Click on slider arrows to view images

The Valkyrie Merlin.

Key features:

Light weight – fast acceleration, ease of portage and brilliant for lifting onto roof racks etc.

Durable – built with western red cedar, chosen for lightness of weight and durability in wet environments, and with a ballistic nylon skin water proofed using high strength flexible polyurethane.

Affordability – the simpler build process and reduced timber within the structure makes this boat significantly cheaper than the Valkyrie Cedar and Canvas Shearwater.

Merlin 14 – The Skin on Frame Open Canoe (Standard Build £2100)

Length: 4.3m/ 14’2″  Beam: 89cm/ 35″  Weight: 22.5kg/ 46lb

The Shearwater 14 is designed as a beautiful and responsive solo boat.  It is fitted out as a tandem and will carry two, but is most suitable for one.  The two seats provide good sitting positions for adjusting trim as conditions dictate.

Designed to combine the various elements of length, rocker and hull cross section this boat handles beautifully.  It can be build with an upswept or a lower fore and aft profile  It has excellent manoeuvrability, holds a good line and has ample space for solo gear for extended touring, or for day kit and short expeditions for tandem paddlers…..For the solo canoeist this is the ideal boat.

The hull shape is based on the Valkyrie Shearwater14.

This is a light open canoe designed for general purpose paddling.  Its design is based on the original birch bark canoes where a timber frame supported the outer skin of birch bark.  However, where the materials of the birch bark canoe produced a boat with a short life span, these canoes should last for years.

Merlin 16 – The Skin on Frame Open Canoe  (Standard Build £2200)

Length: 4.9m/ 16’2″  Beam: 85cm/ 33″    Weight: 24kg/ 53lb

This beautiful canoe is designed along the lines of the traditional ‘Prospector’ with a focus on an exceptional all-rounder.  It is fitted out as a tandem boat but is light and manoeuvrable enough to be a very responsive solo boat.

Designed with a slight rocker, moderate hull curvature and graceful fore and aft profiles, it handles well across a range of conditions.  Its hull shape provides excellent manoeuvrability, has good tracking characteristics and its profile provides minimal wind resistance.   It has ample space for day gear and room enough for all the gear needed for extended touring.

The hull shape is based on the Valkyrie Shearwater16.

This is a light open canoe designed for general purpose paddling.  Its design is based on the original birch bark canoes where a timber frame supported the outer skin of birch bark.  However, where the materials of the birch bark canoe produced a boat with a short life span, these canoes should last for years.


Timber:  The entire frame is constructed from a combination of timbers chosen for specific attributes.  The choice of timber can be adjusted if required. The ribs and flooring slats are Western Red cedar chosen for its light weight and flexibility.  Gunnels, decks, thwarts and other elements are of hardwood with a variety of options available.

Fixings: The fixing include stainless steel screws, bronze ring nails and copper canoe tacks, all chosen for strength and longevity in wet environments.  

Skin:  The skin is a high performance heat reactive nylon.  Its man-made nature ensure it is able to cope with the trials of frequent exposure to water and temperature changes and its strength ensures it is able to stand up to impact, wear and sharp edges.  The skin is stretched and hand sewn, then treated with heat and steam to shrink it a little more to produce a taut wrinkle free finish.  This specialist cloth is imported from Europe due to its unavailability in the U.K. arp edges.

Stitching: The skin is stitched using high grade nylon thread which ensures both strong seams and resistance to degrading through exposure to the elements, which is further enhanced by the waterproofing system.  Seams are double stitched using an initial running stitch followed by a whipping stitch. 

Waterproofing: The skin is sealed with the application of modern flexible polyurethane.  it has excellent adherence to the nylon skin, assisting in its protection, and most significantly, it remains flexible and therefore maintains its integrity.  The polyurethane is imported from the USA from specialist suppliers. 

Colour: The nylon used for the boat is a white material.  This can be coloured with the addition of natural earth pigments to the resin mix making it possible to have the boat in a wide range of colours.


  1. Well  John, what a treat to paddle the beautiful boat.  Everyone asks me what it’s made of. Please remind me.   Where did you suggest I buy Deks Olje?  I’m looking forward to the canoe festival.  I’m thinking of naming the boat Valkyrie, Siobhan wants me to name it Valkyrie of Moyle, but I think it’s too pretentious. I have taken out some adults and a few kids.  Love it love it love it
  2. Valkyrie Craft, Merlin Skin on frame canoe review:
    At a recent OCA canoe event I was very lucky to be offered the chance to have a paddle of a Merlin skin in frame canoe from Valkyrie Craft. From the onset the work gone into to building this canoe is obvious together with the great finish makes this canoe a thing of beauty. All of the canoes ribs and framework are visible making it feel like I was about to paddle a traditional birch bark canoe.
    On lifting the boat up to move it into the water I was truly surprised at how light it was and how easy it was to launch. This is a big consideration for me as a solo paddler and some one who expeditions a lot and may need to portage.
    Once in the boat I was again taken by how well it handled. Primary stability was not an issue at all, and its secondary stability was also very impressive being able to sit comfortably on one side with the gunwale nearly in the water. She was as steady as a rock, never once feeling in any way unstable. The result being that the Merlin tracked really well as it glided along yet would turn on a sixpence when I needed it to by cranking it on to its edge and using a couple of well timed strokes. She carved a lovely turn with out much noticeable side ways slide. I was
    able to maintain speed on turns and accelerate away in a new direction with ease. This brings me to another point, that of hull speed. The Merlin has plenty of it and accelerates with little effort due to its lightweight construction.
    In conclusion I feel the Merlin would be a good boat for a novice looking for stability and a predictable performance and also for the more advanced paddler looking for something that is capable of a technical performance. Although I didn’t get the chance to try it on white water I have no doubt it would handle it well and be quite a dry paddle. Lots of room for one with when loaded with kit for a couple of days expedition.
    Thanks John for the opportunity to paddle one of these amazing boats
    Jules Burnard – Voyageur Coaching
    Adventure paddler, guide and BCU L5 Coach