Update to review below:
I just took this boat on a trip along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a 3 day paddle from Munising to Grand Marais. I was always comfortable, after padding out the standard composite seat, it's never been a problem (but I seem to have a high tolerance for seat time). I was able to load the boat for a long weekend, had some extras like 3 pairs of shoes, a spare shorty wetsuit, spare filter and stove; along with 1 person tent, sleeping bag, first aid kit, clothes for cold and warm weather, food, assorted gear, and water bottles, and I still had about 1/2 cf of space.
Two things I rediscovered after having a chance to paddle other boats loaded: this boat really does well loaded, longer water line helps it track better and it felt like the limits of secondary stability were further. Also - it is a hoot to paddle in following seas. Reasonably fast.
As I mentioned before, it is a bit of a challenge to turn in conditions but after picking up the technique it's pretty easy, and makes turning other rockered boats an afterthought.I’ve had my Greenlander for over 5 years now. This was my third kayak; my previous boat was a necky looksha sport, and I wanted something with more speed and space that could make pace in rough conditions. I disobeyed the cardinal rule and bought it without testing due to a great purchase price and a few testimonials. Mine is without skeg, with a day hatch and ocean cockpit. I paddle mostly in the great lakes, and love to get out in flatwater and in challenging conditions.
NDK have a mixed reputation when it comes to QC, but my Greenlander was well-made, with the exception that it had a small bubble near the hull/deck seam, which I repaired with epoxy. Other than that, finish is good, the gel coat has taken a beating and still looks great and the boat seems to be very stout for a fiberglass kayak. I’m about 5’9” and 175#, and I find the fit comfortable, but had to pad out the cockpit for good contact. I know some others find the NDK and Valley seat buckets uncomfortable but I have no problem with the seat and backband. I’ve paddled 25 milers and come out feeling pretty well. All hatches seal watertight.
When I first paddled this boat I expected it to be a bit unstable. I was surprised to find it fairly stable, and I can use it as a photography platform in flat to moderate conditions. In rough conditions the hard chines make for a jumpier ride than a soft chine kayak, but it’s something you adjust to and even in very rough conditions it makes me feel connected. It tracks well with such a straight keel, weathercocks somewhat in strong quartering or crosswinds but is easy to keep in line with a bit of a lean. OTOH, it takes a lean to turn it but once leaned it really carves turns nicely, and combined with a gentle stern rudder or bow rudder it doesn’t lose much speed through the turn. It took me awhile but I can edge balance it now to a point where I can pivot it pretty sharply. However, it’s a bit less maneuverable than a shorter kayak or one with more rocker, and can take some care to turn in rough quartering seas. Learning my first roll in this boat was a pleasure. It feels fast in all conditions, paddling into surf and steep swells is a wet ride but by no means unsettling or uncomfortable. Paddling in following seas and surf is a blast in this boat; it can catch almost any wave. It will slowly start to broach if you let it, but a strong stern rudder can correct that.
This kayak is listed as low volume but I don’t find it so, and can pack enough gear for a week to two week trip, but I’m also a backpacker. Any shortcoming in space it may have as an expedition kayak is worth the extra speed and/or ease it provides. As a day boat playing in rock gardens it may be a bit large, but having said that, I often use this boat for day trips for the distance I can cover and the conditions it can endure. I have taken friends out and let them paddle my Greenlander and they all loved the speed and ease. I will probably keep mine for as long as I can paddle.
My advice for anyone interested in a Greenlander is to inspect it well and if possible to take it for a paddle. I found it to be a great learning platform and would recommend it as such for paddling flatwater or rough conditions, day or extended trips. Finally got my custom Greenlander delivered from Nigel and crew and what a beauty!! Black over yellow hull with foam seat, no footpegs and the new NDK kinkless skeg setup. Nice!
Took it out finally just to try it out and found it very responsive and quick to turn with the slightest shift in weight. After paddling my Outer Island, this boat cuts cookies in the water!
As to fit n finish, my custom placed bulkhead was too tight a fit so am having it fixed now (maybe my fault) but have to add that the addon keel strip and finish of the boat is super. Also, this has got to the THE LIGHTEST standard fiberglass layup NDK boat I have ever lifted!! I am thinking it comes in about 50lbs with keelstrip.
Will write another review once I take it into rougher water and work on my rolling at Delmarva XVIII. Till then, must mark it an 8 (though the finish and quality is 10)as the review is yet incomplete!!
More to come!!