Reviewed by Niall Duncanson

(Pic: Point 65N)

Absolutely fantastic, fast and handy.
Long waterline gives a high top speed, and narrow wavepiercing ends make the canoe easily driven in all conditions. Fairly hard chines combine with high deadrise (rise of hull from keel to chine) angle to give fairly low primary stability but outstanding dynamical or secondary stability. Fairly long ‘fixed skeg’ at stern provides the best directional stability I have seen, which just makes it all a pleasure compared to many designs. Fairly high rocker facilitates turning, although it is still slow to turn unless you are proficient at edging. The rocker and stern combine to give excellent surfing downwind.

Seating position.
The knee braces are moulded into the cockpit coaming, and are much less aggressive than some other designs. Your legs are not forced as wide as many other boats do, but it is not a pure straight legged position either. I find it very comfortable, and legs can be moved around a good bit due to the large cockpit volume.

People have said it is unstable, tippy, and hard to learn in. As a former user of P+H Sirius, Baidarka and Capella, I can say that primary stability is sufficient for photography and comfort in waves, etc. Indeed, the large keyhole cockpit makes it so easy to exit that much less stability is required for a dignified withdrawal. Remember that a beginner will only remain a beginner if the boat restricts their learning curve.

The 2004 seat which I trialled was fairly poor, pinched your legs and backside and gave dead legs after a few minutes.
The 2005 seat is a gem. Hard plastic in a well rounded shape is perfectly thought out, and I can jump out fresh after several hours, when other people are stretching and falling over with dead legs.
The 2004 model had basic sliding footpegs, fine, but not very comfortable.
The 2005 model has the Smarttrack system from Sealline. These are also a gem. The pegs can be adjusted with one hand when sitting in the cockpit, and the peg profile is canted and shaped to be comfortable even with bare feet.
Poorly made and fitted. It just doesn’t do its job properly, and had to be fiddled with to give any support. One of the cords broke as well. Am considering a Valley backrest as replacement.
Deck Lines and Fittings.
These are also fairly poor, and look like they were done in a hurry. The cord is too thick, and quite stretchy. The recessed fittings are OK, but I would prefer the standard recessed fittings used by P+H etc. I don’t mind fiddling with a new boat, but these things could have been done better.

Hatches and Bulkheads
Kajaksport’s new composite hatches are used, with solid plastic centres. These are pretty good, and much easier to put on than the old ones. The day hatch is small and placed close to the side, so it is easy to access from the water. The two end bulkheads are 7.5 cm thick foam, adding apparently 18kg buoyancy. The central bulkhead is the usual composite, angled to make drainage easier. I would have preferred the 18kg of storage space, myself, but the boat has plenty of space anyway, so it is a minor issue.
There is a layer of gelcoat on the inside, protecting the hull structure and making it easier to shove bags in.

Skeg system,
This is another gem. The Kajaksport skeg is used, but the wire is wholly encased, so no kinking can occur. The toggle is significantly larger than on other boats, so fine adjustment is practical. Very well thought out. Prior to using a rudder, I experienced weathercocking when inadvertently packing six beer bottles aft of the skeg. When sensibly packed, weathercocking just doesn't happen. The skeg can be used to fine tune the balance to the wind angle, and it holds course perfectly

I chose to fit it with the Smarttrack rudder instead of the Kajaksport Navigator. A rudder is unnecessary, but I feel it increases efficiency, by allowing all your energy to propel you forwards. Rudders are a contentious issue at best, but the Smarttrack is another gem, although I had to order it from America, expensively.

A fantastic boat, fast and very comfortable, let down by minor issues of outfitting (all DIY fixable), at a great price. Some more custom options would be good to see as well. Build quality is pretty good, at least the equal of Valley and the old P+H. I would recommend it to pretty much any sea canoeist. Having used it in the Summer Isles and on Loch Lomond, primarily, it is the equal in large seas of any thoroughbred sea boat, such as the Nordkapp, it handles well in all wind angles, as long as loaded with the weight forward, and is equally handy when empty or laden.

Makers Website and basic particulars -

Rudder and Footpegs -

Sold at present by Scottish Paddler Supplies

Niall Duncanson - 2005

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