Brit boat defined

-- Last Updated: Oct-05-04 2:40 PM EST --

Recently during an after paddle dinner, a colleague asked me what is meant by 'Brit boat.' He had already seen my Valley boat and my wife's NDK boat, but wanted an explanation or definition. What follows is basically what I told him.

The term 'Brit boat' is often applied to sea kayaks which generally share certain design elements. These elements include; upswept bow and stern, round and/or oval ‘rubber’ hatch covers, day hatches, and skeg. ‘Brit boats’ often have tighter cockpits, lower decks, and narrower beam than many ‘North American’ or ‘Northwest’ design sea kayaks. The British manufacturers often refer to this as West Greenland inspired or style. Early exemplars of this design would include the Nordkapp and the Orion. Not all British designed and built kayaks share these characteristics, Kirton kayaks would be one such example.

The two design ethics to which that Brit boats can best be contrasted maybe the ‘Northwest’, such as the Current Designs Solstice series and, for lack of better term, ‘North American’, such as the Winters designed boats produced by QCC and Swift.

Among the sea kayaks referred to as ‘Brit boats’ are ones designed and built in Great Britain by Valley Canoe Products (a.k.a. Valley or VCP), P&H, and Nigel Dennis Kayaks (often referred to simply as NDK.)

Usually included among “Brit boats’ are those designed by Brits but built in North America. Among these are Nigel Foster’s Legend, Silhouette and Shadow, as well as, Derek Hutchinson’s designs for Current Designs – Gulfstream, Slipstream and Andromeda.

Sometimes sea kayaks that are neither designed nor built by Brits are referred to as Brit boats because they share noticeable design affinity with such boats. Among these are the sea kayaks designed and built in Finland by Kajak-Sport as well as such wholly North American boats as the Necky Chatham, Wilderness Systems Tempest, Impex Currituck, Asseteague and Montauk. The Dagger Meridian is an early example of a North American designed and built boat inspired by ‘Brit boats,’ most clearly the NDK Romany.

easyer discription
If it looks like an ELF Shoe then it’s a Brit boat!!! If it looks like a Navy Destroyer hull then its not!! L

A hole in the water
into which one pours pounds.

I’m glad that issue was cleared up!! Now I’ll know what y’all mean when you are talking about boats.

Greenlandic & Northern Canadian native
qajaqs are “elvin”, but have absolutely nothing to do with brit boats except that brits based their designs from them. That does not make SOFs anymore brittish than baidarkas “Winters-esque” just because they’re shaped like a torpedo with a cockpit and take full advantage of LWL. Just because he said the B-word, don’t pull your shoe off and start beating the podium.

Too Many Pounds in Mine
Too many pounds in mine, but not that much money…

meridian looks like an NDK
with good reason. dagger stole the hull design from NDK when they produced the meridian. they modified the deck slightly (to the detriment) by enlarging the cockpit and raising the rear deck.

Don’t forget heavy duty lay ups
for the rocky brittish coastline.

Meridian - Romany
The Meridian is slightly wider and I believe flatter hulled under the cockpit.

Too Funny…

– Last Updated: Oct-05-04 5:17 PM EST –

Both of you whacky west coast waterbugs. :)


We Try
Why should I take myself seriously?

No one else does…


Among the differences between Brit designed and built kayaks and Brit designed but North American built are the layups. Brit built boats tend to have heavier layups than their North American kin.

Valley and NDK still make their composite boats entirely by hand. I’m not sure about P&H.

Composite boats built in North America tend to be vaccuum bagged.

vacuum bagging
VCP and P&H are vacuum bagged. only NDK still builds by hand.

Can I add
glassed in bulkheads and a backband as opposed to a seatback.

Hey. thanks
for the breakdown. I am interested in trying out some brit boats to see how they contrast to my “NORTH AMERICAN” QCC. Although I am not enamoured of the elf shoe look, the handling in textured water may overcome that drawback.

Not really - all can have those things

Are you sure?

– Last Updated: Oct-07-04 7:53 AM EST –

My Valley boat was built February of this year. I was told it was hand laid. Also when comparing to my friend's Chatham, its seams and occaisionally slightly wavy form sure look hand laid. Also, even though a ProLite carbon/kevlar/diolene layup, it still weighs over 50lbs.

"the handling in textured water…"
is the main reason to have a Brit boat. All other reasons are secondary or tertiary.

When I spoke with Robin Goodliffe at VCP a few weeks ago, he told me that VCP boats are still being made by hand (by one of four or five chaps!).

you can build a Greenland SOF (day tour) or Baidarka (heavy load) since these were the original rough water boats. Or, get a Mariner while you can as the west coast rough water folks swear by them.

Better still, keep working on rough water skills and I am sure the QCC 700 will work fine as well.