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Pygmy Kayak Reviews


Woodcraft Magazine Features The Pinguino Sport, July 2010

"Build a Kayak from a Kit" by Jim Harrold

"While kit boats abound, we chose to build the Pinguino Sport from Pygmy Boats Inc. designed by Pygmy's founder, John Lockwood. It offers a smooth, quiet paddle at a 3.5-knot pace. It's easy to enter and exit. And talk about portability! The completed craft weighs just 34 pounds, making it easy to carry. Of course the beauty of building from a kit is that it saves a boatload of cutting time. The kit's price tag for a wood boat shouldn't scare anyone away, nor should the beginner-level woodworking skills needed. You'll learn the 'stitch-and-glue' process- tying parts together with wires and then welding them with epoxy and fiberglass... With just a small collection of hand tools, you can make this handsome recreational kayak in less than two months and enjoy it and the boatbuilding experience for a lifetime."

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on pages 42-47 of the June-July edition of Woodcraft Magazine. The full article is available for purchase through Woodcraft Magazine's website.

For more information about the Pinguino Sport, click here.


WoodenBoat Magazine features the Wineglass Wherry, February 2009

"The Wineglass Wherry: A Stitch-and-Glue Pulling Boat" by Matthew P. Murphy

"Pygmy is highly regarded for its beautiful and beautifully precise plywood kayak kits. Its boats are built by the stitch-and-glue method, whereby panels are literally sewn together with wire, the resulting seams then reinforced with fiberglass tape set in epoxy. By following the directions carefully, anyone can build a Pygmy kit. The resulting kayak will rival or exceed what you can buy off the shelf- in terms of both weight and performance. And you'll have built it yourself. In designing the Wineglass Wherry, Pygmy's founder, John Lockwood, used the same construction techniques as those of his kayaks. But in developing the boat's shape, he looked back in time to salmon wherries from Maine's Penobscot Bay and blended their features with New Jersey's Seabright skiffs... The Wineglass Wherry transports effortlessly overland on a two-wheel dolly. Balancing its 90 lbs over the wheels, I was able to push the boat along the blacktop, down the ramp, and into the water alone, without any strain. The boat was reassuringly stable. With its double-ended waterline, it carried well between strokes with clean water astern and, despite its light weight, the motion in waves was not corky. The wind built to 12kts during my outing, and I set course at various relative angles.  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. If you've built a stitch-and-glue kayak, then you already know how to build a Wineglass Wherry. You won't need a strongback or forms; the panels are simply sewn together right on the shop floor, quickly yielding the shape of a boat. This boat turns heads."

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on pages 47-49 of the Small Boats edition of WoodenBoat Magazine, 2009. The full article is available for purchase here: WoodenBoat Magazine's 2009 Small Boat's edition.

For more information about the Wineglass Wherry, click here.


WoodenBoat Magazine features the Coho, February 2007

"Coho 17: Elegant and Able Home-Built Kayak" by Chris Cunningham

"People are always drawn to the warmth and the visual texture of a varnished wood kayak, but the beauty of a plywood kayak can and should be more than skin deep. Not only do the sweeping curves of the Coho 17's multichined hull and beveled deck offer up an elegance that sets a kayak like the Coho apart from mainstream composite and rotomolded plastic kayaks, but this stitch-and-glue kayak is also lighter and stiffer than fiberglass kayaks and plastic kayaks of similar size. Pygmy's computer-generated panel shapes and laser-cut templates produce kit pieces that will come together in an exceptionally fair hull that will hold its shape for the life of the boat... At just under 40 lbs, the Coho is an easy lift and carry. Once afloat, I felt quite comfortable in the Coho. It has plenty of initial stability. Underway, the Coho tracks well and the bow yaws very little between strokes. I did several speed trials in the still water using a GPS as a knotmeter. At a relaxed pace I could easily maintain 4.5 knots, a pretty brisk clip for not breaking a sweat. Taking my effort up a notch to an aerobic workout level, I could hold 5.5. knots. Going flat-out over about 50 yards, I could briefly bump up to 6.5 knots. That's a good set of numbers for a kayak designed for cruising... The Coho has an appropriate balance between tracking and maneuverability for performance touring. Pygmy offers a rudder as an option, but I don't think the Coho needs one."

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on pages 20-23 of the Small Boats edition of WoodenBoat Magazine, 2007. The full article is available for purchase here: WoodenBoat Magazine's 2009 Small Boat's edition.



Outside Magazine Features Pygmy's Arctic Tern, October 1999
"Building Your Own Sea Kayak" by Jonathan Hanson
"The initial sea trials proved we had built not just a well-designed boat, but a well-designed kayak. The hull of the Arctic Tern has hard chines (corners where the bottom and sides meet), which result in confidence-inspiring stability. It tracks straight and turns on command, even without the optional rudder. And it weighs ten pounds less than fiberglass boats, yet it’s their equal in strength and internal storage space. In fact, though Noah would have scoffed at my handmade ark—it’s 11.3 cubits long, not 300—it just might hold enough gear for 40 days and 40 nights, assuming you forget the livestock"
This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on page 142 of the October 1999 edition of Outside Magazine. Read about this modern-day Noah and his experience with a Pygmy Kayak.  To read it all click: Full text Outside Article.
For more information about the Arctic Tern click here.


Seattle Times Features Pygmy's Founder, Aug. 8, 1999
"There's Something About Building a Kayak" by Paula Bock
Seattle Times staff writer Paula Bock's cover article for the paper's Sunday Supplement chronicles the author's own experience of building a Pygmy kayak (a Coho), and gives the extraordinary background of Lockwood and Pygmy Boats Inc. The article contains a series of great photos by Times Staff photographer Benjamin Benschneider. Full text of Seattle Times article.


WoodenBoat Article about building an Osprey Triple,  Oct. 1996

"Building the Osprey Triple" By the Editors of WoodenBoat
"Light, fast, stable, and able....In our last issue, John Lockwood and Freida Fenn described building the multi-chined hull for the 20' triple-cockpit Osprey kayak....The Osprey Triple combines simple construction with elegant lines and impressive capability. This boat will serve well for afternoon picnics and for deep wilderness expeditions....We hope you have fun building the Osprey."
--"Building the Osprey Triple", by Freida Fenn & John Lockwood. Read the 2-part construction article with 32 photos: Part I, Issue #132, July/August 1996 and Part II, Issue #132, October 1996.
For photos from this article showing the construction process, see Kit construction process.
For more information about this boat, click the Osprey Triple.


Canoe & Kayak Article on building a GoldenEye-Std., Oct. 1995
"To Build a Kayak" by Tsunami Ranger, Michael Powers 
"John [Lockwood] discovered that a laminate of 4mm marine mahogany plywood sealed between layers of epoxy saturated fiberglass provided a better weight-to-strength ratio than any single material. 'The secret is that wooden core...,' he confides. 'Both Kevlar and glass fibers have great tensile strength, but are brittle and therefore do poorly under compression. Wood is an extremely complex composite material, possessing exceptional compression strength. When you sandwich glass and wood together, you get a stronger, stiffer boat that is 25 percent lighter than straight fiberglass, and 40 percent lighter than a plastic boat.'
'On a brisk winter morning a few weeks later. [After building his own GE-std] I walk down to the sea with a new untested craft balanced lightly upon my shoulder. I slipped easily into the spacious cockpit, which I had carefully outfitted with closed-cell foam for performance paddling and a bomb-proof roll. The beautiful wood grain that ran full length to the bow now pointed straight into the sea was a visual feast for my eyes. I felt totally connected to this craft on which I had labored so lovingly. A few pulls on the paddle propelled me swiftly into the surf zone, where the GoldenEye leapt up to meet the oncoming seas with unbridled enthusiasm. Soon I was charging down the waves, surfing easily. After a few exhilarating rides, I turned and headed for open water, the ultimate test of any true sea kayak. Once again, the Greenland Eskimo spirit that Lockwood had bred into his boats became apparent, as the GoldenEye leapt and danced among the big whitecapped seas like an adolescent dolphin.
Ah, to build a kayak, then feel it come alive beneath you in the boundless sea...truly one of life's great and memorable adventures."
--"To Build a Kayak" by Michael Powers, Tsunami Ranger, Canoe and Kayak Magazine, October 1995 issue.
For more information about this boat, click the GoldenEye Standard.


Sports Etc. Magazine on John Lockwood and Pygmy Boat, April 1997
"Hip Injury Leads to Pygmy Kayaks" By Michael Kundu. 
Here's an excerpt:
Businesses have been started during times of crisis. Pygmy Kayaks of Port Townsend is one of those. A devastating hip injury in 1967 to John Lockwood, Pygmy's founder, led to a search for his passionate love affair of "deep wilderness" and eventually to the founding of the boat building [business].....
Pivoting an Osprey-Standard on the flat surface of a bay outside his Port Townsend showroom on a sunny afternoon in early March, Lockwood is contemplative about paddling...
"Sure, [a kayak] needs to appeal to one's aesthetic tastes, but you also need to be confident about its dependability, its seaworthiness and stability. When you're out there, three weeks away from help, going it solo and at the mercy of the sea, you need to know your kayak will work from a technical perspective."
--For full text, click Sports Etc.


Popular Woodworking Magazine Article on the GoldenEye HI, July 1994
"The GoldenEye HI" By Allen Shain
"The kit is well thought out and provides everything necessary to finish the kayak....The final outcome is a beautiful, strong boat. The GoldenEye tracks straight and handles a solid chine turn. It's difficult to say which I enjoy more: building or paddling."
--"The GoldenEye HI" by Allen Shain, July 1994, Issue #79 of Popular Woodworking Magazine.
For more information about this boat, click the GoldenEye-HI.


WoodenBoat Magazine, Nov./Dec. 1987
"A Byte at Tradition" By Richard Webster
In 1985 John Lockwood, Pygmy Boat’s owner and designer, revolutionized the boat kit business by introducing the first commercially available plate expansion software. This feature article from WoodenBoat magazine tells the story of how John got into kayaking. The story gives the history of John’s introduction of the first precision pre-cut kit boat manufactured in North America. It describes the computer design of the Queen Charlotte, Pygmy’s first kit kayak, and contains a brief on-the-water review.
-- WoodenBoat Magazine, Nov./Dec. 1987
For the full text of this article, click WoodenBoat Article.







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