NDK deck fittings

-- Last Updated: Dec-30-07 1:13 AM EST --


my new Romany S has a couple of leaking deck fittings. these much touted fittings, sans screws, with the smooth underdeck, are glued in i assume. on some of them, it looks like a clean job, on others one can see gaps around the fitting, and a white substance which must be the adhesive. when i use a knife tip to probe the adhesive, it just scrapes out like flour. i'm wondering what the adhesive is. i'm going to fill the gaps with epoxy more than likely (serious pain in the arse). my confidence in the strength of these fittings and how they are secured into the deck is suspect, given what i'm seeing. has anyone else had these leak or pop out?

Had two of them pop out
Evidently not epoxied in there very well (See link to picture)


However it’s an easy fix.

The other picture in that link shows the sloppy fit of the rear bulkhead. The gap on the lower right corner is 3/4". They put that in there and taped the exposed side, and hey, who’s gonna know, right? Can you imagine that you’re a professional kayak builder duplicating the same models over and over again and that you would not have a template for sizing a tight fitting bulkhead?

Having said that, of the 3 sea kayaks that I own the Greenlander Pro is the one I use the most. It’s past the point that I worry about banging it up on the rocks.


I wonder if what you are finding is polish that built up in the space of the fitting when the boat was buffed out. That would explain its chalky texture.

polish, that makes sense
it seems impossible that is an adhesive, it looks like wax dust, good thinking.

however i’m still wondering how the fittings are put in and how strong they are.

i’m concerned mine is going to suffer from the fate of the Greenlander above…

Hey James,

yeah, I had one pop out of my Greenlander Pro on my second day out going around the island last summer. I’m going to do a little work on it this winter after I put it away for the season (meaning a week or two after my new years day paddle.

Had your new kayak out in the choppy stuff yet?


welcome to the world of NDK QC

kind of nostalgic…

– Last Updated: Jan-01-08 10:06 AM EST –

I remember when issues with NDK boats seemed constant and it seemed there was always at least one thread running bashing NDK build quality.

This is the first problem I've heard in a while.

BTW, I saw an rdf pop off an Impex Montauk I was towing in calm water. Stuff happens ;-)

don’t get me started.
i like the man, and his boats, but this is merely one of many issues with the boat, and i believe mine is amongst the better ones. however the others are relatively minor, this one is a bigger pain and as i was saying i’m concerned about the overall strength and durability of the fittings, which, let’s face it, affects the integrity of the boat if one comes out while on the water.

anyways, it’s an awesome boat just the same, every time i’m in it i’m impressed with how fun it is.

happy new year!

There are three constants in life…
…death, taxes and Nigel Dennis’ complete disregard for quality. :wink:

studying no. 22
and it wont be an NDK…I’ve mentioned this in the past-why run the risk of the headaches/hassles when you can have a Tempest or a Valley boat. Maybe you’ll get lucky with NDK and yes even WS and Valley have their moments but the odds are against you with the NDK. Hey, if you went Tempest (or Zephyr)look at the track record here at p.net via flatnick at resolving problems if they do occur.

I’d like to see an honest thread of every poster here with every boat owned and every flaw. It would be nice if someone could then put it in an excell sheet and save it in an articles section- regardless we’ve got three WS boats and none had problems from production when delivered. Same with 2 Valley boats…

my excuse?
point me to one kayak, that is 16’ in length, and has a cocpit design to perfectly accommodate a guy my size. not knocking NDK either, but i would love to have had a choice of kayaks in this size range that fit me. the fact is ND has created a very small niche boat, (he’s a niche boat maker in the first place) to fit a large person. it would be great if the Avocet came in an HV, i’ve tried it, and it was far too small for me. yes the Tempest is a fantastic boat, but it’s too close in size to my other boat. having spent much of the day surfing it at local beach in gale driven waves, the Romany S is a very cool boat and i’m thankful someone would even bother to make a boat to fit me in the first place.

No one ever notices the good ones

– Last Updated: Jan-02-08 12:26 PM EST –

Seriously - we have an NDK boat that was a bit of an experiment in terms of its layup and has been very very solid as well as bone dry. An older Valley boat that is the same (ProLite layup) and a newer one that isn't so solid. A P&H that is a terribly tough boat except the rear oval hatch has a constant small leak. A Necky plastic Elaho that is a great rolling boat but again seriously leaky hatches (a not uncommon complaint with several years of Tempests as well) and a pretty crude seam. An Elite layup Romany that isn't laid up to come thru a lot of hard rocky surf landings but is holding up for its intended purpose on easier stuff around here, had an issue but an eminently fixable one.

Out of the six sea kayaks hanging in the basement or under the porch, from four different makers, only one of them has ever had issues about it highlighted on this board. We've talked about the others generally in how they perform, but frankly there is generally not nearly as much reason to talk about the boats that work as the lesser number that have fatal problems.

Good point

– Last Updated: Jan-02-08 8:15 AM EST –

The problem with NDK is that the boats are incredibly inconsistent. There are numerous common problems with them, but you never know which ones a particular boat will suffer from. What it shows it that they have done nothing whatsoever to make their products consistent. Most of the problems seen with their boats could be solved by simply monitoring the layup process and building a few jigs to position bulkheads, coamings and fittings properly. Yet they still apparently refuse to take even these incredibly simple, most basic steps to insure a quality product. That is utterly inexcusable IMO.

The bottom line is that there is no reason that they shouldn't all be "good ones".

Composites are a tough business
Very low margins, relatively low paid workers, turnover, etc. Hard to ensure quality with such a work force.

QCC’s business model may have a chance of being profitable, and I think it’s intelligent and wish them will.

Why do ya’ll think Dennis is looking at poly boats? Why do companies known for quality like Seaward expand into thermoforming etc? Why are companies making kayaks in China?

Because domestic / Brit composite kayaks are very unprofitable. Nigel Dennis is a passionate paddler and adventurer, but he aint a rich guy.

I’m making no excuses for poor quality, just relaying some info about the nature of the business. I’ve had good and bad boats from pretty much all the common companies. Could i build a better boat? yep… Would I make a living? Nope…

I admire those with the stones to try and eek out a living making composite kayaks for a thrifty sub-culture!

Thank you Salty!
“I admire those with the stones to try and eek out a living making composite kayaks for a thrifty sub-culture!”

It is frustrating to encounter a boat with issues. Two of the Brit boats currently in my possession each had/have issues. With one (the NDK boat) the issues were easy to fix as a result of advice from this board. The other has more serious issues and is being replaced by the manufacturer.

Even with sometimes having to deal with defects, I still think $3,000+/- is a bargain for a handmade boat to which I entrust my life.

agreed and follow up question on NDK
…of the stories of flaws and bad QC, how many of the flaws were not apparent with a thorough inspection? How many were potentially dangerous?

I’m not exonerating NDK in the least, as an owner of a well-built Explorer it’s embarrassing to me that I got one of the exceptions rather than a typical one (I found one easily repairable flaw when I bought mine as a demo).

'Rescue Dawn’
just watched this movie and thought how fortunate we all are in being able to discuss the flaws of kayaks!

Quality = profitability

– Last Updated: Jan-03-08 8:13 AM EST –

I know it's not always that simple, but hear me out.

The common problems with NDK boats would cost very little to fix at the manufacturing end, as most of them would be one-time costs. We're talking really basic, "manufacturing 101" stuff, not expensive, high-tech solutions.

1- It would take a little time and materials to build jigs for cutting various parts to the correct sizes/shapes and for positioning coamings, bulkheads, etc. properly. These jigs could be used indefinitely, so this is a one-time cost.

2- Correcting layup issues could be as simple a matter as creating patterns for the fabric pieces and having them cut out and kitted in the correct order before the building process starts. This is mainly a matter of organization and costs little or nothing.

As far as profitability goes, one of the main reasons people don't buy NDK boats is that the quality sucks. There is little doubt that has hurt their profitability. If the boats were built right, sales would increase as would profits. In this case, it really is a simple equation.

What were the Brits ever good at making
I love my Explorer when it’s not leaking someplace or another. First time out I had 3 gallons of water in a half and hour in the rear bulkhead (no seal where the skeg cable enters the skeg box). Got that fixed then the seals around the hatch openings started leaking. Fixed that, then leaks around the bulkheads due to the bad fit shown in the post near the top. Yearly dabs of sealant here and there keeps her mostly dry, but still get about a cup of water in each bulk head after a typical day on the water.

Owning and NDK kayak is like owning and MG sports car or a Triumph bike. When they are working they are a source of joy. I have resigned myself that my NDK will always be a project to keep her running dry.

…the only thing missing in an NDK boat is an oil stain beneath it, that smell of burned oily gaskets and aging leather, some wood frame members and a leaky windscreen!

Great memories, thanks!