following sea, and it can hold enough gear plus me (98kg) for any trip I'd like to undertake. Unlike a lot of boat designs it has moved with the times, with adjustments to improve the historical weaknesses. It's interesting that Paul Caffyn's well documented troubles with the HM Nordkapp on the initial part of his circumnavigation of Australia (especially in following or quartering seas), and the subsequent fitting of rudder, was the major factor in Australian & NZ sea kayaking evolving as incredibly rudder dependent. The boats that were 'born' in the wake of the Caffyn paddle were essentially Nordkapps with the stern sawn off & a dirty great rudder attached, in an attempt to nullify the down sea perceptions of poor handling.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by thames kayak »

The Kordkapp is still a fantastic boat and here on the Tidal Thames we have a fleet of Knordkapps. Our boats are reguarly paddled and enjoyed by our service users from 9 upwards to our oldest current paddler who is 73. I coach almost exclusively from my kordkapp and it is an excellent boat regarding all round speed, manoverbility. and fine control. Finally none of our users ever comment that the boat is tippy, as its never been mentioned to them and there only paddling experience of sea boats has been in the knorkapp.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by Jim »

I think you just chose a bad time to try to sell it, towards the end of the season in the middle of a recession....

I don't have enough money spare (well I could have but it's otherwise allocated) at the moment and no transport or I would at least be interested.

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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by wilsoj2 »

Gordon warns "It will force you to do things the right way".A boat which automatically punishes sloppy paddling. An on-board coach. With a stick!
http://simon-willis.blogspot.com/2007/0 ... itude.html

Enough said...
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by pamf »

Thanks wilsoj2, I hadn't seen that blog entry. Very good! I had a "dolphin with attitude" experience with an Avocet LV up at Gordon's, out in rough water. It felt more like a rodeo ride actually. Of course, I'm sure this related to my skill level (just a hunch). But it was a little unnerving how unstable I felt. My regret is that I didn't go out in a Nordkapp LV at the time to see how I felt in it in such conditions. I haven't taken my own Nordy out in anything above F3-4 - not until I have a few experienced rescuers lined up!

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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by mick m »

Is it true the curent nordcap isent remotly like its predesesors , hear in Eastern Australia ther not popular, I paddel an Aquanort LV and one of our expodition kayaks caled a mailstrom for enything longer than 4 days
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by MikeB »

The latest versions are nothing like the originals in terms of size. They have retained the general handling traits though.

My Nordkapp article in the Almanac / Sea Kayaks section might be of interest and I'd be interested in knowing more about the Australian offshoots for another article based around a lot of material from Duncan Winning, which includes the "family tree" showing the 50 or so boats all originating from the Ken Taylor boat.

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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by Tourer »

wilsoj2 wrote:However, most of the folks with whom I paddle still prefer NDK or Valley boats. (though I'm the only one with any sort of Nordkapp).

The hot boat here this season seems to TideRace, especially the Xcite.

It obviously depends who offers the most to the coaches.

I started with a P&H Quest in 2004 (~6ft, 94 kg) and after a few fall ins found it is probably suited for people upwards of 120 kg as a day boat. It is skeg dependent, broaches easily, gets vstuck in step wave troughs and has a too big cockpit without thigh braces for rolling. A flawed design unless for the very big and heavy people.

The NDK Explorer handles much better in rough and following seas, as do the smaller NDK's, I don't like the standard cockpit, Rockpool and Tiderace (all the same designers, variants of the same really) but you hear about quality problems with NDK's, Tiderace has shifted production after two Polish makers to Finland....

I now have that "Made in Poland" GBA Sport Xcite made on the original Xcite plug as I learnt later, that leaks but is very good for rough water, though at 4 knots throws up a bow wave, so is quite slow in flat water, not the ticket for eating miles away.

I think of something smaller faster lighter, perhaps point 65 Xlite but work and drive too much to stay fit ;-((

Downwind in rough seas and surfeing the Xcite is excellent but the foredeck is too high so weather cocks in Bft 5 and more, it is very reassuring in a Bft 6-7.

In the US you have quite a few kit boats and SOF builders, e.g Brian Shultz capefalconkayak.com so there is really no need for the likes of a heavy P&H (~26 kg for a Quest!).

Some love the age old Anas Acuta which is a direct native boat copy cat scaled up to our dimensions...

Alternatively, if you love speed and can paddle then skim
http://www.skimkayaks.com/english/index.php
is worth having a look at, but then the French have some nice racy boats as well http://www.polyform.fr/

http://www.willyneumann.de/See-und_Tour ... kajaks.htm

here are some more suggestions, Epic boats are "Made in China", if I am not mistaken.

It's horses for courses really, budget and what dealer is around where you live
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by MikeB »

Tourer wrote:
wilsoj2 wrote:However, most of the folks with whom I paddle still prefer NDK or Valley boats. (though I'm the only one with any sort of Nordkapp).

The hot boat here this season seems to TideRace, especially the Xcite.

It obviously depends who offers the most to the coaches.

I started with a P&H Quest in 2004 (~6ft, 94 kg) and after a few fall ins found it is probably suited for people upwards of 120 kg as a day boat. It is skeg dependent, broaches easily, gets vstuck in step wave troughs and has a too big cockpit without thigh braces for rolling. A flawed design unless for the very big and heavy people.
Hmmm - I know quite a few coaches, few of whom (if any) have been given freebies, discounts or any other inducements - but maybe others have.

Although I admit I seldom, if ever, paddle in a F7 (from choice anyway) and certainly dont cruise at 4 knts, my experience of the Quest is a little different from Rainer's and a number of extremely competent paddlers use them for some serious paddling. Including, I note, certain coaches from noted Scottish centres of outdoor excellence / training.

Mine balances nicely on the skeg, runs straight and rolls well - it certainly isn't as lively or responsive as a Nordkapp, but then I prefer that less dynamic feel anyway for most of my paddling. When I want dynamic, I river paddle.

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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by TaysideTom »

Although I've just bought an Explorer (partly because for various reasons I needed to get a boat at very short notice), I know at least 5 people who paddle Quests, and I have used them from time to time. I know of one case where a smaller person has decided that a Quest was not for them, but most paddlers seem to find them reliable, stable and easy to manage. I've certainly paddled with people using Quests in following seas where broaching didn't seem to be an issue.

We were out in winds gusting to 7 a few weeks ago (BBC forecast was for 15mph. Whoops...) and the two people present paddling Quests didn't seem to have any problem with weathercocking. My brief experience of paddling one was that it was pretty responsive to the skeg, and was easy to edge. Although I didn't buy one in the end, it was certainly a candidate, and I would have considered it if one had been easily available. I've seen Tourer make these comments about Quests a few times, but my impression is that his experience is rather atypical. I certainly know some very happy Quest owners. And they're not all huge people.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by renezee »

Hi Tom,

May be you should also take into account the variable: "weight of the paddler".

I tested a Quest for some time and found secundairy stability being low; I am approx. 70kg. When talking to paddlers of 90kg+ , secundairy stability is no issue at all.

Also looking at weathercocking or not: this can be influenced by weight. It should be noted that the Quest is designed for bigger paddlers. Smaller paddlers could better choose for the LV-version.

rgrds,
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by MikeB »

TaysideTom wrote: I've seen Tourer make these comments about Quests a few times, but my impression is that his experience is rather atypical. I certainly know some very happy Quest owners. And they're not all huge people.
Rainer / Tourer had a nasty experiecne with one early in his paddling career - that doesnt make them poor boats, more his perception based on his reality at the time. Which doesnt make it "wrong" - but neither does it prove that the boat is in any way flawed. Just not right for him.

As regards weathercocking all i can say is that a boat which leecocks is a right royal pain and quite possibly dangerous. I'd say that a good sea boat should weathercock but can be controlled with the skeg, paddling technique and appropriate use of edge. In fact, the boat should be set to slightly weathercock on the skeg and that tendancy should then be mitigated by edge which will give a much more stable paddle as there'll be waves coming in on the same side as that to which it's weathercocking.

A leecocking boat will have to be controlled by edging away from the waves, so creating an unstable platform

Trim helps too. In most cases, pack it stern heavy has been my experience with the Quest. All that said, I've always found the Quest could possibly use a slightly bigger skeg but even in the F6/7 conditions Rainer likes to paddle in (but I don't - from choice anyway) I've always found it will turn both into and away from the wind. It's all down to knowing what to do.

There's a useful link to an article on turning a sea boat in the Almanac / Technique which describes use of skeg, edge and bow or stern rudder as appropriate to what you want the boat to do.

Mike.
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Re: Have Nordkapps gone out of fashion?

Post by Douglas Wilcox »

Tourer>
I started with a P&H Quest in 2004 (~6ft, 94 kg) and after a few fall ins found it is probably suited for people upwards of 120 kg as a day boat. It is skeg dependent, broaches easily, gets vstuck in step wave troughs and has a too big cockpit without thigh braces for rolling. A flawed design unless for the very big and heavy people.
Although I am the same weight as tourer (but probably have much less experience) and I respect his opinion of the Quest, I have a very different experience of it.

I have had a Quest since 2002 and my wife, daughter (who are much lighter than I) and myself all learned in a Quest. I have found it extraordinarily stable and great in a following sea with a high degree of reisistance to broaching. I have found the cockpit to be extremely comfortable (but I spent time padding it out to fit me). I am happy to take a non waterproof camera costing three times the cost of the Quest out on deck and take photos in pretty bouncy conditions. Until I got a smaller dayboat, I used it as a dayboat and camping boat with no problems. At my weight (and even when unloaded) I have found the Quest to handle strong winds really well and to respond to just the tiniest adjustments of skeg. Six of my paddling partners have Quests and Tony, who is much lighter than I, chose to take his Quest on an 800km trip round NW Scotland, despite also owning a Rockpool. On my last trip to Coll, I took my Quest despite having a choice of 5 composite sea kayaks, from three manufacturers in my garage. I have the original GRP seat which is mounted very low. My friends who have the later plastic seat, have all removed most of the thick padding beneath the seat and lowered it.

Douglas
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