Njord - Ivan Blumenschein
Hello Bjorn, this is my Njord, launched last March. I waited to send a review after I was familiar enough with the boat. During these 8 months, I paddled it over 500km in several outings, including strong winds and rough seas.
I built it with paulownia, it weighs 16kg (including seat, hatches etc), which I find quite light. In the beginning the boat felt tippy, but I find it quite stable nowadays. I only capsized it on purpose so far. It's a fast boat. With me as propulsion, its "natural" speed for long paddles is a bit over 8km/h. When the sea is rougher, it does not tilt up and down as it paddles thru the waves – it does not "hobbyhorse", just as you mentioned it. This makes paddling much more enjoyable. I found it quite sensitive to crosswinds, and for me the skeg is an absolute necessity to focus on paddling, not correcting course. built a thru-the-hull skeg, I find this to be the most simple and fail-proof design. The cockpit is keyhole-shaped, but with the width and lenght just the needed to put one leg a time in or out, gives me plenty of leg contact in different positions. Although the opening is tight, the rim is quite wide, so I can use standard spray skirts. I crafted a seat with EVA foam. It is quite long (40cm), few mm thick at the thinnest points (bottom of ass cheeks) and some 7cm at the thickest point on the front. Low center of gravity, but broad support to my thighs. With my legs relaxed and supported by the seat, my knees touch the deck. I have full contact at all times, feels like I'm wearing the kayak. My legs and feet don't get numb even after paddling for several hours.
It's a wonderful kayak, I am very happy with it.
Greetings from Santa Catarina, Brazil.