Baidarka Explorer restoration

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Baidarka Explorer restoration

Post by kierandokane » Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:41 pm

I have purchased an old Baidarka Explorer as a restoration project. Now that I've jumped in feet first I need to find out what to do!!

Firstly, I know this kayak has a bit of a legendary history but can anyone who has paddled one tell me more? How does it handle compared to other kayaks etc?

I have never undertaken a project like this before so could do with some pointers please!!

The kayak is sound and seaworthy but looks in very sorry shape. As far as the asthetic stuff goes there is deep scratching and heavy wear all over, and a few badly done hull repairs. P&H have offered to match the gel coat colour and send me some - very good of them!

I need to replace the seat which is currently a one-piece setup combined with the cockpit rim. I guess I need to cut this out but not sure how without damaging the hull. Anyone done this before and know where I can find a new foam seat?

I also want to replace the rear bulkhead and move it closer to the seat, possibly replacing the current pump with a day hatch.

There is quite a lot of wear inside the hull, with this my first paddle out resulted in legs full of fibreglass - iritated them for days! What can I re-seal this with?

Finally, the hatches are currently screw down types that are not particularly watertight and are a pain to remove especially with cold hands! Is it as straight forward as it looks to unscrew these and replace with new hatches?

Any help or advice would be more than welcome,

Many thanks,


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Post by Owen » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:09 pm

This is a dedicated expedition kayak, loaded it handles great, empty its a pig.

It will take loads of kit and when loaded right i.e. with the weight down along the keel it takes quite a lot of effort to get it fully upside down. Its designed to go in a straight line so manoeurability isn't its strong point. Use lots of edging, fine when loaded, and rudder strokes. Its also quite a fast boat.

When empty, it rides very high in the water and catches the wind, the turned up ends don't help and they're only there for artistic reasons. The hull is very Vee shaped so its very twitchy; the point of balance is a hairs width away from the tipping point.

Don't take out the old rear bulkhead, throw the rear deck pump away, their useless anyway, fit a hatch in its place (I had to use a small screw in one as a valley one wouldn't fit). Then put a third bulkhead behind your seat so it makes a day hatch.

There are other who know much more about fibreglass than I; so I'll leave those questions to them.

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Post by Jim » Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:02 pm

Check out the thread on restoring an old Nordkapp HM, the technology is the same!

For cutting out the seat use a fine toothed saw, ideally a diamond cutting disc on an air powered trimmer or a diamond blade on a jigsaw, but a hacksaw will work OK for the amatuer or some kind of vibrating saw with a fine cut. Tidy up with sandpaper, if you are brave a sanding disc on a 4.5" angle grinder speeds the job up but you can quickly do damage if you are not very very careful.

The thing about the fibreglass inside causing a nasty rash is, that it always does that if you let it get against your skin. You can flowcoat over it which will help to a major extent and I would say do this anyway if it seems really rough, but for proper comfort you want to cut up an old karrimat (or cheap alternative) and glue it under the deck. For flowcoating just use a roller to paint some resin thinly on the inside surface - it will be best to support the boat upside down when doing the deck, abrade the surface first obvously. You can use polyester or epoxy, most people find they prefer to work with epoxy, it is less viscous, less smelly and generally doesn't surprise you by going off unexpectedly (unless you have it in a large volume in a small container with plenty of heat), but more expensive. Epoxy also develops a slightly waxy surface finish which is useful fr flowcoating but you will need to abrade it if trying to laminate to it in the future (or to do a second coat if you need it).


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Post by kierandokane » Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:32 pm

Thanks - both very helpful.

Had a chance to take it out into 3/4 seas in the Channel. Surfs like a dream, fast too (up to 7knots on GPS). Quite a lot of windeage though as mentioned.

I see what you mean about the stability - very twitchy primary but does stiffen up nicely on it's edge. I'll try to weigh it down along the keel next time, the tidal race off chichester turned into a bit of a brace fest!

Looking forward to making some initial improvements to get the comfort levels up though - it took a while to get the blood flowing back into my legs after having them wedged up against the rather sharp inside edge of the cockpit rim, I think some thigh braces are going to be a must!

Thanks again,


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Re: Baidarka Explorer restoration

Post by Bear1993 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:20 pm

Hey man, i know its been awhile since you put up this post. But said id ask how did you got on with your restoration project ? I recently bought a Baidarka Explorer just wondering do you have any tips for me ?
Any help would be great.

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