New cockpit version for Muskrat 12 kayak

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An order came in with the new year, a friend who was buying a kayak for her husband who was retiring in late March.  She wanted a stable boat for him to paddle, but with a large cockpit where he could occasionally take their grandson with him.

I turned to the old-style cockpit design from the PBK10, and old Percy Blanford boat that I had stretched two feet and lowered the deck.  Of course, the old triangular cockpit!  And doesn’t it look good, much better suited to a boat so wide.

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Mystery 20 racing kayak too fast for the pack

When Jon asked if I could build him a fast boat, I thought of Nick Schade and the kayak he designed for racing and touring, the Mystery 20.  I knew if I built it in wood strip, it would take forever and cost more than Jon would want to pay.  But what about a conversion to skin-on-frame?  Hmm, why not?

With 23 frames to match the shape to Nick’s design, the building still took plenty of time.  But the finish product looked and great.  And it was very, very fast.

My biggest worry was too much flex in such a long boat.  Low-stretch twine woven into the frames–in the mode of Monfort’s kevlar twine–helped quite a bit, as did stabilizing the fabric skin with epoxy.  I think the trade in weight was worth a little extra flex.

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Surfski Repair and Paint Job

Early in the summer a paddler delivered his Futura surfski to me for repair.  The seams on either side of the seat were cracked, one of them deeply enough for water to have saturated the fiberglass.  There were some dings as well, and the rudder post was loose in the rudder.  All that was fixed, and then the boat got a fresh paint job in eye-catching red and white.  It emulates the Epic Surfski schema, but the “e” with a line over it is the owner’s way of saying, “Not an Epic”.

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Lightest Ravenswood 15 yet

Just finished and delivered another Ravenswood 15 kayak from Jeff Horton at Kudzucraft.  The buyer wanted the deck done in System Three’s WR-LPU Yellow, which makes three of these that have gone out the door with the same high visibility color.  There were some changes on this one, though.  The hull was varnished instead of painted, and I believe it saved some weight.

This one came in at 28 lbs!  I couldn’t quite believe the scale.  Instead of a wooden rub-rail and kevlar stem guards, it has a black super-tape that I have been testing on other boats with great results.  I think it cuts 3-4 lbs off the the boat.  On its sea trial, it felt quite responsive, as have the other Ravenswoods.

The hard chine on the design probably cuts a bit off the speed, but you can lean over on to the hull-flats a bit and it turns much more quickly.  Great boat!


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Kaholo 14 board sent on its way

Not only is the Pokeboat 12 happily sold, but the paddleboard I’ve been working on all winter has gone to Missy Kerner at Body Balance Yoga in Williamsburg.  Here are some pictures!

Chesapeake Light Craft Kaholo 14

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Restored Pokeboat 12 for sale

I’ve just restored a Pokeboat 12 footer from the early 2000’s. It is made of fiberglass and very durable.  And only 30 lbs, so you can carry it on one shoulder to and from the water.  It’s for sale for $700.

The Poke Boat® is the boat for people who are afraid of kayaks and feel even a canoe is on the tippy side.  The boat can be used with far more confidence than a canoe while experiencing duckhunting, fishing, bird watching, water-fowling and stream-floating. The deep V bow and stern allows excellent tracking.

The molded removable seat plus the back rest/rim allow comfortable boating. Adjustable foot braces allow maximum comfort when using the boat for long periods of time.  2 flotation bags included, not shown in pictures.

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Outer Banks Dory Sold

I was very happy today to pass on the Simmons Sea Skiff variation to Shawn from Smithfield and his family.  I hope to see it out on the river fishing around Morgart’s Beach.

My family and I have had a great time using it as it was being restored, whether at Cedar Key in Florida, Hatteras in NC, or out around Jamestown Island.  Smooth riding, quick and low on gas consumption, it’s a design with staying power that I would love to see more popular one day.


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Kid Kayak for my son


Amos Kid Kayak 1

We launched the kayak I built for Amos this past week, and it’s a hit.  The design comes from Tom Yost at, his Kidarka.  This boat is a bullet.  Amos was cranking away from his mother and sister in their 10 foot rec-barges so much that his sister demanded a faster boat next time.  I could beat him in my Greenland 17, but then I have 5 extra waterline feet on him as well.

Why is the stern cut away like that?  I don’t know, just part of the Baidarka tradition.  And it looks cool.

Amos Kid Kayak 2

I was worried about the stability, since I could see it was going to be a narrow boat.  But Yost put extreme flare into the stern.  See in this picture the huge flats that start just behind the cockpit?  Amos would lean to one side or the other and the boat would land on those, stiffening up immediately.  Great idea, Tom!

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Chesapeake 17 sells

Rich from Williamsburg picked up the Chesapeake 17 wood/fiberglass touring kayak.  Rich and I unknowingly paddled together at the JamesRiver Fest this year, he in his yellow Bic Scapa and me in Jack van Horn’s Long Shot 18.  He paddled a Ches17 at CLC’s Okoumefest last year, and he has been looking for a nice wood-strip boat since.

CLC17 three

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Two new boat starts

I’m trying to make use of both bays in the shop to build two boats at once this time around.

The Kidarka from Tom Yost, owner of the website  My son has been asking for a kayak since early winter, and we’ve already picked out and bought the PVC skin in red and grey for the skin.  I’m halfway through the frame, and if the boat ends well I’ll be building more.  The design can hold people up to 150 lbs, but the 20 inch cockpit will probably restrict it to children, plus shorter adults.


Second:With some initial interest in the Kaholo 14 standup-paddleboard from Chesapeake Light Craft, I’m ordering the Okoume plywood to get started.  Should be finished by mid-summer or earlier.


If you want either of these boats, you can contact me with an order (sorry, the first Kidarka is claimed by my boy.)


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