Curtis Nomad vs. Peregrine/Merlin/Magic

How does the old Curtis Nomad compare with the Hemlock Peregrine? Are they the same boat or does the Peregrine have some modifications made to the older Nomad?

I believe these are both David Yost designs right? How does the Nomad / Peregrine compare to the newer Bell models by Yost: the Merlin II and the Magic?

It is my understanding that the Peregrine compares most closely to the Merlin as a multi-purpose boat that is suitable for both kneeling and sit and switch, but I have heard a lot of people compare it to the Magic as well. Does it lean more towards being a kneeling boat or a sit and switch boat?

How does its speed and maneuverability and seaworthiness compare with the Merlin and Magic?

My guess is that it falls between the Magic and Merlin in terms of both speed and maneuverability in that I would think it is a touch faster than the Merlin but not as maneuverable and a bit slower than the Magic but more maneuverable.

Can someone set me straight? I am sure CEW can if he is reading this.

I like both the Magic and Merlin and am considering a used Nomad. Never paddled one but did paddle a Peregrine once for a short paddle.



The Peregrine is NOT a DY design

– Last Updated: Mar-30-10 5:26 PM EST –

The Nomads offspring were the Heron and the Merlin II.

Having had all four and currently have three of them they all paddle a little differently.

The Nomad is speedier with a large load than the Peregrine.(we did some GPS tests..almost half a mph difference.)

The Peregrine has sticky ends. When you load er up the stems are buried a good inch or two. Less of course when the trip is a day trip.

I dont have gallonage figures but the Nomad is a little more capacious.

The Nomad is a sweet handling boat in wind and waves and will not slew around and broach..carrying a wind ferry with it is pure pleasure. Its not very trim sensitive. We had an issue with Peregrine in that regard..having to find the optimal place for water that we had to carry (and it was 100 lbs). She didnt want to hold a ferry with a load equal bow and stern and its tough to throw around water.

Seaworthy..Nomad rode up and over the waves..Peregrine dug in. Then I put on the spray skirt. Tired of bailing. We were in some seas in the Everglades...two to three footers.

The Nomad is more nimble than Merlin II in the UL layup.

Looking down at both Peregrine and Nomad on top of my truck they reveal why they do what they do. Peregrine has relatively little bow flare. Nomand much more. Fullness carries farther back on the Nomad. The Peregrine has a heavily pinched stem that IMO is way too long. Peregrine has a decided flatter bottom than Nomad.

You can paddle either Nomad or Peregrine sitting or kneeling. You can paddle Magic the same if properly equipped.

Now if Colden Canoe would make the Nomad in carbon fiber, life would be perfect.

Ack guess the boats arent going to get themselves off the car. Its mighty wet out there.

Well, Kinda

– Last Updated: Mar-31-10 9:00 AM EST –

The original,~ 76, was the 15' Solo Tripper, originally a stripper than a laminated hull from Curtis Canoe that was designed for average sized, male, paddlers. The canoe was designed as named, as a boat that would respond to kneeling technique with a straight paddle and sitting technique with a bent about equally.

Then came,~ 83, the downsized, 14.75' Vagabond, narrower and shorter to fit smaller folk; it was shouldered and had more rocker than the original. Then, ~87, DY did the 15.3' Nomad for Curtis to update the standard sized hull with shoulders and more rocker, then the 15' Mistral for Loon Works who builds in wood and Dacron construction.

After that,~90, he did the composite 14.5' Loon and 15 ft Heron as a size series for Swift, both bubble sided because Swift wanted to use split but one-piece molds.

A little later, ~ 95, DY did the shouldered 15' Merlin II for Bell using a two piece mold.

Later yet, ~01, Hemlock acquired FG Vagabond and Nomad, added some bondo, molded the result and, borrowing names form a Mike Galt series, named them Kestrel and Peregrine. They seem less rockered than the originals. That may be the result of bondo design changes or the mold making process.

When comparing these hulls measure waterline length. Bell and Swift used ~plumb stems, Curtis used more layout and Hemlock has lots of layout. Overall lengths vary more than waterline lengths.

Which is the better boat? We can assume DY learns every time he does a hull, and, like wine, improves with age. Merlin II has more and more differential rocker than the others and is a half inch wider but the shape is compromised by Bell's UL laminate, the bottom flattening effects of foam cores and the hogging effects of aluminum rails.

The original larger sized hulls no longer fit their intended market as the average N.A. male has super-sized himself into a larger hull; currently only available from Wenonah and Bell in 31" width.

An early clue was that Magic, wider and longer, was selling to straight shaft paddlers. While Magic works pretty well with a straight, particularly if kneeling with a raised seat, it was always a dedicated sit and switch with bent boat from the first line on DY's drawing table.

true I forgot the grandpa boat.
Temporarily. I remembered about it while swearing in the rain getting boats off the car.

So the Peregrine and Nomad are not identical but are related.

If I also understand correctly the Merlin is offspring of the Nomad and therefore I assume the Nomad is intended as being equally good with kneeling and straight shaft as with sitting with bent.

You said the Nomad is more nimble than the Merlin. Did you mean more maneuverable or faster to accelerate?

I also assume that since the Nomad is on a par with or faster than the Peregrine it is faster than the Merlin.

I am really most intersted in how the Nomad compares to the Merlin. I know the Merlin pretty well and it fits the niche I am looking for. I am wondering if the Nomad might fit it better.

I am looking for a boat that is good for both moving and flat water. Both sitting and kneeling.

I would use it mostly as a sit and switch boat but would want it to be a more maneuverable boat than a truly dedicated sit and switch boat like the Magic so that it would be suitable to paddle sit and switch on windy streams where the Magic doesn’t necessarily excel when loaded and where you could kneel when needed in the really windy sections.

A boat where you could paddle relatively fast sit and switch across the flat open sections of a lake or big river, and then find some secluded cove or rocky spot and kneel and do freestyle strokes, etc and play among the rocks.

The Merlin seems to fit that niche well. I am thinking the Nomand might too but not sure where its tradeoffs are compared to the Merlin. And we know all boats have their tradeoffs. Just a matter of finding the one that offers the best mix for you.


Nomad will do what you want
and do it very well. The stern is just a tad skegged so it is not a moving water boat for very fast water, but is just fine for small stream work. Remarkably maneuverable for a 15’7" boat. I learned a lot of FS in that boat. For dimensions check the Hemlock website as they post the original catalog page.

I am one of those folks CE spoke about who has supersized himself beyond the best capabilities of the hull, but I still wouldn’t hesitate to take it almost anywhere. It’s comfortable, beautiful and well made. Can’t go wrong with a Nomad.

seems to be more nimble when

– Last Updated: Mar-30-10 8:30 PM EST –

flat(maneuverable-the Nomad that is) However I dont have the Merlin II anymore to do a side by side test.

My recollection is it was a slow boat. Not all Merlin IIs are the same and this UL layup in particular flattened the bottom. Cannot comment on Merlin IIs without the foam core.

Dowside of the Nomad is it feels heavy! Old age....

another complicating factor is that I heel almost all boats to turn..flat boat is not in my blood..dang that FS influence!

I think all the waterline lengths are the same: Peregrine has lots of overhang that is not in the water.