I was in Port Townsend, WA today at the Pygmy store. What beautiful boats. The Arctic Tern and Coho look like very nice boats. I am considering getting the Osprey 13 and build with my two boys, 7&9. I will admit that I prefer gel coated fiberglass for the sake of durability, but the wood boats look great and I can tell they are probably just as durable. The weight savings is amazing.

yep I’ve owned an Arctic Tern
and while wood boats require more maintainence than gel-coat boats, they are just as durable. lighweight and beautiful.

If you wack them up…
just throw a new coat of varnish on them…

they are tougher than they look… GH

that was the second s&g kit I made for my then 7-8 yr old daughters. You could make it with 4oz glass and it would be mighty light,mine was rediculously overbuilt with a doubled layer of 6oz on the bottom. I think it weighed somewhere around 30lbs. It’s a VERY efficient easy to paddle hull shape. Daughter learned to roll it at age 11 with poorly fitting thigh braces and 2" of hip/hip room. Honestly with 6oz glass it’s overbuilt unless you expect to drop it on the ground all the time. Once you get to 17’ 50lb kayaks with 200lb paddlers 6oz becomes a good do all cloth weight. For the size of person paddling that kayak you could put 4oz on the exterior with another layer of 4oz on the bottom of the center panels and make them carry it it’ll be so light.

I have two
Pygmy’s and really love them. I want to go to Port Townsend someday. I think it would be very interesting.

coffee shop nearby
it’s a scenic spot,with a perfect funky,fun,family friendly coffee shop up the street. Now all they need to do is find someone to carry on the introduction of new designs to remain competitive,full coaming recess, integral thigh braces,a s&g rec. kayak,a surf/play kayak like the Mariner Coaster out of eight panels (AT14 is too small) that is good for 200lb paddlers.

Cool Store
Their new store location is about block closer to the water’s edge and a really terrific location.

I didn’t understand they only sold the kits for home builders. For some reason I thought they also assembled upon request. Makes sense they don’t assemble given the nature of what they’re trying to do.

I am still quite interested to better understand the difference between chined hulls and non-chined. I have a - I think - swedeform fully round hull (Nimbus Telkwa) with some decent rocker for an 18 foot boat. The chines on the Pygmy (or I guess any chined boat) look like it would feel very different than what I am accoumstomed to. I suppose this all the more reason for me to take a test drive and feel the difference.

Having one built
From Pygmy’s FAQ:

Can I buy a finished boat?

Yes. We keep a list of individuals in various parts of North America willing to build kits for people who have neither the time or inclination to build their own. Assume a 6 week delivery time. We only recommend high quality builders whose work we have seen. The cost of the kit, plus labor, still comes in under the price of a fiberglass boat!

Tape it or stitch it?
Duct tape to the rescue (again)!

there’s a larger market and profit to selling cut pieces of plywood and epoxy than using Northamerican labor building kayaks from a product that is designed primarily as a kayak kit.

Once you figure in ALL the things necessary to make the kayak paddleable (like thigh braces and a real seat, not the donut hole CLC provides or the Camp pad pygmy provides) then you get into a lot of labor for something that is made of four panels. Four paneled hulls, “Greenland style”, lend themselves to 4mm plywood construction but it’s not the most optimum shape for paddling compared to molded hulls. That four panels of plywood look like the four panels of a skin boat is convenient for marketing but that doesn’t mean they’re at all related.

Pygmy is smart in that they don’t try to control the secondary market of builders. More builders is better.

Look at the number of hard chine glass Caribou/Arctic Hawk kayaks sold compared to more compound shapes. Betsy Bay and Superior Kayaks (Arctic Hawk) make VERY GOOD plywood “Greenland style” kayaks but it’s not a big market.

So,by the time a person is willing to spend nearly $2500-$3500,and more for A.Hawk, for a well finished four panel hull or less for a roughly finished one they could be looking at the HUGE range of molded glass boats and rotomolded kayaks. Or if handling was more important than weight there are a lot of $1000-$1500 rotomolded kayaks that make a $1000 kit construction less attractive.

That you can get a kit boat pre-built is more a testimony to a lot of enthusiastic builders and market presence than anything inherently wonderful about the design. For awhile CLC cultivated a mystique of there being a designated CLC builder,so you could get a very well built NorthbayXL for example,but you were still getting an untested “Greenland style kayak” that handled abominally in wind/waves compared to a Shearwater Merganser,or any of the Pygmy kayaks.

hmm, bit of rambling,the Osprey13 is a very, very efficient easy kayak to paddle. Put a strong 125lb paddler in it and they’d out sprint the average paddler in short distances and expend much less energy traveling at the usual

I have to take exception…
re: your remark “like thigh braces and a real seat, not the donut hole CLC provides or the Camp pad pygmy provides”

I can’t speak about the CLC product, but I can say that the Pygmy “camp pad” works exceptionally well. I seriously considered changing the seat when I built my Pygmy but after using the provided seat setup for a while, I found it to be extremely comfortable and wouldn’t change it now as it does the job very well.

It’s my understanding that John Lockwood spent a great deal of effort and testing on different seat types before deciding on the current Thermarest solution.

It might not look pretty but it works darned fine – I’ve been using my boat for three years now and it’s way more comfortable than many manufactured seats that I’ve tried.

Sometimes, simple is best.

Thermarest camp seat
For the money it’s a great item,every tour company should have them rolled up and stored under the hatches or foredeck for the 20% of paddlers who get numb legs after paddling for 15minutes. I found that it’s inadequate as is for me and notice that most folks who build and paddle kayaks make a sculpted minicell seat for better support.

For a kit it’s a barely adequate solution for all paddlers once the kayak is constructed but a couple cut parallelagram blocks of 3" minicell would cost only a few bucks more and be substantially better because it would be sculpted for that person. With the two blocks pre-cut they can be glued together to fit the v of the cockpit bottom then carved.

Every Thermarest sport seat that I’ve velcroed into a kayak has eventually become dislodged with heavy use and the velcro adhesive tore off the epoxied hull or the thermarest seat. With a minicell seat you cut the sides so it can be lodged in tight between the hip braces so it can’t shift fore/aft and with only a vertical movement possible it can be further lodged in place with hip pads or simply another block of minicell jammed between the hip brace and hull sides extending forward/aft.

While we are taking exception

– Last Updated: Jan-02-05 4:03 PM EST –

how about some foam and some time to get great outfitting?

For reasonable performance/dollar ratio give me the stitch and glue, (or a used boat) every time.

Pax 18 and 20, low volume arctic tern, kit arctic hawk from clc, pygmy coho; all of these boats do what they do really well. Optimal? No, Comparable to new glass or kevlar for the paddler at the 70 % skill level percentile for sea kayakers? Yes! and possibly superior.

I was wondering about that. All those holes did not make a lot of sense to me.

Note; I have been using the CLC foam seat in one of my boats and it is very comfortable and has attached hip pads.

I think that I already
responded to a similar question concerning seats on another thread. I still have my thermarest in my Coho going on 5 years. I solved the numb legs/feet with a thigh pad. I never have had a “butt” problem and don’t think that the seat is the cause of the numb legs as I had the same problem in my Castine until the addition of a thigh pad. I did make my own foam seat for the Castine later and find it comfortable and no longer need the thigh pad but only because I made the seat longer and higher to provide support for my thighs. This is something you will not likely find with a purchased minicell foam seat.

We buy a kit for many reasons, one of which is the fact that we can get a high end boat for a lot less cost and the thermarest is the same. Think about it, microadjustable, lower center of gravity, long lasting. I don’t know what Pygmy charges for a custom foam seat but Redfish charges about $120.00. IMHO the thermarest gives great comfort for my $ so since it ain’t borke…:slight_smile:


Thermarest Here…
Been using a Thermarest 3/4 Standard since I did my first VK four years ago. I fold it double under my rear, single up the back, and secure it in place with a loosely tied piece of webbing. Let the pad inflate, close valve, hop in - crack open valve until you barely touch the hull, then close. That’s about as low as you can get in the hull, which adds appreciably to initial stability. Padded out beneath the rear rim of the cockpit with an old lifejacket until the padding came flush with the rim - excellent back support. As the VKs are rudderless, no footpegs - I stuff something bulky (rolled bubblewrap, old lifejacket), plus my drybag, into the toe of the cockpit. This lets me vary foot position, leg position and so forth in various combinations.

I find this a perfectly comfortable arrangement - absolutely no numb-bum, leg tingling, cramping, etc. The one time I forgot my Thermarest, I used an old lifejacket - 30 minutes out, numb-bum, legs asleep - had to helped out of the boat after 2.5 hours.

Did my second VK last year, and promptly bought another 3/4 Standard. Hope to finish VK #3 this spring - will have the Thermarest ordered before I finish the boat.

If anyone wants a pic of the setup, e-mail me and I’ll either send a few shots or post 'em to WebShots.



durability is not a issue
with a wooden boat. I put 2 inch wide kevlar tape on the bottom (along the keel line) of the two pymgmys that I built and then coated the bottom with grpahite powder mixed with expoxy and It has made for a very durable boat (we were living in SW fla and their were oyster bars everywhere). I pull up on beaches and on to the rocks in SE Alaska with out a worry which most of my fiberglass/kevelar friends are afraid to get near. Then you pick it up to transport you’llbe thanking yourself for your wize decision. They are wonderful boats to paddle and the stiffness of the hull really makes for a nice handling boat. They are alot of fun to build and I sure you’ll get lots of responses from people. Do not build one if you don’t want to meet people because you’ll get lots of questions about it!

Fiberglass is a great outside layer, but
gelcoat only adds weight without strength. It is an ablation layer, and a sop for UV rays. It always stuns me how boat owners get so concerned about damage to gelcoat, as absorbing scratches and sunlight is all it’s good for.

Only two of the seven composite boats I’ve owned had gelcoat, and I sure have never missed it on the five boats that didn’t have it.