congrats to Pygmy and VCP

for Sea Kayak magazines poll for “best” touring and kit kayak. Looks like reinventing the kayak every year isn’t needed.

New issue of Sea Kayaker?

– Last Updated: Oct-28-05 5:44 PM EST –

Did you just get a new issue of Sea Kayaker in the mail?

It might be nice of other manufacturers would learn that paddlers do not want new elaborate outfitting and that often the evolution of good design yields the best results.

nope, it was at a kayak shop

Was that for individual kayaks or companies as a whole?..

Nordkapp and Artic Tern 17
Nordkapp for Best Touring Kayak

Artic Tern for Best Kit Kayak

My SK was waiting for me when I got home.

Just Curious…
who comprised the poll sample and how was it conducted?

Whenever see something about a poll, those questions come to mind 'cause it’s really easy to skewer the data/answers.


Kit Kayaks
was the ARCTIC HAWK listed, (Superior Kayaks Design /CLC Kit) What place did it have in the listing of BEST Kayak Kits?

no idea
methinks this kind of poll is basically a popularity contest,in other words if the boat has developed a following it’ll fair better than anything new or niche related. It really doesn’t mean what’s best, but those two could still be excellent designs in 1000yrs.

My $.02 is that these boats have excellent hulls but have details that aren’t exactly the best they could be. The Pygmy coaming should have a complete recess like the Mergansers so the coaming doesn’t have a sharp peak. There’s no functional reason to have that ‘feature’. Likewise the Mergansers coaming recess integrates the keyhole thigh bracing at a good angle requiring minimal outfitting compared to the large coaming Tern. One thing to appreciate about the Tern is the wide range of “secondary” that enables a beginner to learn handling and an experienced paddler to express themselves on the water.

The A.Hawk is a trip to build but the actual hull is plywood emulating a skin boat. Which is kind of a funny translation having nothing to do with handling. In my opinion the Mergansers are the best KITS in that they go together quickly and have a better cockpit coaming layout than the Pygmys with good handling attibutes. After that the One Ocean Kayak Cirrus is the best designed four panel hull but this is really splitting hairs for a limited hull shape using four panels.

Arctic Hawk…
I don’t know how it ranked but many wouldn’t consider the AH to be a “touring” kayak.

Popularity contest
It’s a simple reader’s choice thing, say what you like best in various categories. Hardly scientific, certainly. Some winners, such as the Nordcapp, probably benefit from having been around so long. Some benefit from heavy advertising and distribution, doesn’t make them the best.

Whatever, I was at least briefly happy to see I had the most popular PFD and brand of “everyday” paddle.

Whenever I see things like this I’m curious to see the vote totals, I imagine many times statistically there’s no actual winner.


What would you consider the Arctic Hawk to be? As far as I’m concerned it is definitely a touring kayak. It has the gear storage for longer trips (4+ days) and it is fast and well behaved in conditions. The design also isn’t so aggresive to make it a “rolling boat” or anything else. It’s a pretty nice middle of the road kind of boat.

Popularity Contest
Have to agree…sort of like polling for the Top 100 R&R songs of all time…Depends on whether the pollers are asking under 40 or over 40 age groups.

I’d really love to know how someone qualifies ‘easiest build’? Easiest if no one gets closer than 20’ to look at it…easiest if I don’t care if there are quarter inch gaps…

I’m waiting to see what the new Sheerwater design from CLC performs like…

easy to build
mostly it’s the puzzle joints and the panels are pre-drilled.