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Name: OCD_yakker

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I picked up a used NLP Aleutian recently and took it out yesterday for the first time so this is by no means a full review. Let's call it a "first impression" that I will follow up on in several months.

I had just picked up a new Tiderace Xcite so was eager to take it out yesterday. I looked longingly at my Novorca Aleutian and then over at the NLP and decided to give it a try as it had been in my garage for several weeks unused since I bought it.

I was taken at once with the obvious differences - NLP matte vs Novorca shiny, NLP heavier than the Novorca (to be expected with a multi piece), and mostly a 3/75" wide blade on the NLP vs 3.25" on the Novorca. I was expecting a power difference between the two brands, and that is just what I found to be the case. The NLP gave me as much purchase as my Epic Wing paddle and once the power phase of the stroke started I felt the resistance. Wow. I really like it and as it was choppy out in Long Island Sound I enjoyed the extra purchase on the backs of the wind waves and swell to pop me over the next one. Sweet!

Let's just say though, it seemed as though my bad elbow was stressed more than with the Novorca - but in rough waters I would tend to lean towards the NLP for stronger braces and dynamic bow rudders. I will definitely choose the NLP when I go out to the tide races and do any surfing - but as to a point-to-point easy touring day, it would be a toss up.

I had my builder install the carbon ONNO skeg kit/system into the Guillemot Night Heron to help it track a bit tighter in winds and quarter beam seas. Therefore, I didn't experience the ease of installation that Wayne did - so can't comment on that.

What I can comment on is the fact that Patrick has designed what I consider to be the finest skeg anywhere. Very smooth deployment/retraction, makes a huge difference when the conditions get challenging, and man, what a fine looking design too. Patrick even when so far as to match the carbon cloth to the same weave that my builder was using too. Slick.

Agree with Wayne that I cannot detect when it is deployed - except in the fact it makes my boat track like it is on rails. Unlike the skeg on my Anas Acuta - this one doesn't slow me down a bit and I can keep it deployed and still keep up with my gal. (who paddles F-A-S-T)
Thanks, Patrick!

Picked up this boat from Randy over at New York Kayak Company on Manhattan island and must say, "what a fine buying experience" he gave me. Randy was very patient as I went through just about every boat he had and followed it up with prompt customer service! Thanks, Randy!

Now - I have just today taken this boat out once so this will be brief - but no worries, I will add more after I get more hours in it.

Me: Lower Intermediate level paddler at 6'2" x 190lbs and good physical condition. There are too many better paddlers out there to count so will just say take this with a grain of salt.

  1. Fit n finish - As with every TideRace boat I have seen to date - extremely detailed and honed finish on this boat! Smooth surfaces inside and out, VERY light weight build it seems though this is a "Classic" layup. This is a 2010 model so is vacuum infused construction - and it shows! Very strong boat - no flex in the hull like others I have owned and yet even with the fourth hatch (that adds pounds) it feels lighter than my last Impex boat.
  2. Conditions - took it out in pretty benign conditions today in the Thimble Islands of Connecticut. (a piece of Maine) Waves 1-2 feet with an incoming tide and winds opposing the tide so it was fun. Water temps were 42 degrees, so forgive my sissiness - no rolling tried today!
  3. Performance - I guess I will start it with --- this boat is FAST. Was able to easily catch any and every wave for some fun surfing - and once on it the boat tracked just fine with no evidence of broaching with these small wave sizes. This boat was also unaffected by the wind and current - no matter what direction was chosen, it seemed like there was no wind or current as the boat went the direction you pointed it. No lee or weather cocking (though the winds were light) and no skeg was deployed.
  4. Comfort - the most comfortable boat ever tried - the seat was perfect, the backband was good and solid, and no leg or back pain was felt after 2hrs on the water. (not the norm!)
  5. Turning was quick, responsive, and effortless unlike several point-to-point boats I have owned in the past. Turning was not affected by the wind, waves, or current either and while edging sped up the turning, it was not required other than a very light lift of the knee.
  6. Overall impression: Ok, this was a first time out, the conditions were mild, the boat was not loaded with a ton of gear, etc etc etc. However, it was one fun time on the water, speed and turning was easy to achieve, and the smile factor was off the charts.
Money well spent! Right on, Aled - you nailed it!!