I started paddling Nordkapp’s in 1978, and for the last 40 years it has largely been my sea kayak of choice. This weekend I was fortunate enough be able to paddle the latest development, the Nordkapp Førti. It was the normal Sunday morning paddle with Jersey Canoe Club, out around the Towers.
It has the classic lines of the traditional Nordkapp, the up swept bow is one of the iconic features of modern sea kayak design. The question was, how had it changed?
I found the seat really comfortable and it gave me quite a snug fit, meaning right from the first few paddle strokes I felt connected to the kayak. Initially I felt that the thigh braces were uncomfortable, which is the feedback that I received from most other paddlers. I did find though that the discomfort disappeared after approximately 20 minutes.
The kayak held its track as we headed out towards Icho Tower, a crossing of just over a nautical mile. I had no problem in keeping up with the 20+ other paddlers who were in a variety of kayaks. A boat which has a reasonable turn of speed, therefore suitable for fast coastal cruising or using on open crossings.
In common with other models of the Nordkapp, the Forti carved a lovely turn as soon as it is put on its edge. This proved beneficial when paddling amongst rocks or playing in a small tide race. This is a kayak which performs well if the paddler has a range of strokes and are able to perform them confidently if the boat is on its edge.
The quality of construction is what you would expect from a company with a history, like that of Valley Sea Kayaks. I particularly like to small hatch on the front deck, in which to keep those small items needed during the course of a trip. I realise they have been around a while but I still appreciate them.
The Nordkapp Forti can trace its history back to the early days of the Nordkapp kayak. It is a development based on the Nordkapp HS. It handles smoothly, has a nice turn of speed and looks great.
There is some concern over the comfort of the thigh/knee braces but if I was in the market for a new sea kayak, this would be a serious contender. For the moment I will just rotate paddling with my Nordkapp HM and LV.
This particular kayak was in Jersey for the Canoe Club Nordkapp weekend, which was a really enjoyable event and gave a number of paddlers the opportunity to try out the latest variety of the Nordkapp from Valley.
I have used the Førti extensively over the last 3 months and have found it to be a really enjoyable sea kayak to paddle. In June I spent 3 weeks kayaking off the west coast of Scotland. It carried enough equipment plus food for about 10 days in the kayak. At times though it required some re-adjusting to make sure it all fitted.
Since then I have completed a week long trip around the Channel Islands. We completed a couple of crossings of over 20 nautical miles, and I really appreciated the speed that it offered.
So after 3 months of extensive use I would rate the Nordkapp Førti more highly than I did in the original review.