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Submitted: 03-24-2009 by beaullieu
I recently launched a Redfish "Spring Run" cedar strip kayak that I built from a kit. The "Spring Run" is a 16'9" long and 23 3/8" wide sea kayak designed by Joe Greenley of Redfish Kayaks.
Building the boat was a truly wonderful project that I enjoyed so much that I plan to start another strip boat this spring. As a first time builder, I had lots of questions and I have to say thanks to Joe Greenley for his untiring willingness to provide answers and offer suggestions. Building a cedar strip boat is not a small project but is certainly not beyond the skill of anyone who can use simple hand tools and is willing to "go for it".
Now for the boat. The kit had everything I needed (wood, forms, fiberglass, epoxy, hardware)including detailed instructions. The total time required to build was just shy of 250 hours over about 9 months. When complete, the "Spring Run" weighed 40lbs fully rigged including my plan modifications to add an extra layer of 6oz glass on the hull bottom as an extra abrasion layer.
I launched in March during a trip to the Florida Keys and found the boat to be both stable and quite fast for a fairly wide sea kayak. I paddled with some friends with plastic sea kayaks and quite literally left them in the dust. I found the tracking to be excellent and the 18-20 knot winds to have minor effect on paddling. I paddled in moderate chop inside the reef and found the handling excellent.
The only handling item of note was when paddling in a following sea in the moderate chop, I did detect a very slight tendency to weathercock but it was easily corrected. I do not see a need to add a rudder but may consider retro-fitting with a drop down skeg as a winter project. Turning the "Spring Run" in tight quarters takes a bit of effort but is manageable and is very acceptable given the excellent tracking it has.
I also modified my boat's coaming from the plan and made it 17" x 33" so that I could easily sit in the boat and then bring my legs inside. I also abandoned the hardwood coaming rim and made mine from a carbon fiber and fiberglass layup as used by One Ocean Kayak designs.
I'm extremely pleased with this boat and especially the attention it gets from others. The wood looks spectacular and probably makes it paddle just that much better as the pride of making your own likely caused me to rate a 10 when it's probably a 9....
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