I can only comment on the Nordkapp...
Posted by: holmes375 on Jan-15-13 2:57 PM (EST)
and a GP paddle - no experience with the other boat(s).
My Nordkapp is the RM version, I paddle it unloaded often on day trips using both GP and euro paddles. My body weight and day kit go about 200#. Several multi-day trips annually with a load of 60-80 pounds plus the 170# paddler using the same paddles.
Paddling locations are large western lakes in the Rockies. Wind is the order of the day, long fetch with the resultant chop.
One of the things I really like about the Nordkapp is how it shrugs off an expedition load. I can feel it in terms of maneuverability but its not a dramatic change like one discovers in most boats. I paddled WS Tempests for many years but always found them rather sluggish with a 250# load when Yellowstone lake began to act up. No such issues with the Nordkapp - it simply wants to keep on goin'. An expedition boat may seem overkill for day paddles but the Nordkapp excels in this scenario, too. Packed lightly it can be danced like few other 18' boats yet turn right around and efficiently track its way 15 miles back to the put-in. The only place I've found the Nordkapp out of place is on completely still water and air. The poor boat just kinda sits there not knowing exactly what to do in such storybook conditions. After a while it simply nods off while waiting for something a little more interesting. Fortunately, such conditions are seldom encountered in my neck o' the woods.
I like the GP for cruising in mild conditions, loaded or unloaded. Its quiet and efficient. I have about three years of regular GP use but do not consider myself and expert with one.
I'm still more comfortable with a good euro paddles, especially when things get rough. While the wind does catch them more than the GP I am able to better achieve quick direction changes and more effective braces. Cliff-like geography is common in my region and combined with the wind makes for clapotis around many a corner. I find the euro paddle noticeably more effective in this stuff for both forward momentum and maneuvering. Good solid linked strokes work well for me.
I'd rather roll with the Nordkapp with the GP but I'm fairly accomplished with the euro, too.
Either paddle will drive a loaded Nordkapp just fine. I run the euro paddle more often when loaded because years of experience set in and I just fall into my comfort zone with my particular style and cadence.
My experience and preferences undoubtedly say more about my current skill/experience level with the two paddle styles than the actual efficacy of either one when used with the Nordkapp.
The decision on which to use is painful for a Libra thus I simplify life and use both :)
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