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  Shrike, a lightweight sea kayak for home
  Posted by: nickcrowhurst on Feb-28-14 4:13 PM (EST)

Iíve long had a dream to produce an elegant lightweight sea kayak that combined a traditional hard-chined hull with modern developments of bulkheads, hatches, and a lifting skeg: a simple design that was suited for home construction; a design that could be easily adapted to the needs and physique of individual paddlers. The first two kayaks are now complete. Their
dimensions are:

Length 5.304m (17 feet 4.8 inches)
Beam 0.546m (21.5 inches)
Weight 14.5kg (32 pounds)

Access to the free plans and build manuals is at
A forum discussion is at


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Messages in this Topic


  I am proud to say
  Posted by: jackl on Feb-28-14 7:34 PM (EST)
that I have paddled with Nick and his lovely wife Sandra for quite a few years now and admire his skills as a boat designer and builder.

Jack L
  Posted by: Kudzu on Mar-02-14 6:54 AM (EST)
Drop-dead gorgeous to look at. I've been paddling a WS Tempest 165 and a Dagger Alchemy. How would handling compare to those?
  I should have added above:
  Posted by: jackl on Mar-02-14 8:13 AM (EST)
and expert paddler
Can do anything and probably more than most hard core sea kayakers
Not like me that likes to stay upright

Jack L
  I'm Still Way More Bike Than Kayak
  Posted by: Kudzu on Mar-02-14 11:17 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-02-14 11:26 AM EST --

If I live to see retirement I'd like to paddle more and maybe build a kayak like this Shrike. If it behaves as nicely as it is beautiful...

edit: I just looked at the graph on the forum discussion. Looks like it's near perfect for me. I'd build at 100% or just a little under.

  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Mar-02-14 7:14 PM (EST)
That is one beautiful boat---I've long admired Greenland style kayaks and 3 years ago bought a brand new W/S Artic Hawk (dealer had a hold over for 10 years) I'm assuming the boat can be built without the skeg? Would you reccommend it or does it really need one? My biggest fear when I bought the Artic Hawk (which has no skeg) was that it might be difficult to paddle in certain conditions without one--so far I haven't missed it.
  Is the skeg necessary?
  Posted by: nickcrowhurst on Mar-02-14 11:28 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-02-14 11:29 PM EST --

Jon, thank you. Whether or not a skeg is necessary very much depends on the area you paddle, what are the wind and sea conditions in which you paddle, and your own physical state.
For example, I have a chronically damaged right shoulder. I can't afford to edge and sweep for long periods to counteract weather-cocking.
The worst conditions for weather-cocking are flat sea and strong winds from the quarter. If you always aim to paddle in light winds, and you are fit and strong, then you may never need to deploy a skeg in a well balanced kayak.
If you are in doubt, you can build a Shrike without a skeg, but with a stern hatch and the stiffening structure for a skeg. You could then retro-fit a skeg if you decide one is desirable, although this is more awkward than fitting one during the initial construction.
I haven't yet needed to use the Shrike's skeg, but I value it's presence for peace of mind.
When building a Shrike, as it is such a light craft, and in order to maintain its delicate balance, the position of the paddler must not be altered from the designed position, and the freeboard should be minimized in accordance with the planned load. The FAQ section of now includes details of my plan to build LV versions for this reason.
I have not yet paddled a sea kayak that, ultimately, and in certain conditions, did not benefit from the deployment of a skeg.
I hope this helps. With best wishes,
from Nick.

  Shike Project progress report
  Posted by: nickcrowhurst on Apr-17-14 12:35 PM (EST)
Greetings from Cornwall in England. In the first six weeks of the project, 168 copies of the plans have gone to 32 different countries. The LV version should be completed next week here in Cornwall (by one of my granddaughters and her partner), and a company in Canada, Handcrafted Canoes, has prepared the plywood panels using a CNC cutter, and is offering to build Shrikes, as is a company in the USA, Clear Stream Custom Watercraft:
Photos and latest news are
We will provide the software to drive a CNC cutter, free of charge.
With best wishes, from Nick.
  And also Nick plays....
  Posted by: jackl on Apr-17-14 5:16 PM (EST)
a mean tin whistle, bag pipes, fiddle and a few other instruments.

jack L
  Posted by: scupperfrank on Jul-10-14 2:16 PM (EST)
"Bag Pipes" is a more accurate description of those things than bagpipes ever could hope to be. The skirl (skirling?) of the pipes may be militarily stirring on battlefields gone by, but there are many more musical -and certainly sweeter -sounds to my admittedly ignorant-of-such-sounds ears.

We've met him, and Nick's a great guy. And he DOES play that collection of sound-producing items pretty 'meanly'.

But he's still a better paddler and boat designer and builder, IMHO.

But if, off in the far distance, on a nice sunset's eve, you hear something strange on lakeshore or riverside or seashore, it just might be Nick practicing after a great day in his beautiful boat settling in to camp, so he can expres his own joy when he can


--Frank in Miami
  Hello Frank
  Posted by: nickcrowhurst on Jul-11-14 3:00 PM (EST)
Frank, it's good to hear from you again, and to know you enjoy the lines of the Shrike family. IIRC we last met in Largo Sound, along with Jack and Nanci.(Two of our heroes, of course.)
BTW, my pipes are gaita from Galicia, North-West Spain, and are used in Galician villages to celebrate feast days and other special events. They have a different sound to the martial pipes from Scotland. Galicia is probably best known for encompassing the city of Santiago de Compostela, the end point of the Way of St James, the pilgrimage across Europe. I'm full of useless information like that....
Best wishes, and may we meet again on the water, from Nick.
  Wonderful boat!
  Posted by: willowleaf on Apr-21-14 11:47 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-21-14 11:51 AM EST --

What a beautiful kayak, Nick!

Was it based on any particular model? It looks very much like the 1935 West Greenland Sisimuit (Harvey Golden survey) that Brian Schulz likes to build in skin on frame: (

I've got a slightly modified one of those (the 1935 SOF, same dimensions as your Shrike) and am amazed to see the stitch and glue is the same ultra light weight. I'll be very interested to see your LV model when you finish, as I adore this boat I have but it is a little high volume for my size (I have to ballast it with water bags.) Would love to build one with the same performance characteristics but better sized (for someone 5' 5", 140 lbs.) so I will watch for those plans to be available.

By the way, the builder of mine built a subtle skeg protrusion along the stern keel, so I can attest to the benefit of a skeg in tracking, though it would be nice to have something more pronounced and retractable as you've added for some conditions. For straight line river and seacoast paddling, kayaks like this are so fast mine has felt self-propelled at times.

I would also add, for anyone thinking about this design, that a kayak like this allows for more leg and foot room under the deck than many Greenland style boats.

  Posted by: nickcrowhurst on Apr-22-14 2:09 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-22-14 2:13 PM EST --

Willowleaf, many thanks for your kind remarks. You will see on our website, under the "Origins" tab, that the Shrike is very close to the 1929 Disko Bay kayak in Harvey Golden's wonderful book. That kayak is now in the Ottowa Museum of Civilization, catalogue reference IV-A-428. One of the main differences between The Shrike and the Disko Bay kayak is that Shrike's cockpit is a full ten inches further forward. Shrike was not designed to carry a dead seal on her stern deck! My main criterion was to create something of beauty. No computer was used in its creation. So many computer-generated designs I see are constrained by the software to produce ugly lines.
You will see the latest news on the LV construction on our Facebook page. Today was spent doing more work on the cockpit rim. Thanks again, and best wishes, from Nick.

P.S on edit, the plans for the LV are already available. Just download the free plans, and ask your local print shop to produce the plans at 90% scale. You can choose a variety of % values. The FAQ section has a graph to relate % plot to load carried. My granddaughter is the same weight and height as you, and she is building the 90% LV. So, you have the plans whenever you wish.

  An update:
  Posted by: nickcrowhurst on May-19-14 6:30 AM (EST)
We've launched the Shrike LV, and had a load of fun chucking it about both on and off the water. It weighs 28 pounds. The Rotator Shrike, a pure competition extreme rolling kayak version on the standard Shrike hull is under construction. Updates and photos are at
  The ultimate rolling Shrike
  Posted by: nickcrowhurst on Jul-03-14 4:24 AM (EST)
The ultimate specialist rolling Shrike-r is afloat. It weighs 23 pounds, and has satisfied all our aims of ease of rolling, particularly of the advanced Greenland rolls. It has the standard Shrike hull, with lowered freeboard and a wider cockpit than the other three Shrike variants.Free plans, photos and details are under the "kayaks" tab on and on our Facebook page.
Three hundred and twenty one downloads of the plans have occurred in the first three months of the project, with construction under way from Estonia to Dubai to Florida to Canada.
  good work
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jul-08-14 10:41 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jul-08-14 10:47 AM EST --

Beautiful boats, and the downloads sound promising. I have to say I like the notion of building my own kayak, but the CLC line has never really appealed to me until now.

Best of luck!

  Posted by: nickcrowhurst on Jul-11-14 2:42 PM (EST)
Slushpaddler, thank you, we're glad you appreciate the lines of our kayaks. If you decide to build you will not be alone. 385 downloads so far, from all over the world.
  Posted by: grayhawk on Jul-07-14 7:35 PM (EST)
I love hard chine boats and wish I still had the room to build one.

Great job, GH
  Thanks, GH
  Posted by: nickcrowhurst on Jul-08-14 9:50 AM (EST)
Greyhawk, many thanks for your encouraging message, which is the sort of feedback that inspires us to continue to develop our Shrike project.


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