Pygmy Boats Home Page
  boat kit shopping cart My Cart | Newsletter Sign Up | Call Us: 360-385-6143
Pygmy Artic Tern winner of the sea kayaker magazines Readers Choice Award for Best Kayak Kit Sea Kayaker Magazine's Readers Choice for Best Boat Kit

The Arctic Tern 17


17' LENGTH | 23" BEAM | 12" DEPTH | 39 LBS.

Arctic Tern Wood sea Kayak Kit

Arctic Tern Best Kayak Kit

Kit Price: $1129


Select Resin/Hardener:

Boat shown with optional bulkhead and hatch kit and deck rigging.

  • Description
  • Photos
  • Specs
  • Features
  • Inside Your Kit

Arctic Tern Wins Best Kit Kayak, Sea Kayaker Reader's Choice 2005

"If you're going to build a kayak, you'll want one worthy of your investment in time and effort. The Arctic Tern will reward your efforts with a finished product that's as pleasing to look at as it is to paddle."

for more click here


Arctic Tern Review, in Sea Kayaker Magazine Dec. 1999

"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." (KW) 

"I really enjoyed my time with this boat, and I was loathe to give it back. It handles well and one could use it for day paddling, long trips, and even local racing." (HE) 

for more click here


Arctic Tern:
Pygmy Boat designer, John Lockwood, created a new sea kayak in 1998 with a graceful Greenland style hull. He named her the Arctic Tern in honor of the sleek, migratory birds which accompanied him on a 2-month solo wilderness paddle in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

A world innovator in computerized hull design, Lockwood carefully crafted this stitch-n-glue kit boat with versatility in mind. He gave the Arctic Tern a strong tracking keel. When you want to alter course quickly, lean over on her hard chines and cut fast, graceful turns. The sweet balance between tracking and turning in this hull results from Lockwood’s years of CAD boat design expertise and 30 years of extended wilderness paddling.


The Arctic Tern lies firmly in the ancient Arctic kayak tradition--no tracking aids required. Slightly more symmetrical and narrower than Pygmy’s other hard-chine line—the Queen Charlottes--the Arctic Tern has a lower wetted surface area. Good initial stability and excellent secondary stability make her stable enough for beginners and exciting enough to entice highly skilled paddlers. Her ability to perform crisp, tight chine turns, coupled with high volume bow and stern, make her a good choice for those who like to paddle in rough water or surf zones.


Experienced paddlers have grown to appreciate the ease with which a traditional Greenland hull responds to a lean. Lockwood adapted the classic Greenland style to modern trends. The Arctic Tern’s elegant, multi-paneled deck gives new functionality to the hull form of her ancient predecessors. Her low deck amidships allows a steep and relaxed paddle approach. The Pygmy cambered deck is comfortable for small to large paddlers. Even those with up to size 12 (men’s) shoe find good foot room. Taller paddlers, or those who wear a shoe size larger than a men's twelve, might prefer the fit of the Arctic Tern Hi.

Her raked bow and stern combined with the beautiful sweeping curves of the multi-chined cambered deck make this one of the most attractive medium volume touring kayaks available. And who wants a boat good for touring only? Her 39 pounds make her a light delight on day trips or lunch hour workouts.


To request a Pygmy catalog, click here.



classic Greenland lines


arctic tern sea kayak voted best kit kayak arctic tern sea kayak with a hard chine

Pygmys arctic tern kayak kit


Arctic Tern Specs:
Length…… 17’
Beam….... 23”
Height…… 12”
Weight….. 39lbs
Cockpit….. 17”x33”
*Initial stability……10.3
Carrying capacity (……13.40
**Efficient Cruising Wetted Surface in sq. ft……19.00
Loaded waterline length……14.9'
***Top cruising speed……5.35 mph
Available as kit……yes
Available as plans……no

*The transverse Metacenter, in inches, is a measure of a kayak's initial stability. A higher number is more stable. All single kayaks computed with same weight person.
Kayak cruising speed is proportional to the boat's wetted surface, which is the area of frictional drag of the water on the hull, here expressed in sq. ft.
***90% of theoretical hull speed (THS) in mph. A boat's theoretical hull speed is a function of square root of its loaded waterline length (LWL). at approximately 80% to 90% of its hull speed a kayak will start to produce a bow wake longer than its LWL and the effort required to continue acceleration rapidly increases


Arctic Tern Features:
Hull type… Hard-chine
Deck type… Pygmy multi-chine cut away deck with patented rear cockpit recess
Best used for… Kayak touring, Expedition kayaking, Day paddling, Surf kayaking
Paddler experience level… Beginner to Advanced
Shoe size….Up to men’s 12 (depending on shoe and personal comfort)
Cockpit size…17”x33"


Inside your Pygmy kit:

  • Precision pre-cut BS-1088 Okoume plywood panels (all 4mm)
  • Cockpit coamings
  • 2.5 gallon epoxy

  • 38 feet 6 ox fiberglass cloth

  • Fiberglass tape
  • Wire
  • Squeegee
  • Dental syringes
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Wood flour
  • Calibrated Pumps
  • Stirring sticks
  • Steel push pins
  • Temporary frames
  • 2-part seat
  • Keeper's® footbraces
  • Illustrated construction manual



* We usually ship "Medium" hardener with our kits (good for temperatures ranging from 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit).  You may order "Slow" for hot climates (75-95 degrees Fahrenheit) or "Fast" for cold climates (35-55 degrees Fahrenheit) upon request. Read the System Three Epoxy Book to help select the appropriate epoxy and hardener for you. If you would like a copy of the Epoxy Book, click here to download. We also stock System Three’s Silver Tip Epoxy and offer this as an option in our boat kits for an additional charge.  For Silvertip epoxy the slow hardener is good for temperatures warmer than 65 and the fast is best for temperatures cooler than 65. Note: Silver Tip Resin can only ship via Ground Service and is not eligible for shipments to Alaska.


Arctic Tern Kayak Kit Top Shot






All Boats

Touring Kayaks


Double & Triple Kayaks

Boats for Large Paddlers

Women's Kayaks

Kid's Kayaks

Rolling Kayaks

Surf Kayaks

Rowing Skiff





Kayak Hull Gear

PFD's Spray Skirts & Covers


Travel Accessories

Safety Accessories

Comfort Boosters

Boat Building Supplies

SUP Accessories

Wherry Accessories

Canoe Accessories

Shirts & Hats

Books & DVD's

Protecting Your Boat

Sale Items


follow pygmy boat kits on facebook


Pin Pygmy Boats!


follow pygmy's youtube channel!




Kit Construction Process

Boat Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

Shop and Compare

Kits vs Plans

Hard Chine vs Multi Chine

Customer Feedback

Boat Building Classes

Magazine Articles

Videos & Slide Shows

Paddle to Seattle

Pygmy Expeditions

Pygmy Boat Builders


About Pygmy

Customer Feedback

Request a Catalog

Online Catalog

Pygmy Links

Pygmy Expeditions

Ordering & Shipping

Contact Us

Site Map

©Pygmy Boats Inc 2018

Follow Pygmy Boats  on Twitter