A year has gone by since I posted my review of my Narwhal, and I thought an update was in order...she's still a beautiful boat, though she no longer looks new...the red decks have faded just a little and there are a number of minor scratches. So I no longer live in fear of marring her...just relax and take reasonably good care of her, while enjoying the ride...
I love this boat more and more as time goes by. You'll have to forget my comments on speed. She may not be quite as fast as other composites, but she recently walked away from a Prijon Kodiak and a variety of Dagger and Perception boats, including my old Eclipse, and they were paddled by people half my age. And I thought I was loafing along at the time! Was just enjoying myself on this offshore paddle, when I looked around and found myself alone...had to wait several minutes for the rest of 'em to catch up. Credit the boat for this, NOT the paddler!!! So, now I have NO criticisms...After paddling nothing but plastic boats due to my conviction that I couldn't afford a composition boat, I tried a Boreal Designs Narwhal. This boat I COULD afford, as it was only $400 more than the plastic boats I had been considering. Wow! Start with construction. She's glass, with great fit and finish. Her rudder is not just stamped out but is actually feathered. Rudder tracks are ABS instead of aluminum...a good thing, as anyone who has had binding problems in sand and salt could attest. Pedal adjustment was the easiest I have ever encountered. Deck fittings were double fastened, instead of using the single fittings on most boats I've seen. And, at 50 lbs, she comes in considerably lighter than any of the plastic boats and many of the composites.
My 6'2", 240lb frame went into and out of the cockpit easily, and I was snug AND comfortable inside, with both good room and good bracing. Seat and back were comfortable and, again, easily adjustable. No, she didn't just take off the second the paddle touched the water, as both my Eclipse and the Looksha IV did. But she tracked like a dream, was faster than any boat I'b paddled, once I got her going, and, though she didn't go up on edge as easily as the Looksha, she wasn't hard to turn, either.
I've used her every day for two weeks, for several hours at a time and only get happier with her performance. Okay, she's no racer. But boy, does she cover water, and am I EVER comfortable! Think I'll keep her.