Latest updated Saturday, March 25, 2023, 123 comments
Images | Particulars | More about | Background and history
Plans, Njord - 120 EUR
Njord is a hybrid – designed to combine Nomad´s touring qualities with the playfulness of Black Pearl. More precisely I have strived for the speed and efficiency of Nomad and the ease of rolling from Black Pearl. Some compromises are of course inevitable - Njord does not load quite as much as Nomad and it does not maneuver quite as easily as Black Pearl.
Instead, Njord is a kayak with a large action radius with or without camping gear, with a potential for high touring speed in all conditions, and at the same time is as easy to roll as a dedicated Greenland rolling kayak
The keywords are:
- fast – high touring pace and an impressive action radius with minimal work,
- safe – easily managed in wind and waves, meaning you are dry and relaxed even in challenging conditions,
- flexible – Njord does what you want it to, regardless if it is efficient long-distance expeditions, play, surf, or a rolling contest...
Njord has at two occasions been used in the Havspaddlarnas Blå Band (Swedish Sea Kayakers Blue ribbon) – the entire Swedish coast according to the HBB rules.
Bengt Carlsson 2010, with HBB-nummer 130, in total 2532 km, 74 dagar.
Ove Sigvardsson 2014, with HBB-nummer 156, in total 2333 km, 43 dagar.
Photoblogs from construction (in Swedish):
My own, the Njord prototype.
From Tomi Biloglavs Njord (hundreds of commented photos on Flickr!)
A take-apart Njord, from Danne!
Another project; https://www.facebook.com/fridstrom.kajak2
And one from Niklas Gunnarsson (a Njord in Paulownia)
Dan Caouette built a Njord for a Spanish customer:
Nereida is just INCREDIBLE
We have been paddling together an is FAST, ELEGANT...and almost sexy!!
I still don´t have photos on the sea, but believe: everybody turns and stare at her.
I can stand about 5-6 Knots, she surf waves, is stable...the perfect kayak??
I am a HAPPY MAN
Thank you Dan!!!!!!!!!!!".
Gonzalo Martínez-Monche Zaragoza
A couple of Swedish comments (my translations)
The Njord quickly became my favorite when launched in February. The weight is 127 kg and is easy to cartop. It has room for tent, camping mat, sleeping bag, food end everything else needed for multiday tours Den väger bara 17 kg och är därför lätt att själv slänga upp på takräcket. It is fast and amazing in rough seas and above all – easy to roll for those that know how. Perhaps not as easy as the Black Pearl to learn the roll. A very good combination, therefore, is a Black Pearl for shorter trips, exercise, and rolling and a Njord for the longer outings. Why have just one kayak? You have different skis for different skiing conditions. A detail – the built-in compass is a gem. You never know when you need one and it is nice to know that it always is there. The Njord is a pleasure to use and very comfortable. Don't hesitate – build one!
- The seating comfort is superb, totally customized, and the kayak feels like an extension of my body (I am 183 cm and 75 kg).
- The Njord är fast! I paddle 9-9,5 km/h over long distances and can reach approx 12 km/h when pushing it (wing paddle). For touring I use my Greenland paddle and maintain a good speed with that as well.
- I have a Frej 534 also, a fantastic kayak, more playful than Njord but not at all as fast. That doesn't imply that Njord is in any way dull, but more aimed at exercise and long-distance paddling – and at rolling (which Frej also does very nicely). Surfing and playing in big waves I use Frej, otherwise Njord. Comfort is good in both. Paddle strokes are more efficient and comfortable in the lower and narrower Njord. I also use a Nelo 540 surfski and Njord is very close in speed over longer distances.
- Lines are among the most beautiful I have seen and perfectly match the performance. The boat looks fast and it is. And you sit like a king.
||559/534 cm (overall/WL)
||51/50 cm (overall/WL)
||26/17 cm (in front of/behind the cockpit)
||130 kg/304 litre
||3/4 (initial/secondary stability)
||Expedition and touring, coastal and deep sea. Rolling and advanced paddling. Day tours and exercise.
* These dimensions can be adapted to suit personal needs or wishes.
** Depending on type of wood, equipment, care with epoxy usage, sanding etc. etc.
*** The speed numbers are based on mathematical standard formulas (175 lb paddler + 30 lb carco weight) and corrected from the kayaks actual performance om trials, on tours and in races.
⁴ Calculated resistance in 4 and 5 knots (at nominal load capacity).
⁵ Initial stability and secondary stability on a subjective scale, where 1 is very tippy and 5 is very stable.
⁶ Displacement is kayak + paddler + load. Count off the kayak weight to get the load capacity.
The curve shows the calculated stability with a static load, and therefore of limited use for a real paddler. The part of the curve near zero degrees indicates the initial (primary) stability – the steeper the curve, the more stable. The part of the curve left of the peak indicates end (secondary) stability – the higher and wider, the safer you feel edging the kayak. The position of the peak shows also how much the kayak can be leaned without tipping over. The part of the curve to the right of the peak with a rapidly decreasing righting moment is almost impossible to take advantage of.
The plan sheets contain the information needed to build the kayak. Station molds, stems and construction details are in full scale. The recommended cockpit size is in half scale with offsets for a full-scale drawing and advice on altering the size. On the plans, you will also find advice on how to shorten or lengthen the kayak. Lines and construction drawings are in metric scale 1:10.
The illustrated step-by-step building manual is in Swedish only, but it is available online in English: it covers all steps in detail and will guide first-time builders through the project.
Plans, Njord - 120 EUR
Minimum window dimensions to get your kayak out from the workshop:
More about Njord
Maximal efficiency (most miles per spaghetti serving) is at just below 5 knots (9 km/h), due to a long waterline and a relatively high PC (0.56). Njord is therefore primarily aimed at strong paddlers with good technique, but with a narrow waterline beam and a very small wet surface area, it is easily driven at lower speeds as well.
Directional stability is on the low side, to enhance maneuverability in a long kayak, and an adjustable skeg is recommended for touring. Leaned turning works fine and feels safe due to a very high secondary stability. Njord is easily handled; tight turns, sideslips, high brace stops, etc. can be spectacular with a technically good paddler. The high secondary stability makes balance bracing, even without a paddle, very easy.
The volume is relatively small and a little packing discipline and ingenuity come in handy for longer tours. The experienced backpacker will find room for a week's supply – but for a paddler used to wide and high commercial kayaks, it might be a challenging proposition.
The Njord will initially feel a bit tippy for the novice. The initial stability is relatively low, while the secondary stability is very high – giving a very soft and dry ride (and for spectacular high braces!). For the experienced paddler, Njord feels safe and reliable with easy, predictable movements in challenging conditions.
Njord is loosely based upon eastern Greenland designs and thus has a low deck – some 2 inches lower than the typical commercial kayak (but an inch higher than the original Greenland 19th century kayak). It takes a little getting used to a new seating position, but after a couple of hours, the kayak feels like a well-fitting shoe – good contact without pressure anywhere. The comfort of a small cockpit may come as a surprise for paddlers used to large volume kayaks, where one has to be tightly locked in between knee pads, hip pads, footrest, and a back band to gain control of the craft. The deck behind the cockpit is low enough to reach with the back and head, during a layback roll.
The Njord can be built with an ocean size cockpit or with a large keyhole cockpit. Bulkheads and two hatches are indicated on the plans, but Njord can be built Greenland style without them (although the aft compartment is a bit hard to use due to the low deck behind the cockpit). The bulkheads are placed so that the volume in the cockpit is minimized: the aft can be integrated with the seat and cockpit coaming.
The waterline is long and extended aft, making Njord usable without a skeg or rudder, keeping weight and mechanical complication down. But the downside is a loss of speed in a side wind, and for serious touring an adjustable skeg is recommended.
The hull form follows the eastern Greenland designs, with hard chines – but the chines are softened towards the stems, keeping noise and splashing down in a chop. The deadrise is slightly steeper than the Greenland originals, which together with a pronounced rocker gives a good balance between directional stability and maneuverability. The rocker furthermore places the paddler a little deeper in the water, increasing stability without excess beam, lowering the sheer for more comfortable paddle strokes, and keeping wind resistance down.
Njord is also slightly more full-ended than the Greenlandic inspiration – partly to increase the Cp and thus the potential top speed and partly to increase the buoyancy without the need for high and wind-catching stems. The overhangs are shortened to maximize the waterline length on the given LOA. The deck is arched to provide more room for gear – except for a flat surface just behind the cockpit (where a paddle can be held as support).
Njord - background and history
Njord, designed in 2005, is loosely based on the east Greenland kayaks, mainly the one depicted as the fig 208 in Adney & Chapelle's "The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America", in the book mistakenly called a"South Greenland Kayak". But in the design process, I found it necessary to deviate more and more from the original lines to keep the performance characteristics I was seeking. Thus Njord is no longer visually an east Greenland kayak, but it feels and performs as one – albeit with the ability to handle long-distance touring loads.
As seen in the drawing below, it is not easy to see Njord in these lines. I got trapped in a classic dilemma: if I held on to the lines (as with Black Pearl and Hunter) I could not achieve the performance I wanted – and when I got that right it did not spell Greenland anymore. The conclusion may be that the refined East Greenland lines are not scalable – attempts to add speed and/or load capacity dilute the qualities. Well, since I was happy with my Black Pearl, I prioritized function. Njord, therefore, is a hybrid: maneuverability, comfort/control, rollability from East Greenland, speed and load capacity from sea kayaks, multisport kayaks, and sursfskis. "Wolf in sheep clothes" was the comment from a surprised member of Qajaq Stockholm, normally paddling his own SOF Greenlanders.
During the so-called "Little Ice Age" in the seventeen century, East Greenland was more or less isolated and the kayaks developed differently from the west coast and found unique shapes and qualities. But in the late 20th century, they were "rediscovered" and began to gain popularity around the coast. Compared to western types they were narrower, lower, with more overhangs and a straighter sheer, less deadrise, and more flare. It was overall faster (particularly against the wind) and it maneuvered better. With less initial stability, it was a demanding craft. In eastern Greenland, seals were hunted from kayaks until a couple of decades ago and the tradition is unbroken.
The name is taken from the Norse God of the sea, weather, wealth, trade, and fishing; Njǫrðr (the word also meaning "power", "force"), one of the Vanir and father of Frej and Freja.