This article was written by UKRGB member Erling, from Norway

I like the kayaks from North Shore a lot. I find them very seaworthy, stable in spite of their narrow hull, and last but not least they have a very high degree of finish and craftsmanship. One of the details I appreciate is the large and absolutely watertight hatches, which in contrast to rubber hatches are easy to open and close. The local shop Ut i Naturen imports these boats to Norway, and sells the Calypso model as a semi-finished boat for a very favourable price. The work that remains to be done includes fibreglassing the two bulkheads in position, mounting the footbraces and the seat, and rigging the deck. I have now finished two Calypsoes, and as they don't come with instructions of any kind, I have put together this web page. But I do not consider myself an expert by any means, and suggestions to improve the instructions are extremely welcome.

1: Fibreglassing the bulkheads

First step is organizing a suitable work station. It worked very well for me to strap it from the garage ceiling. That way I can turn it around and hoist it up or down as needed, and there is no risk of it falling on the floor. Having a work table under the kayak makes things easier.

Here is the materials for the fibreglassing: Polyester resin and topcoat with hardener, a cloth of fibreglass, acetone, measuring cups, A clean jam jar came in handy too. Brushes and paint roller were the cheapest ones available, as they were destined for the bin when finished.

The front bulkhead fits quite well, but I find it to be a number too large. This bulkhead stopped 14 cm from the hatch opening. As a comparison, this measure is 6 cm on North Shore's ready made kayaks. If you accept the position shown you will get a comfortably large packing space, but the kayak will be a tight fit for long legged paddlers.

By letting a pencil trace the hull, you get a bulkhead with a perfect fit and a number smaller. A belt sander removes the surplus material in no time.


A mirror is a very useful tool, as is a fluorescent work lamp.

I cut the fibreglass cloth in 5-6 cm wide strips. I found short strips a lot easier to work with than long strips, and positioned them with some overlapping. I'm sure one layer will do, like they said at the shop. "Just in case", I chose two layers. Keep in mind that the pack rooms are also an important part of the kayak's built-in safety. The rear bulkhead will also have to take the paddler's full weight when entering and exiting the kayak. I should mention that before I started glassing, I sanded all  contact areas and washed with acetone for maximum adhesion. I also fixed the bulkheads to the hull by five-six dabs of epoxy glue before glassing, to prevent the bulkheads to fall over while applying resin. NB: Polyester resin does not harden very well in temperatures below 15 C. When it is colder, a couple of fan heaters come in handy.

The glassing process implies brushing a coat of polyester w/hardener along the bulkhead/hull joint line in a section a bit longer than a fibreglass strip. Position the strip in the polyester, and push it in with the brush. Continue around the bulkhead's circumference. Apply another coat of polyester on top of the strips, and use the brush to work out any air bubbles. Lay another layer of strips, and brush on a finishing coat of polyester. When the polyester has hardened, wash with acetone and roll topcoat w/hardener over bulkhead and polyester/glass joint.

First layer finished, next to follow. It is all too easy to get polyester resin where you don't want it, so keep your eyes open. While it is still wet all you need is a rag soaked with acetone. When it has hardened you need a hammer and¨chisel!

This was the only way I managed to gain access to the backside of the front bulkhead. An added advantage with this position is that should I faint of the strong fumes, I'll fall out and into fresh air! Yes, I should have used a mask.

This picture shows the bulkhead after applying topcoat. The topcoat gives a nice finish, but it will also help sealing any leaks. The picture also shows drilling a 1 mm hole in the centre of the bulkhead. This hole will help evening the air pressure when the kayak is moved from the cold sea to a place in the sun.

2. Mounting the hardware


The first challenge is drilling the holes for the foot braces. By measuring an off-the-shelf boat I found that the front hole was located 144 cm forward of the line fitting directly behind the rear of the cockpit, and 12 mm below the black tape between deck and hull. NB: If you did not move the bulkhead all the way forward like I did, make sure you get the hole on the right side!

I'll strongly advise against using ordinary HSS drill bits (left), a 6 mm drill bit for wood (right) is much better. It will enable you to make a lot cleaner holes, particularly on the inside as it breaks through. Don't press hard.

The correct dimension for these particular holes is strictly speaking 6.5 mm. I widened the hole slightly by using a carbide bit in a motor tool, but a round file will do the job too.

I found the position for the second hole by putting a drill bit in the front hole and an awl in the other. Make a mark, and measure 12 mm down from the tape edge.

The holes for the seat are indicated already. I placed a putty knife between the cockpit rim and the drill bit, as the holes are positioned almost under the lip.

The holes for the backrest are positioned 35 mm from the top and 25 mm from the rear edge. As the seat was black, I attached some masking tape to see the marking.


Here's the deck lay-out. I won't try to teach you any knots, chances are you tie better knots than me anyway.

A close-up of the hatch straps. The short ones are for the front, the long ones for the rear. Try to position the buckles along the center line!

This is how the elastic cords are spliced together, and this also explains what the stainless clips are meant for. I found it easiest to make a provisional joint using cable zip ties I later removed. Trim the ends and slide the plastic tube in position. Put a piece of board (or something) between joint and deck, and crimp the tube using a heat gun or hairdryer. Carefully!

Finally, give the kayak a loving treatment with boat wax, and you're both ready for the sea. Have a nice trip!