Small Boat Design

Discussions around designing small boats including kayaks and canoes.

Designing first Kayak

I've decided to build a strip kayak, but I don't want to use an existing set of plans. There's something about doing it completely from scratch that appeals. I have the equipment to make my own strips, and am comfortable fibreglassing and working with wood, so there will be no problems there.

Having drawn up a hull in DelftSHIP (I know, I would have used free!ship, but didn't find it until too far into the process, and it won't convert easily) I'm pretty happy with the shape. At 4.6m waterline, 0.5m waterline beam and 110kg (I'm 80kg) displacement the draft is 125mm with a wetted area of 1.65m2.

I will be using the boat in the ocean mainly for day tripping, and we tend to have a pretty sizeable swell. I have designed in some rocker, and a baidarka style bow to cope with the swell/chop.

I've ended up with something similar to the front half of a Guillemot Expedition Single fused with something vaguely resembling the back end of a Great Auk, but with my own spin on all of the above obviously. Not being a fan (aesthetically) of the hard chine transition from hull to deck, I have aimed to have a smooth shape in all directions which will no doubt make the stripping a bit more of a challenge.

Can anyone shed some light on the usual amount of freeboard (height above the waterline) for the lowest point of the cockpit on a sea kayak? I have long legs, and large feet, so to accomodate myself and still have the option for lay back style rolling, the cockpit design is proving interesting!

Also, has anyone tried vacuum bagging the fibreglass skin onto a strip kayak to minimise extra weight in the layup?

Thanks for any comments..

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Designing first Kayak
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