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The Wye Islander is a classic British kayak. It was made by Hereford Glass Fibre Co. from 1980. Manufacturing and ownership moved to Maine in 1989. The Wye Islander is now the Sturgeon and made by Dragonworks Kayaks.
It looks like a smaller version of the Valley Etain, though actually that’s probably backwards, it’s more likely that the Etain is a larger version of the Wye Islander. This sounds like a cliché but the Wye Ialnder really is playful yet stable. It rides waves well, turns easily, but also tracks well.
My kayak was made in 1983. It spent most of its life in a boathouse in southern Germany. The owner before me gave it a lot of love, and action, and made a lot of renovations. He added larger hatches, a compass, and a skeg. The skeg cost a lot of storage but it helps a lot on windy days. The cockpit has a small opening (60 by 42cm) but larger than normal volume. At first it was tricky to get in and out but now I’ve got the hang of it. I do stay drier. In the old days many kayakers would store the wheels from their wagon in the open area behind the seat. My kayak still has the ordinal chimp pump to help empty the voluminous cockpit.
It is an old kayak. It’s good for a second kayak to play around with. I don’t go too far out in it but so far it’s handled all kinds of condition like the fine old man of the sea that it is.