The Greenland (in black) and Anas acuta side by side in the snow
by Peter Bisset
A flat water rolling machine, or a reliable day boat?
Made by Tahe Marine, this boat is 5.45m long and 50cm wide, medium rocker, hard chines, extremely low fore deck. even lower rear deck. Very low volume, with my 67kg I have about 5cm freeboard behind the cockpit. This is a greenland rolling machine, extremely easy to roll, balance brace, in fact all manner of tricks. You can float up and out to the side from a capsize and get your mouth and nose above water to breathe before having to think about rolling up. A slow and gentle hip twist and you are up. This allows you to break up the components of a roll and to study each in turn in slow motion until you get it just right. However, it is also a fun day boat, lightweight and lively, and would probably make a very good boat for a young person. It might be something of a handful for a complete beginner, but a smaller improving paddler would rapidly improve further.
Construction; there are always doubts about non-British boats, this is a light lay-up, the standard glass boat weighs about 18kg. A huge advantage lifting on and off the car roof on your own. The downside is that it would not be the best boat to run onto the rocks; however, after 18 months of hard use, mine has no damage at all. The finish is excellent; the hatches air tight, so air tight that I drilled small holes in the bulkheads after watching the covers bulge upward in the sunshine. Footpegs are a large, rounded plastic type which can be adjusted with a rod whilst seated in the boat, they are mounted on alloy rails and can be adjusted for height, though this is a fiddly job you wouldn't want to do to often. They have always worked perfectly. The skeg is a fine dagger shape and you seldom need it more than half down, it is set well back from the stern making it less liable to jamming with small stones. The wire mechanism is the best I have seen. An oversize wire, 3mm-they are usually 2.5mm, runs in a 'c' cross section rigid rod which the slider moves on. The wire inside the c section is unable to kink, but can be eased out for maintenance; it has always performed perfectly.
Value for money; you get a lot of boat for your £1200 or so.
Speed; the long fine bow and stern means that the water line is much less than the overal length would suggest, this, coupled with the rocker, means that it is not the fastest boat on the sea. However, it will keep up and you won't be working as hard as those around you. I would put it at slightly faster than the Anas acuta when pushed. There is a tendency for the bow to rise onto its bow wave at speed, having a bit of weight in the fore hatch seems to make it run faster.
Fun factor; off the scale. It is a lightweight throw around boat, manoeuvrability is excellent, second only to the Anas acuta, and it carves on its chines like that boat. Then there is the blurring of up and upside down, leading to all sorts of possibilities.
Comfort; fairly spartan. It has a moulded glassfibre seat bolted to the hull, there is a little for and aft movement possible, by drilling more holes in the seat you could move it further if necessary. The manufacturer's position was fine for me. I find it very comfortable. It came with a backrest, but I found this got in the way for getting in and out on the water, so I took it out and have never felt the need for it, even on 18nm days out, the seat shape supports me well. The seat was too wide for me, wider than the Anas, so I added 3cm hip pads on each side to give me good contact with the boat. With the low foredeck it has the straight legged stance which I like. There is a choice of an ocean cockpit or a sort of elongated ocean cockpit, I find the ocean cockpit just right. Problems getting in and out? look at this video.
Safety; it comes without end toggles, I tied some on eskimo style and this works well, if you buy one I would advise doing this. We tried some rescues without toggles and holding onto the boat could be an issue. The very pointed ends could damage someone or something; need to practice the paddle loom presentation for eskimo rescues.
Stability; this boat is very stable. When I tried it out before buying one, this was what struck me. It looks as if it should be very wobbly, but it isn't. Amaze your friends with your skill level. Secondary stability is also good with the hard chines encouraging controlled edging.
Rescues; In any sort of rough sea, getting in after a deep water rescue, without waves slopping into the boat is almost impossible, the elongated cockpit would make this even worse. So emptying out is a waste of time and the thing to do is to re-enter, put on the spray deck and pump out with the pump tucked into the side of the spraydeck. The skin on frame style assisted rescue is to empty the boat and get in with it still across the deck of the rescuing boat and then launch off the deck, this is a possibility here. The saving grace, if you are on your own, is that the boat paddles extremely well full of water and so can be paddled flooded to calmer waters. In a re-entry roll, very very easy in this boat, you come up semi-flooded and can bail out once the spray deck is on. However, this is a boat which you will be rolling reliably before you find yourself in trouble.
Size; the heavier you are, the lower you will float. The manufacturer gives a total load capacity of 100kg, so with kit, spare clothes, splits etc for a day on the water, anyone over 80kg must be stretching it. I would say 50-75kg is ideal, we have not tried it with anyone lighter, but my guess is that it would perform very well for a child. The hatches are fairly small, but you can fit 4x 5l dry bags plus oddments in the rear and 2x 5l dry bags in the front plus oddments in the pointy end. Weight might be more of an issue than volume. Overnight bivouac, no problems; but a long weekend or an expedition would need a relatively spartan outlook. Feet to size 9 or 10 could fit under the fore deck. My 8's are just right.
Rough water; I thought that the bow might just dive and keep diving towards the seabed in steep waves. However, experienced paddlers in France told me that it comes up controllably when playing in tide races; and that is what I have found, waves sometimes wash right over around your waist, but the boat still feels buoyant enough to ride out anything. However, by choice in rough water, I would go for the Anas Acuta every time, this boat doesn't feel as if it is looking after you in the same way, maybe it needs more effort and attention from the pilot, so you cannot relax as much.
Colour; they come in black or white, the black shows scratches, but looks so cool, just learn to get in and out on the water whenever possible, to minimise scrapes. I added some reflective trim for night paddling, black is very visible during the day, but at night it becomes a seriously stealthy boat.