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Reviews for Double Biadarka Kayak by Shearwater

Rated: 9.25/10 Based On: 4 Reviews

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Submitted by: Paul EricksonSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I just found this site and thought my input on the Double Biadarka might be of interest. Bought the plans in 2001, I think the first set sold. After some starts and stops she was launched in May 2002. The launch day photo is in Eric's catalog. During construction I made some changes to the design.
  1. I had trouble working with 20' x 3" x 3mm planks during the fitting to the stem piece. I made female forms for every third station and built the hull inside the firms. I was then able to control the fitting of these long thin planks and make the hull true.
  2. I eliminated the center storage area and moved the cockpits closer to the center of the boat. Anybody that understands Moment Arms will see the reason for this. We realize that storage space was lost but we day paddle so this was not a problem for us.
  3. I don't like "flop down" or outboard rudders. I designed and installed an internal rudder system that is enclosed in it's own water tight compartment. It doesn't maneuver the boat. That's what the paddle is for to turn a 21' waterline. It does gently point the boat in the direction you want.
  4. I installed hatches with deck flanges and overlapping covers. I know that it doesn't look a slick as flush hatches but my storage spaces are dry.
  5. I installed a shear clamp and deck beams for added deck support. In 2006, she went back into my cellar for a larger rudder, a new steering mechanism and a lot more varnish.
As far as boat performance, it is outstanding. I was concerned with the stability of a round chine design. This is not a problem. She weighs 65 pounds. What does your Double weigh?

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Submitted by: Jim FarrellySend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     Update on my earlier review.
I have added a Pacific Action 1 meter sail to our double baidarka. It really was the perfect boat to use as a sailing kayak.

What I have discovered about this kayak is that it handles rough water extremely well. I have taken it out sailing day and night in fierce winds and steep breaking swells and did it with my inexperienced teenage son in the bow and me in the stern. It surfs smaller waves very well and a following sea is a blast. It holds a days worth of gear very easily but when winter camping you will have to pack carefully in order to carry it all. Outfit the cockpits for comfort and with all that available legroom stiff legged paddlers will be happy all day.

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Submitted by: Jim FarrellySend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Built the single baidarka and decided to try the double. The build is very similar but requires quite a bit more room. We built it without the rudder just to see how it would handle even though the designer reminded me that it would need a rudder. He was right so after a few water trials I returned the boat to the shop and installed a Smart-Track rudder system which I purchased from Kelly at Pygmy boats. It is a very nice rudder system that comes with a special bracket that allows a seamless installation onto the wooden stern which is a bit different than most kayaks.

Paddling the double in the ocean off Tybee Island, GA was fun. This boat will go very fast with both paddlers using a normal touring stroke. At a relaxed pace it is a wonderful photography/fishing platform. The cockpits are far enough apart that clacking paddles is impossible and eliminates this kayak from the dreaded divorce boat label that so many doubles earn.

We got out after a while and looked for fossils near the mouth of the Savannah river by Fort Pulaski then had lunch. Returning to the water we surfed a bit on small waves and crashed through some bigger ones. The rudder gives this very long kayak excellent responsiveness and agility. It edges well given the fact that there are two of you which makes the kayak feel a bit different than a single. When the other paddler does something unexpected it is instantly made known to you. This only matters when you are doing something technical like slopping through confused swells or sliding down a breaking wave. All fun and part of paddling a double.

I rolled it easily at the end of the day after asking the other paddler to exit the kayak. It is very buoyant and comes up easily. The empty cockpit took on less than three inches of water which is better than any other boat I have rolled minus a sprayskirt. It sculls well and allowed me to rest a bit with my back in the water. This really surprised me given the width at 26 inches.

This kit/design is very well thought out by the designer and performs well. The rudder will allow anyone to use it even if conditions start to sour a bit. Bring lunch and a camera and let the fun begin!

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Submitted by: ---
Rating: 10 of 10

     Plans only. Plywood stitch and glue construction. Not a easy boat to build but very gratifying and what a performer. The 26" beam and skinny lower bow makes it a fast boat in flat water. The upper bow does the lifting over some waves. A spray skirt is needed in waves over a foot. I departed fron the designers drawings with a built in rudder, proper stuffing box and internal rudder quadrant. I've found that the rudder is not for maneuvering, that's what paddles are for and the waterline is so long. It is used to keep her pointed in the right direction or making a gentle turn. She's an absolutely wonderful boat to paddle even when one person (name or gender unsaid)only paddles 50% of the time which is OK with me. I can still keep up with my friends in their singles. Also, it is distinctive enough to get a look or comment from those that know and even those that don't know about kayaks.
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