Beginner, what are my options?

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silentjay
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Beginner, what are my options?

Post by silentjay » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:46 pm

I brought inflatable few years ago, used it on loads of canals, rivers and lakes. Really enjoy getting out on the water but I'm now definitely ready to get a serious hard shell kayak, the faffing around of an inflatable and poor performance are starting to annoy. I'd especially like do some sea kayaking/2-3 day trips, only relaxed touring along the coast, not rolling it for fun, surfing or racing.

My issue is space, I'm in an apartment, no chance of storing a regular kayak let alone a 17 foot sea kayak, I also have a small car. I wouldn't want to carry anything longer than the car on top either (14.4 feet). Looked at off the shelf sectional kayaks but am not prepared to dump £2k+ on one.

One idea I'm playing with is building a sectioned stitch and glue kayak, either finding suitable plans for a 14 footer or seeing if I can shrink down a Shrike down to 14 feet and sectioning it.

Another option I've looked at is buying plans for this 10 foot carriable Backsplash kayak: https://www.duckworks.com/product-p/pk-backsplash.htm With some upgrades such as a skeg, thicker hull etc would something 10 foot be suitable for gentle fair weather cruising along the coast? I see nutters in thin corrugated plastic Oru origami kayaks without bulkheads going out to sea on youtube it so I'm thinking yes?

Lastly I could buy a second hand sea kayak and cut it up, add bulkheads etc, i'm not so keen on this though for some reason.

Should add that I'm 185lbs, 6'3" and so I'm guessing I'd need something to take 210lbs all in with kit for overnighters?

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by mcgruff » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:21 pm

Stitch & glue looks like an easy way to build your own kayak. I'd base the hull size on your body size & amount of gear you need to carry. I don't think shrinking it down to 14ft would work. If it's built in sections a full-size boat won't be a problem to store or transport.

If you can cope with strip-planking, Bjorn Thomasson has lots of designs to browse through. The Frej looks like a great option for a beginner. Good stability and a nice general-purpose hull with no design extremes.

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by silentjay » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:58 pm

Thanks for the reply mcgruff. I'd probably stick with with stitch and glue to start with as it would be my first wood working project so wouldn't want to go too far under my head, the user manual and plans with the stitch and glue Shrike make it look almost fool proof long as you take one step at a time. The Frej does look great though.

Problem with the 17 foot Shrike I thought was that even in sections I couldn't get it in my car. Then I realised I can always transport two sections on top and one inside if I make it 3 sectioned.

As I've been dwelling on it more I think I'll build both the BackSplash and the Shrike (unless I find plans for a more suitable alternative). The 10 foot BackSplash is also S&G, I can start off with this smaller project and it'll make a great replacement for my inflatable and I might even finish it in a few weeks. I can then tackle a longer sectioned full sized sea kayak after.

Finny1
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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by Finny1 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:17 pm

I'm not to sure that you should be too worried about carrying a sea kayak on a small car. Most full size kayaks are longer than the cars that carry them. The critical factor is whether one can procure a decent roof rack for the car. This can be an issue with some two/three door cars with short roof lines.

If length of the kayak is an issue and cost a major factor, I would seriously have a look for a Valley Gemini SP RM or the new P&H Virtuous (or whatever). The cockpit size on the Gemini is generous and based on experience with other P&H boats, that one should be too.

Put the boat on the roof and then you will have room for three days gear and beer inside the car.

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by charleston14 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:39 pm

I’m not sure a shrike is what one would consider a beginner kayak, given it’s lively nimble handling, rocker and Greenlandic style , it is suited to rough water, and for the type of touring you’re interested in I think a different hull may be more appropriate like the point Bennett perhaps.

http://ckfkayak.club/duane/pdf/PointBennett.pdf
You will need to educate yourself on lofting boat hull forms from the measurements in the link above, It’s actually quite simple and YouTube videos out there help explain lofting.

Another consideration for sectional kayaks: lack of a Skeg. I’d hate paddling without a Skeg as it really makes a difference holding a heading when it’s windy..you shouldn’t be reliant on a Skeg as they can fail, but they do make life easier. Who knows, maybe someone has figured out how to do a Skeg system on a sectional boat.

Another option might be something like one of the trak kayaks like the 2.0. but they ain’t cheap.

https://youtu.be/AK1sl9DZWn4

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by charleston14 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:59 pm

There is also a shearwater sport sectional kit you can get from fyne boat kits,

https://www.fyneboatkits.co.uk/kits/kay ... sectional/

a kit makes it a slightly more foolproof self build for a first attempt, probably around double or more the cost of a scratch build stitch and glue project though.

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by silentjay » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:09 pm

Finny1 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:17 pm
I'm not to sure that you should be too worried about carrying a sea kayak on a small car. Most full size kayaks are longer than the cars that carry them. The critical factor is whether one can procure a decent roof rack for the car. This can be an issue with some two/three door cars with short roof lines.
That's the issue, it's a older coupe, haven't yet been able to find a compatible roof rack. Was thinking if it was sectional I could just put one part on the roof with foam blocks and straps.

charleston14 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:39 pm
I’m not sure a shrike is what one would consider a beginner kayak, given it’s lively nimble handling, rocker and Greenlandic style , it is suited to rough water, and for the type of touring you’re interested in I think a different hull may be more appropriate like the point Bennett perhaps.

http://ckfkayak.club/duane/pdf/PointBennett.pdf
You will need to educate yourself on lofting boat hull forms from the measurements in the link above, It’s actually quite simple and YouTube videos out there help explain lofting.

Another consideration for sectional kayaks: lack of a Skeg. I’d hate paddling without a Skeg as it really makes a difference holding a heading when it’s windy..you shouldn’t be reliant on a Skeg as they can fail, but they do make life easier. Who knows, maybe someone has figured out how to do a Skeg system on a sectional boat.

Another option might be something like one of the trak kayaks like the 2.0. but they ain’t cheap.

https://youtu.be/AK1sl9DZWn4
Did wonder if the Shrike was slightly off course for what I'm looking for when people who built one mention how much they enjoy rolling it! Was thinking I could add ballast until I was comfortable with it. Everything is a compromise atm. Is it inevitable in greenland boats like the Shrike that you'll end up getting wet every time you take it out? Thanks for the link to the Point Bennet will give it a good read and look into lofting.

Good call about losing the skeg and something I didn't consider. Someone out there must have figured this out, so something to add to my list to look into.

That Trak, $3500, ouch!

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by silentjay » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:20 pm

charleston14 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:59 pm
There is also a shearwater sport sectional kit you can get from fyne boat kits,

https://www.fyneboatkits.co.uk/kits/kay ... sectional/

a kit makes it a slightly more foolproof self build for a first attempt, probably around double or more the cost of a scratch build stitch and glue project though.

That looks like a better fit for what I want, more stable and shorter. Kit is expensive though you're right, you're meant to be able to build the Shrike for £300. I see they do sell the plans on their own for the Shearwater though for £98 so something for me to think about, although that would be 1/3rd the entire cost of a Shrike for just the plans. Hmmm

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by PlymouthDamo » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:25 pm

Silentjay - you strike me as the kind of guy who'd appreciate a good game of 'spot the 17.5 foot, skegged Shrike'...


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mcgruff
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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by mcgruff » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:46 pm

The hard chine Greenland hull design has low initial stability. It will feel quite wobbly until you get used to it.

However, the secondary stability is good. You'll tip over so far until the point where you're trying to push a lot of air (in the hull) under water and then you can lean against that - up to a point. Judge it right and you won't capsize :)

Low initial / high secondary is actually a good thing. The boat respond less to small choppy waves and therefore should be a little less tiring on a long paddle but you've still got the good secondary to stop the boat tipping over easily.

I think what's good for a beginner depends in part on how much time you're going to devote to a new sport. If you're mad keen and out on the water at every opportunity it probably won't take long to pick up some skills. If you're only going out occasionally, you may just want to have some fun not spend all day struggling with a boat that's hard to control.

Have a chat with Nick Crowhurst, who designed the Shrike. He'll be able to advise you how people tend to get on with this boat as their first kayak.

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by silentjay » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:06 pm

PlymouthDamo wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:25 pm
Silentjay - you strike me as the kind of guy who'd appreciate a good game of 'spot the 17.5 foot, skegged Shrike'...


Image
Brilliant, that's amazing you're able to get the entire Shrike in the back of a hatchback! I wouldn't have to worry about trying to stick part of it on the roof then. Was it straight forward to section? Is the stability ok for a beginner?
mcgruff wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:46 pm
The hard chine Greenland hull design has low initial stability. It will feel quite wobbly until you get used to it.

...

Have a chat with Nick Crowhurst, who designed the Shrike. He'll be able to advise you how people tend to get on with this boat as their first kayak.
Thanks for the advice, will send him a message

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by PlymouthDamo » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:28 pm

My route into sea kayaking was similar to yours. I started out with an old knackered plastic Perception Dancer before moving on to a surf/white water boat and using that extensively, for medium-distance sea kayak trips. (I also have an inflatable, but was only using that for paddles up rivers or canals or to get me to and from my weekly Dive club piss-up, which was held on the other side of Plymouth sound to me.) When I built my first Shrike, it was my first sea kayak. I had no problems adjusting to it - the stability difference is as McGruff describes above, and I'd got used to it within half an hour. I already had a bomb-proof roll, however I wasn't able to roll the Shrike at first because I hadn't made proper thigh-braces. Once that was sorted, it rolls easily. If you can find someone who knows what they're doing, there's a good chance they could get you rolling in one session - but it will then take weeks, months or even years to get to the stage where you are 100% confident it will work when you need it to. I've taken loads of novices out in my various Shrikes and they've all been fine - I suspect people don't find any problems with the handling of Greenland hulls if nobody has told them they're supposed to...

Making a sectional Shrike would be 10 times easier for you than it was for me because (1) you'd be building it from scratch, whereas I converted my finished Shrike into a sectional boat a few years after I built it and (2) I've done all the head-scratching working out how best to do it. I'm pretty confident that I've come up with the perfect solution. My boat is easy to assemble, it's toughness has been proven fully-loaded in big, slamming seas and it can't possibly leak.

If you decide to go down the sectional Shrike route, me and Nick will help you.

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by silentjay » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:51 pm

PlymouthDamo wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:28 pm
My route into sea kayaking was similar to yours. I started out with an old knackered plastic Perception Dancer before moving on to a surf/white water boat and using that extensively, for medium-distance sea kayak trips. (I also have an inflatable, but was only using that for paddles up rivers or canals or to get me to and from my weekly Dive club piss-up, which was held on the other side of Plymouth sound to me.) When I built my first Shrike, it was my first sea kayak. I had no problems adjusting to it - the stability difference is as McGruff describes above, and I'd got used to it within half an hour. I already had a bomb-proof roll, however I wasn't able to roll the Shrike at first because I hadn't made proper thigh-braces. Once that was sorted, it rolls easily. If you can find someone who knows what they're doing, there's a good chance they could get you rolling in one session - but it will then take weeks, months or even years to get to the stage where you are 100% confident it will work when you need it to. I've taken loads of novices out in my various Shrikes and they've all been fine - I suspect people don't find any problems with the handling of Greenland hulls if nobody has told them they're supposed to...

Making a sectional Shrike would be 10 times easier for you than it was for me because (1) you'd be building it from scratch, whereas I converted my finished Shrike into a sectional boat a few years after I built it and (2) I've done all the head-scratching working out how best to do it. I'm pretty confident that I've come up with the perfect solution. My boat is easy to assemble, it's toughness has been proven fully-loaded in big, slamming seas and it can't possibly leak.

If you decide to go down the sectional Shrike route, me and Nick will help you.

Image
Thanks that's very reassuring about the Shrikes handling. Can it pack enough for a 1-2 nights? Your boat looks great, it's definitely a thing of beauty. Isn't yours the boat at the end of build manual? Looks a great way of joining the sections to remove the possibility of leaks so you've always got watertight compartments.

The shrike is looking like the build for me, in-depth build manual and plans plus seems like there's a lot of people out there who've built them and figured out all the bugs.

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by PlymouthDamo » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:11 pm

A full-sized Shrike is the same length as any standard sea kayak, and you can then make it high or low volume by setting the deck height. I now much prefer very low volume boats, for rolling etc., but my 3-piece is a standard high volume one - exactly the same dimensions Nick quotes for his prototype black Shrike in the build manual. You can easily fit enough for a few nights expedition in my 3-piece, but this is a lot easier if you've fitted a large oval hatch.

I don't have a recent copy of the build manual, but I know Nick put a photo of the front section of my 3-piece in the Vember build manual with my instructions for how to fit an oval hatch. Which reminds me - you might want to have a look at the Vember/Vembex too. That has two advantages: very good stability/speed/handling, and it's very strong. The disadvantage is that it takes longer to build - I wouldn't call it difficult, it's just a lengthier process.

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by charleston14 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:18 pm

Plymouthdamo I like what you have done there, Skeg slider further back in the rear section but still in reach, and hatch sunk into the front deck...nice.

My next boat is gonna be a shrike

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by PlymouthDamo » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:46 pm

charleston14 wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:18 pm
Plymouthdamo I like what you have done there, Skeg slider further back in the rear section but still in reach, and hatch sunk into the front deck...nice.

My next boat is gonna be a shrike
Thanks - moving the slider back so the entire mechanism was contained in the rear compartment was the only non-complicated option I could come up with. It works a treat though - although you do have to reach a fair way behind you, it's not difficult, even in the rough.

As you've probably guessed - I highly recommend building a Shrike. It's always interesting to see the tweaks and modifications that people build into theirs. Have a careful study of the build gallery on Nick's website for inspiration. If you plan it carefully, you could end up with a boat totally customised for you, although I've always got a nagging feeling that I need to build one more to finally get it perfect...

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by nickcrowhurst » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:25 pm

Silentjay, in this thread you've received excellent advice from a bunch of experienced and talented paddlers and builders. I would only add that I'd be happier if you could paddle a Shrike before you commit yourself. The knowledge that another Shrike is being built somewhere in the world always gives a spring in my step for the rest of the day, but I would hate anyone to build the kayak and be unhappy about her performance. If I may be excused for briefly lapsing into Iambic tetrameter: "try before you buy the ply".
The reaction to a person's first paddle of a Shrike or similar West Greenland inspired kayaks seems to depend to a large extent on their previous experience. One of my granddaughters, a complete beginner at paddling or woodwork, built and paddled her Shrike LV, leaving me for dead on her maiden voyage. On the other hand, my wife has for years paddled in the front of our heavy and beamy double expedition sea kayaks. This is a demanding position, being very close to approaching waves, and frequently requiring goggles and strong nerves, but it doesn't require rapid automatic response to a confused sea. She much prefers our Vember to the Shrike. Vember is a round-bilge development of Shrike, itself a development of traditional West Greenland kayaks, and has a more progressive stability curve than Shrike.
Although five thousand copies of the free plans and Build Manual have been downloaded, only two hundred builders have sent me photos and description of their construction. However, these are distributed all over the globe, so if you let us know the area and country in which you live we may be able to find one within reasonable travelling distance. Here's the granddaughter on her maiden voyage. You can see why I was huffing and puffing when trying to keep up with her:
https://cnckayaks.com/project/shrike-lv/
Best wishes, From Nick, of CNC kayaks.

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by silentjay » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:35 pm

Thanks for posting in the thread Nick, it's great to hear from the originator of the Shrike. I'm based in Bristol. Love the "try before you buy the ply" advice! The Vember looks like it might be preferable to me but as this would be my first woodworking project the Shrike would be simpler and quicker construction by the looks of things.

Well I've got plenty of time to think about the next steps as I've only just started getting the tools together! Might even build the BackSplash first as I definitely want something to replace my inflatable for rivers.

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by nickcrowhurst » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:56 pm

Silentjay, the BackSplash looks a fun boat for quiet rivers and lakes. The whole package is ingenious. I wouldn't take it out of the class of waters for which it is designed. (true of any kayak, of course) Waves and/or wind would be an issue any further out than the harbour-master's cat. Just look at the way the stern buries at 2.21 in the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t85R3QB7O2I
With that caveat I reckon you'd have a lot of fun on quiet waters.
If eventually you decide you wish to try a Shrike, you could travel to Plymouth where there is a wide range of Shrikes. I could arrange introductions.
Nick.

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Re: Beginner, what are my options?

Post by silentjay » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:00 pm

Yeah it would just be a replacement for my inflatable on rivers/canals/bays. Still intend on getting a sea kayak sorted as well. Good spot on how the stern buries, I would have never had noticed that! I believe that was the mk1 in that youtube vid, the mk2 is a foot longer and doesn't seem to have the same issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXX7oXACAPY

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