The final coat of varnish is on the boat, and I spent a Saturday attaching the deck shock cords, hatches covers and installing the seat.
To keep the deck relatively clean, I only put shock cords behind the cockpit to assist with a paddle float rescue, and on the foredeck to hold a map and/or compass.
The fully outfitted boat weighs 41 pounds.
The project is not complete without a shakedown test on the water. On March 23, 2003, I met some DFW Paddler friends for a paddle on Lake Worth, near Fort Worth, Texas. We paddled about 8 or 10 miles altogether this day, to an island and then to a restaurant along the shore, and finally back to our put-in.
(click any image for a larger view)
|That's me in the blue
PFD, Bob in the red PFD, Jon hanging onto my boat, and Julie at Caddo
Later, I added a paddle park that provides an easy one-handed place to leave a paddle during breaks, when fishing, and while attaching a spray skirt. It works great. That's Julie in my boat below.
The kayak handles quite well. It turns easily with sweep strokes, especially when leaned, and it tracks better than I had expected. The foam seat is very comfortable. We encountered only light winds this day, but the weathercocking tendency did not seem excessive.
Update April 18: After paddling it on several outings, I want to add that it handles very well in cross-winds -- minimal weathercocking. Heading into waves, the bow buries itself in waves more than my Shadow, but hatch seals are water-tight!
Some builders of this boat had written that it was very "loose" but I found that it handles comparable to my Perception Shadow kayak in most ways. I am quite satisfied.
My guess is that the boat cost approximately $900 and approximately 300 hours during a 5 month period of evenings and weekends to build, but I didn't keep good records.
These were the approximate costs:
Strongback and forms wood, screws and glue: $20
Pine and walnut for accents strips: $25
Bead and cove router bits: $45
Fiberglass, 30 yards: $120
Epoxy, 3 gallons: $200
Sandpaper, brushes, gloves, paper towels, etc: $80
Foam for seat and bulkheads $90
More sandpaper, brushes, gloves, paper towels, etc.: $40
Shock cord and webbing: $15
Stuff I forgot about: $26
There was enough materials in the above listing to also make my box, and some materials are left over.
I'm already thinking about my next boat. One can never have too many boats. A golfer doesn't play with one golf club, either.
I'm posting this picture only to prove to some doubters that it is possible to build kayaks and still get the cars back into the garage when the construction is completed. Some had doubted me!
Thanks and Resources
Builders who have been down this kayak-building path before me have shared a wealth of wisdom on personal websites and message forums. I wonder how anyone could succeed in a first-time project like this before the internet, as I relied heavily on these web resources. The following resources were particularly helpful to me:
Kayak Building Bulletin Board - a great place to find answers to burning "how to" questions. Most of my questions were answered through a search of the message archives. Hosted by Guillemot Kayaks' Nick Schade. The building tips and several links from Nick Schade's Guillemot web site were also helpful.
One Ocean Kayaks' Kayak Shop, from Vaclav Stejskal. His web site was my inspiration for flush hatch rims and building techniques.
Ross Leidy's Kayak Building - My inspiration for internal shock cords for sealing hatches.
Ken's Kayak Construction Pages - Good building tips and ideas, including making deck fittings from webbing loops.
Joe Greenley's Redfish Kayaks - My inspiration for deck design, and source of foam for seat and bulkheads.
My epoxy and fiberglass came from Noah's Marine and my footbraces came from Chesapeake Light Craft.
This concludes my Guillemot building experience. Thank you for allowing me to share this building experience with you.
John Caldeira email@example.com
Created: March 23, 2003