Top 10 Boat Kits of 2014

The turning of a year is always a good time for reflection. In that spirit, here’s a glance back at the most popular boats of the year.


1. The Pinguino 145 has reigned the most popular kit for the last 4 years. With efficient cruising speed, an extra large cockpit option and plenty of stability this kayak is versatile and popular for kayak fishing, photography, light touring and day paddling. At only 36 lbs, she’s easy to cartop and is one of the lightest recreational boats on the market without compromising performance on the water. Review: “The Pinguino hits the mark dead-on, a recreational-style kayak for the home builder.  It is perfectly suited for photography or bird watching and its stable behavior made it confidence inspiring, fun, and easy to paddle.”


2. Pinguino 145-4PD: The Pinguino 145-4PD has jumped two positions from number four in 2013 to our second best selling kit in 2014. With the same popular hull design as the Pinguino 145, the difference lies in the deck. The 4PD has a smaller, arched cockpit designed for a closer paddle stroke and to help facilitate lay-back rolls and wet re-entries. She’s a popular option for smaller paddlers who desire stability and for folks who want to take the Pinguino into the surf zone. Review: “It’s a multipurpose kayak with few peers: surfing ability for coastal travel or day trip fun; low windage and well-balanced for rough conditions; ample gear storage for multiday trips; and high stability for photographers or fishers”.


3. Murrelet– The Murrelet has earned itself a name with traditional Greenland kayak enthusiasts. Its a Greenland inspired touring kayak that rolls beautifully. The most popular model in this series is the Murrelet 4PD, due to it’s extra storage capacity, with the Murrelet 2PD close behind. Review: “The Murrelet is a great kayak for Greenland-style rolling, and yet has some stowage advantages for long trips. I loved the light weight for car-topping and enjoyed paddling and showing off this wooden beauty. It’s stable enough for athletic beginners, and a playful, rough-water rolling machine for the experts.”

Coho HiTop2

4. Coho: Voted Best Wooden Kayak by Sea Kayaker Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards, the Coho continues to have a devoted following. John created the 17’6″ Coho with plenty of volume for the gear needed on big trips. Her 23″ beam provides good stability when loaded for a long paddle. Excellent buoyancy in bow and stern make her seaworthy for open ocean swell and surf, as well as quiet water.  Review: “The Coho has been on the market for 14 years and hasn’t lost any of its appeal. When we reviewed the Coho in 1998, it drew high praise from a 5’2″ woman and a 6’2″ man alike… For our reviewers the Coho was ‘beautifully responsive’ and ‘tracked quite well.’ One put it ‘on the top of my list for an expedition-style kayak. I would recommend it to anyone.”- Sea Kayaker Magazine, Reader’s Choice Awards


5. Arctic Tern 14: The initial inspiration for her was to create a small play boat. The end result was a boat that not only performed well in the surf, but also works well for teens and smaller adults. At only 32 lbs she’s easy to cartop and her lower wetted surface makes keeping pace with larger boats a pleasure. Review: “The Tern 14 is a godsend for smaller boaters. Its shallow cockpit design, nimble handling and light weight are coupled with straight tracking and good speed…Every time I hefted it, I was thrilled by how easy it was to shoulder carry.”  


6. Pinguino Sport: Light weight, playful and compact this boat is popular for folks with space restrictions (i.e. aboard a sailboat) or who want the most stability with the least amount of weight but don’t mind sacrificing storage space.  Its larger cockpit and greater stability make it a perfect choice for fishing, photography, bird watching, or a relaxing day on the water. Review: “There are a lot of things to like: light-weight, lively feel, good manners in a blow. It also adapts well to lazing about on a calm day and tending to camera or fishing pole.”


7. Wineglass Wherry: The Wineglass Wherry is a classic wooden row boat with a wineglass transom and smooth double-ended waterline. Designer John Lockwood drew inspiration from the “beach skiffs” that were common along the New England coast during the late 1800’s.Used in the commercial fishery, folks launched through the surf and rowed out to the fishing grounds. Their narrow flat bottoms enabled them to be parked upright on the beach. Their “planked skegs” allowed them to be more easily built and avoided the added weight of heavy keels. Developed before the advent of power, they were superb pulling boats used year-round in coastal waters. Our Wineglass Wherry is a synthesis of two such boats–the Penobscott Bay Salmon Wherry and the Sea Bright Skiff. Like her predecessors, she exhibits good stability and can handle wind and chop with grace and speed. Her computer designed, woodcore-glass-epoxy hull makes her rugged, light weight and extremely strong. At only 90 lbs it’s easy to see why this 14 foot rowing skiff is so popular. Review: “The boat was well mannered on all points of sail, tracking dead straight. This was especially impressive on a beam reach, when one might expect the boat to round up, or ‘weathercock’. There was none of this behavior.”


8. Borealis: Review: The Borealis Xl “is really the big guy’s dream: a quality kit touring kayak that combines a grand size with great looks and good handling.”  We have been approached by many a big guy thanking us for having a kayak kit that was made for them. At 17′, with a 25.5″ beam, 13″ deck height, and extra large 19″x36″ cockpit the Borealis provides the volume, stability, and ease of entry that bigger paddlers need. Despite being the most stable kayak in our fleet, its sophisticated multi-chine hull design has only 2.8% more wetted surface than our highly rated, award winning Arctic Tern 17′ design.  This means you get the benefits of a dramatic increase in initial stability, more space for gear, and a roomier, more comfortable cockpit without sacrificing paddling efficiency and performance.



9. Selkie: Made with the petite paddler in mind, the Selkie takes two of our most popular boats (The Arctic Tern 14 and the Murrelet) and marries them into one elegant, light weight boat  (only 29 lbs!). Like the original Greenlandic sealskin kayaks the new Selkie is a hard-chined, 14′ x 22.5″ boat designed for petite women and for larger paddlers who want a low volume kayak to play in the surf.


10. Arctic Tern 17:  Designed to track well and turn easily this design draws on the graceful lines of a Greenland style hull.  She was given a strong tracking keel. When you want to alter course quickly, lean over on her hard chines and carve sharp turns. The Arctic Tern has been voted “Best Kayak Kit” and continues to maintain popularity after 16 years of production. Review: “I really loved this kayak. the hull design is top notch, it combines superb rough-water handling , good tracking and turning, and outstanding surfing ability for a touring kayak. A great choice for beginners interested in learning good technique and edge control.”


Just because a boat is popular, it may not mean it is the best suited for your needs. We train our staff to listen to your boating needs and help determine which Pygmy craft will best suit your body size, skill, and water adventures. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions regarding which model is best for you:  360-385-6143 or e-mail us at

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