VCP Nordkapp sh20 vs NDK Explorer

Well, since this thread is including recommendations, I’m putting in a plug for the Aquanaut.

It has a longer narrower waterline than either the Nordkapp or the Explorer, lower decks as well.

I’ve paddled the Explorer, Nordkapp H2O, and Aquanaut and found the 'Naut to be the most responsive and comfortable of the three.

All three of these boats feel very different than your Sirius. I might guess in that you feel comfortable paddling a Sirius, you might find the Explorer leaden and the Nordkapp voluminous.

Explorer LV Cockpit
Is there any way from Newfoundland to take a vacation in Maine and get out to MIKCO to try NDK and Valley boats? It really sounds like it’d be worth the trip.

Cockpit size on the LV - is an extra small cockpit, which effectively works out to be an ocean cockpit with a keyhole added. Works great for me. I have plenty of room to sit in the boat and draw my legs in after one at a time, as well as (with a little more planning than my Squall needed) do a wet re-entry. But I am 5’4", 135 pounds and wear W’s size 7 boat shoes. I’m not sure how much bigger than me you can be and still get away with it.

Leg length should be fine regardless - the standard front bulkhead setting is far enough forward that we moved mine in 5 inches and I am still bracing against 4 inches of foam.

But if you can get in there… it makes for a great fit for manuvers even without real positive braces.

just look at the lines on a nordkapp
if you see nothing that looks pleasing to the eye from looking at it your poet’s soul is dead.


I have that gaga feeling for kayaks I have never paddled too, though I have paddled the nordkapp. If the deck wasn’t so arched, or V shaped, I would love it and own one.

The new H20, I think is pretty close to a perfect expedition kayak, the addition of the foreward oval hatch makes it ideal.

The explorer I think is a great kayak to borrow, but not to own.

Thats how I find my Sirius wilso
with an ‘active hull’. As mentioned, I found the Explorer to be a boring ride. I still have very high regards because of the paddlers here who use them, and scenes from different video clips, of what the boat could handle. As for me, I love a boat with ‘personality’. The more I hear about this Valley Nordkapp sH2O, the more I want it. Trying to justify it mentally by figuring, “The sirius is a LV boat and good for rock gardens, surfs great, and overall I find it to be a great playboat along the coastline. The Nordkapp however, is a different category of boat - and I could use it for long trips - or when the ocean state is really bad - break out the nordkapp for some good coastal fun.” As soon as I can convince myself (and I’m almost there!) that I have a need for a nordkapp!

Thanks for your help wilso and to everyone else who posted


Wilso and Celia
Well, I dont’ really have much of an interest in getting into small surf craft (budget allows for only one sport at a time lol), but I am looking forward to my surf/current course this summer. After another year of guiding (bringing it to six years) I hope to plan for some extended trips (mostly Labrador and Baffin Island - I’ll have to make sure to get to Maine prior to that). I am certainly limited as to what I can do with regards to extended trips in my sirius. Even locally (forty min drive), there are sections of coastline that I would not feel safe putting the sirius in (due to exposed coasts, limited landing zones and a possible extended time period ashore due to negative weather), can sometimes push the limits of volume in the sirius. I have decided rather than picking up a surf/ww boat, I would pursue more serious extended sea kayaking trips, and hopefully expeditions. After much research (to the point where I felt I was annoying users here on I have decided to sit in between either the valley Nordkapp H2O or the P&H Bahiya. Which are two that I had my eye on since the beginning. I stand at five foot six inches and weigh 140 pounds. Finding a boat with a low and comfortable cockpit is very important…I sometimes find the Sirius can even be somewhat large around the cockpit (especsially deck height). I assume that any expedition boat will by definition by larger than the sirius?

Getting to Maine will be on my list for summer 2006 (first thing - before the season starts here, probably in April or maybe even March). I’d never forgive myself if I never went to Maine…I’d love to paddle the areas of Maine and plus I have to get in and try out that Nordkapp…its killing me.

I have met several paddlers from Maine, who have paddled in Witless Bay (here in NL) who have made a routine every year to drive up and paddle around for a couple of weeks. I’m sure I’ll get my chance to drive down.

Thanks for all the help…


I’d guess you fit
At five foot six inches and weigh 140 pounds, and a guy so your posterior probably has less volume than mine, I’d say you’d fit the LV fine.

Sounds like you have some great future plans… I have two years left before (if the finances allow) I hope to have a lot more time on my hands to do tours etc.

Good luck with whichever next boat you manage to hook up with.

At 5’6", 140lbs
The Explorer LV is likely the best expedition boat for you as far as fit.

I think you may find the two you have settled on awfully large. Among true Brit expedition boats the Explorer LV is the only one that is not aimed at paddlers larger than you. I don’t know what the lowest volume P&H expedition boat is, Valley’s lowest volume epxedition boat is the Aquanaut which seems intended for paddlers around my size (180lbs.)

The advantage of the Nordkapp maybe that you can still order one with an ocean cockpit. This will give a better fit than Valley’s keyhole. As you have a Sirius for day paddles the weight required to get intended waterline may not be a problem as you will likely be carrying gear when you paddle an expedition boat. Even my Aquanaut paddles better with at least 25-30 pound load in addition to my weight and the contents of my day hatch.

That must be why the aquanaut works for me so easily, I’m 6’ 210 lbs.

While the Aquanaut handles fine with just my 180 and the roughly 10lbs of day hatch contents, I can genuinely feel the improvement if I add 25lbs of balast. When I’m paddling big water, and not carrying camping gear etc, I load in 10 or so litres of water. The boat seems happier.

ocean cockpit in Nordkapp H2O
From Robin Goodliffe last fall:

“The Jubilee H20 is a modification we made to the keyhole cockpit Jubilee – adding an oval hatch to the front and a little extra to the stern keel – and remodeling the nose a little. We have not done the same to the smaller ocean cockpit model because we only sold about 6 the previous year and we didn’t have the time or resources for such a small interest.”

Perhaps this has changed since last fall?

Ocean Cockpit
I have tried a boat with an ocean cockpit - and while the boat wasn’t any of the Nordkapp variations it was a still boat that would have required a goodly bit of padding to get the fit I have in the LV. I seem to recall it was a Boreal Designs Ellesmere, but am not sure.

The point being - having the ocean cockpit doesn’t make the height of a boat that is quite tall for the paddler any friendlier. I can see it making things easier to pad out for someone who could expect to roll reliably, but it doesn’t really alter the cockpit-to-paddler size relationship. Just gives you more real estate to which you can attach shaped minicell.

Email Valley or GRO
According to Atlantic Kayak Tours web site, ocean cockpit is available on a Nordkapp. I seem to recall that it is not available on the H2O version of the boat.

You could always phone GRO or email GRO or Valley. The folks at GRO are very responsive, and the new management at Valley not only have a web site and email, but they answer their email.

VCP Nordkapp sh20 vs NDK Explorer
I’m 5’8", 175lbs, size 10 feet and fit in an explorer LV no problem.