A development of the original Guillemot kayak line, the Night Heron family of cedar-strip kayaks are the result of Nick Schade's ventures into rougher paddling conditions. The Greenland Inuit influence is more explicitly evident with sharper, more angular end shapes, lower back decks, and a more steeply raked cockpit profile.
The Night Heron differs from traditional Inuit designs by maintaining a full waterline shape out to the ends instead of the ‘pinched’ ends that are characteristic of the skin-on-frame kayaks made by the Greenlanders. The fuller ends create a long effective waterline giving the Night Heron great efficiency at high speeds.
This volume distribution results in a boat that surfs very easily. This is further helped by a chine that starts up soft near the bow and hardens up at the cockpit and behind.
It has fairly hard chines with no concave sections. A slight lean will allow the boat to turn easily. The low back deck permits the paddler to lean back so their head touches the back deck. The foredeck is high enough that most paddlers will be able to get their legs in and out while sitting down.
At 20″ wide this is a narrow kayak, however it is not scary to paddle. Even novice paddlers quickly get comfortable. The boat tracks well with good balance and is quite fast. It is very easy to roll and perform various braces.
Although the beauty of the Night Heron shape has received attention outside of the kayak world, it is really on the water that the success of the design becomes most evident. These boats are fun to paddle. It is a secure boat in rough water and responds well playing in the surge of rock gardens.
A detailed Guillemot kayak build log (with photos) can be read on our forum. It is built using the same cedar-strip method as the Night Heron.
This design has a lower deck behind the cockpit to ease layback rolls and the cockpit is shorter to allow bracing anywhere under the foredeck.
The deck of this version is higher than that of the standard Night Heron, providing greater storage volume and more leg room for taller paddlers.
There is also a plywood version of the Night Heron, with stitch-and-glue construction and distinctive puzzle-joints.
Combining the plywood hull of the stitch-and-glue Night Heron with a cedar-strip deck, the Hybrid Night Herons put the beauty of cedar-strip where you will see it, on the deck.
All the kits include:
The plans contain sufficient information to build the boat from scratch rather than a kit. They include full size drawings. We recommend Nick Schade's book, The Strip-Built Sea Kayak, which covers the techniques that are used to build strip-planked kayaks.
The forms and strongback for the cedar-strip boats include the pre-cut forms and strongback and the necessary plans to build the boat. The cedar strips are not included (see below).
310 m of Bead-and-cove cedar strips will be needed for each of the cedar-strip Night Heron kayaks.