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Nordkapp HM

by Valley Sea Kayaks

Reviews

Legendary kayak design with tons of history

Submitted by: on

In the progression of sea kayak design one boat always makes the list, the Nordkapp. I first saw one of these back in the early 80's when a friend of mine named Max Smith showed up for a San Juan Islands weekend kayak tour with a bright red Nordkapp HM. I was intrigued with the boat and almost afraid in many ways. It looked too narrow, the tiny ocean cockpit was confining and everything had to be packed through these small 8" deck hatches. Max was a character and at that time he was going through his "live-off-the-land" phase. As a result he barely bought any gear and was fishing and foraging for dinner along the way. Good thing we bought some extra so he didn't starve. So at that point I had the design on my radar but it was not until almost 20 years later that I finally owned one.

I saw an original Nordkapp HM listed for sale locally and bought it. There are many versions of the "Nordkapp" and I will not get into it here. You have to go on-line and read about the different versions. The name had so much value in the market that Valley Canoe named many boats as "Nordkapps" and it is somewhat confusing at this point. The boat I bought was a 80's vintage boat with a yellow deck and white hull. It came complete with the little bilge pump mounted in the deck behind the paddler. It is a low volume boat and I find it amazing the expeditions that this boat has accomplished with its tiny hull crammed with the gills with provisions.

I find the boat very stable and very forgiving. The Ocean Cockpit is tight but feels very secure for bracing. The boat has a lot of volume at the paddlers location and forward so it is a remarkably dry boat even loaded to the max. These were thick hand laid fiberglass hulls and are super strong. Older boats usually need new hatch covers but the hulls are usually hard to really damage with normal use. I really liked the experience of the Nordkapp. It tracks well but not too well. It was easy to maneuver using the swells and some easy corrective strokes. I had a hard time packing into the boat but the new ones have larger hatches so this can help the packing problem. They are still low volume so you need to pack carefully. It is hard to get a case of beer into the boat for a long tour. Just line the big cans of Fosters right down the keel line for stability.

I have paddled a modern version of the original Nordkapp design and it is still a classic. Valley makes a great kayak and this boat is no exception.

Paddle on lads...

First impression

Submitted by: on

It was in 1979 that I decided to buy a British kayak. I had to choose between the Kirton Meridian and the Nordkapp HM. At that moment I was a student and paying an amount of f 100,00 more for the Nordkapp was just too much...

Since a couple of years I have an Eagle Zeester. The hull of this boat is an exact copy of a Nortshore Meridian. The deck however is more flat and the cockpit more open. Rolling e.g. is rather difficult in this kayak.
So I also looked for a real seakayak. Last december I found the Nordkapp HM. A beautiful yellow boat, without any modifications. I replaced the outfit of the deckgear and today I made my first trip on flat water. I have NO concerns about the primary and secondary stability or the turning. My only concern is that it's rather difficult to enter or exit the ocean cockpit. But when you are sitting in, it's perfect! It fits like a glove. It's tracking well and paddling is effortless. Until now, I'm very satisfied.

I first saw a Nordkapp over 20 years ago when I paddled…

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I first saw a Nordkapp over 20 years ago when I paddled in the Bristol Channel in South Wales in all conditions and the boat excelled. By all conditions I mean even out in huge seas, in hail storms, and strong winds. I bought one this year and used it in the Everglades Challenge (see www.watertribe.com) in Florida, a tough 300 mile race down the west coast of Florida to Key Largo. The boat was fantastic, dealing with everything without a problem. Even at the end of a near continuous 60 mile paddle on the final day, when we were trying to stay ahead of a menacing electrical storm while crossing Florida Bay at 1.00am, the boat cruised through 4-6 foot seas effortlessly and securely. In addition, the hatches really are waterproof, and raccoon proof! My boat is made of fibreglass, but still feels light and maneuvrable, even with gear packed. It is an old design, but simply fantastic. Build quality is like a Mercedes. The seat is very comfortable. This boat handles all conditions tremendously well and really deserves the reputation it enjoys.

The Nordkapp Jubillee w/ built in skeg and knee tube is…

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The Nordkapp Jubillee w/ built in skeg and knee tube is an inspiring boat to be in. I have the three piece version for travel. The boat needs to be laid over for turning. Directional stability is excellent. Workmanship is outstanding. Boat is extremely fast. Quartering seas (3-6 ft) make the boat lively, but secure. Quartering or beam winds do make the nose come about if they blow harder than 25 knots but far less than any boat I've yet been in. Truly water tight hatches, even after extended rolling and sculling. Low rear deck and recessed cockpit rim make lay back rolls excellent.

Cargo room: Whose asking? are you a dual burner coleman guy with the 4 man tent? you'll suffer. Are you a backpacker with the Ray Jardine "Go Lite" mentality? You'll swim with room. I am confident I can take a go lite approach in arid country and still have room for a ten day trip. In water plentiful country it can go in the 3-4 week length of time. That question is so subjective it depends on the personal camper's habits. I'm a backpacker and I go to look at what is there, not at all the crap I can surround myself with. I still have room for photography gear, though. Hey everyone has at least two Achilles Heels.

3 piece version for travel is built like a tank with glassed in threaded shanks, dual gasket system that needs to be very tight, and stainless hardware. It took 30 minutes to assemble and the same to disassemble. longer head on 17mm ratchet would have cut 10 minutes off that time. Costly to get through airport: $225.00 USD for three bags. Skycaps or "porters" are necessary because they have the carts large enough to get it to the curb. Truly, it is no folder in ease of transportation. It requires larger vehicles at destination to get you to water. It was such a spendy, logistical hassle to bring on a simple week long cruise I may not bring it for many more of those trips, I'll sell the one piece Nordkapp and buy a used Khat's for those trips. I'll save the 3 piece Nordkapp for the longer trips where it will be worth it. The boat is a ten; the three piece concept is a 5.

I purchased my Nordkapp HMC after extensively paddling a friends identicle boat…

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I purchased my Nordkapp HMC after extensively paddling a friends identicle boat. The overall fit and handling of the boat was ideal for me, being 6'1" and #250. The boats reputation for being tempermental is overstated in my opinion. My caveat is in the shoddy construction of the boat. I've had multiple failures where there were voids in the resin and the "high traffic" of the hull inside the cockpit has fuzzed due to abrasion. I'm not sure if I simply had the misfortune of purchasing a random lemon or if this reflects the manufacturing practices at the time of lay up. Unfortunately, I would have to give purchasing another VCP some serious doubt.

My very first sea kayak was a beat up Nordkapp HM. I…

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My very first sea kayak was a beat up Nordkapp HM. I have been told by others that the boat is tippy, but I never had any concerns. You really do have to crank it over to get it to turn but it does go. My boat had the 'ocean deck' small cockpit which always felt very secure to me. The Nordkapp always felt like it was sat deep in the water to me, held a line in any wind, with great secondary stability. I changed my Nordkapp for a North Shore Buccaneer, which will 'turn on a sixpence' with the skeg up, and take a ton of kit which loads really easily. it accelerates faster, and feels a lot more 'modern' than my old boat, but in my view the Nordkapp is one of the best looking open water boats around, and I often think about trying to buy another old boat - I do miss the old faithful.

Basicaly the same boat as the HS, but with an extended section…

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Basicaly the same boat as the HS, but with an extended section on the rear of the hull that precludes having a drop in skeg. This boat goes fast and straight. The modified hull profile allows me great directional control in every condition. It is a handfull to turn, but it is possible. You really excersize your leaning capabilities when learning to turn this boat. This boat also loves rough water. It's realy fun to surf because the directional stability keeps you running down the face of waves instead of broaching. When it does broach, it's slow and controllable. I have a Necky Looksha IV, a Nordkap HS, and this one, my favorite of them all.