looking for British style kayak

My current paddling experience consists of lakes, swamps, and rivers up to Class II in my Prijon Yukon Expedition. I’m considering adding a long touring kayak to the fleet for weekend trips to the coast and possibly some Great Lakes paddling. I really don’t know much about touring kayaks, but like the looks of the ones with the upswept bow and stern, which I’m told are British style. Can anybody suggest some good ones? I’m 5’8" tall and about 195 lbs.

Also, I am trying to decide between plastic, fiberglass or kevlar. I don’t like the idea of having to repair cracks in gelcoat all the time but I like the look of the glass boats. I know a plastic boat will weigh more, but that doesn’t concern me so much. I am anxious to hear your thoughts.

Thank you.


A number of choices
Based on your size, wish to camp and do Great Lakes etc…

I would say to first try an NDK Explorer and Valley Aquanaut. These are the two best true Brit boats of expedition length (17’6" & 17’7").

P&H offers the Capella series.

Canadian built of Brit design would be the Nigel Foster Legend and Current Designs Gulfstream.

North American design and built of Brit style would be Necky Chatham 17 & 18, Impex Currituck, Wilderness Systems Tempest 17.

These are all good boats that you would fit that have enough capacity for camping and can handle Great Lakes paddling.

just to complicate things
dont forget QCC boats which i think are Great Lakes based? or at least close…and my favorite design, the Lincoln Eggemoggin.

Composites Aren’t Really That Hard…
to take care of. You don’t have to repair scratches on gelcoat unless you ding it so bad that the composite material is showing. Composites will outlast a plastic because it can be repaired indefinitely. Plastic wears out either through scratches or deformity. Composite has better resale.

Rather than picking on boat on “looks”, you should make it a point to demo different boats, especially with some breeze going to see how it handles for you.

Also, thinking clearly about long camping trips and how much gear you expect to pack. Do you do that now with your current boat? Alot of folks have high volume expedition boats but go out maybe once a year for a weekend. The rest of time, they are doing day trips with a higher volume boat that is more affected by wind and doesn’t handle as well unloaded. Some of the lower volume touring boats can easily handle a weekend’s worth of gear and won’t subject you to handling issues when unloaded.


And demo Prijon’s Seayak or Kodiak…
…the seayak may be more your size.

I mention that since you have a Yukon already

you are familiar with their plastic and the

plastic kind of rounds out the set of suggestions!

Kajak Sport Artisan Millenium

– Last Updated: Sep-28-05 6:53 AM EST –



QCC is probably the least british
though. if not anti british design.

The best for you is…
the boat that makes you smile the most while doing what you wish.

Demo, demo, demo.

Composite boats are not high maintainence. They are hardy and not fragile – especially if you get a Brit made boat.

Having owned a few plastic boats (and still owning one)and now owning composite boats, the only reason I have to put up with the weight and other drawbacks of plastic is for when I decide to go challenge big rocks.

I’ve got a 12yr old glass Mariner,beat to hell. I’ve seen 8yrold Perception Sea Lions that look like bent bananas hog backed from sitting on kayak saddles

Thanks for the list, I will start checking them out. I have paddled the Tempest and did like it although I might want something a bit more stable for photography. Some of the brands aren’t sold around here, at least not that I have seen so that might limit things a bit.

Thanks Sing for that perspective. I wasn’t sure and as long as I don’t have to be constantly fretting and fussing over every little ding, I would prefer composite for the look and the weight reduction. Sounds like longevity and resale would be better too and that is something to consider.

I have demoed some boats but need to do some more. I learned the value of that with my Prijon which everybody told me was impossible to paddle straight without a rudder but I do fine with it.

I do overnight trips about once a month (for the warmer six months of the year) and probably about three times (total) in the cooler months. The Yukon holds a lot of stuff. So that is probably not enough camping to warrant a high volume boat, since I paddle MUCH more often unloaded. Your input has been very helpful.


Yes I like the Prijons
Would like to demo the Kodiak some time. Looked at the Barracuda but it is so narrow I would be afraid to take a photo while in it. Seayak might work or the Touryak. Probably couldn’t demo them until spring, but I may hold off and not buy until spring anyway. Depends on availability of demos and whether anything really wins me over.

So your Mariner… it’s “beat to hell” but your saying that does not compromise the structural integrity? Just asking, since I know diddley squat about glass boats.

it’s shaped the same it was 12yrs ago

– Last Updated: Sep-28-05 10:59 AM EST –

it paddles the same it did 12 yrs ago. The gel coat is scraped through to the glass roving in multiple areas, there's gel coat cracks all around the chine/cockpit area,and only a couple places where the glass shows actual cracks, the foredeck has a crack in the glass where a 110lb double with 50lbs of water was tossed onto it and can flex a little. Cosmetically it looks ten yrs old. And I wouldn't hesitate to launch it through the surf or toss it on a roof rack without pads as long as I could mount it sideways on stackers. And although I probably couldn't sell it for more than $800 I'd pick it over a brand new Perception Eclipse, Avatar, or other plastic boat.

The problem with composite is folks expectations that a construction method that came from making boats where impacts/wear with gel coats are infrequent is used where it's frequent. Essentially the gel coat is an ablative surface that is sacrificial,,it's not for waxinng and making pretty so a babe in a bikini can sit on the foredeck to be shown in magazines. It's a kayak. The same method of construction may be used for the bayliner and the kayak,,one gets naked babes in advertising copy,,the other doesn't.
The material in and of itself doesn't matter too much if you like how the kayak paddles,,and plastic IS better for dropping on rocks. But most folks learn how to paddle around rocks.

When I say beat to hell it's got all kinds of wear.

Brit style kayak search
Searching for the 'right kayak’can be a fun pursuit…may also be a lifetime pursuit for some. You mentioned wanting some decent initial stability for photography…which I can relate to. However, stability in a boat varies significantly with the individual, and also with any one individual’s paddling experience.

I loved taking pics last week in an Aquanaut that I rented. However, it is possible that 1-2 years ago the boat wouldn’t have been as stable for me…meaning…I didn’t have the skill to feel as stable in the boat.

So…if the Tempest feels good…I would highly recommend your spending a good bit of time in the boat and see how the stability improves. If I weren’t building a Night Heron (Nick Schade’s design www.kayakforum.com) I would definitely purchase an Aquanaut.

You may also get a great buy on a used boat at this time of the year. And…many shops have demo days at this time of the year, selling at a discount rentals and older stock.

The BEST advice I ever got on this board was to: demo…demo…demo…and then a few more times…it’s fun!



Yeah - it changes
In addition to that upswept look, the Brit-made boats sometimes have a different point of view about primary stability than Brit-style North American boats. And while getting wobbled side to side in an Avocet doesn’t bother me at all now, it would probably have felt like a bit much when I first went to long boats. Demoing will shake out some of that question.

As I recall (it’s been a while) the Yukon Expedition is a fairly responsive boat, but it enunciates itself more in turning (at times too easily) than in low primary stability. But my memory may be wrong on that.

I have an instructional fleet of about 16 Impex FG boats and start beginners off in them. They get used, they get scuffed and they put up with it. Besides starting off a sport with high performance gear is so much nicer than the way I originally learned by bumming used stuff off others and learning by the School of Flub & Glub. (not a recommended whitewater academy) If you’re thinking composites then definitely look at and more importantly, paddle a few boats from the Impex line.

Plastic wise I agree with the previous posters, Prijon SeaYak is probably a really good choice for you to investigate.

See you on the water,



Those are character lines
not wrinkles! ;^)>

Brit boats not tougher
than modern North American boats! Owned MANY brit boats and they are great designs with outdated technology. Heavy does not mean tough! My demo North American boat is way tougher and has fared far better in abusive testing. I believe this is one of the reasons Valley is pursuing infusion. An infused carbon, kevlar Nordkapp would be not only tougher but lighter. My boats are built without Gel-Coat. It’s useless, adds about 6 lbs. per boat, and does nothing to add value other than looks. Frankly I like the look of a non-gel coat boat better. I am a fan of the older Brit designs like Nordkapp, Pintail, Romany. Like Avocet and Fosters boats as well. Not too much time in P&H products, but they seemed to be ahead of the others in terms of build quality. I suspect Peter will transfer this thinking to Valley.

Gel-coat Useless?
The gelcoat on my boats take the scrapes, abrasions, etc… It seems to insulate the structure (kevlar/dionene etc…) from being impacted.

I think if some of the gouges in my gel coat were to have been to the fabric of the hull it could have a negative effect on the boat.