Night Heron Petrel

Anyone have one?

Do you love it?

Would it be good for a female - 5’6"/130?

98% flatwater lakes and just a little lumpy stuff salt?

Thank you

Looks nice!

It sounds like a fun boat. Looking at the drawings, I was wondering if it’d be difficult to make that fairly hard chine aft with strip construction. Any builders have an opinion?

The building board might be a good place to ask:

Have you checked with Guillemot or CLC to see if there are any in your area?

What other designs have caught your eye?

Nick Schade
Is the designer and best qualified to answer your questions.

He can be reached at, and is very good at answering questions.

Just Beautiful
I don’t know anything about the night herons but they look like works of art to me.

I have the Night Heron
strip built greenland deck. I absolutely love it but it is a performance boat. It does well in flat water but it really shines in lumpy and challenging stuff and is an excellent surfer.

some people think it is a bit loose on flat water and it does require good paddling skills. (comment made to me when I mentioned putting a skeg in it? “learn to paddle” :slight_smile:


I wrote Nick
and he recommended the Night Heron for me and the Petrel for my GF. I started her off in a Cape Horn Pro Fiberglass and she’s outgrown it since Memorial Day, hit her first roll last week.

Learning curve went faster than I thought it would but I’m not complaining. I’m up for a S&G but not wanting to spend the time on a stripper.

We want something lower volume, playful, and quick rather than fast. Prefer to go skegless without too much correcting by stroke.


The Night Heron and Petrel…
…are different Nick Schade designs. The former is an 18’ boat and the latter a 17’ boat that’s more or less Nick’s counterpart to the VCP/VSK Pintail. Both are very maneuverable boats. The details are on the Guillemot Kayaks site.

Night Hawk- Petrel

– Last Updated: Oct-24-08 6:24 PM EST –

Living in CT and being in the same kayak club as Nick I have paddled both hulls a number of times. They are related designs. The Petrel is basically a Night Heron shortened and with considerable rocker added. The chine is somewhat different, especially in the front. The Night Heron is a stronger tracking hull while the Petrel is a looser tracking hull.

My neighbor built a plywood Night Heron and really likes it. It is quite manageable without a skeg or rudder. He says that of course there are a few times where a skeg would be nice but they are rare moments. I have enjoyed paddling his Night Heron as well as Nick's demo Night Heron.

I have paddled Nick's Petrel at demo events a number of times and am in the process (struggle) of building one. It's a hard hull to start your learning to build strippers with. The very shape that makes it most appealing to me also makes it harder to build, a challenge that is compounded by my inexperience building strippers. In my opinion, it's such a great design that I'll struggle on until I complete it and really look forward to paddling the yet to be finished Petrel.

I think the rocker of the Petrel asks for a skeg and with a light paddler it will really require one. That's only my humble opinion and of course I will defer to Nick's opinion on that issue (Nick is the designer and a much better kayaker than me). Ask him directly on the Petrel with or without a skeg for a 130 lb paddler.

You are looking at two fine designs,


Re: Night Heron
Hi I have a Greenland decked Night heron with the ocean cockpit. This is my first sea kayak and first boat I’ve built. I went from a 26" wide semi-rec boat to the 20" Night Heron. I absolutely love the boat.

First off, It is incredible stable. When I first launched, I thought I was on a mud bar. I litterly had to put my hands down to make sure that I was actually floating.

After coming home I immediately rigged it for fishing, and it has become my all time best fishing boat. No more barges for me. Surpriseling so, it just seems to become more stable as the water gets rougher.

Before I was used to being blown off the water in my other boats. Not so with the Night Heron. I’ve only had it a year but I have been able to get out just about everyday. Missing only because I have other things I need to get done.

It is also very fast and very easy to turn. I did build it with a skeg, while not absolutely needed. I find that this feature just makes the haddleing so much easier, in all conditions.

It also has to be one the all time easiest boats to roll. For me its truly self rolling. I learned to roll in this boat without any instruction, or even seeing a video. It was that easy.

If your looking for a fast, stable user friendly boat. This is it. Here is a link, One of the board members took of my boat, and of me rolling.

more Night Heron greenland pics


That Ocean Coaming
has me thinking about entry and exit but I guess a little time getting use to would pay off big in other areas.

Nice builds and the stripper is far better looking but time and willingness dictates S&G. The Night Heron is for me but he rocker on the Petrel has me a little concerned for the 130# GF with five months experience limited to not all of those weekends. I know her, she will get frustrated and pout if she has to struggle too much to correct ;(

Maybe a mini-skeg that could be cut off with time?

Ok I will say it.
If you are looking for a boat to build but making concessions for its performance characteristics and planning possible modifications before building or paddling it, perhaps another boat would be more gratifying?

I don’t see the Night heron or the Petrel as anything less than intermediate performance boats that just get better and better the rougher it gets. and you did say 90% or so of flat water…


I’ve been paddling a Night Heron
for over two years, and I love it. Strip built. I was concerned that I may be too light for it at 145lbs, but it handles beautifuly. It goes straight when I want it to, and turns on a dime. Not as maneuverable as a Pintail, but definitely not a stiff tracker. I take it out in pretty much everything Lake Michigan has to offer.

I would agree that the Petrel would probably be better for someone 130lbs, if only to have less boat to push around. I’ve yet to paddle one, but I’m building one for my wife.

What I am no hearing is a female Petrel
owner around 130#. The Night Heron is for me and not having one local to paddle that I know of, I will get used to it.

The her on the other hand, if not happy with the Petrel, could make for a spring and summer colder than the upcomming winter.

Who has a Petrel in NC?

The Petrel has a design displacement of 247# and volume is 11 cubic feet. The strip Night Heron has a design displacement of 251# and a volume of 11.7 cubic feet.

The Petrel is listed as good for small paddlers, but it is not all that small a boat. I dimly recall paddling it a couple of years ago at a demo and thought it a nice boat that was not tight at all for me at 5’ 10" and 175#. That one had an off center skeg.

I would ask Nick. He would not steer you wrong.

Any other suggestions
I am waiting on a second reply from Nick but in the meantime want to explore my options for the GF’s kayak, not mine, I going with the Night Heron S&G

kayak for 130 lb girlfriend
As noted above I really like the Petrel and am building one. Nick has other designs beyond the petrel and Night heron that might be more suitable for her size/weight. Or, you could scale down the Petrel as a skilled female kayak builder in CT done-she really likes it (with a skeg).

Look at “One Ocean Kayaks” site for some other interesting designs. I’m thinking about building the Cirrus when I finish the Petrel. I think that design would be too large for her but OOK has some smaller designs.


The Petrel

– Last Updated: Oct-26-08 11:57 AM EST –

I've been looking at the Petrel as potentially a boat to build for myself to get into something a little more playful and lower volume than my plastic Tempest 170 for about the same $$$. But reading here I get the impression that it is for somewhat smaller paddlers (I'm 6'4 at 190lb with light paddling gear).

Any thoughts on this from whomever might have paddled the Petrel? Of course, the deck would be modified to fit my long legs and large feet, but would the hull have large enough displacement? I'm not sure about the 20" beam too - I'm fairly comfortable in the CD Extreme at about 20-21" or so waterline for me and the CD has a rounder than the Petrel's bottom so I think stability-wise the two may be close...

Had a chance to sit in the Night Heron High Deck (no chance for my feet in the "normal" version) at the CLC shop recently and it was very nice as well, just I think the Petrel would be alot more maneuverable and fun to play with (just by looking at them, have not paddled either).


– Last Updated: Oct-27-08 10:46 PM EST –


Not sure of how you got the impression that the Petrel is for small paddlers. Maybe from our discussion of suitability for a 130 paddler?

Nick is around 6' and a bit under 200 lbs and he uses it as his rough water play boat. I'm around 6' and at 205 now and planning to lose more weight. I'm building a Petrel for my play boat. My feet are 12.5 to 13 depending on the shoe and they fit in the standard Petrel with NRS Rodeo Sox. As you noted, you could change the deck for more room if needed.

Ask Nick if you have concerns with your size, he will give you an honest answer.


I got that
impression from two emails from Nick though I’m not feeling this is the right boat for her from what I read here. The Cirrus LT maybe more along the right path.

Unpaddled kits are a bitch deciding which way to go