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Building my own kayak (5) – First float

September 25, 2013

After the cockpit-rim has cured I couldn’t wait to get out onto the water for a first float. However, there was a problem to solve first: the hose that I have used as cockpit-rim plug has moved overnight in the front area of the cockpit-rim, so this part was messed up and required a fix. I needed to remove some of the cured composite in this area and after that I have repaired the front part of the cockpit-rim temporarily by using epoxy putty. By using an infrared light as heat source I accelerated the curing process so I was able get the boat on the water today:

In summary, apart from the faulty front part of the cockpit-rim I was impressed that the simple approach of using a hose as plug for the cockpit-rim works quite well. Initially I had planned to create a three part mould which includes the cockpit-rim. Fortunately Jim had made clear that this is not the best idea and he advised to use a hose instead. I’m really lucky that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel and other people are sharing their own experiences with me.

Here you can see the deck and hull attached to each other by loads of tape (the prototype just needed to be functional so there was no need to look beautiful, the first real boat will look better, I promise):

My first impressions are quite positive: even with the foot bumps placed 5cm too close to the cockpit I have plenty of leg and foot room whilst having a decent chop. I guess I will be able to remove even more volume without sacrificing comfort. So, regarding this point my boat beats my Shred and my Funk.
Assessing the performance of the boat is difficult as the prototype is not stiff enough and I have neither used a seat nor any fitting at all. Additionally, the prototype leaks quite a lot so I only had a few minutes during each run after I needed to remove the water. Given those handicaps I must say that I liked the performance a lot, as getting the boat vertical was quite easy.
I decided that there are two things to fix for the next iteration: as mentioned in my last post, the foot bumps will be moved 5cm to the front. Secondly, I will make the stern part of the boat a little bit more slicy by changing the round sidewalls to a more triangular shape.

Here you can see a quick video edit of today’s session:

Squirtboat – First Float

I believe that most of the instability you can see is due to the lack of fitting, as I was just moving around inside the boat. Also, I cannot deny that I need to work on my technique – but that’s another story…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2013 7:19 pm

    What a cool project! How much longer will it take?

  2. October 1, 2013 7:00 am

    Hi Al,
    thanks for your interest! Not sure how much longer it will take. I just made sure that I was able to get a first prototype on the water before winter and now I will have all winter to do further work. As it is a just-for-fun project there is no hurry, really. I’d rather go for something polished that I am happy with instead of a fast final product, even if that means a lot of boring repetitive tasks like applying putty and sanding most of it down for a dozen of times until the surface seems smooth and even…

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