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Reviews for Arctic Tern 14 Kayak by Pygmy Boats


Rated: 9.59/10 Based On: 17 Reviews


Arctic Tern 14 Kayak by Pygmy Boats

Length: 14' 0" - Width: 23.00" - Starting at: $899.00
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09-26-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is my second review of the Tern 14. I built it in 2002 and loved it but eventually my interests evolved to camping a racing and the sweet 14 wasn't getting that much use plus I had gained 35lbs. and the boat just wasn't the same. A friend wanted the boat for surfing and finally talked me into selling it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I am now 70yo and back to my original weight also my camping and racing days are nearly over. I mentioned that I loved the Tern, he said he wasn't using it and agreed to return it.

After owning many kayaks, I can say that nothing comes close to the 14 as a day boat.
I am very fortunate to get it back.

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09-03-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     This is a kit boat using very accurately cut 4mm Okume mahogany plywood, fiber glass and epoxy. The kit comes with very complete instructions and is quite easy to build with just a few simple tools. The best part is that you will have a beautiful finished boat with about 60-70 hours work. The finished boat weighs about 34 lbs. It handles beautifully in all types of conditions, easy to paddle and transport.
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08-06-2014
Submitted by: MikeSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I built the AT14 back in 2004, along with an Arctic Tern 17. I've also built a Redfish Silver Spring strip-built. For what I like to do, which is go out on calm lakes, launching into the ocean off the beach and surfing, poking around in up to class III rapids, etc., this is the perfect boat. I feel like I put it on rather than sit in it. Paddles plenty fast, turns well for a log (I also built a Matunuck surf kayak, so tough to compare anything to it!) tracks straight in tough conditions, and looks good.

The reason I've added my review, is to tell those 215 LB, 6'3", size 13 shoe folks out there that this is a great boat for you too. It will ride a little lower in the water and you'll have your feet pointing outwards, but I have spent hours in the boat without being permanently crippled.

Of my 4 kayaks, this is the one I grab 90% of the time, and whatever the conditions, with this boat I'll have fun 100% of the time.

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07-03-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 is perhaps the best kit boat on the market today for a person under 160 pounds. It is fast enough to cruise with much longer boat while allowing the paddler to expend much less energy, because of the low wetted surface. Surfing this little boat is a joy, because of the ease of saying on a wave headed in the right direction. Rock solid stability, and tipping the scales at 32 pounds, are my two favorite features. You might call this a boat for all reasons, and it is a 10 in my book.
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08-04-2013
Submitted by: AbraxasSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have had a dozen wooden kayaks and nearly as many designs, and the Arctic Tern 14 rates very near the top on all the things you would want in a kayak. I am not a builder, so I can't speak to the construction side of this boat, but paddling it is a dream. As others have mentioned, the top end speed is about 5mph, but you can cruise all day at 4 mph, and still have something left to party.
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07-26-2013
Submitted by: M. MillweeSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I am an experienced paddler with over 10 years in a recreational kayak and 3 years in serious sea kayaks. I feel the Pygmy 14 will be my lifetime boat. This boat does everything well, plus very light to handle and easy to store and transport. The only weakness would be sustained hull speed compared to longer boats over longer trips.
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04-06-2007
Submitted by: Kevin WSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     The Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 is my fourth boat overall and the 3rd kit(stitch&glue construction) boat I have built. The kit seemed to go together with more precision than my CLC kits. At first I was hesitant to get a boat with such a short waterline thinking it would compromise my sprint speed and make it difficult to keep up with my colleagues. Also, at 23" this boat is beamier than my previous builds. Truly the At 14 does not have the fastest hull speed, but the reality is that this boat excels in every other category. I have have had more fun in the short time paddling this boat than all my other ones combined. The primary stability is good yet still playful. The secondary is confidence inspiring allowing you to make leaned turns that become second nature. Catching a wave is no problem, in fact this boat is terrific in the surf and the maneuverability seems to give it a great advantage over longer boats. In wild conditions, the Tern 14 really shines! The defined keel allows it to track fairly well and all that is needed to adjust is a slight knee hang to offset any weathercocking or in a quartering sea. The angular deck accommodates my upright paddling style in spite of having a wider beam. At 5'6", 150lbs. I am a rather diminutive paddler- this is probably the middle of the range recommendation for the AT14. It is a perfect fit for me. The only recommendation I can make is to customize the cockpit. I carved out a dense foam seat, added hip and thigh padding and trimmed down the back band so it would complement the seat. The smaller cockpit makes me feel more connected yet ingress/egress is no problem. I didn't install hatches on the deck- instead I put small inspection ports in the bulkheads. For me this is predominantly a playboat and I don't have to hassle with hatches that don't seal properly. That is one of the great things about stitch and glue construction, customization is easy. As far as the hull speed, I can cruise along with other kayakers with no problem. The all out sprint speed...well considering everything this boat has to offer, that is low on my list of priorities.
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01-08-2007
Submitted by: Bear.vs.Paddle
Rating: 10 of 10

     I love my Arctic Tern 14. I built it 3 years ago and have used it every chance I get. It looks and performs better than I dreamed. The building process goes smoothly if you follow the instructions to the letter and prepare for each step. PLEASE buy the cabinet scraper when you order. this will save you hours of sanding time. Take your time and your boat will come out perfect. Pygmy Boats are beautiful! Good luck and happy paddling!
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09-26-2005
Submitted by: JasonSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     This is my 3rd kayak. And the first one I hand made it. I found this beauty on the internet, and requested for a catalog. However, it never arrived. I bought it anyway, from far overseas Asia. The whole assembling process took me 3 months. Thanks to the detailed instruction and tons of suggestions/reviews on the internet, putting the boat together was generally uneventful. However, like others, the glassing and sanding of the baby has been very stressful. Maybe Pygme can develop some kind of teaching VCD so customers can understand more of the glassing procedure. It's really hard to lay the glass cloth and saturate it flawlessly flat. Maybe the company was very confident of their provided instruction, they never reply my e-mail regarding the varnish materials. This was the only thing I have to complain about them. As a foreigner, verbal communication through the phone is inefficient and expensive. Hope they can be a little bit more thoughtful on this. After all, the boat is too beautiful so many people all over the world will appreciate it. I paid heavy shipping/customs/tax fee but never regret it. And now I own the only wooden kayak in my area.
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05-30-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Agree with most everyone else ... the boat is an excellent turner and tracker, but has noticeable limits on absolute top speed. It will maintain average cruise speeds just fine though, and is correct configuration for surf zones (quick). For most weekend warriors itís a better overall choice than the 17 (lighter, turns better, transport advantages. One possible issue is foot room. Maybe I put it together wrong, but my size 10's are a tight fit with shoes on. Still, I got a weeks worth of camp gear, including a rifle and a cot, in the little 14 for a rare "expedition" on Great Slave Lake. Get a boat that suits what you will do MOSTLY. Admit it. Mostly you will day trip. I also had a leaky hatch and believe this minor fault lies in the factory design, not the (flawless godlike) workmanship. If I were to build it again, I would NOT do hatches, but would buy a cockpit sock.

It was an easy & satisfying build, except for the endless sanding. Spent as much time on sanding/varnishing as I spent putting the entire kayak together. But it is a beautiful and functional object. Have had it for three years and it's my all time favorite possession. We have rocky shores here, and the hull has proven very durable. Maintenance is no big thing. Get one of these AT14's. Don't put in hatches. Make sure your feet fit. You will be happy.

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05-26-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I built my Tern 14 two and a half years ago. This was my first real kayak and I compared every other kayak I paddled against it. Now after owning several other boats the Tern 14 is still my gold standard for all around handling. There is something to be said about the simplicity (no rudder or skeg) of a well-designed hard chine boat. It tracks, turns and balances almost automatically after a few paddles and at 33lbs. A joy to handle.

It has a faster cruising speed than most of the Pygmys and rated as one of the most efficient kayaks period at normal cruising speeds. It is much faster than my long boats in very shallow water and I use it almost daily in and around the mangroves. It was designed by request of the Tsunami Rangers so there is very little that this boat canít handle. Although limited on top speed this is a great day tripper or club boat. I am 5Ē11 and 170lbs. and I confer this is near the top range, although it is rated near 300lbs. I have now added a Tern 17 for my multi-day trips.

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12-14-2004
Submitted by: ErikSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I built my Tern 14 a little over a year ago and love this boat. Itís my first kit boat and a very fun project. At 6' & 175lbs, I am at the top range of this boat's design but have not found any problems. She turns on a dime, goes over on an edge easily, has great secondary stability, and rolls well. I have taken her out in 25+ knot winds on the Hudson and she was a pleasure to paddle both into the wind and with quartering seas. Lastly at 35 lbs it is a great car topper. Highly recommend this boat to all.
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11-05-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I built an Arctic Tern 14 for my wife. The kit went together smoothly and easily. I launched it at the lake and my 10 yr old quickly evicted me from the cockpit and had a blast. My 7 yr old evicted the 10 yr old. We had a blast. I took it out a bit deep to roll it a few times. It rolls well. The recessed back combing is a great help in rolling. I took it off Tybee Island GA into the biggest baddest water I have ever experienced. It surfed like a dream. It is a point and go kind of surfing kayak. It isnt a dedicated surf boat but man can it play. It maneuvers well and is extremely buoyant. Fun! I had a big pair of waves slam into each other at a 45 degree angle and I was caught in the middle. The collision threw me into the air and upside down hard! I rolled up shaken but OK. I went back for more and that little boat really seemed to enjoy it. It will turn on a dime yet track extremely well. The only down side to this design is that you hit a speed wall at about,say, 5mph that is hard to overcome. It cruises unbelievably easily at a normal speed of about 3mph. Probably about a third less effort to keep up with my friends when paddling. I would build it again. If only I could afford to.
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09-08-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I built my Arctic Tern 14 over a year ago and have put several hundred miles on it! It's great for overnight trips and handles well offshore when suring or fishing. I've even pulled in a 36lb wahoo while fishing from it without worrying about the stability. The only problem I 've had is that the rear hatch leaks a little. I think it's due to my "expert" craftsmanship.
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08-18-2003
Submitted by: DrewSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Outstanding kayak! The Artic Tern 14 is easy to build, tracks well (but not as straight as the larger boats like the Coho 17' or the Artic Tern 17). The size makes the AT 14 maneuverable and easy to paddle for my wife 5'4", 125 and kids ages 13, 15. I always have to slow down for others. At only 30 lbs I can carry it to the Sound or a lake with one hand.
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02-05-2003
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I built the artic tern 14 for my wife and it fits here great at 5'6" 130 lbs she is very fast in the water, tracks like a dream and with the bulkheads and hatches weighs in at 39 pounds( i got a little caried away with the epoxy). I also added a kevelar keel strip and coated the bottom with graphite powder mixed into the expoxy for duribilty. Im very impress with how durible this boat is now. I can slight it into the water right off the dock of sit in it and launch in the rocks of my neighbors boat ramp with just superficial scratches. More advanced paddlers then my self have tried the boat and found that it was a joy to paddle with great secondary stability. It was almost as much fun to buiold as it is to paddle. The hull is so much stiffer than nay other plastic, fiberglass, or kevelar boat that I have seen and tried. I would recomend the graphite coating for all boat that come down here to the everglades-tenthousand island country.
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12-30-2002
Submitted by: Don
Rating: 10 of 10

     I find the Artic Tern 14 a rewarding kayak to paddle. The size and handling characteristics makes this boat fun to paddle. I am 6' 165 lbs. The boat fits me great. As a novice paddler this boat allows me to develope better paddling skills. It tracks very good which makes it a pleasure to paddle on openwater and is very manuverable when doing leaned turns. Weathercocking is minimal and I don't see a need for a rudder or skeg. The low front deck makes paddleing easy. With the bulheads and hatches installed I can load enough camping gear for a weekend trip.
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