Most Recent Reviews
The Nordkapp LV accelerates faster than any other boat I've paddled. It responds effortlessly to corrective strokes. It comes about more adroitly than my Romany. It is a fairly tender boat when at rest and firms up noticeably when moving through lumpy seas. The Nordlow rolls faster than nearly any other boat in my experience. Having gotten spoiled by my Romany, I have window-shaded the 'kapp LV more than once.
The Nordlow is not a novice's boat. The 'kapp LV is by far among the more demanding and least forgiving of the sea kayaks I’ve paddled. When Peter Orton states "…for the advanced and advancing paddler" he is being honest and accurate. This boat has challenged my equanimity more than once.
I've lowered the seat a half inch which has improved the boat's stability a bit and made the cockpit fit more comfortable for me. I wish the rear of the coaming was at least an inch lower. A 'rolling' recess would allow for more comfortable laybacks while keeping the aft deck high enough to not scoop excessive amounts of water.
The most complete review of the 'kapp LV I've found is Douglas Wilcox’s:
This boat makes a very responsive and quick day boat for someone my size – 6', 180+ pounds. The Nordkapp LV is a fun boat for those times one is on top of ones game.
My main issue with the Nordkapps I'd paddled before was their volume. I felt I was skittering on top of the water. At 6' 165-170 lbs I found the Nordkapp LV a pleasure to paddle, brace, scull and roll. The boat is quite lively.
The boat accelerates nicely, responds to ruddering adroitly and rolls effortlessly.
The boat is not as reassuring as an Explorer or even an Aquanaut. It's stability curve feels like a Nordkapp. It is livlier than either Explorer or 'naut. It feels faster than an Explorer but not as fast an an Aquanaut.
The Nordkapp LV is the most fun 17.5' boat I've paddled. If I didn't already have a Romany, I might buy the Nordkapp LV as my day boat. I am giving it a 5 because I did not have enough time or conditions to rate it overall. Someone with real time in the boat will have to do a fuller evaluation.
IMHO the Nordkapp LV is a stunning looking boat as well...
The Aquanaut is an absolutely confident boat in challenging conditions. It feels as if it can handle anything with aplomb. It has very smooth transitions through the water. It likes being on its side. I find I’ve dropped the coaming into the water with the slightest lean.
A neoprene deck and tunnel skirt should come as standard equipment. Not only is the coaming in the water on a moderate lean, but the bow cuts through much small to moderate chop resulting in water hitting the cockpit and paddler more often than in most boats. The boat tracks very well. I believe it tracks better than the Explorer. It has much less rocker than an Explorer and handles following seas the best of any boat I’ve tried. It turns easily and is fine with either inside or outside lean – though it does prefer outside. The Aquanaut has a very active hull with rock solid secondary stability. It also seems to have very good glide. It is a pretty fast boat. It is noticeably faster than an Explorer and only slightly initially slower than a Nordkapp.
The joke that it should have been named the “Nordnaut” is apt (though I think Aquakapp would be more entertaining) as the general feel of the Aquanaut is very close to that of the new Nordkapp H2O. The Aquanaut has a longer narrower waterline than the Nordkapp. The Nordkapp has higher decks, is quicker, and has a bit lighter initial stability. The Aquanaut is very responsive without feeling quite as tender as the Nordkapp. My preference is for the lower decks of the Aquanaut.
The build quality and finish on my Aquanaut is beautiful. The new Valley backband is very good. The new Valley plastic seat is not. If ordering composite Valley boat, I suggest specifying the ‘old’ glass seat. Sea Kayaker put it best: “Fast, yet maneuverable. A top choice for the adventuresome intermediate to advanced paddler.”
The Currituck is very much a "British" style boat. I would place this boat in a category between the NDK Romany & VCP Avocet and the NDK Explorer & VCP Aquanaut. I would suppose that would put it in a class with the P&H Capella & Orion (or CD Gulfstream). I found the Currituck to be more playful and responsive than either of these boats (Capella & Gulfstream), and probably faster as well.
The Currituck is very lively and pretty fast. It handled the multiple wakes and crossing chop of Lake George, with its many motor boats, with ease. I would urge anyone contemplating a British boat of this size (17') who may not want to hassle the heft of British lay-ups, varying attention to detail and quality control, and lousy stock back bands (not to mention the paucity of dealers and long waiting times) to seriously consider this boat.
That being said, the Currituck did not seem to have the 'sure footedness' of either an Explorer or Aquanaut. Both of these British boats convey a confidence in challenging conditions that is 'felt' by a paddler more than can be objectively described. Though the Currituck tracks well, it does not seem to track as well as either an Explorer or Aquanaut. Of course, the Explorer is 6" longer than the Currituck and the Aquanaut is 7" longer. The Aquanaut is also noticeably faster than the Currituck and seems to respond more solidly to lean turns.
Impex is moving in a very positive direction with this boat and its rethinking of some of its other models.
My current main boat is an Elaho, and my ideal is the snug fit and responsiveness of that boat in a boat with better glide, tracking, and greater volume. The Aquanaut came the closest of the many of boats I paddled.
Valley's workmanship and QC is more consistent than NDK's and the attention to detail seems excellent. VCP hatch covers also work better than NDK. I am having the front bulkhead moved in (a no cost option from VCP)and a rope skeg (rear deck cleated) installed instead of the slider skeg. Having the boat customized in its manufacture, as a matter of course, is a very positive aspect.
I am giving it a 9 rather than a 10 because the back band is pretty weak. I am having the VCP band replaced with a Bomber Gear band. Impex uses IR back bands, my Elaho came with a Bomber band, it seems that VCP could easily use either.