What exactly is a Greenland style boat?

I’ve been busily demo’ing various different boats and am finding it really hard to make a decision for what to finally go with. I really need to take each boat for a couple of weeks, try it in every kind of condition…but that ain’t gonna happen.

One boat I really enjoyed was the new Valley Qajariaq. It carved turns beautifully when I put it on edge (and I’m by no means an accomplished kayaker). I know it’s described as a Greenland style boat and it has an obviously upswept bow and stern. What does this mean in the real world? In terms of speed, manoeverability, tracking etc? How does it differ from a British style boat?

Other boats I tries were the Avocet (loved it but not enough foot room - I’m 6’2", 185 lbs), Pintail (fun, but a little slow I thought), P& H Capella (seems to do everything pretty well) and Sirius (liked that too).

Most “Greenland” Style

– Last Updated: Jun-30-05 2:44 PM EST –

will have two hard chines on the side derived from the stringers that hold the ribs in place and along with the keel give the cross sectional profile. Also, Greenland style tends to narrower and lower volume for the paddler relative to production boats.

Anas Acuta is "greenland style" because it has sharp chines, narrow beam and relatively low volume. The Pintail is said to be built off the Anas Acuta but with a little wider beam and rounded chines. For me, my personal definition, the Pintail is not "greenland style."

Of course, almost any kayak can be "Greenland Style" depending on what one wants to focus on and how narrow or broad the definition.


similar but not the same

– Last Updated: Jun-30-05 3:09 PM EST –

A Greenland-style kayak would have an upswept bow (and to a lesser extent stern), a flat aft deck, a lower volume foredeck, and hard chines. A "British" kayak is basically a more volumous Greenland kayak with rounded chines. Both style of boats are better suited toward choppy water than flat water and are typically slower than the baidarka style kayaks due to a decreased water-line and increased rocker. Manueverability and tracking is more a function of hull design than type of kayak. For instance, a Pintail can turn on a dime while a Nordkaap will track like a train due to the varying degree of rocker and things such as an integrated skeg in the hull design. There aren't very many true Greenland style production kayaks out there (Anas Acuta, Quajariaq, Greenlander, and Betsie Bay kayaks come to mind).

Upswept Bow Is Not Uniform
on all traditional Greenland boats. Looking At Petersen’s book, you’ll find some with minimal shearline on the bow and stern. Actually, the pic of this frame shown at QajaqUSA is good example such a “flatter” shearline:



Good point
I should have realized that given my Betsie Bay Valkyrie isn’t very pointy. There is a pretty big range from some fairly flat West Greenland kayaks to some dramatically flaired East Greeland kayaks.

Hard chines vs. rounded chines
Am I right in saying that in general a boat with hard chines will turn better than one with rounded chines, but perhaps have a lower “top speed”? I assume there’s some kind of trade-off there anyway?

Whatever people will pay for . .
Real Inuit style boats are built as solo hunter’s boats, made with skin-on-frame construction and as Sing said, typically with just two chines. This style of construction leads to an angular shaped hull with relatively sharp transitions on the hull. Greenland style boats run straight on an even keel, carve well on edge and are very light and robust. This are wonderful rough water boats with good speed and great performance int he rough windy conditions of Eastern Canadian Arctic.

An Aluet style is typically longer, with as many as 9 chines, producing a nearly round hull and a much higher deck. Aluet’s hunted as teams and often lived in their boats for weeks on end. This boats haul gear like no body’s business and are very fast, but are more exposed to the wind and handle technical seas differently.

Of course there are more different styles of orinial kaysk than jsut Inuit and Aluet, but these are the most commonly referenced.

Manufacterers of modern boats have mixed and matched various features of each to suit their style and market. Often the manufactured disctinctions are now refered to as British (with a distinct Inuit influence) vs North American (with a distinctly Aluet influence).

Don;t concern yourself too much with the marketing hype, try everything you can and paddle what feels right. As your skills grow, so will your understanding of hull design and you often “grow into” a different design over time.



Look at Harvey’s new frame too:

– Last Updated: Jun-30-05 4:53 PM EST –


"pinched ends" are typical too.

In general…
Turn better when leaned… also in general track well, so many have no need for a skeg or rudder.

Not said yet
and the cockpits are "ocean " style —small .-M

That Really Depends On
where you put the seat and this affects the trim and not the hull shape itself. I put my seat a tad bit further back in my SOF than suggested by Morris’ book and ended with a pretty neutral boat up to 20 knots. My S&G Greenland style boat weathercocks alot because it was built by and for a larger person. I had to move the seat all the way to the back to neutralize the weathercocking somewhat.


No, you can’t generalize like that.

– Last Updated: Jul-01-05 8:54 AM EST –

The performance of a kayak is the sum of many design elements. Chine shape is only one relatively minor element of a kayak's design and it does not define the way a boat handles. One can create hard chine and soft chine boats that handle exactly the same. Either one can be made to turn easily or require great effort. Either one can be used on boats that would be considered "fast", which is a VERY relative term when applied to touring kayaks.

The VCP Pintail and Anas Acuta are an example of soft chine and hard chine boats, respectively, that are VERY similar in handling. On the other hand, there's not much similarity in handling between the Anas Acuta and an NDK Greenlander, which is another hard chine design with a similar cross sectional shape. Compare the nimble, highly turnable Pintail with a Nordkapp HM, which has a nearly identical hull cross section but tracks so strongly that it borders on ridiculous. Both the Greenlander and Nordkapp are substantially faster than their similarly shaped counterparts.

The bottom line is that chine shape alone tells you virtually nothing about a kayak.

It’s all relative…
…it seems the latest marketing hype surrounds what each manufacturer considers to be “Greenland” style boats and usually involves trying to convince new buyers that their generic offerings are in fact something they aren’t.

I don’t know enough to really score any mass-produced boat as a Greenland kayak, but seem to lean towards hard chines, low front and rear decks that are relatively flat, and smaller cockpits, low volume, etc etc. Each one of us interprets what we think meets that definition, as mine is defined by my “mass produced” Arctic Hawk Pro.

However, if you really want to “go Greenland” style, build or buy a skin-on-frame much like the replicas Harvey Golden and Brian Schulz put together out on the Oregon coast. As they are truly built to original specs, this is the closest you can get.

Don’t want to step on any NDK, Valley, or other toes on this - this is just my opinion.