Expedition Sport

The Expedition Sport is an medium-sized touring kayak designed by Vaclav Stejskal of One Ocean Kayaks.    It is 16 feet 9 inches long and 21.5 inches wide.   It is designed for an ideal paddler and gear capacity of 160 pounds and to be very efficient at typical paddling speeds.  My weight is near 150, so this boat was designed for me.  It also has plenty of storage capacity for overnight trips.  I built this kayak in 2004.  

Click any photo below to see a larger image.

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The Finished Boat
Fully rigged, the boat weighs 43 pounds.  That's lighter than most kevlar boats, but a few pounds heavier than most of my other kayaks.  

This kayak has 6 ounce fiberglass, inside and out, with two layers on the outside hull.   Built strong.  

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The light color stripe and the dark red background are both western red cedar.  The dark stripe is Peruvian walnut.

Construction was bead and cove with 1/4" thick strips, except for the swoop stripes which were butt-joined. 

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Stern view:  The stern deck rises a little from the shear line to provide a lot of storage capacity. 

The hull tapers to a keel at the stern, making it a strong-tracking boat.


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Features include a paddle park, front and rear shock cords for deck gear, and inside shock cord attachments for a hand pump and sponge. 

A perimeter line is installed for safety and convenience when rafting up with other kayaks.

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This is me taking the boat out for a shakedown paddle. 

I am very pleased with the paddling performance of this kayak.   When I stop paddling and glide while taking a photo or drink of water, the boat keeps course very well.

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It is a stronger- tracking boat than my Guillemot and Night Heron, so I'll tend to use this kayak on trips when a lot of playful maneuvering is not in the paddling plan.

This kayak has negligible weathercocking tendency in  strong crosswinds.

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The hull shape is rounded towards the bow, then flattens out near the cockpit and towards the stern.  The stern hull shape includes a good keel for straight tracking.   .

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My friend Julie tries out the boat.

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Julie is a very skilled kayaker and hand-rolled this kayak.



The photos below show specific features of my Expedition Sport: 

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A very simple hole through a very small endpour. I poured half the endpour and drilled the hole before joining the hull and deck, so the hole is exactly placed with a minimum of endpour weight. Another ounce or two endpour was added to join the hull and deck.

A small carry loop is constructed from black 1/4" rope for carrying and attaching tie-downs when car-topping.

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Hatch Covers
Shock cords hold the hatch covers tight against a foam gasket on a composite hatch rim.   The rim was laid up with a 3/16" deep groove, and the hatch is sealed with 5/16" thick foam.

Shock cord attaches to four points on the hull and two points on the cover permanently, so I won't lose a cover on the highway.  The hooks on the cover provide the tension when the hatch is closed.  The hooks are constructed on a hatch stiffener, to reduce warping of the hatch cover. 

A little pull-tab on the deck side of the cover  allows easy opening.   

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Deck Rigging
The shock cords on deck are tied with hog rings that are hidden underneath soft padeyes.  

The perimeter line passes underdeck near the cockpit where it isn't needed.

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Bulkheads and Under-deck Rigging
Wooden bulkheads allow maximum storage capacity.

Two sets of 3/16" shock cords under the deck (top of photo) allow convenient storage of a hand pump and inflatable paddle float.

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Cockpit Recess
My only significant deviation from the plan design was to modify the cockpit size and shape.  I lowered the rear of the coaming one inch by adding a recessed area, and also extended the cockpit  one inch towards the stern.  

This modification to the cockpit allows for easier layback rolls and easier reentry from the rear deck.

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The seat is made from minicell foam.  Hip pads and knee hooks provide good control when leaning and rolling. 

The coaming rim was molded over foam, just as the One Ocean manual instructs. 


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Cockpit Interior
A pair of 3/16" shock cords on the side of the cockpit allows convenient storage for a sponge.  One-quarter inch foam lines the thigh and knee area underdeck and strong knee hooks provide firm purchase when rolling.  


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This backrest is made from thin ash plywood from a hobby store, backed with carbon fiber.  A single one inch wide webbing connects the backrest to the hip braces.  

The backrest is attached to the rear of the cockpit with a shock cord to the bottom of the backrest and a strong cord to the top.  This allows the backrest to conform to the angle of my back for good support, and is flexible for layback rolls.

The wood for my boat was cut from decking lumber I bought from Home Depot.  Most of the boards were 2" x 8" by 12 feet long.  I cut strips from six boards, but the boat only used four of the best ones. 

The plans I received from One Ocean Kayaks were extremely complete and easy to understand.  It included full-size  station templates on separate pages.  Little things like indicating the position of the backrest and hip plates were helpful, too.

 Here are just a few shots of the building process:

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Building the keel area was the only part of the stripping process that was challenging for me, due to required twisting of the strips.

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From the stern, I ran a few strips parallel to the center line, while simultaneously stripping from the bow along the shear line.

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I have become a big fan of using 1.5" and 2" masking tape to tightly align strips.  A combination of the tape, wing nut mini-clamps, hot melt glue and drywall screws force the strips into position.  This method takes more time than staples, but I like the stapleless appearance.

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Unlike my earlier boats, I did not build a complete clean room for varnishing.  Instead, I simply hung a 10' by 20' plastic painter's tarp over the boat to reduce the dust raining down.  There may be a few more dust specks with this method, but it's not noticeable.

PLENTY of good light helps minimize varnish runs and holidays.  For the last varnish coat, I like to have someone following me around as I varnish, inspecting my work while I still have an opportunity to correct it.  

This kayak is perfectly designed for its purpose, as far as I'm concerned.  Can't think of anything I'd change.  I'm looking forward to paddling on my next trip to the gulf coast.

My thanks go out to all the builders who provided construction ideas on websites and the message boards.  It makes building so much easier.  

See you on the water!

Sincerely, John Caldeira      john@outdoorplace.org

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Created May 28, 2004