Three Piece boats

I may be forced (lack of storage) to go with a three piece boat - so wondered if anyone can give me the lowdown on attachment variations for various fiberglass or KV 3-piece boats. I think Cooldoctor1 or others have mentioned them in other threads, but am not sure which ones use clips vs nuts-n-bolts connections.

That said - the Anas Acuta is the boat I am most interested in though would like to hear of other choices.

I remember the three piece that Freya Hoffmeister used from that company in UK, but not sure that is available here or that it would fit me.


Easy Rider makes 2-3 piece ‘yaks

but wat da hell do ah’ know 'bout 'yaks!

“Dammit Spock, ah’m a canooist not a 'yakker.”


Derrick’s Blog
Derrick (KayakQuixotica) has a great blog and this writeup on three piece boats that is educational.

Freya Hoffmeister has a 3-piece Explorer (uses clips), Alaw Bach (uses clips), and a 4 piece Waterfield Qaanaaq SS (uses bolts).

Valley, NDK and most of the major manufacturers offer a three-piece option.

Having extensively used the kayaks mentioned above, I prefer clips rather than bolts (secure, fast and easy), and also prefer for the bulkheads to have male and female “parts” to make it idiot-proof to clip them together and to prevent them from shifting. The sectional Explorer that I used did not have this feature and it can be a bit of a chore to get the sections to align properly.

Although flying with sections is much easier than with a full-size kayak, of course, they still require two very large, cumbersome oversize bags, oversize fees, and some stressful moments negotiating with officials at the airports.

Greg Stamer

Thanks Greg!
As always - you are a fount of knowledge regarding the best gear and techniques!

I just got a line on a brand new (2007) black over black NDK Explorer LV with rope skeg sectional. It has the clips plus (new) the center section has a male rectangular “peg” fore and aft that fit into a mated rectangular hole on the bow and aft sections. The present owner says it was one of the first of the newer design from NDK (though I am cautious with prototypes now) and is offering a heck of a discount since its never been on the water.


Scott L

– Last Updated: Dec-12-07 2:50 PM EST –
Scroll down to Bits and Pieces, Dec 10 thread.

Pnet review of Nordkapp by Rob G has some of his impressions of sectionals.

Three piece NDK
We recently special ordered and delivered a three piece explorer with the clips, which are a great improvement over the bolts, in my opinion. The new boats also have molded bulkhead “male and female” parts to help with alignment.

The boats are a bit heavier due to the extra hardware and bulkheads, but they are perfect for anyone with storage or transportation challenges.

– Tom

Clips v. bolts
Since Derrick’s website was mentioned earlier in this thread, I will cut and paste his recent entry: “One little bit of interest is how the clips on the stern of her (Freya’s) NDK Explorer broke on a hard landing recently. In fact she lost a paddle that day as well. You may remember I had a similar situation with my Rockpool when I was dropped on to a rock shelf. Luckily I was able to fiddle a repair. Freya’s answer was to just glass the stern right onto the center section.” There is a video about Freya on the site for anyone interested, including pics of the repairs sectional.

Seems the new-fangled clips are not as sea-worthy as the bolts. Granted, the beach landing is likely quite hard/rough, and the clips are still being refined. But bolts might be (I know, it’s debatable) the way to go still. I ordered a kayak from Valley and they still use bolts.

instead of clips versus bolts…
The proper question might be one piece or 3 piece.

In Freya’s case she was hit by a strong dumper, while in a fully loaded kayak, and was looped backwards where the stern impacted the bottom. I don’t know if her kayak was flooded as well – that would have greatly increased the probability of catastrophic damage.

It’s tough to say if bolts would have fared much better. At least they wouldn’t have let the stern section separate, as is what happened in Freya’s case. It’s also not clear if the damage would have happened if Freya’s kayak had male/female mating surfaces between the sections. The bottom line is that a three-piece kayak is more convenient but is never as strong as a one-piece kayak.

Greg Stamer

I suppose
you could put your own bolts in too, if you were really concerned about the strength.