The Pilgrim Expedition has arrived

-- Last Updated: Oct-12-10 2:49 AM EST --

I've only done two paddles in it so far (no rolling), but am very pleased. And NDK fans will be happy to hear that this kayak is nicely made! Even the coaming cut-out and bulkhead pieces are neat, sized well, and (how else to say it), pretty. I ran my hands (carefully) over the insides and didn't get even one fingerprick, quite a contrast to my first NDK boat.

The boat is definitely sized for a *small* paddler, not just a "not big" paddler. I put the footpegs down on something like the 10th notch toward the bow bulkhead, which has never happened before. I can tell I am sinking it into the water more. Did not need any skeg on those first two paddles, including one windy outing. Easier to get up to speed than the Explorer LV--basically it feels like a more slender version of the Explorer. A little easier to edge, probably will be even more so after I make one change to the outfitting (below). Stability is excellent, no surprise there.

I'm going to add some grippy padding in the knee bump areas and down the sides from those, maybe swap out the backband (or remove completely), but that's it for cockpit mods. The seat fit is FANTASTIC! No other seat has fit nearly as well as this one. The height is good, too. I can easily lean all the way back onto the rear deck with the stock outfitting (with the backband moved behind the seat out of the way, not above it).

Will do a more complete review after I've made the above changes and paddled it more and rolled it. But I'm tickled pink at finally getting my boat after the one-year wait!

And I have to add a note in line with the threads on vehicles. We loaded two 17-foot kayaks on the roof of a 14-year-old 4x4 Chevy Tahoe, packed the insides with our paddling gear, clothes, his fishing gear, a stepladder, and two dog crates. According to my husband, the Tahoe averaged 18 to 19 mpg with the kayaks on top. WithOUT anything on the roof it normally gets 19 mpg highway, and other times with kayaks on the roof we've averaged 17 mpg. I wonder if both kayaks having cockpit covers on made the difference, or if it was favorable winds. Favorable winds BOTH WAYS?!?? Through windy Wyoming?

Seems as if it has been a long wait. Glad the boat arrived in good shape and it is being fun!

The Tahoe
is so big, chunky (non-aerodynamic), heavy, and with a powerful engine, that I think adding a kayak on top does not mean much…

On the other hand, I just made a close to 1,000 mile roundtrip to pick-up a kayak. On the way there I had removed my racks from my Prius - 56.2 mpg at normal highway speeds on the interstate with me in it only.

On the way back, with a single kayak, it was for a combined of just over 46mpg on the whole trip, meaning I was in the 36-37 mpg range with the rack and kayak on top (and it was raining).

On a small car like the Prius it makes a huge difference - even the rack alone drops the MPG by 5+ gallons on the highway… On a “monster” truck - not much of a differnece probably and may actually improve air flow -:wink:

Any pics of your new NDK? (nm)

For those looking for a review
of either the Pilgrim or Pilgrim Expedition, one can be found here:

So happy that you finally got the boat and that it’s making you happy.

I paddled a Pilgrim in Pembrokeshire last month and was more than pleased with the performance in some rough wave and current. While I have no regrets about my AvocetLV, I found that being in the Pilgrim gave me confidence whilst paddling in unknown waters.

Again, happy for you.

Hope it works out well.

I didn’t take pics yet
My husband took one of me with it but he had to leave for a business trip and won’t be downloading the pics till later this week.

BTW, one of the reviewers in your link is the dealer I bought from. I bought the Explorer LV from her before, and she is great to work with.

Today I drilled 1/16" holes in the bow and stern bulkheads and bought 3M Clearbra to apply protective patches where straps run, paddles whack, and heels slide. Cleaned the boat well and need to cut the pieces and apply them tonight.

Not sure if I need to coat the vent holes with epoxy, or if it doesn’t matter with fiberglass. I coated the holes when I drilled the BH’s in my wood boat, but I have no idea if fiberglass requires that step.

The outfitting mod (thigh foams) will have to wait till tomorrow afternoon.

See you later this month!

3M Clear Bra
What is 3M ClearBra and, most importantly, where can I get some fast?

I (and the husband) have paddle britches on my/his boat but I’d like to avoid further scratches.

"Pilgrim Expedition"
Didn’t that used to be called a pilgrimage?

Very Good!

Find it here

great to hear…
that the PILgrim is as good as it SHOULD be…

i wouldnt mind having the little one…quite different from a pintail…propably exptional in strong wind…hmm…GAS.

If you want it really fast,
call window tinting and detailing shops in your area. I was lucky to find one that was willing to sell me a 6’ x 6" strip ($30). Even the shops pay bigtime for this stuff–they showed me a box of it (would fit in my arms) that cost THEM $1400 (not a typo).

Seems you can either get it in very small precut pieces at exorbitant prices, or you have to be a commercial user and buy large quantities. But maybe you’ll be able to locate a shop that’d sell you an in-between quantity.

Wash the area with dish detergent and water, rinse well, and dry. Then wipe with an alcohol-soaked paper towel or rag just before applying the ClearBra. I also “ironed” with a small rubber thing that’s meant for squeegeeing out air bubbles on window decals (available in auto supply stores).

I hadn’t thought about the spare paddle scratching the deck, if Paddle Britches are there (I just bought one).

That’d be a good name
Pilgrim Expedition is a lot of syllables.

I saw a photo of some custom graphics done at NDK. One boat had the U.K. colors on part of the deck and the U.S. flag colors on the rest of it. Not really my cup of tea visually, but a nice concept.

Of course, Pilgrimage does not allow the naughty addition of an S in front of the “Expedition” or “Explorer.”

The Paddle Britches work very well in keeping the blades from scratching, but it’s the shaft that’s doing the number on the boat. I usually don’t care if my boat gets scratched – and I refuse for aesthetic reasons to us the black stuff some friends have used to preserve their decks – but the Avocet’s foredeck is a pretty, Zenith blue and, well, it shows up every thing.

Update: it’s much easier to maneuver
Went for a more thorough test paddle in it yesterday. I’m delighted to find that an edged sweep followed by a bow rudder will make it turn a fairly tight 180 degrees. The best I could manage in the Explorer LV that way was about 150, usually 135.

Rolling and static braces were fine, though the fit in the leg bumps area is a little looser than I prefer. I had glued in 1/4" minicell under them, nothing else. I’ll play around with foam today to see what makes the fit just right for me. I’m going to leave seat height as is, since the boat behaves so well with the existing seat position.

This is the boat I would’ve bought years ago, if it had been made then!

id like to hear more.keep us updated.

Pilgrim Expedition is my next boat
I second everything you’ve said, and add that I’ve had this boat out a couple times in the Wicopesset Passage tidal race off Fisher Island and felt completely at ease. It turns on a dime, rolls like a cowboy’s cigarette and is as fast as my P&H Sirius, and IT FITS! I’ve also surfed in it, but haven’t pushed because it’s not my boat (yet).

I have finally, finally, finally found my boat! Now all I have to do is figure out how to pay for it - anybody need a used Sirius?