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Remembering an old friend


Mar 25, 2005
A neighbour has an old Nordkapp that i sat in recently , the one with the ocean cockpit , small and tight fitting good for edging and rolling . Only this one was too tight - 36 years ago that wasn't the case when I got my first kayak also a Nordkapp . Time marches on and so do preferences and physical constraints . Things you learn like a longer cockpit is good , a seat that fits perfectly AND lightweight .

The Nordkapp taught me a lot but that bird has flown .
Back in the early to mid -1980's sea kayaks were starting to take off in BC or maybe i just started paying attention. Sea Kayaker Magazine popped up and on a whim I got a subscription which led to a used Nordkapp HM model - heavy at least 62 lbs , the expedition layup , other HM models seemed to be around 50 lbs . I learned to roll alone , from Derek Hutchinson's first book it was a sink or swim deal , so swim it was the first 2 days then by magic the roll happened ... most of the time.

The Nordkapp is of the British style with an ok hull . The HM has the permanent fin at the stern , guys that had the earlier model generally seemed not like the HM model. Putting a rudder improves it in wind and current quite a bit . The seat was poor on my boat something that Valley eventually fixed in later boats. The small cockpit is something to put up with or dislike , good for control and big guys couldn't borrow your boat. ;)
You might want to check Paul Caffyn's website and on it the history of the Nordkapp.
The first 6 made by Sisson in New Zealand were built to what became known as British Heavies weight. After that it became, "how light can we make them". As for hull shape, the answer was simple, put a rudder on it and that's what has happened to most New Zealand designed kayaks too and no excuses made for using one as it was logical. It was also recommended to fit rudders by British writers before Frank Goodman and Derick Hutchison and non-ruddered sea kayaks.
Here's some more NewZealand and Goodman VCP background:
This might be where the NZ acrimony started with Goodman suing Sisson.

edited to add:
it's also interesting, that by most accounts, the early nordkapps lee cocked so much that a rudder or integral skeg was deemed necessary and was built in or skeg hull drooped [HM model] by VCP, or a stern chop and added rudder by Sisson:

or sisson:
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