The Nordkapp hull shape...
Posted by: BNystrom on Jan-05-13 8:44 AM (EST)
...strikes a better balance between stability and rough water performance, IMO. The slight V provides just enough initial stability that you can relax when you paddle it, which can be a challenge in a Nigel Foster boat. That was one of the reasons that I ultimately sold my Silhouette, the lack of initial stability would catch me off-guard at times and I found it annoying.
The rounded chines of the Nordkapp just roll with the waves, making it an excellent rough water boat. I loved paddling it in beam waves, as all I had to do was keep my hips loose and trust the boat to do its thing. The design provides the advantages of some initial stability without sacrificing performance in waves. The only reason I sold mine is that it was the old "HM" model, which was a strong-tracking boat that was difficult to maneuver, even when edged hard.
I guess the best way to put it is that the Nordkapp feels like a higher performance version of most other touring boats, sort of a natural progression in stability and wave handling, whereas the Nigel Foster boats have a very specific feel that appeals to a more limited crowd. Nigel's paddles are the same way. He designs his gear to suit his personal preferences and techniques, which is fine but it does limit their appeal. More than likely, you'll either love or hate Nigel's boat designs, as they are definitely an acquired taste.
One thing you can't argue with is that Nigel is an exceptionally skilled boat handler and coach, not to mention a really fun guy. I've taken a couple of classes with him and his ability to maneuver a kayak is awe-inspiring. If his boats suit you, they're an excellent choice.
Great Products from the Buyers' Guide: