In a (long) thread not long ago, there was a query about NDK’s quality.
Well, I just got my new Explorer (my second one), and holy moly, has there been a change.
The first shock was when I picked it up,still wrapped in plastic. This can’t be right… this feels light! I did not order it with the skeg, but that can’t explain everything. It comes in at 53lb, but is still burly stiff everywhere.
Next was to check the seams inside the boat, the bulkheads, and inside the hatches. Smoooooth. No need for extra work with sandpaper!
Had to teach a class the next day- a BCU Canoe Safety Test. The boat spent nearly as much time upside down (with and without paddler) as right side up, swamped, climbing all over it, and not a drop of water in the compartments.
It does appear Nigel is upping the QC.
In a (long) thread not long ago, there was a query about NDK’s quality.
Well, 53 pounds in standard layup? I’m impressed. Still three layers of cloth? Rescue patch (foredeck reinforcement)? Keel line reinforcement? No excess goop around bulkheads or along seam?
Are you sure it isn’t a counterfeit boat
This is far from the first positive report on new NDK boats. If Nigel keeps this up who knows how many more Explorers and Romanys we’ll see on the water!
Just out of curiosity, NDK or Valley RDFs? My 2004 Romany is the first I’ve seen with all NDK RDFs. Most Romanys and Explorers I’ve seen have Valley. Tom noted that boats made with the newer deck mold have NDK fittings. It looks very neat, but they are harder to thread multiple lines through. Also my Romany has about 3 fewer RDFs than others I’ve seen.
Back to NDK… wow.
Congrats on the new boat. Just curious, did you do a HV explorer similar to your last NDK?
Got a standard Ex this time, Wade.
It was a tough choice, as I actually like a roomy cockpit- holdover from my racing days, as I still like to paddle in most everything but the snottiest conditions with my knees together, a la sprint or surf kayak.
The seat height was critical for this one to work, and though I usually prefer higher seats (easier on the low back, IMO), the somewhat lower seat in this boat works well even with my, ah, ample butt and thighs.
One other change from earlier NDKs- I disliked the seat in my previous boat, but NDK has a new(er) seat that is rumoured to have been molded to fit Fiona Whitehead. Well, I guess I have her butt, 'cuz it fits way comfy!
Wade, if you are reading this, I will now answer what I think you would ask me next. Yes, the new boat has a very destinctive color combination. But this time, everyone seems to like it. Wonder what I did wrong…
Nice news to hear
Got my fingers crossed…
as my new Greenlander OC is due in any day now and I am hopeful that mine mirrors the quality you found in yours. I asked for a custom bulkhead location with no footpegs and a foam seat. That 6-7lbs will be offset by the keel strip I also ordered for it though.
Colors? Not important,…though got black deck over yellow hull as I have heard black is very easy to spot on the water and as I spend an ample time upside down…yellow should help there.
I love my Romany, I have one and my wife has the LV version and we have never had any problem with leaks or any quality problems, I never wanter to paddle anything else after I got the Romany!
06 Romany came in perfect,
absolutely perfect. Nice little boat.
ew, ew, I want one!!
just got to convince the wife.
One warning from NDK is that, the more custom options one wants, the possibility of flaws goes up.
My boat was with a custom bulkhead, no footpegs, and it was perfectly located. Put my bare feet in there as soon as I unwrapped it- living dangerously, I suppose- and not a single raw edge.
Hope yours comes through like mine!
My boat also has a black deck- that makes two boats in my stable that do- and a bit of a warning, nothing else shows scratches as bad as black gel! And if you think only a hull gets scratches, you are in for a shock.
Ah, well, consider scratches like the bike racers consider road rash, as “badges of honor”.
It is interesting how well black shows up on the water. My frequent paddling partner has an NDK Triton with a yellow deck, black hull. Striking combo!
Romany can do that…
When I was getting my Romany, Jed noted that I would probably never use my Aquanaut again.
Indeed I use the Romany for my skills/pool work, easy day/afterwork paddles etc. It is also an excellent guest boat.
However, I am not a backpacker and would be challanged camping out of the Romany - especially leave no trace camping, though others do camp out of their Romanys.
Also if covering distances and/or hours of paddling, the Romany's lack of glide can get tiresome.
It's my British sportscar in the line of a Triumph Spitfire. It is quick, responsive, and fun. It isn't for the long haul or speed, but many times, those are not the most important considerations.
As well as Fiona Pink?
I wonder if the pink of Fiona Whitehead’s Greenlander Race may be a very visible color?
Deb M has a pink Explorer. Maybe pink is the new ‘in’ color for NDK boats.
Scratches? NO PROBLEMO—
Just put this on your deck. It can be cut to make nice patterns or put on as is. It is called Trimbrite Bodyguard Film and comes in 6" x 12’ rolls. You can get it in clear or black textured, which is what I use. It saves your decks from scratching so I put it under front/rear bungies, behind cockpit, and at bow/stern where the spare paddle slides under lines. Works great as I used it on my Kevlar boat and it went on easy and is just textured enough to make it nice.
not scratches…and they’re proof of fun purchase.
my explorer is all black…well, mostly black…the scars are a grayish white and pretty damn abundant.
Don’t mind me…
…as I am pretty anal about taking care of cars and toys. I freak if I find a scratch on my car so probably just carry that reaction to a shiny kayak.
Guess guys like me should just stick to plastic boats, but fiberglass covered with a mirrored-finish gel makes me want to protect it.
I did month long trips out of a Romany and I weigh 205 lbs. Plenty of room, though she lost some handling when loaded. Covered 40 knot days routinely… PLENTY of room!
I think the sea kayaker paradigm is going to shift away from huge boats that haul too much gear, toward smaller, more fun boats.
As for glide, you already know that a smaller boat can require less energy at touring speeds, so your “net” energy output in your Romany may in fact be less over a long day??
I could go faster in my Nordkapp, but I never went any further per se.
You have two excellent boats, but I’m with Jed. In fact, I’d sell the Aquanaut and buy a surf ski!
Have you paddled the TRITON? How close are those cockpits? Can it be a pretty wet paddle? I’ve heard its definitely a specialized tandem. Although I’m sure its faster than my Aleut Sea II, I would have to think the VCP is a more well rounded, multi purpose tandem.
Triton vs Aleut II
My wife and I demoed the Triton and Aleut, she really loved the Triton (she paddles an Explorer). I liked them both.
The Triton is faster, easier to roll, scull for support, etc… The Aleut isn’t too tough to roll, but it’s a bigger boat, 26" beam vs 22"
You can do an extended paddle roll in the Aleut, in the Triton an extended paddle roll would result in someone being hit in the face with the paddle blade. When you set up to roll in the Triton the paddle blades are touching, I think this is intentional since it allows both paddlers to know when to sweep.
The Aleut is a go fast, drag across beaches and rocks, lets go camping boat. The Triton is a go really really fast, fun, day, weekend camping boat.
We bought an old 120lb Aleut that needs a bit of work, it was $750 so we figured that for that price we could still buy a Triton someday.
Another interesting looking tandem (at least on paper) is the CLC sport Tandem at 22" x 21’8" it looks pretty fast.
I agree with the prinicple of using a smaller boat for camping since I used a 3000 ci pack for climbing trips lasting several days, but it seems many enjoy the longer boats for day trips so they can be almost as flexible if not as much fun as the smaller boats. If you need “leave no trace” stuff and must carry all your fresh water, the boats in the Explorer/Aquanaut/Force/Bayhia class become “handy” even for short trips of a week or so.