Posted by: denmanrandonneur | May 19, 2009

Almost ready for varnish …

I got the boat outside for the first time this past Thursday.  Finally you can see the kayak from different angles than all the pictures taken in the shop up until now…

While I had the kayak outside I marked the positions for the footbraces and placed the bulkheads.  I then siliconed in the rear bulkhead.  I siliconed it in for a number of reasons … I heard that having a rigid bulkead fiberglassed in could cause more damage if you hit a rock and slide along the hull than a foam bulkhead or one siliconed in.  The silicone acts a cushion between the hull and bulkhead while still retaining a watertight seal and compartments.  If it proves not to work out I can always cut it out, clean it up and then fiberglass it in.  I’ll see how it holds up over the summer.

It was the first time that I got to sit in the kayak and it felt good.  The cockpit felt good and didn’t feel like I would fall out of it, but still had plenty of room to move around.  I’ll let you know how it feels again once I get the foot braces installed.  There seemed to be enough foot room, even with a pair of big rubber boots.

I sanded the deck to 220 grit and realized that I needed to add a couple more fill coats to the seam to get it flush.  I put the kayak on its side and did one side at a time.  Last night I did the 2nd side seam and will sand it flush tonight.  The first side has been done and is sanded.  I also sanded most of the coaming and rim, but still need to do some sanding on the underside, which will get done tonight.  This morning I fiberglassed some nylon rope on the underside of the deck to act as a holder for the webbing that will be used for the rear support for the back band.  The 2 webbing straps centering it will attach to the butt plates and the rear support will hook up to the rear of the back band and pull it towards the rear of the cockpit opening.  I’ll snap some pictures of it when it dries later today.  I should be able to start varnishing the kayak in the next couple of days.

Today I spoke to Justin at Ocean River Sports in Victoria and ordered a Snap Dragon sprayskirt.  He is also going to build up a hatch hardware system and send me some pictures later.  I found one at Newfound Boats but wanted to check an alternative.  It’s also nice to support local shops.

On Saturday I completed parts 2 and 3 of Paddle Canada’s Flat Water Certificate taught by Doug Taylor and Brian Walter out of Comox Valley Kayaks. Each part was 3 hours totally 6 hours on the water.  It was a really well taught course and I had a lot of fun while learning lots.  One thing I really wanted to know how to do was scull and brace and was introduced to both.  The classes were taught on Comox Lake and there were quite a few kayakers there in the afternoon.  Some were practicing rolls and it was fun watching them … one day!  There were 4 Nigel Dennis Explorers there and if I were to buy a kayak, that would be one that would get some serious attention.

I hope to get started on the varnishing part of the build later this week.  I’ll probably put 5~8 coats on and hope to be able to do one  a day, so I should be able to get it on the water by the end of May as projected.  I still need to install the front bulkhead, hatch hardware, foot braces and some deck lines/bungy chords … Once I get it in the water and get a chance to paddle with it, I can play around with the seat height and also position the foam for the knee supports … there’s probably more, but I’ll cross those bridges when I get to them.

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