1990 Valley Norkapp HS Restoration

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KayakVT802
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1990 Valley Norkapp HS Restoration

Post by KayakVT802 » Thu May 16, 2019 4:02 am

Please note: Long post! Verbose.

It all began in 1996 when my dear friend told me one of his coworkers had a kayak for sale. Curious, went to look at this yak, a 1972 Phoenix Whitewater/Wildwater, with paddle, spray skirt and buoyancy bags fore and aft. Stored in his garage since 19__ after a ride down the Niagara River that shook him so bad, he never paddled again. $100 later, strapped to my car, like the Beverly Hillbillies, I was hooked the 1st time the paddle hit the water. Lived in Western New York at the time and had Lake Ontario as the training/play ground. Never looked back... In '98, had money and got a Walden Sports Walden Passage RM. Still have it. Beaten the living snot out of that Kayak and it still goes all these years later.

Fast forward to 2018 and (in a previous post seeking info on a paddle) came across a 1997 P&H Sirius M. For years my memory of this particular kayak is keen as to trying one at the time of purchase of the Walden at Oak Orchard Canoe and Kayak in Waterport, NY. Price was this issue (tippy-ness scared me too)! The P&H has spurred me on to challenge my skills like no other and to stoke a passion (obsession?) in classic British Sea Kayaks. Being a Craigslist surfer, would spend a few minutes (yeeaaah..) searching what was out there for Kayaks and researching what defines a Classic British Sea Kayak? Sirius fits the bill quite nicely in this category and is rare over here in the US.

By happenstance one evening about 3 weeks ago, came across a rather old Craigslist Ad for a "1991" Valley Nordkapp HS. Oh my! Now before the sighs and the eye rolls, this is a true blue barn find. Contacted the owner and after a week of nothing, a reply. Yes it's still here. Took another week to get the date/time settled out and after a bump laden travel on VT-NH-ME back roads (trust me, they suck), met the owner at his barn. Yes a barn in a remote back woods patch of northern Maine. How on Earth does a classic British Sea Kayak end up there? Well, the story goes that it belonged to a young Woman who did tours of the Maine coast in the early 90's and she became behind on rent. She used the Kayak as back payment. Now, the owner is really not a Kayaking type, far from it, big guy dairy farmer. What does one do with a 17' 5" Kayak? He stored away of course! Farmers tend not to throw away much. Extremely nice guy and he saw that this kayak was going to a good home. Shook hands and away I went bumply back to Vermont.

This Kayak hadn't seen the light of day in 25 years, slowly aging gracefully and dry, oh so dry. Nothing done to it, zip, nah-dah. Everything original including an early skeg layup. Still has sand and salt in it (Yes - damn straight I tasted it!). Perfect! Unmolested!! I love this - this is why...

I have tackled projects like this before and being unmolested is key. Done a complete tip-to-tail restoration of a 1984 VW Vanagon Westalia Camper, which, sadly, was molested - Frankin-bus is the term used. Took it back to original OEM specs and added some of my own touches. Now, classic air-cooled VW owners can be an odd lot. Water cooled too. The Holy Grail is to find a unmolested vehicle or in this case, a kayak. This is my Holy Grail for a classic British Sea Kayak. Some may say, why in good Heavens name would you spend time/money on this old hulk of fiberglass? Think about this for a moment -VW logic at work-: A VW Bug or Bus where common place at one time, heck my 1st car was a 71 Bug. Today? Now rare and sought after, case in point: fellow US VW nut sold a 1964 23 window bus to a UK buyer with no engine, no interior, etc. for 64K sight unseen! Those who keep them running and restore them have a deep rooted passion (strangely obsessive) to see them run and run properly. Same with the kayak now resting in the garage.

The life that this Nordkapp HS led on the coast of Maine must have been wild. Saw some action. Has issues, but the bones are great. No spongy areas and solid. Just lots and lots of spider cracking and bits gone in the hulls gel coat. Topside okay with the cursory spider cracks, gouges - ya know - the usual for a 29 year old kayak. She can and will rise to stake her claim on the waters of Lake Champlain and beyond. So, I tend to work slowly and plan using the tried and true K.I.S.S. system - Keep It Stupid Simple.

Sat for a week whilst I researched every possible configuration on how to restore just the hull.

Options varied from:

- Do a mold of the entire hull with FG - release mold, grind gel coat off, recast with mold and gel coat. NOPE. Not KISS
- Partial FG mold each side. Grind gel coat, recast with gel coat. NOPE. Not KISS
- Rubber molds of sections, 12 total. NOPE. Not KISS
- Create Acetate Matrix's of hull sections, grind off gel coat, lay up gel coat, rolling the gel coat under the Acetate (Complex and useless). NOPE. Not KISS
- Other amusing and outlandish ideas that will forever live on the dung heap of bad ideas.

Suffice to say many evenings of puzzling the puzzler. One nagging voice kept coming back to haunt. Had to get advice and opinions, so talked to a Pro at a Shipyard and the person whom I got the Sirius from who said,"Live with the spider cracks. The big gouges and chunks go refill with gel coat and just paint it." . He was right! Curses...

So today was the day I pulled the trigger and scuffed up the gel coat with 40 grit on the orbital sander, hand sanded and for those who care, a Foredom fine grinding tool. Makes Dremmel look like a pea on a drum. Now she is clean with a 2 stage acetone wipe down. Ready for gel coat patches. Then on to the paint. Whole other obsession brewing.

Thanks for reading this long post. Pictures and update are forthcoming.

Cheers!
Mark Lund
North Ferrisburgh, VT USA

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Re: 1990 Valley Norkapp HS Restoration

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu May 16, 2019 8:21 am

Best wishes for the rest of the restoration; looking forward to the pictures. I think I'd be using flowcoat all over, rather than gelcoat and paint.

You don't mention how much you've already read on UKRGB so I'll post two links below, in case you haven't seen them:

Nick Crowhurst's Nordkapp resoration
Almanac collection of information about Nordkapps

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Re: 1990 Valley Norkapp HS Restoration

Post by SJD » Thu May 16, 2019 12:22 pm

I have restored two older Valley kayaks over the past 5 years, the first was an ‘86 Nordkapp and the second was a ‘91 Anas Acuta. They both shared a common trait; very thick gel coat. With gel coat roughly 1/4” thick made painting or an entire gel coat spray job unnecessary. I ground out cracks and gouges, filled with gel coat and then sanded repaired areas flush. The hull and deck were then sanded working through all grits up to 1600, compounded and lastly polished. Yes, a lot of work but it yielded a great finish.

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KayakVT802
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Re: 1990 Valley Norkapp HS Restoration

Post by KayakVT802 » Thu May 16, 2019 1:22 pm

Hi All -

Yes, I have read Nick's Restoration posts and the information in the Almanac. Both where the main catalyst for going ahead with the DIY restoration.

SJD - on the mark about the thickness of the gel coat! Really thick and valid point of sanding the original gel coat back to a "pristine" finish. A ton of work and I tip my hat to you! I'm at a bit of a crossroads since the hulls gel coat has been beaten on (see pic's below) and how to find the best solution.


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Original Craigslist images of the Nordkapp

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Some of the pic's show the extent of the spider cracks, hence my leaning towards a paint job.

New pic's of progress coming!
Mark Lund
North Ferrisburgh, VT USA

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KayakVT802
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Re: 1990 Valley Norkapp HS Restoration

Post by KayakVT802 » Sun May 19, 2019 12:51 am

A couple of days of good progress achieved getting the Nordkapp's hull to a point where it is ready for coats of flowcoat. A big thanks goes out to Chris Bolton in spurring me to do a ton of research on flowcoat. Many websites visited and videos watched, came up with a product called MAX GPE A/B out of California. Purchased 1.5 gallons! Overkill, yes. Foresaw have too little and the pooch getting it.

Did a rather idiotic thing... pushed myself to try Gel Coat when it was 60F(15C). Three hours later, Acetate sheets melting - had a WTH moment and did away with the gel coat filling of divots, ground out cracks, etc. As luck would have it and implementing knowledge of auto fillers, put into use USC Icing finishing autobody filler. Worked like a dream and really easy to sand. Thank goodness had the foresight to grab it days before sanding.

So spent a rough total of 10+ hours of sanding, filling with gel coat - freaking out - removal of gel coat - sanding, Icing and more sanding. A must for those pondering doing this, a flexible foam sanding block is worth its weight in gold.

The really nit picky parts where the replacement hardware for the skeg. RWO Micro Lance Cleat was a real challenge to find along with the Mirco Blocks for guiding the line to the skeg on the deck. Hopefully got the right Lance Cleat. Hobie has one that is a spot on match in specs, fingers crossed.

Deck lines - went with a double reflective tracer Paracord from Paracord Wholesale Shop. Color -Red. 100FT, yes- overkill again, but cheaper than buying by the foot. Shock cord (black) had from fitting out the Sirius, enough to do everything that needs shock/bungee cord.

New Silva 70p Compass. Old one actually still, sorta, won't give up the ghost - works. Really impressed at how tough they are, those Swedes are a crafty lot.

Sent an email to Valley Canoe Products seeking replacement Logo decals, since I had to remove them to compound and re-compound the deck. Any suggestions or you fine people have some lying around collecting dust, will gladly purchase them. New Old Stock (NOS) would be just the ticket.

Now for the Pics!

Foot brace hole, one of 4 that have differing degrees of ugly. Note the thickness, not much.
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Previous owner etched the serial # into hull. Hence the 1990 (last two digits=year made).
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One of many grinded out dings.
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Found a use for the Acetate - Mixing board and the USC Icing filler.
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Way over filled with the Icing, but worked.
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Final sanding of the skeg area where lots of abrasion happened, think the pic shows how the Icing really does a good job.
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Thanks! More to info to come.
Mark Lund
North Ferrisburgh, VT USA

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Re: 1990 Valley Norkapp HS Restoration

Post by SJD » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:38 pm

How did the flow coat turn out?

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