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Submitted: 07-24-2009 by GilH
I purchased a Nordkapp 18 (formerly known as the Nordkapp H2O) in April wanting to upgrade from my plastic Chatham to a fiberglass boat. I found a great deal from a friend who had one for sale in pristine shape, insignificant scratches and barely two years old. A great deal. He allowed me to test the boat prior to the purchase. I have been paddling for just over a year and I thought of myself as a decent kayaker with plenty of stamina but with much to learn.
Coming from owning SOT Necky's (Spike and Dolphin) and then the Chatham, I felt ready for the next challenge. The Chatham is, without a doubt, one of the finest plastic boats ever. Stable, responsive. Not the fastest but able to keep up with anything. I sat in the Nordkapp on a rough water day to try it. In less than 5 seconds, I noticed that it was a responsive and perhaps "tipsy' boat. Within 30 seconds, I was upside down not sure what the heck just happened. I was in about 1 to 2 foot waves in a little bad weather. Not too challenging, but I was not used to it. The water was rough, with winds at about 25 knots. I paddled the boat stiff and scared. Scared out of my mind. I had the confidence of having taken self rescue classes and was sure I could get back into the boat if needed. I just did not want to get flipped again. I can't roll yet. Yet! With the owner of the boat with me in his other boat, we paddled for about an hour. At times I was thinking "THIS SUCKS!" I want my Chatham! But by the end of the paddle, I realized that the Nordkapp is a boat well designed and a boat I would never outgrow.
It's a boat that challenges you to become a better paddler. I purchased the boat with some hesitation, but I thought I could always sell it if I don't like it. Now, with about 10 additional trips and more hours in the boat, you could offer me twice the cash and I would not sell you my boat. My 18 foot fiberglass Nordkapp is my favorite boat by far. The design of this boat is so that the paddler decides how stable or tipsy it will be. The hull has a smooth round design where you can't really tell initial and secondary stability and it's a matter of muscle memory and experience. I am brazing, edging and playing with the boat more and more.
Now, just under 2 years of kayaking and with a bad case of paddling fever, I am sure my first roll will be in this boat. My longest trips, my most fun adventures and my best kayaking memories will be in my Nordkapp. I look forward to paddling this well designed and beautiful boat for years to come. This boat is a perfect 10.(Maybe a 9 for others with more experience) Anything less would reflect the paddlers preference, but not the boat's quality and features.
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