Tell me about "Plastic Krugers"

I’m intrigued by the idea and the lower investment involved in a used poly tandem. I just moved to Chesapeake and would like to do the Watertribe OkoumeFest sometime in the future. Is a Palmico 160 The way to go? Or are there other hulls on the used market? My weight hit 250 this year and I don’t pack light so I think I will need a high volume hull. Thanks, Woody

Is this going to be an open cockpit
tandem where you can center the seat for trim? I wouldn’t bother with any boat that can’t be trimmed properly.

I’m sure there are some closed cockpit sea or touring kayaks that can handle your weight, but you have to find out which ones allow easy entry, exit, and comfort.

Single paddle-able
Im looking for a hull that will be efficient driven by a canoe paddle, in the style of Vernon Kruger, and support a down wind sail. The Watertribe bit is motivational fantasy, but I would like a boat that could safely complete such a marathon.

In that case, you want a rudder

– Last Updated: Nov-05-13 8:27 PM EST –

The real key to Kruger's paddling efficiency was his use of the rudder. The rudder eliminates the need for corrective strokes during straight-ahead paddling of course, but the extra efficiency that normal single-blade paddlers can't achieve when paddling on one side is due to the rudder as well. Correction applied via a rudder at the stern of the boat produces much less drag than a ruddering action applied somewhere more forward of that location, between the stern and center, as would be done when dragging a paddle blade for that purpose. Of course, dragging the paddle in a ruddering action is not the ideal means of applying correction most of the time when doing one-side paddling, but the point is, a ruddering action applied at the very tip of the stern is more effective due to the greater leverage at that location and the correspondingly lesser need for lateral force applied. It's the lower amount of lateral force that's needed, so that less angle of ruddering needed, which is the reason for less drag (thus, you could reduce drag even more by mounting the rudder at the end of an above-water structure extending even farther to the rear, but that's getting pretty extreme). The main point being, if you want to paddle like Kruger, or as if you were in a Kruger, you need a rudder on your boat.

I'll leave judgment of the suitability of various plastic kayaks for single-blade paddling to others, as that's way outside of my experience.

Look for a used Klepper

Contact Mike McCrea
He lives in Maryland and is an expert on converting tandem decked kayaks and canoes, both old and new, for solo paddling use, including all aspects of rudder assemblies and sails.

He posts under his real name on and, and you could PM him there. You could even search threads on those sites, as he has posted many pictures of his various rebuilds and restorations.

World’s away
I’ve paddled a 16 tandem plastic boat like that, thinking the same thing. They look like Krugers. They do no perform, at all, like Krugers or any other decent canoe. I tortured myself with that routine for about a year, then bought a Bell Rob Roy. Even that step up is incredible in efficiency, seaworthiness, speed, tracking and weight.

What model?
Which tandem did you have?

If its plastic it’s no Kruger if you ask me.

The boat was designed to the strongest production boat on the market which it is. So if you have a huge breaking surf and riprap you have to land in…go for it, they take the beating!

12 layers compared to 2-4 layers all other boats made in N. America

Any ruddered comfortable sea kayak
Any sea kayak that is very comfortable and has a rudder can be made to work. The Pamilico160 is a pig compared to a Kruger and yet the Kruger is more comfortable.

Verlen had this way of keeping it moving by making the boat have decent speed with little effort and by making it comfortable so you could put in very long hours in the seat. Put of this is the genius of his boats. but part of it is his paddling style.

With a bent shaft single blade and a pretty high seat in a boat with a rudder you can paddle along 30 strokes on a side and switch. Your off side feels like it is getting a rest and your hands stay dry and relaxed.

I like the idea of using a klepper given above, that might work well with a single blade.