NDK Romany S; Standard or Elite Lay up?

Use for day touring, 2 hour lake exercise, playing in max 2-3 foot waves, beach launchs.

Will elite have better chances of cracks in gel coat?

Desire to attain instructor level and anticipate using this for rescue practice etc.

standard, no debate
NDK standard is “standard” for a reason. It works for 95+% of uses, especially teaching, for which the Romany was originally designed.

P.S. The “no debate” in the subject was specifically designed to spur debate. However, I really do think there is only one right answer to this question…

As soon as you throw instruction and particularly rescue practice in the mix, you need the heavier layup.

and then
when you get the boat, you’ll want to do spot reinforcing all over the place, as needed, depending on your specific boat, as there is gross inconsistency from boat to boat. then get yourself some good quality glasses and resins, a fiberglass repair manual, and some gel coat (if you are concerned about cosmetics) as you will be fixing cracks, crunches and holes on a regular basis. consider reinforcing your coaming rim, and the bond to the deck straight away, before you even use the boat. also a layer of carbon cloth in the bilge will add needed rigidity to the hull to limit oil canning. having my own NDK for the last year, and knowning shops that sell them and friends who own them, i say this from experience. if your size allows, you may also consider various models from Impex and others and get a high quality layup straight from the factory. ultimately it’s best to consider NDK’s as unfinished projects upon purchase and an opportunity to practice boat repair. as a trade off, you get a remarkably well balanced design with few peers.

P&H and Valley are peers.
And you will not have to get out the gel coat if you purchase a wonderful Valley triple layer plastic model–same function, weihght trade off from 'glass a measly 4-5 lbs, and you can bang around to your heart’s content.

it depends on the boat
I have owned a few NDK boats myself and have only had one problem. That being a small leak at the skeg box. The fix took about 10 minutes.

The most recent incident one Explorer suffered was when the wind blew it off of my roof rack before I secured a tie down. The Explorer fell off the rack, broke the side mirror, and hit the asphalt stern first. My kayak was fine, but I had to replace the mirror.

Standard layup Romany standard

– Last Updated: Sep-29-08 9:31 PM EST –

Though Avocets, Capellas, Tempest 165s, Chatham 16s, et al are very fine day boats, there is no better schooling boat than a Romany.

I did all my 3* work in my Aquanaut and then got a Romany --- and then truly felt why so many coaches use Romanys!

One day I was assisting a coach in a session on edging and bracing. One woman in an Eddyline boat had the body movement down but was getting frustrated. I put her in my Romany and she beamed with joy at how well she was able to edge, turn and brace in the boat.

My Elite layup Romany is fine, though I don't use it for rock gardening. For extensive coaching etc... I would recommend a standard layup boat.

It comes in plastic too, doesn’t it?
The S comes now in plastic, right? For a shortish boat like that I think plastic is fine, unless weight savings is a priority and with a heavy layup I think that would not be the case…

I have not been in one but own a Tempest 170 in plastic and it is fine for rough play. I whish it were lighter by at least 5-10 lb but then it would be a more fragile kevlar layup… The feeling going over submerged rocks is not pleasant - the bottom curves-up as I slide over the tock and if this was a glass boat it may just as well crack or at least leave a large mark on the gel coat…

Mine is 8 years old and battered.

Standard is easy to fix.

The Elite is for folks with back problems no friends and a van to put the boat on.

The lay up is squirly anyway, it needs the weight.

Great boat once it is in the water though.

It’s an excellent choice
but no better than several others equally or even more playful. Comes down to fit.


– Last Updated: Sep-30-08 7:47 AM EST –

I have had an elite layup Romany for a little over a year, bought new. Some parts of the deck flex noticeably during rescues. I haven't found any cracks in the gelcoat yet despite lots of rescue practice and some rocky landings, although I would be surprised not to see them in the future.

I read similar warnings on pnet, and weighed the pros and cons before choosing this layup. I would get the same boat again today. One note: I did get the keelstrip option, which I would also do again, particularly on the lighter layup.

Edit to add: I see you are from Niagara. Your intended uses are nearly identical to mine, including paddling in (presumably) Lake Ontario.

The plastic has issues
We have one of the first plastic Romany S models at the paddle center, and I spent an evening paddling it a few weeks ago. Here are some impressions:

  • the seat is not great, and I understand they are making changes - this one has no back band.

  • the plastic foot pegs are very hard to adjust.

  • the coaming is the wider version for larger people, and would not give most people the thigh contact that is so good on the regular Romany.

  • as for the hull, I was out in wind waves and chop on the Hudson River, and the boat felt like an ocean liner with gyro stabilization. It was simply amazing in it’s steadiness. I’m wondering if a regular glass S model would be the same great confidence-builder.

    Cheers, Alan

I’ve seen some of the Romany S RM (plastic) kayaks, and they look nice. Seems like it would be much more durable than fiberglass and it’s much less expensive as well. I haven’t paddled one yet, but plan to soon.

Elite layup

– Last Updated: Sep-30-08 3:43 PM EST –

I had some spider cracking on the port chine at midship on my Elite Romany but otherwise it has been fine.

I've used it surfing, in tide races, as well as some rescue practice and general paddling and skills sessions.

It is getting a keel strip this winter.

I've read much negative about the Eite layup, and Tom Bergh tried to disuade me from buying this boat. However, my ProLite Aquanaut weighs over 60 pounds. I am very glad for the Elite layup Romany (c.45 pounds)especially when paddling alone and/or at the end of a paddle.

Lots of issues
I had an early plastic one with lots of issues: Bulkheads were loose and let water run under them, the cockpit rim is pop rivited on and the seam leaks all around, the foot pegs have already been mentioned, and this one had the wrong hatch cover for the day hatch.

Get a glass one.

Is this a surprise???

– Last Updated: Sep-30-08 4:49 PM EST –

Having the coaming be a different material than the deck and having to rivet and epoxy it in place was inviting issues... This from a producer who has had significant issues producing straight-forward composite boats.

If Nigel Dennis cared about quality he would have contracted with P&H or Valley to make the poly Romany.

why did you have a mirror on the boat?
hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee he

so I can admire myself while paddling NM

Three things
1. The nature of NDK cockpit rings is such that it is not possible to rotational mold the shape as one piece, thus the secondary piece, rivets, and adhesive.

2. Nigel does not roto mold his own boats.

3. They’ll get it sorted out in time. Valley had issues on early roto skerrays etc. It took some time, now they are excellent.

Is such a cockpit rim necessary?

– Last Updated: Sep-30-08 6:21 PM EST –

I've seen poly Avocets used in the harshest of ways and they seem to do fine with a rm coaming.

I actually assumed someone was doing the rotomolding for NDK - and I have not heard of any issues with that aspect of the boats. However, I wonder if it is those Welsh lads with such a long history of precise and careful work for Nigel who are gluing and riveting the coamings?

I've read the official line on why Nigel determined to use a composite coaming on his poly boat. However, it does seem to be inviting trouble.