Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

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nickcrowhurst
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Another pair paddle out of lock-down

Post by nickcrowhurst »

Dave and Jenny hit the water yesterday and stopped at the mouth of the River Tavy, Devon, U.K:

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Another Shrike in Hungary

Post by nickcrowhurst »

Kavics from Hungary has just launched his new Shrike (Quote from Kavics: "I really like how it slides on the water.")


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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by fergus_finn »

Just finished & launched a Shrike from the selkie kayaks kit. It has been a great lockdown project. I would love to post a picture but when I try I get the message below

Upload failed.

The difference between the request time and the current time is too large.

Try again

Any hints & tips ?

Best Regards

Fergus

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by nickcrowhurst »

Fergus, I'll PM you my email address, then, if you wish, send me the photo as an attachment, and I'll post it on the forum.
I hope you enjoyed the construction process. Best wishes, from Nick

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by Chris Bolton »

The difference between the request time and the current time is too large
This error usually results from the clock on the device doing the upload being different to the clock on the server. If there's no obvious error in the time, it may be that time zone is not set correctly. Possibly this might show in the time at near the top of the Forum main page (on the left, just below the 'Quick links') being different to what you'd expect.

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by fergus_finn »

Ok thanks for the tip. The time was correct but time zone was wrong. So here is the pic. This was my lockdown project so now launched at Loch Earn in scotland. A big thank you to all involved in the Shrike project and to Chris Tipper at Selkie kayaks for the kit. It is a beautiful design and was a pleasure to build. 14 kg is about the same as my SOF. As for paddling have not even really scratched the surface yet but thoroughly looking forward to finding out all that she can do.

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by Spikeedog »

Another Scottish Shrike. Well done. Hope you manage to get out soon.

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by nickcrowhurst »

Fergus, you've made a lovely job of your Shrike. Many thanks for your kind words. There are about one hundred photographs of Chris Tipper's Selkie kit being assembled on this link:
https://chris-tipper-thfp.squarespace.c ... resource?p
Chris tells me that his kit includes a comprehensive Build Manual.
Nick.

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Another Vember in the USA

Post by nickcrowhurst »

David, in Boston, USA, is building a full-sized Vember for himself. His first Vember was a 95% scale model for his wife. Photo received this morning:

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by Spikeedog »

Looks nicely set up and skilfully worked.

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...and now for something completely different....

Post by nickcrowhurst »

A perfect workshop from Stefanos, in Greece, surrounds an ocean cockpit Shrike under construction. I love this workshop. One of my grandfathers was a blacksmith, and the other was a jobbing carpenter, which, according to my family, explains my idiosyncratic approach to wood-working. Both grandfathers had workshops of similar beauty to that of Stefanos.
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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by Beryl »

Setting out for that ‘fits like a glove experience’. The ocean cockpit feels claustrophobic even at this stage...
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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by nickcrowhurst »

So are you going to now make a keyhole cockpit rim? You have all the options at that stage.

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by Beryl »

nickcrowhurst wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:30 pm
So are you going to now make a keyhole cockpit rim? You have all the options at that stage.
Yes, just move the ‘Too’ masik forward to accommodate the keyhole : I’m used to a low deck.
Will stick to plan A I think.
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From Russia with love....

Post by nickcrowhurst »

Toha in Russia has finished his Shrike:

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by nickcrowhurst »

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A company in Crete, ENJOYCRETE, is building and using Vember Expeditions. This company is the Cretan agent for NDK kayaks: Romany, Explorer, etc. They run sea-kayaking, rock-climbing and other outdoor activity holidays. The owner is Stelios. There's a review of the Vember Expedition in his blog here:
https://www.enjoy-crete.com/wooden-kayak/ An extract from this article is here:

First Test
"I'm not a person who praises a kayak because I've built it or just bought it.....instead I have to paddle it to see how it performs in all conditions; from dead flat to 2+ meter waves.
I'm glad to report that on Crete you can find rough conditions most of the days thus testing the boat is not required to travel for a long time.

Conditions: relatively flat with occasionally winds up to 10 knots.

The kayak is super stable (primary stability). To give you a reference is more stable than the NDK Romany Surf, Explorer, P&H Cetus, Venrure JURA, North Shore Atlantic, Valley Etain, etc. It is actually the most stable kayak I've ever paddled with a beam of 54 cm, quiet impressive. I've paddled over the years more than 60 different sea kayak designs.

Novice paddles will be able to paddle in conditions that they weren't comfortable before due to increased stability. The boat turns very good as well; its maneuverability is outstanding and I can only compare it with the Nigel Dennis Romany. I found it, however, less responsive than the Romany but much faster (as the NDK Explorer more or less)."

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by asmar »

Thanks for the lovely plans Nick.
Here is a quick video of our first build. We are on the 3rd now :)


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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by Spikeedog »

Great to watch.

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by craigx »

Finally completed my vember lockdown project today. I have yet to float test it, but an opportunity should come in the next few weeks. A few details of the changes that I made. I had to shorten the overall length to get it in my garage so I took 4 inches of the bow and 2 inches off the stern. I did this by estimating where the water line is and steepening the angles of the bow and sterns to give the reduction. I thought this would preserve the volume of the kayak below the waterline. The kayak lines look great, but somehow the overall length reduced by 10 inches. I had a quote of over £340 for the cedar strip so I went out and bought some redwood pine (knott free) from a builder's merchant for £40 and cut it up on my little band saw and cleaned it all up on a table router. This worked better than expected and I was only intending to use it as a practice before the real event. The strips have produced a nice shaped boat and the total weight, including 3 hatches, foot braces, and deck rigging, comes in at 18.5Kg. This makes it about 2.1Kg heavier that a cedar boat which I can live with. To produce the sheer clamps, I used scarf joints and laminated to lengths together, avoiding overlapping joints, to get the required thickness. This took out any irregularities that the scarf joints made and gave nice sweeping lines. This has been a very enjoyable project and kept me sane during the lockdown.
Many thanks,
Craig Cheek
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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by Spikeedog »

That's fantastic.

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A little light bedtime reading.....

Post by nickcrowhurst »

Here's a link to the story of the Shrike project's origins. The article appeared in in Ocean Paddler magazine 6 years ago, since when the total number of builders who have been kind enough to send us photos and descriptions of their constructions has risen to 259.
https://qajaqrolls.com/wp-content/uploa ... 152014.pdf

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by fergus_finn »

That was a great read Nick. I particularly liked the definition of adventure :-)

For the first time
in a kayak, but certainly not the last, I realised
that there was an unknown outcome to the
expedition. This of course is one definition of
an adventure.

Whilst not of course recommending that people take unnecessary risks the joy of doing something which has risk and managing that risk successfully is what life is all about. When you do it in something that you have built with your own hands it adds a dollop of reward which creates a unique feeling.

Thanks again for the shrike project. Already thinking about how to build the next one !

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by whimbrel »

I'd love to be able to build my own Shrike or Vember but I am realistic about my woodworking skills! I know that Selkie and Achtra make Shrikes for sale - does anyone know of anyone who makes Vember for sale?

Forgive my ignorance, but I'm also curious about the durability of these boats for expeditioning e.g. landing on rocky shores. Are there any recommendations on what they should and shouldn't be used for, or are they suitable for everything that a composite boat could do?

Many thanks

Emily

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A message from Aristophanis in Greece

Post by nickcrowhurst »

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Dear Friend, today I baptised the Shrike. The name I gave her is Joy, because this kayak makes me so happy! Edges perfectly, rolls easily, I can do a sculling brace with no effort. Thank you, Thank you, for the design and the support! I wish that the universe pays back to you, all the joy I get from this kayak due to your kind contribution. Nick, really this is an excellent kayak.
Na eisai kala! (be always in good health)

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by nickcrowhurst »

whimbrel wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:21 pm
I'd love to be able to build my own Shrike or Vember but I am realistic about my woodworking skills! I know that Selkie and Achtra make Shrikes for sale - does anyone know of anyone who makes Vember for sale?
Forgive my ignorance, but I'm also curious about the durability of these boats for expeditioning, e.g. landing on rocky shores. Are there any recommendations on what they should and shouldn't be used for, or are they suitable for everything that a composite boat could do? Many thanks
Emily
Emily, I don't know of anyone who makes Vembers for sale, although any woodworker would have no problem in building one. Our designs are based on the easiest possible means of construction, very light weight, and adaptability to the size, shape and paddling needs of the individual paddler. Skilled woodworkers can add their own ideas, such as proprietary hatches (very heavy and expensive) and three-part construction. The construction of the hull of the Vember is more time consuming than the stitch-and-glue Shrike, so the Vember would be more expensive. A Shrike would take a first-time builder about 100 hours, whereas the Vember would take about 150 hours. You can see that a professional skilled woodworker would charge about the same as for a top-of-the line composite kayak. I suggest you have a chat with Chris at Selkie kayaks if you live in the south of England: https://selkiekayaks.co.uk/contact
Chris is a great guy. If you would rather, I will speak to him, and PM the result to you.
As for your second question, on any restrictions on use of these kayaks. I wouldn't use one for rock-hopping in breaking waves. Sometimes it's useful to bounce deliberately off a rock to line up for the next section. I have a composite kayak the same length as Vember that I have used when in those conditions. It's more than twice as heavy as a Vember, and it doesn't break my heart to gouge it. I can repair a strip-built hull as easily as a composite hull, but I love the looks of the pristine wood.
As regards expedition use, I hope PlymouthDamo will comment for an independent view. He built one of the first Vember Expeditions, and has plenty of experience in her, including a trip to Lundy Island. I will give him a PM.
Do PM me with any queries. Best wishes, from Nick.

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by PlymouthDamo »

whimbrel wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:21 pm
Forgive my ignorance, but I'm also curious about the durability of these boats for expeditioning, e.g. landing on rocky shores. Are there any recommendations on what they should and shouldn't be used for, or are they suitable for everything that a composite boat could do? Many thanks
Emily
nickcrowhurst wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:37 pm
As regards expedition use, I hope PlymouthDamo will comment for an independent view. He built one of the first Vember Expeditions, and has plenty of experience in her, including a trip to Lundy Island. I will give him a PM.
I've obviously built too many Crowhurst boats as Nick is losing track of which ones I've used for what. I did the Lundy trip in a Shrike, which performed beautifully, comparing favourably to my mate's (very nice) Tiderace in terms of speed and handling whilst fully loaded.

I have used the Vember for some fully-loaded camping trips and its performance has been absolutely stunning. On one trip, we were on a tight schedule, so were crossing bays as the crow flies rather than rock-hopping round the shore. Each time we started a long crossing I'd turn up the speed to get the boring bit out of the way and onto the next headland, and I'd get there whilst the rest of the guys were only half-way across. This was definitely the boat, not me, as I paddle with these guys regularly using my other boats. It's remarkably light and the handling is great too.

In terms of durability, there are two aspects. In terms of structural strength, I gave it a very severe test when I tripped on a rock whilst carrying it up a beach. Despite having a fair amount of luggage stowed, and smashing it down onto a sharp rock with my bodyweight fully on it, the boat was still fully functional, only needing some cosmetic repairs later. However, I definitely wouldn't recommend it for landing on rocky beaches etc. Whilst rock-hopping, I've scraped it a few times and, although the boat isn't really damaged, the thin outer skin of fibreglass is easily cut, which exposes the wood core. My Vember is made of Pawlonia, which is best described as balsa wood on steroids: structurally very strong, extraordinarily light but soft in terms of abrasion. So sharp rocks will gouge deep scratches in it, and this will require an epoxy/fibreglass repair as prolonged exposure to sea-water will turn the wood black and it will look terrible. So I never scrape my boat up or down the beach (I always get it floating before I get in or out) and I'm really careful when I'm rock-hopping. In short, if you're looking for a boat to do banzai rock-hopping etc. you're much better off with plastic.

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by whimbrel »

Hi Nick and PlymouthDamo - thank you both so much for your speedy and useful replies, much appreciated.

My motivation is that I'm 5ft 4 and 60kg and it would be fantastic to have a boat I could lift onto the car myself and head off for day/weekend trips, as my partner isn't able to do much lifting and I live in the opposite direction to most coast/loch venues as my paddle buddies. I do have access to several decent plastic sea kayaks through my club which I can use for long trips (e.g. a week's wild camping), so I am wondering if the combination of Shrike or Vember + club boat as the best of both worlds - I think I'd get much more use out of that combination than having my own composite boat, for about the same price. I'm not much of a gung-ho rock-hopper at the best of times, and even my pals in composite boats don't get stuck in for fear of gouging their boats - another reason for having a wood & plastic suite of boats rather than a single composite :-)

Does anyone know anyone with a Shrike or Vember in central belt of Scotland who might be willing to let me peer at their boat?

Thanks again for all your help

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by PlymouthDamo »

whimbrel wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:10 pm
.. so I am wondering if the combination of Shrike or Vember + club boat as the best of both worlds - I think I'd get much more use out of that combination than having my own composite boat, for about the same price...
I think you've nailed it: if you've already got access to robust, sea-worthy club boats, then you might as well look for something a bit different to compliment them. In your case, I'd say the choice was a no-brainer: you want the lightest boat possible for easy roofrack loading, and this will be a Shrike. If you've got a seriously light boat, then you're at less risk of knackering your shoulders, and you're less likely to lose the motivation to get out there and use it. I'd say that an 'average' Shrike probably weighs about the same as a carefully-built Vember, whereas a carefully-built Shrike can weigh a lot loss than either.

When building a Shrike, you have loads of options to choose between, many of which will affect the finished weight as well as other comfort/speed/handling characteristics. Obviously, you'll have to decide what works for you, but here's the reasoning behind two key choices for my most recent Shrike build (which weighs just over 10kg):

1. I went for the Shrike-R - lowering the deck height by a massive 6cm. This has two main effects on the boat. Firstly, it's great for rolling. Secondly, it sits so low in the water, I regularly get people telling me it's sinking. This means the wind barely touches it. Last year, I was paddling with a large group in unsheltered water during a named storm, and was able to maintain course and turn across the wind etc without any drama, despite not having a skeg. In a larger-volume boat, my skills/strength wouldn't have allowed me to do that without a skeg, and some of the people that did have skegs had major difficulties turning across the wind to get back to the beach. No skeg = less weight and a quicker/easier build. Your other option would be to build the 'Shrike Too' which is a Shrike scaled down by 10%, and you could also lower the deck height further on one of these. You'd need to talk to someone who knows their stuff to decide what dimensions to go for. (Obviously - there are safety aspects to consider with an extremely low volume boat. In my case, even though the cockpit rim is usually below the water, the cockpit remains dry, presumably because a round ocean cockpit creates such a good seal with a spraydeck. I've also allowed the cockpit to become completely flooded when messing about, and the boat still floats and paddles okay. To be on the safe side, I'd still use a different boat if I was going a long way from a safe shore. You'd want to do your own tests when deciding what you can do safely.)

2. Because the boat is so low volume, and I'm quite lanky, I had to come up with a deck design to make room for my knees when they're spread out in a comfortable seated position. The shape of the deck is dictated by a piece of wood which goes across your knees, called the masik. The standard Shrike masik is a smooth curve, whereas mine is shaped more like a goalpost. My deck looks freakish, but works well both terms of comfort and giving you rock-solid boat contact for edging/rolling/etc. We've since come up with a much less freakish-looking way of incorporating this 'goalpost' masik.

If you do get any offers to look at or test a Shrike, this would be an opportunity to check its dimensions and how high you sit in the water in case you did decide to build one with reduced dimensions. They're actually easy to build so long as you faithfully follow the instructions. I completed my Shrike R within a month, working evenings and weekends. You can also buy finished boats or kits, or attend courses where you build a boat over 2 or 3 months (in Scotland) - Nick can bring you up to speed on all those options.

Presumably, you're already aware of the difference in handling characteristics of a chined Greenland hull. All I'd say about this is that when I built my first Shrike it was my first sea kayak and I didn't pay any attention to what Nick told me about the characteristics of the Greenland design. I just saw it as a cheap way to build a weird angular-looking boat. So I didn't feel at all apprehensive taking it out to sea on its first outing - because I didn't know any different. I did notice it felt a bit wobbly to start with, but once I was underway, I'd completely forgotten about this. It's the same as learning to ride a bike: after a short period consciously working out how to balance, this quickly becomes an unconscious/automatic action and you no longer notice its instability.

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Re: Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home construction.^

Post by Beryl »

Hi Emily. I’m just finishing a shrike build. It requires care and patience but no great skill. Once the plywood is delivered and cut up the slightest person would have no trouble with the construction. It also cost about £400. If you have a minimal of DIY tools, no further expenditure is required except maybe a block plane (£10ish). Just a possibility as you already have boats to play in. Mine is full size yet is likely to be less than 13kg. With the advantage of your size a scaled down boat is possible with even greater absence of weight.

The less it weighs the more you’ll use it I reckon!
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Today's new arrival, from Bulgaria

Post by nickcrowhurst »

Iliya from Bulgaria emailed this morning. He tells us that this is his second Shrike. She's a beauty:

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