Wednesday, January 14, 2015

stormy weather, lost paddles and kayak building

While playing in rough water a couple of weeks ago I lost my storm paddle from the front deck of my kayak. At the time I didn`t notice it had gotten free  and only when landing on the beach saw that it was not on my kayak anymore. A short walk along the beach and a good look at the water convinced me that it was gone for good. Maybe with a bit of luck someone will find it and return it  to me, but thats a long shot.
It was a fine paddle with  maple tips and I`m sorry to see it go, and now I have to make a new one. This time it will have my name and number carved into the blade, just in case.
This is the first time that  my spare has been torn loose, maybe I need to rethink how to secure it to the deck. It needs to be tight enough to resist rough water but easily retrieved while underwater and upside down if I loose my paddle while playing in the surf. I have seen many paddlers loose their paddles, being pulled from their grip while tumbling in a large wave, and one Greenland paddle actually broke  in half from  a particularly strong wave..

Heres a picture of Zohar with my storm paddle, for me its a storm paddle but for Zohar its just the right length.
The new paddle in the making, it will have a cedar core and paulonia laminated  blade, it is also a bit shorter  than the old one , so a sliding stroke will be used when paddling with it.

Almost finished, just a few more coats of boat soup and then for a test paddle.

Also  have begun making a new kayak, this time its a stitch and glue Petrel Play, reputed to be great in rough water and surfing.
You can either buy a whole kit or just go for the plans when building kayaks, Getting the kit is probably a bit more expensive, especially with postage , and for international shipping the price is in the sky. But there are advantages, the wood is cut very accurately and all the bits and pieces you need come ready packed and easy to   use. On the other hand if you buy just the plans then you have to go about finding all the supplies, buying them and bringing them home and then transferring the paper plans to the wood, cutting out the pieces , drilling the stitch holes etc etc. It makes the whole process a bit more time consuming.
This is not really a problem  as kayak building is not  something to be done in a hurry, especially if you have another kayak to use while the new one is being built. Sometimes it takes a bit of detective work to find all the right ingredients, sometimes they have to be bought on the internet, and sometimes you can get them from friends too.
First the plans are transferred to the  wood

and they are cut out
Then they undergo quality control

Starting with the stitching

It looks like a kayak right from the start

So as I have a great Petrel for playing in the surf there is no hurry and the new kayak will take as long as it needs