NDK Pilgrim?

Has Nigel Dennis’s new kayak design for small people (that would sure include me) hit our shores yet? If so, has anyone has a chance to try it?

G in NC

Proxy report

– Last Updated: Sep-10-09 5:13 PM EST –

My wife just tried one, but only in flat/moving water.
She currently owns a P&H Vela, which she has a like/dislike relationship with.
She tried out a Valley Avocet LV on numerous occasions this year, in several conditions. She fell in love with the Avocet LV some months ago, and has been thinking of selling her Vela to afford buying one. What has delayed that is the hope of trying a Pilgrim.

After paddling the Pilgrim for 20minutes, she came back to the dock exclaiming, "this is the best boat I have ever tried!". And she has tried a lot, and most all in conditions.

But then...she immediately got back into the Avocet LV (she was testing several boats that day, including using her Vela as a reference). And came back, saying, well, maybe a tie.

She is quite small (5'2", 105lb), and also quite skilled, as a reference.

Most boats don't allow her to move, as the cockpit rim is up by her rib cage. The only boats she likes the fit in is the three mentioned, plus the Explorer and Romany LV's. She also prefers a knees up position (like WW kayaks and racing kayaks) vs a flatter leg position.

Now for her specific comments.
The Pilgrim fit her the best w/o modification of any boat she has been in; she especially liked the connection with her thighs/knees. The reach to the front of the cockpit rim was also the easiest of any keyhole cockpit kayak tried. Acceleration was good, cruising was good, but what stood out the most to her was the balance between initial and secondary stability. She thought the Pilgrim to be extremely stable, very easy to edge (most boats are hard for her to edge without raising the seat height), and the most profoundly stable on edge of any boat she has been in. Of minor note is that she likes paddling in flat water with her knees together (like race boats), and that position was a bit cramped.

The Avocet LV she also thought comfortable. With the knees in the thigh hooks she thought it was a bit more splayed out than she prefers, but she could keep knees together easier. The reach to put on the skirt was a bit farther than the Pilgrim, but still far closer than most boats. The seat she thought very comfortable, but didn't like the foam padding (odd personal preference, she likes slippery seat so that her hips can move). The boat had less initial stability than the Pilgrim, but not at all twitchy. The secondary was good, but that was the biggest difference to her- the Pilgrim was silly stable on edge. Both were easy to edge. Without a GPS/heart rate moniter (oops, left them at home!) to verify, resistance was hard to verify, but she thought the Avocet had less resistance at 3.5-4kn. There was only a Force 3 wind blowing that day, enough to judge weatherhelm; both boats were far better than her Vela, with a slight nod to the Pilgrim.

She came away thinking she would be happy with either one, but the fit and the stability on edge has her favoring the Pilgrim.

Did you married my twin sister?
I found it amusing to read your “proxy” report! 'cause everything about your wife’s situation is identical to mine! From the like and dislike of the same exact list of boats (except the Vela, which I don’t care much), down to the “almost ready to pull the plug on Avocet LV but holding out till a chance to test the Pilgrim”!!!

Anyway, I’m still waiting on the chance to test paddle the Pilgrim…

Valley vs NDK…
I’ve owned two of each, and for consistent quality would pick a Valley any day. Romany/Explorer are one of the absolute best lumpy water hulls, but they’re also kinda like early 80’s Audis…you might get a good one and you might get one who’s sunroof spontaneously opens whenever it rains.

Maybe not sisters
Maybe she leads a double life.


great report!
There’s a NDK retailer about 150 miles from me, and maybe, just maybe, he’ll have a demo Pilgrim later this fall. That would be great. Thanks so much, Otterslide, for relaying your wife’s very helpful remarks.

I’ve never had an opportunity to try a low-volume Avocet; the regular rotomolded Avocet felt to me like a bathtub at the cockpit. The one Vela I sat in felt twitchy, which doesn’t mean much. I would like to have a kayak with a good fit but just a bit more volume than my Impex Mystic for windy conditions when loaded with a weekend’s worth of camping gear.

Thanks, again, Otterslide and everyone.

(And I’ll watch out for the sunroof spontaneously opening during a rain shower! :slight_smile: )

G in NC

excellent analogy

Gingernc check out the new Tiderace Xcite S by Aled Williams (formerly of NDK and Rockpool) at SC&K if you can get down to Savannah. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.http://www.savannahcanoeandkayak.com/tiderace_sea_kayaks.htm

Tiderace kayaks
Pretty stylish looking, and the video was fun. Xcite S is for people my size.

I wonder, though, if Xcite S comes in composite. They showed the S in what looked like a plastic boat.


i’m emailing Savannah Kayak for info
And thanks for telling me about this boat, WCL. I’m checking on it.


Tiderace Xcite S
All the Tiderace kayaks only are available in composite.

They use 2 different layups. One they call the classic which is fiberglass, and the hardcore which is a carbon kevlar hull with a glass deck. Both are made heavy duty in the tradition of kayaks from Wales.

MMM Pilgrim

I said the same thing she did

– Last Updated: Sep-11-09 3:44 PM EST –

"Best boat I've ever paddled!"

5'2, under 110 lbs. I added 1/2" of minicell foam under the seats of the next-two-best-fitting kayaks (Tempest 165 and Explorer LV), which was not a big deal to do. But with the Pilgrim it's not necessary, AND its new glass form-fitting seat fits perfectly. I also found that it weathercocked the least of any kayaks I've tried yet was still easy to maneuver. Like the other two, it's easy to roll and do full laybacks.

What I'm wondering about is, How does the Pilgrim Expedition feel???????

…best quality I’ve ever seen. Gonna try one this Oct. @ Tybee Island…actually hoping there’s something about it I don’t like…so I’m not forced to load up a recently zeroed out credit card.

A word of caution regarding Tiderace
I was paddling with another woman who just bought a new Tiderace. And she basically said people either LOVE IT or HATE IT.

Unlike the Explorer/Romany, which seems a good many paddlers like.

consider not posting such a statement
Posting something that you have no experience with and is hearsay at best about a new boat is not the best thing to do here. These posts are read by many new paddlers. So you could be unfairly prejudicing them against this boat.

I myself have a Tiderace Xcite and find it just like the Romany Aled designed years ago, only about 9 generations more refined. It is an amazingly all around boat that is likely to please a wide variety of paddlers.

NDK Pilgrim vs. Avocet LV
I was lucky enough to paddle both the NDK Pilgrim and the Avocet LV at the West Coast Kayak Symposium in Port Townsend. It’s been very difficult to find either of the boats to demo.

I’m under 5 feet tall and weigh around 110. My current boat is a Tempest 165 and I’d like something that fits me a little better.

Just looking at the specifications, I thought the Avocet LV would be the perfect boat for me. I especially liked the lower front deck and the low back deck. I was also impressed with the weight of the boat (around 40# for the kevlar version and 46# for the fiberglass). The boat accelerated well and seemed to track well. The fit was great, but I felt like I was sitting high in the boat and I didn’t really care for the seat. I didn’t feel really stable in it, but I could easily put the boat on edge.

I tried the NDK Pilgrim next. I wasn’t sure this would be a good boat for me because it’s actually designed to fit a wider range of height and weight. The Pilgrim fit very well and I felt very comfortable in it. The initial and secondary stability is similar to my Tempest 165, so I felt like I could control the boat a little better. It also felt a little sluggish compared to the Avocet LV. The downside of the boat for me is the weight. I’m guessing that it’s about 55# which is a lot for me to carry (my Tempest is around 50#).

I’m really in a quandry about which one to buy (it’s really great to have choose between two very fine boats). So, if there are others out there who have comments about these two kayaks, I’d really appreciate hearing from you.

hit our shores yet?
Tom Bergh (MIKCo) arrived at Downeast with a Pilgrim on the roof. My wife was hoping to get a chance to try it, but it didn’t happen. Tom said the expedition had not yet arrived.

“both boats were far better than her Vela”

That’s interesting, because I’ve tried several other boats (but not the LV Avocet nor the Pilgrim) and being a small person I was always glad to be back in my vela. I don’t have much problems with weathercocking if using the skeg. In Europe the Northshore Shoreline is another popular small paddler’s boat, but not as lively and comfortable as the Vela. So I’m eager to try the Pilgrim…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ_a7JGNyRw (vela in force 5 winds)

the dealer to remove the seat…I believe it is held by just a couple of bolts.

Then try the Avocet LV

if everything about a house is to your liking except the easy chair sitting in the livingroom that comes with the house…get rid of the easy chair, but still buy the house.(put a foam seat in)

Best Wishes