Of Nordcapp LV and impact of lower volu

I have only paddled a Nordy LV briefly in benign conditions so I have no real opinion of the boat although it seemed delightful in a playful way. It certainly seems to have struck many as a great boat, but what intrigues me is how it shows rather small physical differences can make for major changes in how boats are perceived by paddlers. It also shows how tricky, if not futile, it is to tell much from measurements.

For example a Nordy is not a large volume boat by any means at 12 cubic feet and the Nordy LV is not all that much smaller at 11.5 cubic feet. (To me, the AA at around 10 cubic feet is in the upper range for a low volume kayak.) In width they are within a quarter of an inch and in length within 6 inches. Coaming height and cockpit almost the same. Yet all who paddle the LV and have experience in the Nordy say they are very different boats.

Interesting how large the difference in feel can be due to what appears at first look appear to be small physical differences. And perhaps there are measurements most seldom think much about that may have a big influence on the feel of a boat.

Not Really a Low Volume Boat…
But a lower volume Nordkapp that does not need to be loaded to perform like the std. one.

My take… GH

Boat volumes

– Last Updated: Dec-18-07 11:34 AM EST –

If the hull is the same size and shape, the difference in volume is the result of differences in the deck shape.

Outside of windage issues, boats with the same hull will perform the same with the same weight (paddler+cargo).

It is possible that secondary stability might be different with different volume (ie, a higher volume boat might have a higher secondary stability).

The difference in volume between the Anas Acuta and the Nordkapp probably has little direct influence on the difference in behavior of the two boats. It's the difference in hull shapes that is the basis of the difference in behavior.

I think the biggest impact of simple differences in volume (with the same hull shape) is fitting the boat to the paddler and reducing windage.

I confused things
I mentioned the AA just in passing as example of low volume boat, I meant to say the Nordy and Nordy LV are not that different by the tape measure, but seem quite different to those who have paddled them. AA is a different boat in many ways.

The Hull is not the same
The hull on the Nordkapp LV is not the same as the standard version, being approx 6” shorter. About 2” of this is achieved through reduced overhangs the rest coming via scaling along the whole length of the hull. The result is that the LV exhibits the same under water cross-section as the standard kayak but at a reduced loading.

As someone else pointed-out this gives a similar feel for a smaller paddler as the full size boat would for a bigger paddler or a laden paddler. Obviously the big additional advantage is the boat handles this way but with a reduced overall mass, adding still further to the “playfulness”

As for the amount of reduced volume required to make a difference, remember many people do ballast their boats, when empty, most only adding 10 or 15lbs

Ten Pounds can make a big difference
"As for the amount of reduced volume required to make a difference, remember many people do ballast their boats, when empty, most only adding 10 or 15lbs"

First, thanks again for posting here Peter and providing solid info.

My wife found that adding just ten pounds to a boat changed it from something that felt like it would dump her any second, to a great, if spirited, boat. From that experience I deduced if you are on the line in terms of acceptable loading, a little weight can make a dramatic difference. Some boats seem to be more sensitive to loading than others and my SWAG is the more spirited/performance boats are the most sensitive in this regard. The sinkage caused by 10/15# is very small, but even that amount really affects how the hull works in some boats.

Its all relative
Even an Anas Acuta is quite a large volume kayak as compared to a Greenland SOF that would properly fit me (I’m 5’10" and 160lbs). It’s at the upper limit of size to do some of the Greenland techniques.

I’m surprised that more manufacturers haven’t gotten into the niche of building small, light, nimble, low-volume kayaks for day adventures, rather than building expedition gear haulers. Of course, the smaller and tighter that you make a kayak the more customers you have just excluded.

Greg Stamer

Thanks Peter
Nice explanation on the hull. I appreciate it. This is an area that often gets confounded in trying to talk about it.

They have (sort of)

– Last Updated: Dec-20-07 10:41 AM EST –

It used to be the trend that the boat "everybody" bought was like the CD Soltice: a very voluminous, expedition-style boat.

Now, there are many more people buying Romanys, Avocets, Velas, etc. They realize that they really are not doing expeditions.

The market now is very different from what it was 15 years ago.

I think the problem with boats with much smaller volume boats (eg, SOF) is that it takes a fair amount of time to be comfortable in something that tight.

I see the SOF (skin on frame) kayaks as a different class from the production kayaks. The Anas Acuta is a low volume kayak in what is available in standard production.

Niche market in a niche market
I suspect the money to be made making light, small day kayaks gives people pause for thought and there may also be the feeling that those interested in true low volume boats are more likely to build than buy. Even the “small” boats are fairly large, but the Rumor and Avocet LV are getting closer. Everyone has their reasons for paddling and activities they enjoy, but I believe there is much to learn and enjoy from messing about in a true low volume boat.

I’m even more surprised
that there are no real low volume S&G kits.

I kind of understand manufacturers of fiberglass boats don’t want to make big investments for a small niche but aren’t S&G kits made “to order”?

Lower Volume
LOA and WOA dimensions are nearly meaningless when to comes to boats.

WW boat stats always include volume as an important measure. Often they are harder to find for sea kayaks.

Fortunately, Sea Kayaker always provides volume among the stats when reviewing a boat.

I find it informing that though 1.5 feet longer the Nordkapp LV has less volume than an Avocet.

So it is not only lower volume than a standard Nordkapp, but than Valley’s main day/play boat.

Less volume than the Avocet?
Are you sure about that? I don’t have SK data handy, but I recall the Avocet being around 10.5 cubic feet and the Nord LV is at 11.5 cubic feet. If true it would have less volume that the AA which seems hard to believe. I’m pretty sure the Avocet has less volume than the AA. Then again, SWAGing volume is a fool’s errand.


CLC (Chesapeke Light Craft) do runs of parts. That is, they set up their cutting machinery to build the parts for one boat model and run a few of them.

One advantage of this approach to the customer is t that they have some chance of demoing the boat they build.

Stich and Glue kits aren’t custom.

Yup, according to Sea Kayaker Magazine
According to Sea Kayaker the Nordkapp LV at 11.52 cu.ft. is actually lower volume than the Avocet at 11.69 cu.ft.

Low volume
"I believe there is much to learn and enjoy from messing about in a true low volume boat"

I don’t disagree but it would be interesting to hear what those things to learn might be.

One of “those things to learn”…
… might be realizing just how much energy you’ve been wasting pushing around too much kayak!

LV kayaks can be easier to maneuver, roll, get up to speed, manage wind, carry…

Then there are more subtle things like more effective paddle use from tighter catches if the LV kayak has less beam. Amazing what an inch or too can do here…

All stuff you have no way to know from just paddling the bigger stuff that you may consider OK now (and that is fine for what it’s designed for).

Have you seen Charlie’s latest?
Granted, it’s highly modified - from plans no longer available as far as I know - but he’s about got it nailed on the latest version and I think it would make a great kit kayak.

"Stich and Glue kits aren’t custom"
They fairly easily could be. Design software, a bit of experience with this stuff, and a CNC panel cutter…

I would not have thought that. I just do not remember it being all that small…maybe it was the high foredeck and overall cockpit size. I wonder…Valley says the ideal loading for the Avocet is 140# while it is 180# for the Nord LV. Need to paddle them more and stare longer in the hatches.