About the test: paddling conditions and paddlers.
Having reviewed the Tahe Marine Greenland for Ocean paddler I was keen to try the Greenland T (Touring) model. The testing took place over two weeks with the Greenland T being put through it’s paces in a predominantly windy (F2-F5) Solent. The kayak was paddled by two paddlers with weights of 72 & 88kg. Inevitably comparisons have been drawn with the smaller sibling Greenland.
“This kayak is a direct descendent of the traditional canoe inspired kayaks of Greenland, ancient boats that reached Central Europe as early as the 17th century. Our modern reincarnation uses the same classic low volume hull with a V-shaped bottom. Although this requires a level of proficiency, at the same time it delivers unmatched speed and performance on both calm waters and in the face of breaking waves. The Greenland’s cockpit space for your feet was carefully engineered, keeping in mind the characteristics and needs of the human body on long journeys. On trips that last several days the true wonders of this tradition inspired kayak clearly manifest themselves – speed, lightness and one very relaxed paddler.”
DesignThe Greenland T shares the same ultra low, sharp design as the Greenland, including the 545cm (17’10”) length. However, the widest point of the kayak, sitting just ahead of the cockpit, boasts an extra 3cm at 53cm (21”) wide. The hull is a wide, shallow v shape with hard chined edges. The bow and stern are long and sharp leading to very pointed ends. The rear deck is low and flat sporting a square drainage channel from the rear of the cockpit to the rear hatch. This features two inset security points. The keyhole cockpit rises significantly from the rear to the front. The front deck has hard chines rising to a slightly rounded top. This slopes away from the cockpit and flattens out to the bow of the kayak.
Construction, finish, fittings and ergonomicsThis is the third Tahe Marine kayak I have paddled and shares the same high quality layup. The exterior of the kayak is beautifully finished whilst the smooth interior finish adds a nice touch. GRP bulkheads are well fitted and finished although I would still like to see Tahe Marine consider relief valves as many other manufacturers are utilising in their bulkheads. The unusual textured finish to the decks is pleasing to the eye and likely to resist wear from spare paddles or other items carried on deck better than a smooth finish.
The keyhole cockpit is nicely designed with largish thigh braces. I was pleased to discover that the cockpit coaming seems to be sturdier and less sharp than previous Tahe Marine boats I have paddled. With the Greenland T aimed at larger paddlers than the Greenland or those wishing to undertake extended paddling trips this cockpit is certainly a more comfortable and easier to use proposition than the ocean cockpit on the Greenland model.The GRP seat is nicely padded, with push studs to hold it in place and/or allow for easy removal. The backrest, however, was a very basic rope and padding affair and would likely be one aspect of the outfitting that paddlers would wish to customise quite soon after purchase.
The footrest provoked a mixed reaction. They were certainly easy to adjust and very nicely constructed however both paddlers commented that they felt a little too low to allow you to place your foot comfortably on them. Similarly the editor of OP mentioned that they felt slightly small when used wearing Mukluks. The bow of the Greenland T does however provide enough space to comfortably wear more substantial footwear than the Greenland.Deck outfitting is very good. Nicely recessed fittings secure substantial deck lines which on the Greenland T run the entire length of the kayak (another welcome development). The front deck-lines would be perfect for securing a Greenland style paddle but modern splits would need to secured on the rear deck.
Another addition to the Greenland T is carrying toggles, vital if it is to fulfill it’s role as a touring kayak. These toggles are secured by lines to keep them flush with the boat.
Three kayaksport hatches provide access to the internal storage. The bow sports a 24cm round hatch, the stern a 15cm day hatch and a 44x26cm oval hatch. The increased volume of the Greenland T certainly provides reasonable storage with Tahe Marine giving it an approximate capacity of 135kg.
PerformanceThe keyhole cockpit combined with rigid back deck makes entry to the Greenland T a reasonably easy affair, although not in the league of higher volume european design sea kayaks. The GRP seat feels a little fragile compared to some of the modern plastic seats such as those found in the P&H range so a little more care is required entering the boat when alongside a jetty or other high point.
Once on the water you are struck by the sleek lines of the Greenland T. Despite the fact that is shares the same width as primary boat (a P&H Cetus) the fact that the deck slopes away to either side combined with the sharp bow and low waterline make you realise that you are sat in an very narrow kayak overall. The fit is snug but for the larger paddler significantly more comfortable than the ocean cockpit version of the Greenland. This is due to the larger cockpit and raised front deck. The padded seat is comfortable and over extended paddles a nice development. The back rest did it’s job but lacks adjustment and is something I would customise quite quickly. Smaller paddler I might consider a thin foam padding for the thigh braces however as a larger paddler I think this would make the Greenland T too tight a fit.The initial stability is low to moderate, certainly more than I expected and after a short period you become used to the Greenland T’s handling characteristics and more comfortable with it’s stability. With the hard chined hull you have to work the boat to get manoeuvrability. For paddlers happy to get the kayak up on edge you are rewarded with nice positive turns.
Speed wise, the Greenland T accelerates very well cutting through the water. It held a nice cruising pace easily and could hold it’s own in a short sprint. When really pushed over an extended distance, the shallow v hull starts to lift the bow and prevents the kayak from reaching very high speeds.
Paddling in light winds, the overall low volume does help prevent weather-cocking and the Greenland T held a nice true course. As the wind increased the large skeg copes well allowing the kayak to stay on course regardless of wind direction. The skeg controller was reasonably tight but has a positive action allowing you to make small adjustments easily.
Rolling the Greenland T remains a joy. It is effortless to lay right back on the low stern and the sleek design allows for seemingly effortless rolls. The snug fit excentuates this allowing the paddler to really ‘fit’ the kayak.
The Greenland T is designed as a touring boat and the extra capacity is certainly welcome carrying kit. Tahe advertise the load range as being up to 298lbs however, I would say this is an optimistic extreme as opposed to optimum load, particularly when you compare it to British style kayaks such as the Nordkapp (optimum load range 160-290lbs) or the Cetus (optimum load range 143-297lbs). However, when compared to to the standard Tahe Greenland it is certainly capable of carrying kit for trips.
As expected, loaded up the initial stability of the Greenland T improves as does its ability to hold a course in wind. The cruising speed did drop but not significantly.
Length: 545 cm (17’10”)
Width: 53 cm (21”)
Approx. capacity: 135 kg (298 lbs)
Cockpit: 82×45 cm (32¼”x17¾”)
Fiberglass: 23-25 kg (42-46 Ibs)
Carbon/aramide: 22-24 kg (40-44 Ibs)
Front: round hatch 24 cm (10”)
Day hatch: 15 cm (6’’)
Rear: oval hatch 44×26 cm (17”x10¼’’)
The high quality construction and finish at a remarkable price put a superb greenland style kayak into an affordable price bracket. Compared to the Greenlander or Bahiya the Greenland T may lack the thicker therefore tougher layup or more advanced outfitting, however this does mean it is up to 10lbs lighter and significantly cheaper. It should also be noted that Tahe offer a ‘heavy duty’ version and various outfitting extras/upgrades if required. |”For the larger paddler wanting to try a Greenland style kayak or the lighter paddler looking to extend their paddling range the Greenland T is real contender.