This Summer I gave up trying to convince my wife that buying a Feathercraft would be a good idea. At seven thousand dollars for the kayak I was interested in, it was hard to justify the cost for the few times I was planning on using it on trips. My parents visited the US this past summer and my father and I decided to collaborate and build a dedicated rolling kayak that would fold for traveling based upon the plans developed by Tom Yost. We chose to use the plans for the Sea Rover 2.
Dad worked on the frames and I worked on the stringers and acquired all the materials necessary for the skin. The frames are made from high-density-polyethylene (HDPE) and are machined precisely to allow the stringers to clip into them.
The stringers are made from aluminum tubes that connect together like tent poles.
The keel and deck beams are bent from the same material.
We made two cockpit rims, the first my father made using wood and rope, we then made a second out of aluminum. This one was constructed using the same dimensions as my Tahe Greenland cockpit to allow my Reed Tuilik to fit. The aluminum rim also comes apart allowing the kayak to be collapsed further.
We assembled the frames and stringers on a strongback, this took us about 6 hours.
We then moved the frame to Ron Steinwall’s workshop as the skinning process uses PVC cement which creates noxious fumes that we did not want permeating our house.
The skinning process was relatively straightforward. This was our first time using this technique so we decided to keep it as simple as possible and accept some imperfections in the skin.
The underside of the hull was made from one piece and the deck from three pieces. The skin was held tight using string laced across the deck. This string was subsequently removed.
The deck was easier than the hull. Using three pieces of PVC reduced the amount of wrinkling considerably and allowed us to move smaller pieces of material around.
We fitted wooden floorboards and a foam backrest. I didn’t realize that Home-depot sold Kayak floorboards, but their 24×6 inch white oak when treated with Tung oil make excellent and beautiful floor boards.
It took 10 hours for the pair of us to skin the kayak. After a short lunch break we took her to a local lake in the snow.
Underway the classic Greenland kayak feel was apparent with a low primary stability. The back deck had the required half inch of freeboard.
The hull is quite flexible, and when I paddled her there was more rocker than the designed one inch, this made her turn easily when edged slightly. I had expected turning to be a challenge.
Rolling was interesting, I was wrapped up in cold weather gear so I was not able to feel the kayak very well. However it was apparent that she rolls well, and likes to be upside down.
The back deck was the perfect height for layback rolls
Weighing in at around thirty pounds handling on land was as easy as on water.
I am delighted with the finished kayak, now I need to learn how to make the Kraken perform like the rolling machine she is.
Many more pictures of the build and maiden voyage are available here.