Ninteenth Century West Greenland
Catalog #176 Fram Museum,
7/16"W 7 1/4"D 25lbs
Every winter I invite a few
brave souls to the cold dark shop to prototype the kayaks for the new
year. This year Zach from Savannah, Georgia, made the trek to
build a copy of this traditional Greenland hunting kayak.
This Type V (see Kayaks of Greenland, Harvey Golden) Greenland kayak
has appealing lines and is a bit larger than many Greenland
kayaks. We needed that to accomodate Zach at 6'2" 200lbs
with size 13 feet. On the water he trims the boat quite
nicely. On a cold, windy day I enjoyed the maiden
paddle, manuverability is what you'd expect for the type, stability is
good, weathercocking was managable but I would want a skeg for long
crosswind trips, rolling was good. It was a bit windy when we
paddled so I couldn't get a sense of the senastion of speed, or
paddling ease. The build was fun, we built one for Zach and
one on commision. I'm looking forward to building a shorter one
for myself. The original kayak is still in very good condition
and my copy is very accurate, something Zach an I are both proud of.
Interestingly, this kayak
was probably used by members of Nansen's cross-Greenland expedition
(1888-1889). During an extended stay in Nuuk, some expedition
members learned to use and hunt from these kayaks.
...and some more shots of the 176
from a more recent class, (below) Scott is 230 lbs. Bigger guys
often have trouble with traditional boats, I like this one because at
6'2" he still fits into the nearly original dimentions.
Teaching Jim to roll.
It's thrilling to see someone 'getting it'. Jim is 6'5"
He's thrilled to be able to get into it! He's leaning toward the
camera, this kayak actually has some freeboard when level.
the paddling is awesome. The boat flies on my commute from the
Hawthorne Bridge and the 4 miles to my work on Swan Island, it takes
me less than an hour either direction. I feel like I am getting the
hang of the Greenland paddle stroke. I don't have a lot of
reference points to compare to other sea kayaks but I enjoy the light
weight and closeness to the water. I was able to practice the roll
some more and am getting better.
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