Cape Ann Storm

built by Ian Allen (New Zealand)

Storm technical specs.
See the Builders' Gallery for other kayak examples.
Well, the day arrived, and my kayak 'Rhythm' took to the briny for the first time - she took me a year to build, and I worked fairly constantly but without busting myself. Here are some photos. I must say that the only way I arrived at a finished cedar kayak (the strips on the deck are clear macrocarpa) from the time I saw and fell in love with someone else's on a car top, has been due to your amazing ability to impart such concise building instructions in your builder's manual and web sites. Further I must tell you how much I have valued the very generous time you have given in answering my numerous questions via the email. When you are in a bit of a quandary and eager to get an advice, it is just great to know that the response will be rapid, sympathetic and helpful (and don't forget the humour). My first paddle was brief but I stayed in my boat! I think I told you that I have been a sailor most of my life but my experience of kayaks has been limited these past few years to a rather beamy and stable double. So I shall need to get used to a kayak that requires more finely tuned balance, but I can tell already that she tracks extremely well (I have not built the rudder yet) and is very fast, so I look forward to becoming proficient in my paddling here out of my home town of Picton on the wonderful Marlborough Sounds in South Island New Zealand. has been a long haul in some ways, but never was it not a wonderful challenge, and what a reward (I called it my 'Zen' project, and mostly managed to keep relaxed and patient, though I did do some bleeding and a bit of swearing is inevitable. Great talking point with overseas guests too). Again, it was only made possible by your splendid directions for novice builders and patient assistance via the email. Now to learn to drive the wee boat! I have kept the hollow plywood box spine so that if any of the mates who I harangue to build a kayak actually takes on the challenge and buys your plans, then they could have the benefit of a small start. I shall start with the rudder soon. I did take quite a lot of care to try and finish the stern nicely, and it isn't bad. So I'd be very loathe to lop it off to fit the rudder and would value any thoughts as to how to attach it suitably to the stern as it is. Maybe putting some epoxy slurry in like the bow for the carry loop, or through-bolting? Of course the finished boat has its flaws, but all things considered I am more than thrilled - I hadn't expected this result really. I guess it was just a question of staying focused on each step and not getting phased by looking too far ahead in the project, and, like life, when you look back, you think, 'man, did I come all that way?' There is notably, for example, the stuff up where I lost a small patch on the hatch which delaminated. My fault and a salutary lesson not to let your guard down and hurry a thing. I also think I was onto 206 hardener then as opposed to the original 207, so apart from the lines around the patch, there is a slight difference in hue. Also, I have done enough varnishing on yachts over the years to know to thoroughly clean my brush between coats. But I had got so used to your great suggestion when resining to leave the brush in solvent between coats and then just clean it out before the next use, that I employed the same tactic with the polyurethane varnish. Well, of course I got little flecks of varnish gelling high up in the bristles of the brush which deposited gradually in the next coat of varnish I applied. I had covered the lights with plastic and wet the floor and spayed myself with a little bottle of water, so I was perplexed, thinking it was dust. Eventually I realised what was happening and thence cleaned the brush very thoroughly between the last couple of deck coats. So the result was not as perfect as it should have been, but at the cost and time of doing another coat (I had to buy two tins anyway, because I did six coats all round), I called it a day. But as a buddy of mine who works as a boatbuilder said, 'regard the flaws as your signature,' and it oddly doesn't really trouble me much. So, now it's is time to stop being paranoid and just start using my lovely new prize, and then, when I spruce her up in a year or two I'll remember not to make the same error with the varnishing. But it is difficult to simply go down to the water and paddle, because everyone is busy asking about the boat! By the way, the hatches were tight against the spray of the hose! Kindest regards, Ian

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Last page update: 9 May 2024