West Greenland kayaks

Both kayaks here are based on a West Greenland Kayak from the early 1900, situated in the Canadian Museum of history. Plans courtesy of Brian Schulz at Capefalcon kayaks. The dark one is a slightly shorter, lower volume and flatter stems version I made for my daughter.

So what makes it special? Compared to modern kayaks they are fairly low volume and have an ocean cockpit. That is, you have to first sit on the rear deck and then slide in while sitting on your paddle as an outrigger support. It takes some getting used to but is both fun and rewarding. I am feeling a sense of awareness every time I’m getting in and out of a true Greenland style kayak.

If you’re not aware, you’ll probably tip over!

To paddle a kayak like this it is a good idea to constantly keep practising your rolls. When building, you can tweak your tracking and stability by changing the form and length of the ribs, make it wider/narrower and work with the rocker and “built in skeg” for wave-ability and ease of turning. It is not for everyone but a joy to paddle. You can catch the smallest of waves hitting you sideways and use them for fun on every crossing. They do weathercock and steer in quartering waves but you’ll get used to it and learn to appreciate every aspect of paddling. A life long love story.

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