Cape Ann Expedition

built by Robert Schaum

Cape Ann Expedition technical specs.
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Just wanted to let you know that both the storm LT and Expedition hit the waters of the Huron River in Ann Arbor on Sunday August 1st! ... It was a proud moment and several friends and neighbors came for moral support... As you know, the boats draw a tremendous amount of attention and I spent at least 1/2 hour giving explanations and thanking people for their compliments. As for the performance, well, you obviously already know how nicely these boats move on the water. I am pleased to say that both kayaks seem to track true (I was concerned about camber I may have inadvertently built in to the hull of the LT). As you predicted, my wife (~134 pounds) outpaddles me with little effort in her LT. She enjoyed it tremendously! The rudders give excellent tracking, but it was so calm, my wife actually retracted hers! That's impressive!

As for me, it took a few strokes to get used to the "tippy" nature of the Expedition, but then things went smoothly. At 214 pounds, I wonder if the boat is somewhat UNDER-loaded, because it easily tilts to either side, and requires regular "balancing" to stay on course. As I'm writing this, I realize I may have the boat improperly trimmed fore-aft, so I will try moving the seat back a bit (although there is little room left in the cock-pit for this). I am sitting on 5/8 inch foam so I doubt my CG is too high. I can imagine however, this kayak would love rougher conditions, so I'm anxious to get onto some bigger water. I'm very pleased overall, and wanted to thank you for a great design, but more importantly,a very well written manual. The fact that a novice like myself can build two vessels like these is due in large part (90%) to your terrific instructions (paper, on-line, and e-mail communication) (I reserve 10% for my own ingenuity and cleverness! Ha Ha!)

...In my humble opinion, the most innovative thing I did was to mate the flat 8" Beckson Marine "pry-out" hatch with the curved surface of the deck. Required some thought and planning, but I'm fairly happy with it. I'm not sure if it weakens the area behind the coaming too much, but the bulkhead behind the seat and the second dividing the storm hatch from the stern should provide some strength. I used silicone adhesive to attach the bulkheads. Perhaps for more strength I should epoxy them, but I wanted to have access to the storm hatch in case anything went wrong with it. We'll see how it holds up. Since no holes were drilled for its installation, if I have to, I can remove the hatch assembly from the deck and the lid from the deck plate (carefully!). Then I can just repeat your instructions for the other two hatches. Those two are holding up just fine. My desire was to have easy and secure access behind-the-cockpit storage. Two options had been used in the past by other builders. The first was Beckson-made screw-out hatches, but I thought that would be somewhat troublesome to perform while seated in the kayak. The second was a "rubber" lid hatch by a swedish kayak accessory company (I think) that was known to be really watertight. Aesthetically, that wasn't a good option because it didn't allow me to keep the wood lid. So I opted for the pry-out lids. I also used the underdeck bungee system many others have used to secure the standard deck lids. I used leftover rudder bracket stock and cut two 2" holes with a hole saw. Then I cut these in half to make semi-circles. I then shaped on side of the semi-circle into a 1/4" hook (to hold the bungee) at an angle that would ensure secure hold by the bungees when the lid was placed level over the hatch. To remove, the lid is raised on one end (with the webbing straps), one reaches under the hatch to disconnect one bungee loop from the hook, and then lifts the lid up and over onto it's back. This motion disconnects the second bungee from its hook, and the lid is free to hang from a string. It works well (is watertight) and maintains the "look" of the kayak. I also didn't want to clutter the front with straps/bungees, so I only installed deck rigging along the edge. I find it "frames" the art work nicely. The deck rigging also allows for placement of extra straps accross the width all along the kayak...a flexible arrangement for touring. One such strap could be used as a back-up in case the under deck bungee system fails for either of the hatch lids. Overall, I am pleased with the balance of aesthetics and practicality of my set-up. I'll send you more pictures of the Storm LT when my wife takes it out again. Thanks again for a great design!

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