Any Experience with Boreal Ellesmere

Was wondering how good of a touring boat

ellesmere was. Or if it was more of play boat/

day tripper. What’s your overall of boat

Boreal “Ellesmere”

– Last Updated: Apr-28-06 1:55 AM EST –

I have had an Ellesmere for 1 1/2 years and I love the workmanship, low forward and rear decks, and haven't had any trouble with the skeg. Also, it's great in rough water. I haven't taken it out camping but don't think I would have much of a problem storing what's required if I'm not packing for more than a week. I'm sure if I go as a minimalist I could pack for longer. My only complaint, and it bothers me every time I'm out is the amount it weathercocks. It's not a problem with the skeg down, but then there's a certain amount of drag. I've read that other Ellesmere owners complain of the same problem. When I ignore that, it's a great kayak.

I’ve paddled an Ellesmere with ocean cockpit for seven years now and am happy with it.

I wouldn’t call it a playboat,it’s more of a general touring boat,solid in rough water and easy to roll.It has lots of room for gear,I camp out of mine quite regularly although I did move the front bulkhead back 12 inches to give me more storage in the front.

It does not weathercock excessively,not compared to a Pintail anyway. There always seems to be a negative connotation to weathercocking as if its a bad thing. Almost all long sea kayaks weathercock slightly as they should,they are designed to weathercock so it’s easy to keep directional stability into a headwind.I wouldn’t own a boat that didn’t weathercock.If you want to run downwind and want your boat to leecock then drop the trim tab(skeg or rudder)and away you go. Some folks might ask “Why don’t they design a boat that’s neutral”

I doubt if anyone could design a hull that’s neutral in all conditions,loads and paddler weight.You must have options,that’s why a good boat weathercocks with skeg/rudder up and you can trim it with your trim tab for whatever handling characteritics you need under the conditions you are in.

End of rant.



Many threads
The Ellesmere has come up many times on

Here is one of the threads:

Personally, I enjoy the Ellesmere and it was on my shortlist when I got my Aquanaut. It is one of the faster Brit style boats. I found it secure in chop and large waves. It edges and carves very nicely. The ‘fun bump’ seat takes some getting used to. It does crab but that’s part of what the skeg is intended to address. It is also a pretty boat.

Good point…
…Bert. Agree that weathercocking isn’t all that bad…unless the boat has NO skeg/rudder. Then its a PITA!!!

I have seen mostly custom built boats that handle pretty neutral in conditions though and that is due to very low decks, much lower than the Ellesmere. And slight weathercocking is one thing but a boat that severely weathercocks, has no skeg, and takes Herulean effort to bring it back on course is my only complaint. (not speaking of the Ellesmere as I have never paddled one)


check the reviews
Check out the product reviews on this site for Boreal Designs. There a quite a few reviews for this boat.

Problem with Ellesmere
My only experience with the ellesmere was at a local demo day. The people who took one out for a test paddle all had problems with the skeg sticking down, and the dealer had to keep walking out into the water to reach under and push it up.

I did have a very bad experience with Boreal. I had a problem with one of their kayaks I made the mistake of buying, and tried to get their help with resolving it. I could not convince them I was actually having this problem, and they finally told me to stop bugging them, and refused to reply to any of my calls or e-mails. You can read the review I did on the Boreal Nanook which I made the mistake of buying. If you read the other reviews, you will see I was not the only person to have the same problem.

I would not wish for my worst enemy to buy a Boreal product.

I had an Ellesmere for a year or 2 and liked it very much. It does crab a little as some one already said, but it does most things well and is built well. I did have a problem with boreal also with a nanook and got no help from them. Its not a good company to deal with and they don’t care about thier customers. Luckly the dealer was great and took back my Nanook after about 3 months and let me get a new Ellesmere for the nanook and 4 hundred bucks.

My experience with the company …
was not good either. They seem to find it hard to believe that one of their boats might have a flaw. In my case it was a hatch that leaked like a sieve and filled the forward compartment with water.

Well designed sea kayaks that come equipped with a trim tab will weathercock,leacock or stay neutral…whatever you want,depending on what you need to do.

Therefore weathercocking and leacocking are both good under certain circumstances.

Just Bought One
Went to look at Arctic hawk & bought Ellesmere.

Got really good deal. Came with skeg, day hatch,

compass, spray skirt, cockpit cover & its

an ocean cockpit. Ocean cockpit one of the reasons I bought, fits pretty snug & low deck.

Boat does everything except way to dependent

on skeg in wind, with skeg down seems to add

noticeable drag. When I bought it there was no

wind, next day on the lake it was windy & was

surprised how it got blown around. Guess I’ll

have to improve my paddling skills to compensate.

Boreal 'Ellesmere’
I also demo’ed my Elle in calm waters for a short period and then, after I bought her, was surprised with the weathercocking. Since then,am using shorter paddles, paddling closer to the side of the kayak and have improved my edging skills. It’s a lot better than when I started, and if anyone has any additional ideas I’d appreciate it. I still think it’s a great kayak!

getting used to boat
Just got back from paddling. I marked 1/4 & 1/2

ponits on rope skeg. If you use skeg 1/4 way

down for just general padding, not even windy

conditions it reallytracks good in wind & waves

use a bit lower down to half or less & boat

behaves good. I’am working on different paddle

techniques & staying with shorter paddle. The

combination of these changes, I’ve got one thing

to say. I love this boat.