Foot space in Artic Tern

Having a ton of time (withe the shoulder having knocked me out of paddling this season)to experiment, I’ve been testing out a variety of minicell seat creations in the artic tern.

“What” I’ve discovered (a bit to my dismay)is:while Pygmy boats advised ‘no problem’ in touting the boat, my size 11 dawgs are an extreemly tight fit once I’ve adjusted the pegs to the correct position. Had I longer legs or larger feet I’d be in a heap o trouble. Obviously, I now know why there’s an “Artic Tern High”.

Noticing that there are quite a few potential builders on, I figured I’d pass the caveat along (I didn’t have the problem with the Osprey Std.)and hopefully a few of those who’ve already built can add some tips or insights.

Arctic Tern

Hi, 10.5s here…

I just finished rebuilding a Tern. I bought an old one without bulkheads, hatches or seat. It was my chance to do my way. I had removed the pegs in my Caribou and loved it so it was my choice to place the bulkhead in the Tern where I could brace my feet against it. This also gives me a ton more room in the forward hatch.

If I wear anything I wear those thin water shoes or Tivas that I take off once in the boat. The cockpit is large enough that it allows me to paddle with my feet and knees together when I feel like a position change. I also added a Minicel seat that raises me up a bit, I like the new leg angle and I think it improves the edging of the boat. I find that the simplicity and the handling of the Tern awesome for a big boat.

The Osprey will give you more room at the pegs due to it’s rounder hull.

I just put up a few pics… Good luck GH

high volume cockpit

– Last Updated: Jun-04-05 11:08 AM EST –

Just built a Chesapeake Lightcraft - West River18. I fit my 10 1/2's in just fine. Front bulkhead is even far enough forward to stretch out ( i'm 6'1"). paddled on the big lake from Port Sheldon to Grand Haven and back last night 25 miles. I was quite comfortable.

Are your feet sticking straight up

– Last Updated: Jun-04-05 5:39 PM EST –

I know you are an experienced paddler but my tern seemed to have a huge cockpit; my feet are size 10 and I remember no problem at all. What kind of shoes are you wearing, and are your feet sticking forward at about a 20 to 30 degree off vertical?

Maybe the folks at pygmy can recommend a fix.

I wish you well.

size 10
Glad to hear a size ten fits the Tern standard. I just ordered my kit last week and decided against the high volume model. I figured My size tens would fit OK. And I am definitley considering using Grayhawk’s (and Gryak’s) method of foot bracing when I build mine.

I may have to go back to wearing the soft Neily Pryde wet shoes/socks instead of the more sturdy H2O shoes. They are too bulky even for the QCC 700 and they weigh so much that they make it harder to balance when remounting. I just hate walking on sharp stones and clam shells without tough soles.

By the way, nice web site, Rick.

what are you wearing and what other kayaks have you paddled in,i’ve got size 11 ft and thought the Tern was roomy,but I’ve got a 31" inseam so maybe that’s the difference.

I have a 30 inch inseam
So yeah that may make the difference

Foot peg position and foot angle
Peter; my foot pegs were set in place to be verticle. The problem definitely lies with the way the deck tapers(angles)down to the hull. Sans a prototype to measure against I set the rails in at the same height as pygmy suggested.

(Biggest problem here is the sleeker the boat the more it really requires being ‘fit’ to the paddler/user as it’s being built not after…especially in the foot well area.) In order for the ‘feet to fit’ the pegs have to be moved rearword so there’s a definite bend in the leg at the knee bracing the knee against the coaming. I seriously doubt I could fit in braces if I wanted to (lol)

My ‘problem’ is that in order for the feet to comfortably fit on the pegs the feet have to be angled \ / which is damn uncomfortable on the foot and knee.

I’m thinking I’ll have to build off the existing bulkhead so I can position my feet more twd the center of the deck where space isn’t as much a premium…maby try those monster foot gas pedal type deal so I can rest the entire foot in it vs just the ball of the foot…This (as I’ve now found out) is the “Caveat” in building…you can’t try try try before you buy.

Foot size and size in general
Again…the caveat in building (and trusting a reccomendation of the maker en totem)

I’ve got a 32" inseam but…I’m 230lbs. and I’m 62 which combines to make for a slightly ‘less agile’ person. As I said to PeterK; The problem definitely lies in the pitch of the deck from center to where it meets the hull. Nothing was trimmed so far as I know (again, there isn’t a second tern to compare to)

Given the distance from rail/hull to peg, were I to try and rest my foot in a straight up postion I’d have to be a size 9-9.5.maby a 10. If the foot pegs were maby 2=3 inches furthur in from the hull there’d be no problem.

Where I’m running into the problem is the feet are having to angle out (heel in) the leg to knee is angling out and then everything is sort of angling in going up to the waist.

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The deck height at the coaming is insuffecient to allow me to have my knees bent straight up even sitting on a 1/2" pad.


Thow away the pegs…

– Last Updated: Jun-05-05 9:26 PM EST –

(that's throw)

....and foam your bulkhead back to your feet...
You'll think you went to heaven..
No reason to have pegs in an unrudderd boat...
The Tern is so well balanced keep it simple...

forgot to ASK you Greyhawk

– Last Updated: Jun-05-05 9:41 PM EST –

for a good fit for 32" inseam, how many inches of foam would go in front of the bulkhead? (Actual measurement from crotch to the floor barefoot is 35")Too much foam and it would get a bit mushy, wouldn't it?

The only concern I have is once you set up this way, there are no adjustments. I have moved my sea line rudder foot pegs forward and back multiple times..I never seem to want to stay with one adjustment. Same with my car seat.

I have the same problem with tilt steering wheels.

You can buy the foam in 1,2,3,or4 inch widths and it will stay in without glue. So, if you plan it right with several layers you can add or remove layers at will, best if you cut the last one at a 15 degree angle away from your heels. You can also carry an extra piece if someone shorter wants to try the boat.

BTW the front bulkhead Pygmy will send you is precut and will go in far forward… I had to get a pice of wood form HD and cut mine a little larger… I have the template.

do you have thigh braces??
or are you going with the stock coaming, the Pygmy coamings are BIG,without added thigh bracing it’s not at all a good fit for bracing.

It’s nice to have friends in mechanical places.

As I type this a horizontal version of the keeper slide bar is being developed.

The horizontal bar-a thicker wider version-will slide on the oem keeper side rails but allow a pair of foot pads to slide side to side thus allowing me to find the sweet spot for my dawgs.

The pads will lock the same as keepers do and we’re looking at a pair of adjustable reinforcement pegs which would butt against the reinforced bulkhead.

As soon as I get this installed, I’ll post some photos and tell you how it worked.