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The journey ...

This web documentary records the process of designing and constructing a sea kayak using the wood strip method.

The design process and the selection of locally sourced materials has been informed by the intention of making a vessel that will possess a strong sense of place. It is intended that this kayak will engage meaningfully and harmoniously with the land and seascapes of Australia's east coast.

The principle materials of construction are Australian Red Cedar, Huon Pine, Spotted Gum, Humpback Whale bone, Sydney Turban shell, carbon fibre, kevlar and two pack resin.

The images and text below trace the journey ...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

At sea, at last ...

Yep - she floats.

For this I thank my friends and supporters for their invaluable assistance:

- John Knights
- Ian Smith
- Bill Waite
- Tony Freeman
- Lawrence Geoghegan

And thanks to many others for their support and encouragement, especially Claudia and the kayaklings.

Although the kayak is seaworthy, it is incomplete.

The hatch covers leaked a bit during the sea trial - so there are improvements to be made there.

Yet to be installed are the grab handles, deck lines, compass, tow anchor point and, someday, a bespoke sail.

But the great realisation is that she is a dream to paddle along our beautiful south-east Australian coast line.

Episode 60 - a push to get her into the water

When February's bright daylight softens into March's gentler illumination then it triggers in the paddler's mind the sensation that a new cycle of paddling is upon us.

The air temperature is more pleasant for paddling than it has been over summer and the water is at its peak warmth for snorkelling.
Time to get this kayak into the water ...

I severed a finger building a beautiful timber seat for this kayak but ultimately I've decided to install a prefabricated closed cell foam version as I expect that its comfort and support for long distance paddling will be superior to my timber version.

The cockpit interior has been lined in carbon fibre.

4mm thick closed cell foam has been used to form thigh bracing pads and ankle supports.

These little blocks of huon pine were shaped, drilled and then bonded within each of the hatch compartments to form anchor points for the shock cord which will hold the hatches down from inside - leaving the deck's surface flush. 
The "eye" holes through which the shock cord is fixed seemed to call out for a hump back whale's smile - so that's what they were given.

A final sand of the hull and deck before varnishing ...

One of the hatches with its internal shock cord fixing system. 
A closed cell foam o-ring has been fixed to the carbon fibre rim of the deck. A similar o-ring was fitted to the hatch cover after this photo was taken.

A local drops in for a look.

With the varnish barely cured over night I threw her into the harbour at dawn for a quick trial, only hours before heading off for a trip down the south coast.

It was a great sensation to be in the kayak and paddling it into its seafaring life.

Episode 59 ~ Grab handles

The beginnings of a pair of grab handles for the stern and bow.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Episode 58 - Working out the many tasks ahead

The kayak with its 5 hatch covers sitting on deck.

Bewdy - it fits.

With the hatchcovers sitting on their hatches the deck is very flush.
Additional clutter yet to be incorporated includes a 40 year old black rimmed Suunto yacht racing compass, multiple black kevlar deck fittings and a black cord deck line.
A clear fabric sail may be fitted at some time in the future.

Recessed skeg slider mechanism.
The cockpit coaming is carbon fibre.

The retractable skeg popping through the kevlar keel strip.
I had originally intended to install a skeg / rudder system but it proved too bulky inside the compartment. Lawrence's past experience with them was that they were prone to failure so better to simply have a more robust up and down skeg.
The skeg fin should be black, however. Will change that.

The hatch to the most rear compartment provides access to the skeg box.
There's a second larger hatch forward of this which accommodates larger items ~ sleeping bag and tent.
I am yet to fabricate the water seals to the hatch covers and their corrersponding carbon fibre lips.

Stern detail of whale bone and recessed shell.
Momentoes of two special places visited by kayak.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Episode 57 - Lawrence of the south coast

For the last 3 months the kayak has been in the workshop of Lawrence Geoghegan.
Lawrence has installed the skeg, the carbon fibre cockpit coaming, the bulkheads, the kevlar keel strip and undertaken the bonding of the hull and deck.

The Nadgee workshop.
Keen observers may recognise the middle boat as one that has seen more coastlines than most.

Lawrence finishing off some of his robust workmanship - in this case the kevlar keel strip.

Pausing from the road journey back up the coast to stretch legs, stand back and look at the almost completed kayak.
It's a beautiful elevation.
The Greenlanders were on to something when they developed this design of kayak in the 1600's.

Above the kayak is Montague Island on the eastern horizon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The immeasurable

"Time that is moved by little fidget wheels
Is not my time, the flood that does not flow."

The timber kayak has been patiently waiting to one side while Lawrence clears his tables of production kayaks. 
The focus will return to the timber kayak in a couple of weeks.

(Quote from Five Bells - Kenneth Slessor)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Episode 56 - Hatch portal lip

The beginnings of what will be a clear coat carbon supporting rim for a flush cut hatch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Episode 55 - Mounting the retractable skeg rudder system

Against good advice I have decided to proceed with the installation of the retractable skeg / rudder system. The main concern with this device is that a small mechanism that engages with the foil to operate it as a rudder has been known to fail in previous instances of its use.  Lawrie has had to contend with some other design deficiencies in the system's housing box and flanges but I'm pleased to see from the image above that these hurdles have been overcome.  Thanks Lawrie!

Episode 54 - Hatch portals

"Ta da" - Lawrie has deftly taken the sharp blade to the deck.

The five hatch covers.

Episode 53 - Lawrence's workshop

The kayak is now in the very good hands of Lawrence Geoghegan at Nadgee Kayaks.
Lawrence continues to be a local kayak builder - which is fortunate if we are to have a kayaking culture that is distinctive and relevant to us along the east coast.

  It is into Lawrence's experienced hands that I have placed my kayak to have many of its remaining tasks completed.

Setting out the dimensions for the cutting of the deck hatches.