It seems that the Fjord will meet my requirements for a 16’ Yak at less than 40lbs but I know very little about this manufacturer or these yaks…
Ive seen several
boreal composite boats, paddled a couple, and I like their build quality a lot. I've owned NDK VCP WS Seaward pygmy QCC and spent a bit of time in neckys. I would put boreal as top class but your mileage may vary. I cannot believe they make a boat that light, so nail that aspect down. Perhaps if it is all carbon. Carbon boats are nice and stiff they are not as rockworthy.
(The site claims 43 pounds for an all carbon version. so..... you still will not see 40 in reality, lucky to see 43; with rudder, I'll bet 45. Boreal builds seaworthy boats not superlight ones. lots of boats available at 45 in all carbon I'd look at a carbon/ kevlar impex susquhanna, carbon caribou, and a number of boats, prices will be high!)
Just sold our Ellesmere.
It is a fine boat but not suited well to longer tours since it has only average speed and limited carrying capacity in the stern. But it is responsive and fun to paddle. Ours was the kevlar version with a skeg and while it was light it was no where near being under 40 pounds. If you want a boat that turns well, handles well in waves, and is fun to play around in, by all means get one.
I have an Ellesmere and can vouch for the excellent build quality from Boreal. Mine is fiberglass and weighs 54 lb, exactly as is spec’ed by Boreal. The Ellesmere handles well… very responsive. Initial stability is quite low but the secondary is very high. Speed is good… better than most touring kayaks of similar length and beam.
I have an Ellesmere and love it. I have taken a close look at the Fjord but have not paddled it. Although Boreal markets it as a cut down version of the Ellesmere, I noticed that the back deck on the Fjord is higher. We actually measured it and the distance from the bottom of the keel to the top of the combing behind the backband is a full 2 inches higher than on the Ellesmere. This will make a very big difference if you want to do lay back manuevers such as certain types of rolls.
Boreal makes a great quality boat, but try before you buy.
I demoed one a couple of weeks ago and came away a bit puzzled by who it was for. Boreal says it’s for smaller folks, but the cockpit is very deep and quite wide. I had just stepped out of a T165 and the Fjord seemed much roomier. No complaiants about ow it paddled – seemed reasonably fast with very little weathercocking. It’s easy to edge and will hold almost any angle, but doesn’t “firm up” as some boats do. The boat I demoed had the new knob-adjust skeg, which had some sharp bits that gouged my right knee – don’t know if that’s a design flaw or a problem with the demo boat.
My sense is that it would work well for someone who carries a lot of weight below the waist, or likes a roomy cockpit. Someone else at the demo (wider than I am)found it much more comfortable than the T165, while I had the opposite reaction At 5’9", 160 lbs, I prefer lower decks – like the Ellesmere --and a snugger fit.