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Submitted: 07-01-2003 by jcaldeira

The Guillemot is a responsive, loose-tracking touring kayak made from wood strips encased in fiberglass and epoxy. This 17 foot long, 21 inch wide kayak is fairly flat-bottomed with relatively hard chines compared to most wood strip kayaks.

At about 40 pounds from cedar wood and fully outfitted, a Guillemot weighs less than most Kevlar kayaks. It is typically built from purchased plans or lofted from offsets included in the designer's book, "The Strip-built Kayak" by Nick Schade.

The boat rolls easily and the low decks produce almost no weathercocking tendency in cross-winds. No rudder or skeg is needed with this boat, but it clearly is a loose-tracking boat that may not be suitable for those that prefer strong tracking kayaks.

The plans and instructional book are clear, and the online message board at provides many tips for builders. The plans include a full-size template of each mold station, making it easy to building an accurate mold. The carbon-paper tracing required by some other designers is eliminated with Guillemot plans.

An inch or two longer cockpit opening would be a good modification when building, as the standard keyhole cockpit may be too short for some to sit and then comfortably pull legs inside. First-time builders may have some trouble bending strips to conform to the mold near the stern, but perseverance will pay off with a properly-performing boat.

When starting from plans, the cost of construction when starting from plans can vary from approximately $500 to $1500 depending on choice and sources for materials, tools and supplies. Typical building time probably average between 200 and 300 hours, depending on how much time the builder spends learning about each step and just standing back and admiring the boat.

The boat receives many favorable comments from kayakers and non-kayakers alike, adding to the joy of owning this boat.

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