Just poking around - night heron hybrid paddlers report

Well it was a cold but beautiful day here in the Washington DC metro area so I ran over to my brother’s house to ‘borrow’ the night-heron hybrid I made with my nephew this last summer.

He had to return to college and I was concerned about dust and bugs and other things that happen to a boat sitting fallow….and what the heck….i had never taken this thing out for a ride and was aching for the opportunity to see how it works.

Anyway, pleased to report a great paddle and a surprisingly wonderful handling boat that really has a very interesting paddling character compared to it strip built cousin.

So for anybody considering a night heron hybrid, in a word.  High praise.   A couple things that I would highlight:

  • Night heron’s are fast with a strong paddler.   No trouble making this boat move an extra notch when you need it.
  • The hybrid version of this really tracks strong and is much more responsive to leaned turns.  Most of the paddle was done in a breezy, puffy flat water with wind 11 knots in the lulls and gusts to 17.    But compared to its strip built cousin, most of that was managed with a little bit of lean and no skeg.  The only time I needed the skeg was in a breeze with a rear quartering wind where she wanted to round up…a little skeg and she tracked just fine.
  • A little bit roomier than the equivalent strip build.   I need some knee bend to be comfortable and it just felt like there was a little more volume where it mattered.
  • On this build, we went with hatches each of which are held in place with 6 toggles.  Definitely the way to go if you need a waterproof hatch.  My other boats have straps and they just are not capable of ensuring that tight, uniform down pressure required for a waterproof hatch.  I was a bit concerned with the look initially….but I think it came out ok.
  • While certainly heavier than a 100% strip-built boat.  It’s light compared to a production boat.  But I like the fact that where its likely to get scratched its sturdier and its painted,  so will be easier to keep fresh looking and fix up to look like new.
  • This is the first hybrid I have built so surprised how much I enjoyed it and seems to maximize the nice features of a stitch and glue hull (strong, hard chines/solid tracking, easy to build) with the beauty and curves of a strip built deck….which is the part of the boat you spend most of the time seeing.

Anyway, it was a gas getting some air and a paddle in... even though it did not get over 45 degrees here today….but spring is coming and this pandemic thing looks like it may be winding down.   And yes, I did return the boat after the paddle.

Be safe.


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