Greenlander pro & BB recluse

I used to paddle a NDK Greenlander Pro & liked

boat but in rough water sometimes was a little

unnerving, especially in rear quartering seas.

My question is the BB recluse going to handle

in a similar way in rough water our is this a

different animal. I was mainly thinking of recluse

for calm water day paddles but sometimes the

weather & water conditions can change quick and

wondered how this boat compared to GP. I know

its the paddler & not the boat in the end but

anybody with seat time in these two boats I

would appreciate your input/experence.

The bb recluse
will have less overall volume than pretty much any ndk boat. As a result it will sit lower in the water. This can be both bad and good.

The boat will be less disturbed because of a lower freeboard, but it will not respond as well either to edge or lean. Sort of like a really big guy on a teenie weeny bicycle. However that said, both will handle rough water fine. The question is… How does the paddler feel about rough water. I get the feeling from reading alot of these posts that more often than not the question about the kayak has more to do with the paddler’s anxiety about rough water paddling than how their boat will do?

Have you practiced your edging, leans, and braces in surf? Can you effectively control your boat in the wind and waves? How’s you’re roll?

With Avocet

– Last Updated: Jan-13-08 10:37 PM EST –

that I'am paddling now, completely confident with
it in pretty much anything. The GP I used to
have was alot more lively in the rough stuff
compared to avocet but also faster. It just
took some more attention on my part. I was
looking for comparison of GP & recluse that's all. Actually GP with a good sized load for
camping seemed nicer to paddle then without.

I own a Recluse and have rented a Greenlander Pro, so I think I can give you some insight.

The GP turns faster, has much higher volume, and it weathercocks more. Actually a lot more than the Recluse. The Recluse doesn’t need a skeg in most any conditions. The GP has more initial stability. The Recluse will feel really tippy in comparison to the GP the first month or so you paddle it, but you get used to it.

Surfing, they are both good at catching waves. The Recluse is a little tougher to surf because of its hard tracking, and it can broach abruptly. No big deal if you’re aware of it, and don’t let it surprise you.

What I like about each:

  • The Recluse is very fast, and rolls easily once properly outfitted. It’s also very light, and unaffected by wind for the most part.

  • The Greenlander is fast for its beam, and turns well. It also rolls easily for a higher volume kayak.

    What I don’t like about each:

  • The Recluse is a little slower to turn than I’d prefer, and breaking waves from the beam can be a chore to deal with due to the low decks. The hatches tend to leak if not removed, re-sealed, and reinstalled every other year or so.

  • The Greenlander’s bow has a tendency to “dance around” on moderate chop, making it hard to hold a bearing at times. Wind made this tendency worse. The skeg did not help with correcting it. I would have needed to ballast the bow (And I weighed 170 lbs at the time I rented one) to counteract it.

    Overall, I chose the Recluse over the GP as my second boat. My rough water boat is a CD Caribou, which I’d choose again hands-down over the GP in most attributes, so I don’t feel as if I’m missing out on anything.

I have a standard Greenlander and have paddled a BB. The BB did sit lower and tracked like a train. From the little bit of seat time it felt to me like it was just a bit more tender than my greenlander (which I find very stable). I didn’t find it harder to turn but then I have the standard Greenlander.

Also don’t have any trouble with the bouncing or porpoising hull, mine cuts through chop like butter. I like it much better fully packed as Jay mentioned; I’m only 5’8" and 170#.

I did a weeklong trip in my Pintail which has a bit less volume, and still got on fine. So I think if I had to do it again I would go for two lower-volume boats.

Thanks for comparison info
I mainly want recluse for a day boat for

covering miles in lakes & slow moving rivers.

Wanted to stay fairly low volume and quick

but stay with a sea kayak. I paddle mostly

with a greenland paddle and do alot of rolling

along the way, I thought recluse would be a

good choice if had at the right price.

Sounds like time to build a SOF NM

Agree about SOF
If you want a fun day boat for paddling about, like using a GP and enjoy rolling stuff, then seriously consider a SOF. They are very addictive or something. I managed to get one thinking I would do a little Greenland playing about and now it is the boat I gravitate to for day paddles. It is just so much easier to move about on land and water with one .

also agree
with sof and have plans for some strip boats

as well. I have to wait for spring/summer to

build because my garage isn’t heated. If I

find a fiberglass recluse cheap enough I’d go

for it & can work on a sof in the summer, maybe

more geared for rolling. Thx

Bought Recluse
I picked a Recluse for 800.00 & its in pretty

good shape, just needs some outfitting. I found

combing in the way for laybacks. I moved seat

forward 1 3/4" to 2" added more foam behind

lumber back support to match the amount I moved

seat forward and added abit of foam underneath

front of seat to elevate legs for more comfort.

Now when I layback its not painful. I haven’t

glued anything yet need some test runs first.

How much is moving seat forward going to affect

handing. I’am 5’9" 160lbs winter/150 lbs summer

abit under weight for boat but with all this

hatch space I could camp out of this boat.

I moved mine about an inch and a half forward as well, removed the foam backrest (Which I found horribly uncomfortable anyway) and installed a backband. It makes the boat handle just perceptively different, but no big deal.

Put all your daygear in the rear hatch and don’t sweat it. I weigh about 170 in the summer, so it would have a bigger effect for me than it likely will for you.

For rolling sessions, I wedge my legs in with a piece of foam under the deck, and slide as far forward as I can in the cockpit. Makes even handrolls easy. At 5’7", most commercial boats are too high for me to do a true layback in, so I have to move forward to do most of the rolls I know how to do.

Back band

– Last Updated: Jan-08-08 6:47 PM EST –

I was thinking about installing back band as well.
I guess best place to mount would be through
side of combing with maybe a 5/16' bolt to keep
back band high enough, then add some bungies
for support?

Depends on coaming
Betsie Bay boats are kinda like NDK’s in that they aren’t consistent boat to boat. My coaming is a little crooked, and not high enough to have done that, so I drilled holes in the deck next to the coaming, and used stainless tangs from the marine store as tie points. Then I attached a stainless padeye to the rear bulkhead, and ran bungee from there to the back of the backband. It works really well, and is very comfy.

I also cut a recess in the seat, and glued a gel pad into it. Makes longer paddles more comfortable.

Back band
Thanks that sounds like a good way to attach.

I have an older boat that is fiberglass but

also has wood pannels sandwiched in between

glass & has gel coat as well. I thought that

they were ethier fiberglass or mostly wood but

this boat has both, abit heavy at 48-50lbs

but solid. If boat works out I’am thinking about

using bigger hatch’s from valley or kajaksport.

How old

Isn’t that betsie bay Recluse of yours an older one? I have heard of earlier models being inconsistent - but have heard the later ones look great boat-to-boat…I just picked up a BBK Aral from Tom M and think its the best looking boat I have ever seen in wood/fiberglass with its Sappelle wood deck!!


definitely older but looks fairly tough. I

would imagine this boat wasn’t built by betsie

bay, but still a nice looking boat even being

painted/gel coat all white. This boat has alot

of cargo space below decks. If I end up using

for camping, I might install bigger hatches

so I can use space.

1992 or 1993
Originally purchased from Pete & Peg Thompson (Who were dealing BBK boats at the time) by Tom M., who sold to Den & Joy, who sold to me. So I know everyone who ever touched her since she left the shop new.

I originally wanted to buy Tom’s Aral, but the Recluse was $1,000 less at the time.

I’ve re-finished the decks, replaced the hatches with screw-in Becksons, done some repairs and re-painted the hull from the chines down, and added decklines and a paddle park bungee fore of the cockpit. For a kayak that old, she’s in great shape.

paddle park
That’s what I need to add towards front of bow

is a paddle park. Should I just use some sort

of screw fastener in deck or? It’s also time

to refreshen deck lines & bungee cords.

I used

– Last Updated: Jan-09-08 8:01 PM EST –

standard nylon padeyes bolted into the deck. I have reflective decklines running from them, and a paddle bungee running across just forward of the front hatch.

On that boat, it's real easy to do. Just make sure you can reach the backs of your fasteners from the hatch cover before you drill. And make sure you seal the bolts with silicone, to keep water from infiltrating into the wood core.

Late post but…
I enjoyed my Recluse for a number of years. It’s a fast, fun boat to paddle, but demands a LOT of attention. I found this out in spades while circumnavigating Isle Royale a few years ago in 6’ quartering/following seas–I managed to stay dry and upright, but had a case of the jitters for a few hours after the experience. On the other hand, that narrow beam and long waterline made for a very nice straight-line touring machine.

I had no problems stuffing 10 days worth of gear, food, & beer in my Recluse. At 19’, there’s a lot of space for long narrow items. Mine was glass (produced by a contractor) and pretty light at 58 lbs. according to BBK (many of the glass lay-ups were 70+ pounds). I replaced the rear 8" Beckson hatch with a Kajak Sport oval and there was a 4" screw plate behind the seat. I’m a big guy (6’1"/220 lbs.) and when loaded, this boat sat really really low in the water, which made for some anxious moments at sea. But for day paddling, it was the fastest and most effortless boat I’ve ever paddled.

I really liked the BBK foam block seat. It fit me well and was very supportive of my lower back. I also liked the option of installed bungies on the back side that made it into the best paddle float I’ve ever used with a Greenland paddle.

I’ve since sold my Recluse and am now paddling a VCP Aquanaut which I find more comfortable for fit and piece of mind in the rough stuff.

The Recluse is a fine boat; take the time to learn its limitations and hone your skills accordingly. If you need any help with her you’ll find Al and Bestie at BBK to be the two nicest and genuine people in the industry.

Have fun with your new boat!