Latest updated Thursday, October 13, 2022, 5 comments
Images | Particulars | More about | Background and history
Plans, Norton - 120 EUR
The name Norton comes from Norton Sound at the north coast of Alaska, as a tip-of-the-hat to a superb craft from the 19th century. But Norton is far from being a replica. The historical Norton Sound kayaks just provided the visual inspiration.
Norton is a deep sea expedition kayak for the experienced paddler – fast, straight tracking and roomy. It has less initial stability than Kavat, Thule or Nomad, which means easy, predictable movements in heavy weather. Together with the lean, powerful stem, it lets a skilled paddler press on against almost anything. The straight tracking hull needs some persuasion to turn – a rudder is recommended for most paddlers.
The length can be adapted to personal wishes simply by altering the distances between station molds. The size and shape of the cockpit are also easily altered. Many builders favor a small cockpit hole to facilitate rolling. Although bulkheads and hatches are shown in the drawings, Norton can be built and used without extra complications – the way kayaks have been used by countless generations of Inuits.
||546/518 cm (overall/WL)
||54/49 cm (overall/WL)
||28.5/26 cm (in front of/behind the cockpit)
||145 kg/377 litre
||3/4 (initial/secondary stability)
||Expedition and touring, coastal and open sea. Day tour 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 rapidly decreasing righting moment is almost impossible to take advantage of.
The plan sheets contain the information needed to build the kayak/canoe. Station molds, stems and construction details are full scale. For kayaks the recommended cockpit size is shown 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 craft. 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, Norton - 120 EUR
Minimum window dimensions to get your kayak out from the workshop:
More about Norton
One builder, chosing Norton to complement his previously built Guillemot commented thus: "Simple, safe, super fast, directionally stable, good behavior when loaded, handsome. Three paddle strokes in Guillemot is like one in Norton!!"
Another: "...a very potent sea racer in my opinion."
Background and history
The inspiration to what was to be the Norton was a story in Wooden Boat no 57 1984. Curtis Rindlaub designed and built a kayak for a trip along the Alaska coast. He based his kayak loosely on the classic Norton Sound kayaks from northern Alaska. I found his interpretation of the lines very appealing – straight, confident lines without any ingratiating curvature, a harmonious blend of a curved bow and the straight vertical stern, giving the impression of a predator-like speed and efficiency. But Rindlaubs kayak was short and wide – just 427 cm to be air transported and 76 cm wide to load 200 kg – and the dimensions were far from what I envisioned.
When I in 2000 started sketching the dimensions were 546x54 and my Norton was a fast and nimble long distance touring kayak. The volume distribution (Cp) increased to 0,56 – a relatively high figure that indicates that the kayak will be most effective in a high mean speed.
The two-step development means that it now takes quite some imagination to see traces of the original Norton Sound-kayaks in my Norton.