16-foot Kayak (prototype)
Over the last few years kayaks have become perhaps the most popular
of all small craft. In Maine you hardly see a car or truck without a couple
strapped on the roof. Considering the ultralight weight and versatility
of these excellent small craft, their increasing popularity should be no
surprise. In the summer of ’98 I decided to learn more about their design,
construction and use by building one. I have been paddling a 16’ Old Town
Mallard—using it as “Leopard’s” second tender—for a couple of years. And
I’ve been reading both the current books and articles on the subject, as
well as some of the classics like Frederick Fenger’s Alone in the Caribbean.
The result is a 35-lb. sea kayak intended to carry food and camping gear along the Maine Island Trail, especially in Penobscot Bay. I gave the hull a V-shaped entry, very sharp, and a hard chine shallow-deadrise stern. The transition is gradual through the length of the hull, providing a midship section with arc sections and a soft chine, with plenty of beam at the deck level. I was trying to create a hull form that would be dry, seaworthy, stable when loaded, capable of carrying 250 lbs, with a stern that would encourage surfing in a following sea. The concept works, and as soon as I have time I will build a “second-generation” model to perfect and refine my ideas. I will eventually design a series of kayaks for the “stitch-and-glue” school of boatbuilding, and include them in the Classics Catalogue.