The Inuit tribes lived in areas of widely differing land forms and prevailing sea conditions. In order to survive, West Greenlanders had to adapt their kayak designs to cope with the roughest sea conditions. These sea conditions are similar to those experienced in Britain and New Zealand, so it is reasonable to accept that a basic design configuration which worked so well for the West Greenlanders will also work well for serious New Zealander sea kayakers.
In 1974 Frank Goodman, after close appraisal of the lines of a West Greenland kayak, modified them to fit a European paddler plus camping gear. Thus was created the Nordkapp.
The Nordkapp hull has a central load carrying section that is slightly v-shaped at the keel with soft chines and flared sides terminating at a very high gunnel line. The whole of the deck is designed to minimise the effect of the wind pushing the kayak off course, whilst the profile also clears any ‘shipped’ water quickly. The forward section of the hull is triangular in section. The lower two sides cleave the water dynamically and effectively presents a rather higher wave cleaving surface than most other kayak bow designs. The top of the triangle is a convex flat area that presents a very low side wind profile. The aft hull section is similar to the bow but runs longer and softer. At the very stem the two lower sides of the rear triangle flow gracefully into a straight running skeg that adds much to the Nordkapps’ directional stability in all water conditions.
Following our disastrous 1996 factory fire we decided to update the Nordkapp design slightly. The original Nordkapp had a very accentuated stern skeg which was designed before the days of rudders. The latest Nordkapp is designed to incorporate a rudder. The general fit out of the Nordkapp follows the same pattern adopted 20 years ago when we constructed our first boat from the then brand new mould imported from the UK. Apart from making the cockpit foredeck higher (increased leg room) in 1986, and fitting pod seats plus rudders as standard in 1987, the boats are largely similar to the very first production. The focus is on simplicity.
Nordkapps manufactured by Sisson Kayaks have been paddled around the coastlines of New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Alaska. During all of these trips, which were sometimes conducted in heavy weather, the kayaks suffered no structural failure. Simplicity works at sea.
All Sisson Kayaks are custom built these days. You can choose the type of footrest, type of construction lay-up and all-up weight. We can advise you on what lay-up would best suit your overall needs. We built our first Kevlar kayak in 1982. It weighed 49lb all up and was used by Paul Caffyn on his Australian trip. In 1985 we went for broke and built a 30lb all up Nordkapp for Paul’s Japanese trip. It is our understanding that this kayak is still in use more than a decade later. Our Kevlar experience goes back to 1977. Our early Kevlar projects involved the creation of helicopter fertiliser spreading, spraying and deer recovery equipment. Building the very best Kevlar kayaks was easy after that.
Fibreglass construction is sometimes described by others as being inferior. They should stop to contemplate the fact that there are large numbers of 15-20 year old glass Nordkapps still in regular use.
Sea kayak operators are often passionate about their choice of personal boat. Large numbers of these discerning paddlers own Nordkapps for their own personal use. Why?
When the sea turns nasty, the Nordkapp just gets better.
Posted in: Sea Kayaks