Recension: Black Pearl
John March, ägare till en av de Black Pearl som Dan Caouette byggt under vintern, har samlat sig till en recension för Paddling.net – återgiven här:
Reviews for Black Pearl by Bjorn Thomasson Design
Submitted by: John March
The Black Pearl is a strip built East Greenland kayak designed by Bjorn Thomason as a low volume rough water and rolling day trip kayak: www.thomassondesign.com/entry.aspx?id=113.
My BP (painted white to reflect the NC summer sun) was built by Dan Caouette of Clear Stream Fine Woodworking: clearstreamwood.com/WordPress/?p=170. Bjorn´s website has extensive information on the genesis of the BP and Dan´s website will take you through it´s construction step-by-step. My experience with Bjorn and Dan during the building process was extremely positive. Highly recommended.
I´ve now had the BP for several months, enough time to get it outfitted properly and to paddle on inland lakes in both calm water and winds up to 20 knots, and to take it into lumpy water off Emerald/Bear Island in North Carolina. By lumpy water I mean shore break, confused seas and clapotis to 4 feet and surf to 6 feet, winds to 20 knots. By way of comparison, my other kayaks include a P&H Quest (camping), Outer Island (day tripping), Pintail (surfing) and Mark Rogers Artic Hawk (general paddling).
The BP simply is the most amazing rough water boat I have ever paddled. Given a fair bit of rocker and long stems, it requires a bit of attention to keep going in a straight line in 7-10 knot winds and short period chop. Probably 20% of builders add an internal skeg or straighten out the keel a bit. If I were doing 20+ mile paddles, I´d take the OI rather than modifying the original BP plans. On the other hand, when in swells and lumpy water or at higher speeds the water rides up the stems and the boat tracks very well and it is amazingly fast in these conditions. I can easily hold 4.5 knots and with low windage do this when others are having wind troubles. The BP is a bit tippy at rest, but not excessively so though I wouldn´t use it for birding. However, put it in lumpy water and it almost miraculously seems unaffected. A little lean and an abbreviated sweep is all it takes to adjust position even in very confused seas. It´s like a fine sports car: goes exactly where you want it to with little effort, but it must be worked or you´ll be off the road. Once I got used to it, I found it very reassuring, way more than the Pintail, which is a great surf and lumpy water long boat. Given quick acceleration, the BP surfs very well and is easy to maneuver once on a wave. Like all low volume boats with narrow ends, the bow will pearl a little, but this proved easy to manage just by leaning back a bit. I had mine built for rolling, and it rolls easily: no surprise given its heritage. It does not have a particularly positive ”pop” or ”up” like some dedicated rolling boats, but it does go round and round effortlessly.
Someone used to the typical composite or plastic boat paddling position (legs splayed, knees up) will have a tough time in the BP at the beginning. I paddle sitting on 1/8" foam with legs straight and flat on the hull and finally arrived (tip from Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson) at a M shaped rather than flat foam masik. BTW, a slight shift in one leg to one side is usually enough to handle weathercocking. That said, once your hamstrings stretch and your hip flexors get used to it, the BP is plenty comfortable.
Things I´d do differently: (1) I like the Anas Acuta style cockpit, but I´d recess the aft coaming to facilitate layback rolls – not a big issue, but easy to do; (2) I´d use Kajak Sport hatches – blew off a Beckson pryout surfing, not fun; (3) I´d leave off the end tips – one fractured the first week; (4) I´d put on a keel strip; and (5), I´d use only Maroske or recessed deck fittings.
For someone who wants a rolling and rough water play boat and likes Greenland style paddling, the BP is beyond fun. It´s become my go to boat for everything but very long paddles and camping.
Rating: 10 of 10