Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Skin On Frame Kayak Building Workshop

Session I - November 3-10th.
Session II - November 12-18th.

By Zac Smith
It is an amazing thing to paddle a high performance composite or high density molded plastic boat, however when you paddle your very own skin on frame kayak, that you built with your own two hands, it’s nearly transcendent.
From the time I first began sea kayaking about 10 years ago, I’ve been greatly intrigued by the idea of building my own boat. I knew that there were several types of kits available on the market for stitch and glue boats, and I’d even seen some extremely fine strip-cedar canoes and kayaks as well. Ultimately, however, the aesthetic beauty and the surprising strength and durability of a skin-boat, paired with such a diminished build-time and significant weight reduction, helped me to decide on building a skin-on-frame kayak instead.
The environmentally sustainable materials over plastics or composites was an advantage, and the relationship with a tradition that was developed by the earliest native Inuit paddlers was also of great appeal.

After much research on the traditional skin-on-frame style of kayak building, I discovered Brian Schultz and his boat-building school, Cape Falcon Kayak, (www.capefalconkayak.com).
Cape Falcon operates a small off-the-grid farm and homestead on the rugged coast of Oregon, where Brian tests his boats by fishing, surfing, and distance trekking in the frigid and extreme conditions of the Pacific Northwest. Brian’s utilitarian approach to paddling, and the practical use of his skills and his equipment were very appealing to me, and Brian has never been hesitant to put his boats up to the most rugged and rigorous tests of use and abuse, as you can see in the picture below:

I built my first traditional West Greenland replica seal-hunting kayak with Greenland paddle at Cape Falcon in 2007, see pictures at (http:/www.capefalconkayak.com/oslo.html.) From start to finish the build took us just under a week’s time. Having gained a new knowledge of woodworking and sewing during the class, I also gained a much greater respect for Brian’s expertise and attention to detail as an instructor, paddler, and craftsman.
The West Greenland boat I built is an amazingly elegant and beautiful boat. Weighing a mere 25lbs., it is super fast on the water, and it sits just above the water-line, so it is virtually unaffected by wind. It is a great option for someone wanting to practice rolling and even more of the traditional Greenland-style paddling techniques. Being such a slender boat at just over 20,” it will advance any paddler’s balance and edging skills tremendously.

Last summer in 2011, I returned to the Oregon coast to build a second kayak with Brian’s more modern F1 design. The F1 is a shorter and wider design, 14-1 3/4” x 23” , and with a bit more weight at 30lbs., it is still fast and performance oriented, and unlike the Greenland boat, I can put any of my novice-paddler friends in it and they will be comfortable and confident while out on the water. It is playful and fun in the surf, and it is also great for camping because it has extra volume and capacity for gear. Oh, and my 35lb. dog Maybelle rides beautifully on the back deck! Both boats have served me very well. They are extremely easy and pleasurable to paddle, and I continue to paddle them as my primary kayaks.

At Savannah Canoe and Kayak we want you to get the very best out of each and every paddling experience you have out on the water, and we know that Brian Schultz works very hard to design some of the best skin-on-frame kayaks you can buy or build anywhere, so we’re very glad to be able to offer this kayak-building class right here in Savannah at our new shop. The cost of the class includes all materials needed to build your own boat and Greenland-style paddle. Class will be held in the shop behind Savannah Canoe and Kayak starting Saturday Nov. 3rd-10th from 8:30am-5pm daily. Registration deadline is Aug. 31st!! Please call us with any questions you may have.

Skin On Frame Boat Building Workshop in Savannah, GA
November 3rd-10th, 2012
Sign Up Now!

1 comment:

Thomas Twigg said...

Just wanted to add another endorsement of Brian's/Cape Falcon class. I built his West Greenland ('31 Disko Bay) replica and my 70 year old mother built Brian's F1 at his Port Townsend, WA class this last February. The class was great, Brian was awesome, we are both loving our boats. My mom didn't have any woodworking experience at all going in and left the class with new skills and confidence, which speaks volumes to Brian's teaching abilities.

If you ever dreamed of having/building your own SOF kayak, this will really be a great way to do it. You can see more photos and some time lapse videos from the class here.