Yak City

Paddling Delaware and the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia

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Think you can't do this?  She how this young lady built her boat in a city apartment. Courtney's Kayak

From February to May, it was...

'YAK CITY!

By James "Jimbro" Grant

    Meet Chris and daughter Sweet Pea, with whom I spent February - May co-building two kayaks from kits designed by Chesapeake Light Crafts -- one for me, and one for Sweet Pea .  Chris was the mastermind/guru, having already built a 3-seater for his family last year.  After a great 13-mile paddle December 1999 on the Broadkill River in the 3-seater, Chris and I decided it was time to start building a few single-seaters.  We ordered the kits, and the next thing you know, there were two kayaks sprouting in his workshop.

           There was a support staff, of course, consisting of Pam B, spouse to Chris and mom to Sweet Pea , who also served as staff photographer much of the time.  Here, Pam is sitting in her new Tupperware 'yak given to her by Chris for their anniversary.  (No, we didn't build that one....)   

    Before too long, we had the shells put together and the hulls fiberglassed.  Hanging from the rafters above Chris is the 3-seater he built last year.

 

    The master checks out the epoxy job on the hulls.  Unfortunately, the hulls were still tacky, and Chris stood in this position for four days.  When help finally arrived, he was dehydrated, but said, "Time to start sanding...."      

    This was taken after the decks were on and the 'yaks were fully fiberglassed and epoxied -- next step was about 16 hours of epoxy, sand, epoxy, sand, epoxy, sand....  That's me bonding with my boat, with Sweet Pea 's boat holding up the house in the background.

 

    The boats sat ready for the rubrails to get nailed in.  By now, the decks had been stained and the hulls epoxied and sanded for the last time....

  

To the right, you can see that my kayak (18') is bigger than Sweet Pea 's (16') because I am, in fact, bigger than Sweet Pea .  Both boats -- but not both paddlers -- come in under 50 pounds...

   

 

    To the left, Dr. Chris prepares to do physical exams on both boats...

 

Left, rubrails getting drillholes...

 

  

    Under Chris's masterful tutelage, I learned how to use power tools to maximum advantage.  He taught me how to tighten up those loose screws he kept saying I had in my head.  It was a most effective technique...

    

    Chris and I logged in many hours in dust masks and respirators, as we epoxied and sanded everything in sight.  Here, I demonstrate proper etiquette in how to hold a palm sander....

       We lucked out and had great weather to do much of the sanding outside.  Here, I'm doing, like, a guy thing: dark glasses, respirator, headphones listening to Steely Dan, and using a power tool to sand off toxic epoxy.  Somewhere, there lurked a can of Miller Lite....

    Next step was to see if we could fit into the boats.  Sweet Pea had no problem slipping into hers.  After slathering myself with a few tubes of K-Y, I managed to slide into my 'yak with some helpful crow-barring from Chris...

   

Still to come was final deck work: four cycles of varnishing and sanding....

     At last, on a surprisingly cold night in early April, we applied paint to the hulls -- the first of four coats.  Sweet Pea 's is a very light, pale blue; mine is teal.

    Rudder controls, outfitting, hatches, and a few other odds 'n' ends later, the boats were ready.  Chris and Sweet Pea took her  boat out in early May, and Sweet Pea already had a lesson in rolling. 

My 'yak got baptized on the morning of May 27 -- and here is the story....    Hit Counter

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Last modified: 07/17/15