popular longboats in GB

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jbv
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popular longboats in GB

Post by jbv » Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:58 am

Greetings.

This is my first posting on this site. I am a Canadian paddler who normally frequents paddling.net, great site.

I have chanced upon this site a couple times previous and enjoyed the banter and boat talk, often about yaks, not common where I paddle.

Of the many Brit boats in NA, the Explorer being the most popular by far, there is the Nigel Foster Legend. this is a rare boat, I've only demo'd one briefly and have never seen one since anywhere. Nigel Foster has a fair amount of cred in the elite paddling community this side of the pond, but I have never seen mention of him on you forums.

Q. are NF boats available in the UK or otherwise have any fans at all? does anyone paddle the Legend?

Jon Wood
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Post by Jon Wood » Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:27 am

I bought a new Legend about 5 years ago (my first sea kayak), then sold it a year later.

Knoydart used to import the NF range into the UK from Holland, but I believe there were quality control issues with the boats (can anyone confirm this?)
I set my heart on one after borrowing Andy Middleton's, and I tracked down a small supplier with a mould. The Legend performed superbly in the rough. The boat I purchased may have had a different seat to Andy's: it was incredibly uncomfortable for long sessions on the flat.
After only one season there were problems with the build quality on my boat. I had it fixed up, and along with the comfort issues, I sold it while it was still in one piece.

I still think the Legend is a great design and has beautiful lines, but things have moved on. Keyhole cockpits are now the norm, my newer boats have hatches which are easier to use.
Now a very happy Rockpool & Kajak-Sport paddler.

Nigel Foster produced a fantastic collection of boat designs, but how old are they now?

Jon

CaileanMac
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Post by CaileanMac » Sun Oct 16, 2005 10:22 am

Think it's fair to say that popular UK designed boats in N.A. are the ones which are marketed over there through outfitters, centrres, boaters and coaches using them.

Nigel Foster's designs have always appealed to certain kind of paddler and aren't mass market best sellers (narrow beam & deep keel = tipper & less manoeuvrable unless edged).

Remember the Icefloe, Selkie, Sea Tiger, etc where all good boats in their 'hey day' but time and tide waits for no sea kayak designer or paddler. Techniques and capabilities of paddlers move on too - just look at the 'This is the Sea' DVD for example or Sean Morley's trip around the UK whilst sustaining a relatively high paddling speed.

The UK market I don't think as ever been so bouyant in terms of new thinking and range of designs? Comments?

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Cailean Mac

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:47 am

the market does indeed seem to be bouyant, but is that a result of the increased number of people wanting to play in the outdoors, an incrased interest in sea-kayaking, or the result of new boat designs??

No doubt the boat designs play a part - cause and effect???

I'll never forget the first time I sat in a sea-boat - it was uncomfortable, worringly tippy and left me with bits of f/glass sticking in my legs. A Sea Tiger as I recall. Later I tried a Nordkapp - while I was smaller in those days, it was still uncomfortable and too tippy.

Seriously, if I hadnt wanted to get into sea paddling, I'd have given up at that point! I bought a plastic Capella unseen, and was delighted at the practical difference it made. A modern design of course.

I'd venture to suggest that a lot of people have been put off by being put into an old-fashioned boat, probably with no load, maybe even with an ocean cockpit just to increase the fear factor!

As to whats popular in UK, a trawl of the site would suggest that the main players are P&H, Valley, NDK - all well respected players with proven designs that work well in British conditions.

Mike.

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Post by CaileanMac » Mon Oct 17, 2005 9:45 pm

Mike B - As to whats popular in UK, a trawl of the site would suggest that the main players are P&H, Valley, NDK - all well respected players with proven designs that work well in British conditions.
+ Rockpool?

CaileanMac

Chris Bolton
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Nigel Foster boats

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Oct 17, 2005 10:27 pm

To answer jbv's original question about Nigel Foster boats, there aren't very many about in the uK, compared to other models. I have a Vyneck, which I've had since 1989 and really like, but it does tend to be a bit twitchy for photography! It's not quite a bad to turn as its reputation suggests, and it doesn't need a rudder or a skeg. Unless I load it badly, it doesn't weathercock, it's fast and responsive and I can carry a lot of gear.

MikeB, the Sea Tiger you describe doesn't sound like the one I have. Mine is very stable, and has a pod cockpit, so the entire cockpit area is smooth moulded surface. It isn't a bad boat, and was very influential in it's time, but it's not half as much fun to paddle as the Vyneck.

Chris

jbv
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interesting commentary, the Legend over here,

Post by jbv » Tue Oct 18, 2005 3:13 am

is made in Canada on the west coast by Seaward and it is noted for it's exceptional, best in market quality. the Legend is not popular here for the same reasons (twitchy advanced paddlers boat).

what is most interesting though is the comment about older design. the more I learn about boat design (worked in paddling retail for 10 yrs, instructor in canoes and kayaks, flat, ww and sea) the less confident I am that old designs that are good, are necessarily eclipsed by newer designs. sometimes it is the case but a great hull is a great hull. there are some very respected folks who think the Legend is the most sophisticated hull out there. check out the alaska kayak school's website and see what Tom has to say about it, curious stuff. but I myself have very little time in the saddle in it, so I'm still researching it on forums like this.

it's funny as well that one of you mentioned very unfriendly traditional British boats: if you didn't really want to get into it, the kayaks would have never inspired you to do so. once one learns about British kayaking and the depth of the roots of British kayaking (most people I know are stunned when I inform them that not only are sea kayaks made in Britain, but the whole dam sport comes from there- post aboriginal) it soon follows that you become aware of the serious tradition of very user unfriendly, uncomfortable, uncompromising designs; with a pretty macho culture that goes along with it. it takes most Cdns aback when they learn that sea kayaking in Britain is probably closer to ww kayaking than what we think of as sea kayaking here.

anyhow, I'm rambling on disjointedly now, but without a doubt, few kayaking enthusiasts on this side of the pond would disagree that almost all the kayak designs worth great consideration are of British origin.

the other boats I'm most fascinated by and am closely looking at are the current Nordkapp and the Necky Chatham 18, but I think the latter is likely too low volume for my purposes.

thanks for your thoughts.

jbv
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by the by, what did Sean Morely paddle on his journey?

Post by jbv » Tue Oct 18, 2005 3:16 am

what model of kayak?

John C
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Re: interesting commentary, the Legend over here,

Post by John C » Tue Oct 18, 2005 7:55 am

jbv wrote:it takes most Cdns aback when they learn that sea kayaking in Britain is probably closer to ww kayaking than what we think of as sea kayaking here.
Some of use have just had a weekend a bit like that. All you need is the right group (converted WW paddlers) and conditions and sea kayaking loses the reputation of being for beardies on a tour. It was more exciting than the rivers I paddle with my club. You then start to appreciate different qualities in the boats you're paddling. I think I need a fleet of boats for different situation.

John

grazie
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Post by grazie » Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:13 am

Sean Morleys round UK expedition sea kayak?... a Kirton C-Trek http://www.kirton-kayaks.co.uk/

Jon Wood
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Re: interesting commentary, the Legend over here,

Post by Jon Wood » Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:59 am

[quote="jbv"]


it soon follows that you become aware of the serious tradition of very user unfriendly, uncomfortable, uncompromising designs; with a pretty macho culture that goes along with it. it takes most Cdns aback when they learn that sea kayaking in Britain is probably closer to ww kayaking than what we think of as sea kayaking here.

I thought (and hoped) that the macho bearded reputation was being shaken off. From my personal experience; there is an increasing number of women taking an interest in the sport. And paddlers can aspire to whatever level of difficulty they want, from placid touring to playing in last weekend's swell.

We also have the luxury of a huge range of comfortable, modern boats for all abilites.

jbv mentions the Alaska Kayak School, whose attitude is certainly not that one size of boat must fit all. I went on a trip outfitted by Tom, and our hire fleet included Foster, Valley, NDK and Kajak-Sport, and sadly, a Seda double.

Jon

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:15 pm

The secret seems to be that British designs evolved more closely from Greenland and native North American designs, than modern North American designs seem to :)

First boat I ever tried was an Anas Acuta (was it early 70's design or even late 60's?), not an expedition boat but copied almost directly from grenland lines with few modifications for the european paddler except the straightening of an obvious mistake in the keel line (which it turns out was not a mistake and the Qaarsut now more faithfully reproduces those lines and I understand is a cracking day/kids boat!). The handling of the Anas Acuta is great, what lets it down is storage. I didn't then try many more boats before I came across the Sea King which is like a bigger Anas Acuta and what I still paddle! I have mucked about with other boats, and did a week in a Nordkapp HM this year to see what all the fuss was about.

I'd have to say that although the HM wasn't fitted out for me (and with the owner present I couldn't really gut it for the trip :D ) and was therefore uncomfortable, it was still more comfortable in many ways than some playboats I've used! The same goes for the Anas Acuta, it's tight, and it's a different seating position than I was used to then, however it is more comfortable than some boats I'm used to. My Sea King of course is dead comfy as it's my own and bigger!

Back when I used to paddle an Anas Acuta I owned a Corsica S (roomy) but used to often paddle a Sabre and a Reflex, especially if we were going surfing! Those boats were even tighter than the Anas, I had to contort my ankles to get my feet in and the only real difference between them and modern playboats is that my legs went more or less straight down them, where now my knees are usually out to the side and although there is more space in the hull the angles I have to squeeze my feet into make the boats feel just as tight.

So from the point of view of physical comfort, I still think that many playboats are worse than even these old "uncomfortable" sea boats. However, there is another aspect to comfort, and thats related to confidence in the boat when sitting in the water with it. In that respect I cannot possibly argue that there are a lot more confidence inspiring boats for the newcomer than the Nordkapp!

So there you have it, whether round bilge or hard chine boats that follow the lessons learned from thousands of years of native kayak development do perform best, even if some require expert paddlers.

JIM

jbv
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macho paddling culture

Post by jbv » Wed Oct 19, 2005 3:17 am

I myself had the good fortune (and wouldn't take no for an answer..) of visiting Anglesey last fall and walked in to Nigel's place during his 'dealers week'. they let me stay a few days and I went paddling with these folks, many of whom I recognised from TITS (snigger, chortle), er, This is The Sea. there were a number of women but this was the epitome of that macho culture! hard driving, hard drinking, hard paddling folks, and some pretty big attitudes to match. I don't think I heard many of these people talking about trips, they mostly do 'expeditions', and me thinks lives must be risked for rewards to be evident. massive crossings, races, 50 mile days that sort of thing.

speaking of risk..... not to offend anyone, I am enjoying this international affair immensely, but my biggest observation of my travels there? fellas, you guys sure do drink a tonne. wow.

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:32 am

Ha, but you were in the company of the "gods" of the paddling fraternity - while mixing in such exalted company you must remember not to take salt with your broiled sea-gull. I do hope you didnt shave while you were there??

Can't comment on the drink, being tee-total myself of course.

Mike.

CaileanMac
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Post by CaileanMac » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:15 am

The 'Nigel Dennis' crew are not completely representive of the current 'British' scene not by a long shot.

The 'macho' old salty sea dog instructor and expedition bearded giants are images which most sea kayakers in the UK never have any aspirations towards and the sport has been shying away from its dim and distance past. Those images and styles of paddling have done very little to get more people involved in sea kayaking in the UK at a recreational level in the last few years.

If you travelled to other symposiums and 'meetings' in the UK, I think you would find we like our paddling from sheltered bays to tide races and not just in die hard conditions. Yes most of us in comparison to Americans / Canadians do drink like fish! MikeB = tee total?????

Any regression towards 5 pocket wildwater buoyancy aids which look like overloaded christmas trees, large flowing beards, the ability to walk on water before your 5 star assessment, 50 mile open crossings before breakfast and 'god' worshipping is seriously bad news and step back in time for the development of sea kayaking in the UK. Rant over...

CaileanMac

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:59 am

hear hear!

However, I must point out that Cailean has a beard (as indeed do I). Not that its a total pre-requiste of course.

Mike.

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Post by Dave Thomas » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:42 am

I've had my beard for 36 years, been paddling for about twelve and sea paddling for nine!

Dave Thomas

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Post by alan2222 » Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:59 pm

Hey folks - I think you're in danger of getting too touchy feely, emotional and inclusive. I've got a beard and I'm partial to the odd puffin like any other 'real' sea paddler. I've also been known to do a bit of thrill seeking in my time. Does that mean my views and opinions are less valid because that seems to be what some of these posts are implying.

What I can't understand is why we want/need more sea kayakers! It seems to me that the people who benefit most from more sea kayakers are the people who make a living from sea kayaking - manufacturers and professional coaches/guides. As far as the rest of us are concerned it just means more people on the water, busier campsites and in some instances damage to the remote places we visit.

While I wouldn't want to discourage peole who want to get involved, I fail to see any reason for actively promoting sea kayaking - it really should remain the preserve of aspiring 'old sea dogs'.

Getting grumpier,

Beardy Old Sea Kayaker
Pas de lieu Rhone que nous

CaileanMac
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Post by CaileanMac » Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:22 pm

As to the 'beard' - yes I do have one but's a dodgy wee goatie as many will testify to. Perhaps the stereotype of the 'beardie' seakayaker is a just engrained in our heads.... Dare I say it; maybe it's to do with length and depth of beard and whether yesterday's dinner and a piece of seaweed from your last surf landing is residing in it?

Yes it can be said that manufacturer's and coaches make a living from more new people taking up the sport but keeping any sport exclusive and macho is not in anyway what sport is about. Sports breaks down barriers and allows people to get more active, often and see parts of unique country and it's diverse coastline. How many people where inspired to visit the coastline after the BBC programme 'Coast' and spent their money with small,local businesses and exercised their bodies?

As to things getting busy, let's keep things in perspective; the ocean covers 75% of the world and there are more Hebridean Islands, rocks, reefs and sea lochs than Munros. People need inspiration so order not to follow the crowd to the same spots....one of many roles for the UKSKGB.. It's hard not to talk and in the process promote sea kayaking as most people here would agree that the best thing since sliced bread is sea kayaking on the W. Coast of Scotland on a sunny weekend with some friends....

CaileanMac

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Post by Owen » Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:48 pm

“it takes most Cdns aback when they learn that sea kayaking in Britain is probably closer to ww kayaking than what we think of as sea kayaking here”.?????????????

Some people I know only ever paddle in certain tide races and never go on trips longer than a few miles.
Others hate fast moving water and avoid it like the plague.
I do know some paddlers that don’t think they’ve had a good day unless they’ve done at least 40 miles.
Some love getting out to some wild unspoilt beach and camping there for the night, but others could think of nothing worse and only ever do day paddles from the comfort of home. Who’s to say that any of these people aren’t sea kayakers? The attraction of the sport is that it’s whatever you want to make it.
For many and I would say most a typical trip would be something like. “We paddled along a pretty bit of the coast and saw lots of sea birds. We stopped in a nice secluded bay for a picnic then we sunbathed till the tide turned. On the way home there were some seals”. People don’t tend to write about such trips in magazines or on the web because there very ordinary; they write about the exciting out of the ordinary trips.

As for the Leg-end I know someone who paddles one of these, she said that she originally had a Dawn Trader but found it too twitchy when unladen. She switched to the Legend and loves it I think her husband also has one, there both quite old (the boats that is). I not see any other.


P.S. Its only an expedition if you can con someone else into paying for your holiday.

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Mark R
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Re: interesting commentary, the Legend over here,

Post by Mark R » Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:52 pm

jbv wrote:the serious tradition of very user unfriendly, uncomfortable, uncompromising designs; with a pretty macho culture that goes along with it. it takes most Cdns aback when they learn that sea kayaking in Britain is probably closer to ww kayaking than what we think of as sea kayaking here.
Interesting comments, which - as some have pointed out - reflect the fast receding 'old school' image of sea kayaking in Britain. The sport seems to have done loads to promote inclusion and accessibility in the past few years...or maybe it just feels that way.

Either way, it was only two years ago that I wrote this in a magazine...
http://www.ukseakayakguidebook.co.uk/de ... lation.htm
Read the first para, ties in with what you were saying as a Canadian.
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Zoe Newsam
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Post by Zoe Newsam » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:47 pm

Interesting stuff. Personally in my contact with the 'Nigel Dennis et al' crowd I've always felt that it was somehow the opposite of the beardy image. Yes, Nigel himself has a reputation for being pretty hardcore, but if you look at the people around him, many of them are girls matching the guys at what they do best, but without being either overly girlie or macho about it, and without making a fuss. Justine Curgenven, Hadas Feldman, Trys Morris, Gemma Rawlings, Shawna Franklin... the list goes on. They just happen to be rather good at it, that's all.

I love paddling in rough water, and testing and pushing my limits. But I also relish blue sky, calm sea, beautiful wild scenery and great company. I thrive on expedition-style trips, but I also like doing a couple of hours after work, or day trips.

Personally I think the image of sea paddling in the UK is changing - it is becoming 'cooler', and it's no longer the preserve of boring, beardy old blokes. Unfortunately there are some of them still around, but they're rather outnumbered these days, as a trip to any symposium (even the Anglesey one!) will prove. And the beauty of it all is that this is a sport which, as I've said before, is whatever you want it to be.

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beardy old blokes

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:10 pm

Zoe wrote:and it's no longer the preserve of boring, beardy old blokes. Unfortunately there are some of them still around...
Well, it's nice to be appreciated!

Chris

jbv
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i guess the beard thing has a big bad rep in the UK

Post by jbv » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:29 pm

but personally i didn't see any beards, these folks were more the young and hard set, closer to ww paddlers and mountaineers than old and bearded.

you know upon reflection, there was an intimidation factor there on my part, and to be fair, i probably projected some of this into my perceptions. some were standoffish unless you were in the inner circle but most of these folks were, as one of you said, pretty cool, decent folks, not rock stars. even Nigel was pretty cool with me, considering i was just a paddling fool, passing though and wanting a peice of the action.

i am not immune to making generalisations as well, it would seem that i have inherited some of my British perceptions, some from experience, much from literature and hearsay, so my fault for not understanding the full scope of the Brit paddling scene. like many things in Britain and Europe i find; there is longer history and greater complexity than what we often have here in sport and recreation.

cheers, James

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Zoe Newsam
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Re: beardy old blokes

Post by Zoe Newsam » Thu Oct 20, 2005 8:28 am

Chris Bolton wrote:
Zoe wrote:and it's no longer the preserve of boring, beardy old blokes. Unfortunately there are some of them still around...
Well, it's nice to be appreciated!

Chris
Chris, you're a beard with a sense of humour ;0)

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:27 am

The sea kayaking I like to is extended trips, around a weeks duration, in stunning scenery with interest on and off the water. I paddle an "expedition" boat for this because I like to have enough beer along for the week, and prefer to eat normal food over dehydrated lightweight stuff :D The way I load the boat down, it's never going to be fast, and we rarey exceed 20 miles in a day due to that and the mixed company (like minded individuals from 14 to 63 on one trip this year).

Another thing we do is try to avoid crowds, to this end most of the trips are out of "season", so we play lucky dip with the weather and often get stormbound. Of course we are paddling massive boats with loads of gear so can usually do stormbound in reasonable comfort :)

I think we are somewhere in the middle ground, between hardcore beardies and day-tripper picnic paddlers?

Re: Beards
I have one, because I find shaving incredibly dangerous. I hate the beard, but like carving my face up less :)
Some of the guys have beards (OK my dad has a very stereotypical one usually, and he open boats too) most don't, and some haven't started growing them yet - some of the 'guys' are girls so they don't have them either (I use guys to indicate a group rather than a gender, is that a valid use?). By the end of the week most of the males old enough to grow beards have an amount of stubble or even a full beard - why? Well simply because shaving immediately prior to drenching yourself in salt water stings, and can produce a nasty rash. It quite simply is more practical not to shave on a multiday trip than to shave. There is no unwritten rule, no shame in shaving, it's just good common sense not to!

Re: Drinking
North American races are particularly lightweight on the beer front. I haven't been to Canada yet but it always amazes me in the states how little beer is actually consumed in a bar, and how we get funny looks whilst on a relaxed session (I've given up the binge drinking of my youth). Canadians seem better at taking alchohol and than Americans, the Canadians with us in the Grand Canyon seemed to stick with spirits, but the Americans were blown away by the amount of beer the large British contingent had brought along :D I tend to plan for 4 beers per night on a trip - usually works out just about right for the duration of the camp fire etc. That of course means I normally fit a slab of 30 in the boat somewhere, usually spread throughout the compartments!

JIM

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Re: popular longboats in GB

Post by arnold » Sun Nov 13, 2005 12:58 pm

Q. are NF boats available in the UK or otherwise have any fans at all? does anyone paddle the Legend?[/quote]

I'm a fan. I have a Legend for 10 years now and I love it's performance. Sold my Nordkapp HM for it. The Legend handles very well, empty and loaded. It might not be the best surfer, but handles well in a following sea if you use edging to keep your coarse. In short, steeps waves it's not slowed down and outruns every other kayak I know, due to the volume in the bow. Only in a strong sidewind I have to skeg the boat.
NF-boats were made in Holland for about 4 years untill Watermark went broke but are still available in Europe through Orust kayaks in Sweden.

The reason for not seeing many NF boats around is 1: because they are real paddlers boats. You need a good degree of skill to get the best out off it. 2: the boats have produced by one builder after an other and NF has never established a serious brand. I have seen Vynecks and Legends made by Valley, Gaybo, North Shore, Pure Perfection, Watermark. My own Legend has been made by Nigel Dennis!. Strong, but very heavy. So I bought a Silhouette as a day boat, which is aprox. 10 kg lighter. Made by Watermark, the quality is better then the Legend. But I do know of other Watermark boats who have problems. T
Compared to the L. the S. is a lower boat, less affected by wind, more responsive to edging and a little quicker.

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Re: popular longboats in GB

Post by Mark R » Sun Nov 13, 2005 1:13 pm

arnold wrote:they are real paddlers boats. You need a good degree of skill to get the best out off it.
Ugh.

I watched some folk glide past in big plastic Carolinas, the other day. Obviously, not real paddlers.
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Zoe Newsam
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Re: popular longboats in GB

Post by Zoe Newsam » Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:13 pm

I've never paddled a Nigel Foster boat, but...
arnold wrote: because they are real paddlers boats. You need a good degree of skill to get the best out off it. .
Hmmm. In other words, hard work & a pain in the behind??? ;0)

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Post by CaileanMac » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:08 pm

Gone are the days where there was little real choice on the UK sea kayak market which meant paddlers had to suit real sea kayaks rather than there being sea kayaks to suit real paddlers.

An inclusive sport rather than an exclusive one.

CaileanMac

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