FOR SALE: Kayaking history - 1960s Avoncraft Racing Class 3 kayak

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Hippychick69
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:13 pm

FOR SALE: Kayaking history - 1960s Avoncraft Racing Class 3 kayak

Post by Hippychick69 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:06 am

This is a very rare British Racing Class 3 kayak, built in the 1960's from a kit supplied by Avoncraft. The designer was Bob Vardy; a former aircraft engineer at De Havilland. It was a wood veneer/fibreglass method that pre-dates plastic and composit, and was well ahead of it's time in terms of kayak construction. For more details of the construction method, see text in italics end of this post. The boat is incredibly light (about 7-8kg, I think) which is better than many modern racing kayaks.

I bought it 6 years ago with the intention of refurbishing it, but have neither the time nor the storage space for it. The lovely man I bought it from had built it himself. He had taken part in many racing competitions in it, and also completed the Devizes to Westminster race. So it has a pedigree!

Please note: This is a project/labour of love, not an every day boat to paddle, due to its age. It will need carefully stripping back to bare wood and re-varnishing, and quite a bit of TLC. Once done, though, you will have a beautiful kayak (think Struer kayaks).

Anyone interested in a winter project?


"There was a chap in UK who used two sheets of thin marine ply to build a kayak shape..... The sheets were 4ft x 8ft so the loa was 16 feet. There was a firm ‘Avoncraft’ I knew the owner quite well, his name escapes me just now. Originally he offered kits of thin ply to schools, scouts, etc with the loan of a jig on which to build it. ! Ah gottit, Bob Vardy. (Google Avon Craft Robert Vardy Ltd ) The business is current.
The kayak was about 16 ft long with frames at (?) 3 ft intervals. Each frame received a narrow strip around it, 2mm birch ply, so that the edges of the strip extended beyond the edge of the frame. The frames were rigged on a spine. Thin ply was bent round each pair of frames, glued and stapled to the strips on the frames. The thin 1.5mm birch ply was originally used to build ‘Mosquito’ twin motor fighter bombers over a balsa wood sandwich. Beautiful aircraft , fast and deadly. I think Bob lived near where they were built. I have an ace B&W video of Mossies being built in OZ.
The thin flat transverse strips were fitted to the Bob Vardy kayak jig. The Vardy kayak shell was given a skin of aircraft quality woven glass and resined down. The whole assembly w
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