I originally thought the reverse chines was a marketing gimmick, but it does work and the boat does turn very well without hanging it all out there to get on edge. I'd like to add a rudderless boat to my quiver and have been impressed with the Fjord so much that I'm going to stick with Boreal Designs and try to find an older Ellesmere.
I feel the Fjord is a great boat if you can still find one as they don't make them anymore.
My initial impressions have not changed over the years. Contrary to some of the other reviews (although none of them are of the plastic model) my kayak lacks initial or primary stability. This means it's not great for photography which has been a disappointment. Secondary stability is better but, as others have noted, you have to be careful not to push it.
I have the rudder but only use it if the swell and tidal current make maintaining a straight course too much work. The boat does handle well, as the salesperson said, and maintaining a good cruising speed is effortless. As I've gotten older I find I get a sore lower back when I'm out but that could be more the fault of my aging back.
I've kept this boat for ten years so obviously it does enough good things. Main pros are its agility and ability to slip through the water easily. The plastic hull works well for me because I have to launch and land on a volcanic rock shoreline. It takes abuse.
After passing the course with flying colors, I returned home to my Fjord, and promptly dumped it three times in twenty minutes attempting to put into practice what I had learned about edging. After reading another review on the 15 percent lean and then gone, I can see that I was edging too deeply.
My dealer has since called me, and taken the kayak in trade as he had a sale for it. I presently own the skeg version of the same boat, but it is hanging above his counter as display as winter is coming. If I can talk him into it, by spring perhaps I will own an Impex Currituck. Additionally, my emails to Boreal Design have as yet been unanswered. I do have the free T-Shirt however for having passed a certified skills course.
The seat and back band were very comfortable for me. As I mentioned it is a deep kayak, too deep to lay back on the back deck. That doesn't bother me as I don't know how to roll but would be a factor for others.
I have the kevlar version, with skeg, and it weighs 45 lbs. Very easy to carry and load as it is nicely balanced. Very nice kayak with generally good construction though not as neat and smooth inside as some others that I looked at. It does not leak into the bulkheads after repeated immersion, the kajak sport covers work good. I am 5'9" and 175 lbs and find the cockpit large and comfortable. I am 60 yrs of age and not particularly flexible but can get into the kayak by sitting seat first and drawing my legs in.
I paddled in windy conditions with lots of boat and sea doo traffic creating confusing waves. The kayak is very stable, tracks well. The skeg works well, however I found no need to use it as a slight lean brought the kayak around. Very little weathercocking which surprized me a little as it is a fairly deep craft.
My overall view is that this is a good kayak for conditions where you want enough capacity to take on a load and want very good maneuverability. I found the speed alright, I would say about the same as a CD Gulfstream which I have paddled quite a bit. In fact, despite the difference in hull design I found these two kayaks had a lot of similarity in handling, for me anyway.
This kayak is about two inches deeper than the Ellesmere or Pakesso, which it is said to be designed as the intermediate size of these two kayaks. Overall, I really like it so far, It will give me many hours and miles of satisfaction.
I purchased the Fjord as a workout and primarily day use boat. It has very good primary stability with the shallow arch hull and what they call reverse hard chines. In the lake situation I found the kayak was very comfortable in conflicting wave action. It did not weathercock very much, a little lean looked after that. The skeg also worked well and the new and unique "dial" used by Boreal to adjust skeg depth worked very well.
The maneuverability is interesting with the reverse hard chines. The folks at Boreals factory told me that a lean of 15degrees is all that is required to turn, and I believe they are correct.They told me that edging to the point where the hull and deck join, and you have gone too far. This is the easiest turning kayak I have paddled at this length with a slight lean. Very good secondary stability, will stay on edge with little effort though there is not a point that it firms up. Stability got very nervous once I reached the point of angle when the water reached the edge of the cockpit coaming, it took aggressive sculling brace to stay upright.
The Fjord is a fairly deep kayak with lots of foot room. The depth and high rounded deck in front of the cockpit gave me a very dry ride. The seat and back support are comfortable.
Some slight nit picking. The foot braces are not evenly installed. I felt that I could not get them even and when I measured with a tape, sure enough, the foot brace sliders were not the same distance from the seat. The result is only about a half inch difference, but I did notice it.
Finally, I am a bit dissapointed that the dealer cut into the gel coat when taking off the wrapping. This is not a fault of Boreal Design, but does speak to lack of care on the dealers part. In comparison to other kayaks, I found the Fjord somewhat similar in handling to the CD Gulfstream.
I did talk via phone and e-mailed Boreal Design prior to purchasing the Fjord and they were very helpfull. Also returned my e-mail within 2 days.