Nordkapp - Pictures of one of the 1975 Boats

Thanks are due to Darren Bush of Rutabaga in Madison, Wisconsin for the pictures; and to Brian Day of Pyranha US Sales and Marketing for the lead. Brian told me this in an email in 2012- "Back in the late 90’s I worked there and we found the boat sitting on a rack over at Nigel Dennis’ place. We arranged for it to be loaded into a container and shipped over to become part of the small canoe and kayak collection that we had at the shop. Nigel would know the history of the boat and who paddled it on the trip.

Very cool historic boat. Decklines run through rubber tubes glassed beneath the deck. Elastics on stainless pad eyes. Aluminum lifeboat hatches. “Dayhatch” glassed behind the seat to take a BDH pack that could be accessed while paddling. Chimp pump with handle melted and bent out of the way of the cockpit coaming. And they have the original all neoprene spraydeck with built in suspenders."

I had this from Nigel Matthews when the pictures were first posted on UKSKGB's forum : "The boat pictures are interesting and look very ‘shiney’ I must admit that my Cape Horn boat looks considerably more battered. Just as matter of interest we obviously took the original Nordkapps to Nordkapp and as result of this experience modified them when we got back by adding a permanent skeg which made them much more directionally stable. Just before Cape Horn I sold my Nordkapp Nordkapp to a friend and the boat suffered severe if not terminal damage on a weir in Leicestershire – an ignominious end. I don’t know if you know but inside the original boats was glassed the name of the owner. Also Lendal made paddles for us with our initials on. Maybe they are collectors’ items now??? The paddles were really good – asymmetric blades with a glass loom. I’ve still got my but one blade was broken off by some idiot who took them out of the office without me knowing and then didn’t have the decency to tell me he’d broken them. For the Horn I used normal slalom paddle – a wooden mark Gees – which I still have in pristine condition"

And this, some time ago when he and I first corresponded: "(I) was a member of the Irish Sea crossing group which we did in Anas Acutas, then the Nordkapp Expedition of 1975 which the boat was designed for then the subsequent Cape horn Expedition. The Anus Acuta and my original Nordkapp I sold but I still have the Nordkapp which I paddled around Cape Horn. Mine was the boat which became warped during passage out to South America and which Frank Goodman part straightened out over a camp fire and a huge pair of pincers made from branches of a tree. The boat had not been on the water for some years and I keep meaning to paddle it but I keep finding excuses not to.

With the early modifications to the boat a number of people were involved with ideas myself, Sam Cook, John Anderson, Colin Litten and Peter Davis. A lot of ideas came from the Irish Sea crossing, from a frantic circumnavigation of Skye prior to Nordkapp and then following the Nordkapp Expedition. Following the Horn Expedition, when the boat became really popular Frank developed the variety of versions.

Team members of the Horn Expedition, myself, Frank Goodman, Barry Smith and Jim Hargreaves are still around and Frank celebrated his 80th birthday some time ago. Barry is living in Edinburgh and still very much out of doors, Jim is living in Canada and still paddling the last we heard. I got spoiled by paddling in warm water off Bermuda so my outdoors is spending winters in the Alps skiing."

The 1975 Nordkapp Expedition Report - thanks to Clive Merrifield for sending me scans of a copy of the report found in a pile of second hand books - also thanks to Nigel Matthews, Paul Caffyn and Allan Cadenhead who also very kindly offered to get copies to me. Thanks to Paul Caffyn for the KASK magazine from 1999 which contains a summary overview of the Expedition.

Please contact me if you can add to this in any way.

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