Boreal Ellesmere?

-- Last Updated: Oct-08-05 10:05 AM EST --

Curious if its' on water traits (initial, secondary stability, manuverability, handling water from different directions) is closer to that of shorter boats like the Avocet or Romany or longer boats like an Aquanaut or Explorer. Fit and speed are not an issue for me on it, but already have the longer boat and am a tad big/tight/heavy for the smaller ones. Length it falls in the middle of the other four boats, but where might it fall among them on the water? Have demoed, but not in various conditions. Thanks

Comment on Ellesmere
I watched a guy try to Demo an Ellesemere one day, and the Skeg kept jamming in the down position. We were launching from a concrete boat ramp, so there was not anything to get in the skeg box and clog it. The dealer had to keep going out in the water to push it back up.

That was enough to discourage me from wanting to try a Boreal kayak.


– Last Updated: Oct-08-05 4:58 PM EST –

The Ellesmere has almost exactly the same waterline length carrying 200 pounds as the Aquanaut. It has a 2 inch longer waterline than the Explorer with the same load. (Sea Kayaker)

The Explorer turns easier and is much slower.

The Elle and Naut are about equal for speed. (SK drag figures)

The Ellesmere is a great boat and was on my short list.

I have
both a Romany and an Explorer. Last Dec. I foolishly bought an Ellsemere without paddling it in unsettled conditions. It was fine on flat water but later, when things got a little rough

(2-3ft) I found it very skittish. Every passing wave found me bracing and cursing Boreal. Bottom line, I got rid of the Ellesmere.

Get an Explorer.

Each persons experience different
The Ellesmere is no where near as placid in conditions as an Explorer, but then again what boat is? I have paddled an Ellesmere in decent chop and wind waves on Champlain. My recollection is that the Elle was active in those condtions but not troublesome.

I like a lively hull, it is a large part of why I chose an Aquanaut over an Explorer for my long boat.

My wife had an Ellesmere.
Which we sold. I paddled it several times in a variety of conditions and thought it was a decent boat. In following seas it is very easy to control by edging, which is not true of many longer boats. It is slow, however. My wife is not a fast paddler to begin with and the Ellesmere was hopeless for her (which is why we sold it). We had a big problem with a leaking hatch. On a trip on Lake Superior her bow filled with water in difficult conditions. We had to duct tape the hatch cover down to keep that from happening. When we got back the Boreal people were less than helpful and at first refused to believe that one of their hatch rims could leak like a sieve. They finally agreed to pay for a local boat builder to reset the rim. The first time I rolled it after the repair resulted in a hold full of water. I finally glassed the rim in, which worked. The boat we had was fitted with the smaller cockpit, which I do not recommend. Also expect to foam out the thigh braces. We glued foam on both sides of the center to support the inside of the knees. That made it a lot easier to control and roll and allowed a more vertical leg position. This sounds pretty negative but once we got the hatch rim fixed and the foam in place it was fun to paddle even if we couldn’t keep up with our paddling buddies.

Slow compared to which other boats?

The Ellesmere is one of the faster sea kayaks tested by Sea Kayaker magazine.

How do you define slow?
I’ve paddled an Ellesmere for six seasons now and don’t find it a slow boat at all,I have no problem keeping up with the group.It’s slow compared to a racing hull and faster than a pumpkinseed hull.I’ve been happy with the fit and finish,have never had a leak and it’s my boat of choice when the conditions are challenging. I’m sure you could get a leaker and can’t comment on the reliability of their new skeg design however my rope skeg has been reliable.

I did move the front bulkhead back,outfitted the ocean cockpit (which I prefer) and moved the skeg cleat to the rear deck.I paddle it a lot and it’s the only kayak I can use for camping trips . The red gelcoat has not faded ,cracked or deteriorated.I do keep it clean,303’ed and stored in the garage when not in use but spend much of every season in use as I’m retired and have the time to camp and paddle.It’s comfortable with the stock molded seat and rolls,skulls and balance braces easily.The workmanship is much better than my Valley boat

although I do enjoy the Pintail too,rough and rugged little beast that it is.

My 2 cents CDN


Compared to …
QCC 600X, Eddyline Falcon 18, Nordkapp, NDK Explorer. Granted that three of the boats are longer than the Ellesmere but the QCC is shorter.

Ellesmere faster

– Last Updated: Oct-10-05 7:09 PM EST –

At 4.5 knots and above the Ellesmere is faster than a Nordkapp and Explorer. It has a longer waterline than both. Waterline length and beam impact performance through the water. Length over all does not.

The Explorer is fast to turn, but is a rather sluggish boat for its length.

At 3 knots there is less than a tenth of a pound of drag difference among these three. At 6 knots the Elle produces 13.3 lbs, the Explorer 13.98, Nordkapp 14.36 according to Sea Kayaker. At 4 knots and below the Nordkapp is the fastest with the Elle being second.

Basically, the Elle can easily keep up with most boats at most touring paces. Once considering QCC or Falcon 18 you are moving away from responsiveness in seas towards straight ahead speed.

All sea kayaks are some balance of speed turning and speed straight ahead. My Naut is faster than most touring boats covering distance. My Romany turns in a fraction of the distance and with a fraction of the effort.

If flat out speed straight ahead is THE priority in your choice of sea kayak, the get an Epic.

I had a problem with Boreal Too!
I had a problem with a Boreal kayak I bought, and after constant badgering towards Boreal they finally told me to quit bothering them.

They could not believe there was a problem with their Kayak! :frowning:

The best thing I can say is that “Friends don’t let Friends buy Boreal” (Kayaks)

If someone offers to sell you one, RUN the oposite way!

what was the problem you had?
could you further explain the problem you had with the boreal, because knowing their northeast rep and working at a kayak shop selling their boats among others I find it very hard to believe they would “tell you to stop bothering them”

Some detailed info would be nice

Re: Different experiences
Yep, different strokes (boats) for different folks. I may have been to light for the Ellesmere, (weighing 150lbs) perhaps another 30 lbs of ballast would have helped since I was paddling it empty? Be that as it may, I’m not sorry I got rid of it (even though it cost me $300 for three outings)An expensive lesson, no Boreals for me.

KAPER numbers
Would you mind posting the KAPER numbers for this kayak, I’d like to compare them to the kayak I’m building right now. Some people have commented that my design looks somewhat like this boat, and I’d like to see some figures.



February 2000 Sea Kayaker
Contains the review with stats of the Ellesmere.

The information I am citing are the Broze/Taylor numbers from Sea Kayaker tests which I have entered into a spreadsheet for easy reference.

The Kaper numbers for the Elle are: 2 knots - 0.91, 3 knots - 1.92, 4 knots - 3.67, 4.5 knots - 4.81, 5 knots - 7.27, 6 knots - 13.10.

KAPER numbers
Thanks for the numbers. Do you have a copy of the Broze/Taylor spreadsheet for resistance. I only have the Winter’s KAPER sheet.

My kayak for Winter’s KAPER is coming in at:

Knots Res

2 .96

3 1.99

4 3.66

4.5 5.07

5 7.30

6 12.59

These are close to the Explorer, I believe.

I am amazed at the striking contrast between the RAVE reviews of the Ellesmere on the product review forum, and the concerns noted here. Are product reviews reliable posts by boat owners, or are they from dealers mascerading as consumers? Based on product reviews, I was considering buying a used ellesmere for coastal paddles. But I am a novice and only 5’5" and 130#. It seems I may be too lite to get a good response from this boat.

In my experince with the Ellesmere it has always been a great boat, 135 pounds is getting a lil light for it, but if you added a few pounds for ballast it would handle great, or if you paddle with out ballast you would have plunty of space for week long camping trips. Personally I think boreal’s quality is very high in the industry, they build good solid boats, the demo elle at my shop in fact came of a trailer going 40 and only had a chip of gelcoat out of the stearn (bout the size of 2 dimes) and a few scratches to show for it. I personally love paddling the boat, and It is second on my list of boats next to my Orion. The only way you can know for yourself is to paddle it though

I’m 5’6",145 lbs and it handles well and it’s the kayak I use the most.That being said if I were in the market for a day boat I would look for something lower volume,the Elle is a fairly big boat by greenland standards but it works fine as a camping/expedition boat for me.I’ve had a couple of dealings with Boreal head office not related to this boat and it seemed pretty routine business.

Wjlatsha has bad mouthed the company but won’t volunteer any more details.

Bottom line is it’s a well designed kayak that handles well for what it was designed for and there are no hidden flaws to be concerned about.

One minor flaw I found was the seat pan rubs on the floor and creates a wear area under the seat that had to be repaired with a glass patch,then I took the mounting shims out,put some foam between for a buffer thus raising the seat a little.This flaw may be corrected on the newer models,I can’t say but this problem has been found on other kayaks from other manufacturers too,there have been threads on this topic in the past.Any composite kayak that gets used a lot will need some maintenance,modifications or repairs in time.This is part of kayaking and shouldn’t be viewed as a negative.That’s one of the nice things about composite hulls,they’re almost infinitely repairable.