Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Finishing the baidarka and first test trip!

After a few busy weeks in my workshop, I finally had the time to sew the baidarka and paint it. I chose a heavy organic cotton canvas for the cover. The hatches and cockpit were already made, so it took only one day of hard work to sew and paint. The paint I use is ordinary house paint, based on organic oil.

This is what it looked like today.....

I couldn't resist the temptation to take it to the water for a brief test paddle. It is not yet 100% waterproof, and the skin is really rugged - giving a lot of resistance in the water. I didn't expect any kind of speed, I was just curious about how it would feel like, and where the waterline would be.
It weighed 17,5 kg. with the sea sock and hatch covers on. It will probably gain another 1,5 kg. of weight with more paint, deck ropes, wear strips underneath and all. But 19 kg. for a big and tough expedition kayak is not bad either.

I felt I should really have had more time for this moment!..... It looked really perfect on the water.... The slightly built-up front, that I was uncertain about whether I liked or not in my workshop, now seemed just perfect. The stern just touched the water where it ended, and the bow touched the water about 25 cm. from the tip. That was without me in it!

What a feeling!!!!!! WOW!
It turned out to be anything I had dreamed about. This felt like the perfect kayak for the trip. It was not VERY stable, like boring stable, of course. It had no load either. But it had plenty of initial stability for me to feel perfectly comfortable. And it also had enough of secondary stability for me to lean well over to the sides without fear of getting wet (didn't wear paddle clothing, only jeans and sweater).

As I mentioned, the rugged surface of the hull really slows it down, but I did a small speed test with the GPS turned on anyway. Normal paddling with my new 220 cm. bent shaft Aleutian paddle went between 8-9 Km./h. - or 4,5 knots. Paddling as hard as I could, took me to 13 km./h. - or 7 knots. Really not bad for a coarse canvas covered hull!! I can't wait to get it sanded and painted to a perfect smooth surface! However, it takes a few weeks, so I just have to be patient, I guess.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sea sock

Before covering the framework, I started making the sea sock today. A sea sock is extremely important in a skin on frame kayak, for safety reasons. This one will be permanently fitted with a zipper. Some extra work, but I happened to have an extra waterproof zipper, so why not!

Making it before covering the baidarka enables me to give it a perfect fit. Now I'll start covering the baidarka.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Framework finished today!

So, today the framework was finished. A lot of anxiety, like "will this be good enough" went through my head. I brought it out in the beautiful sunshine and oiled it, using the traditional red colour of the Aleut baidarkas. Like a real serious artist, I had to keep telling myself "Don't fall in love with your own creations". This baidarka will be a real beauty, and no doubt, well performing.

It's so cool to hear from you, Claudio! I just discovered how this blog thing can keep me in touch with a lot of great people! I will surely post some more pictures. Best wishes!

And here, the whole framework, seen from the side.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sea anchor

I made this unique little piece of equipment yesterday!

It took me half an hour on my sewing machine. It weighs 100 grams, and measures about 10x15x3 cm when packed together. 

Parts of the coast are very exposed, and landing may be impossible. We need to do lots of long open water crossings also. The sea anchor may be handy for taking breaks - rafted together - on open water far from shore. It will ensure that you're not blown back where you came from. It may be a life saving device also, if you are drifting helplessly from shore, for some reason unable to paddle. Hopefully we will not need the sea anchor for this - rather for having pleasant lunch breaks on the sea without drifting too much! 

The baidarka framework is soon finished

Now the framework is nearly finished. The kayak will be 51 cm. wide and 540 cm. long. It's mostly made of spruce, though the ribs and the bifid bow piece is made out of oak. It all weighs 12,3 Kg. I guess it will be around 20 when the skin is on. The hull shape should be pretty perfect, as far as I can tell. I just can't wait to get this baidarka on the water and test it.

As you can see in the picture, I have built up the front slightly, in order to give it a better lift in waves. I think a flat profile looks better, though.