A Rainy Day in January

posted Jan 18, 2018, 1:16 PM by Richard Sevenich
January 18, 2018 is a rainy day down here in Sandpoint, The rain at nearby Schweitzer Mountain has evolved from morning rain into heavy snow, with only the front bowl open for skiing. We’ll declare it a non-ski day and hope for relief tomorrow, as forecast.

Meanwhile, I am thinking about the coming kayak season. In mid February, three of us will drive to Kalispell to ski Whitefish Mountain and maybe find some Nordic trails. What has that to do with kayaking? A second motive for the trip will be to possibly purchase a hybrid NDK Explorer (standard), found on Craigslist. I really like my own Explorer, but it is heavy for me, despite my burly 5’ 5” frame. So the lighter hybrid is very attractive.

I would then have five kayaks for our family of two. Even if we keep an extra kayak for an unwary guest, we still would have two I’d like to sell. I would select the two from these three:

  • 15’ 2” x 22” Noyak DeRide

  • 16’ x 22.5” Mariner Express

  • 17’ 8” x 21.5” NDK Explorer

Of the three kayaks above, the Mariner is a cult classic with neither rudder nor skeg, not needing these even in very rough water. This particular kayak was typically built with no hatches and relying on air bags for flotation. However, this particular kayak was modified by John Abercrombie (Victoria, BC) and has bow, stern, and day hatches, modifications that appear 100% professionally done.

The NDK Explorer is a more well known kayak.It is a very strong layup reinforced with diolen at stress points, hence rather heavy.

From the Internet: [This is a famous sea kayak named as Sea Kayaker magazine's “Readers’ Choice for Best Extended Touring Kayak”, in 2008, in 2011 and in 2012. It has a number of first expeditions with circumnavigations of Britain, Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand and South Georgia Island and a number of the Aleutian islands to its credit. It is what an amazingly high percentage of high level coaches and expert paddlers choose to paddle, yet many novices find it to be very comfortable, responsive and forgiving.]I have added a keel strip, a comfortable back band, an under deck bilge pump storage location, a paddle park in case you need both hands free, and new deck lines and bungees.

The Noyak was built by Noy Palatvong, formerly Mariner’s top builder who then started his own company when Mariner ceased operation. It is an elongated version of the famous Mariner Coaster. It has neither skeg nor rudder and is well behaved and neutral enough to need neither is the hands of an experienced paddler. The beginner might avoid really rough water until accruing some paddling skills. It is a relatively light kayak. I have added a keel strip and some static deck lines.

Any of these kayaks would be happy on a lake or in the sea. Each is fiberglass, so I would be reluctant to take them through river whitewater. Of course, a fiberglass kayak is more easily repaired (even while on a trip) than a rotomolded kayak, but the latter is more durable for most abuse.