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The 2012 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival – skin-on-frame party!

[Editors note: we are doing something here we loath, which is to back-post content to fill in a hole in time. Our only excuse is that the content is genuinely form the period in time, but we never got around to sharing it. Enjoy regardless.]

With the season winding down, we made it out to the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael’s, MD. With the sailing rig on AL DEMANY CHIMAN complete, it seemed right to put her up for judging again, hoping to beat the second-place finish of two years ago. We also we looking to spread the new sail and try our hand at a race.

Judging looked tough from the outset. Looking around the little green, there was a bumper crop of skin-on-frame boats. Check out the pictures.

The one guy – I didn’t get his name – was showing three, including a Greenland-style kayak he had tricked out with faux-bone spears, mocked-up arctic tools, and even a neoprene “seal.” The others were more straight-forward, but were really well done. AL DEMANY CHIMAN held her own, though, impressing with uniqueness and creativity. We got many nice compliments again. In the end, though, that qajaq was too much, and we took a proud second again.

The race proved much less successful. It was blowing modestly, and for good measure we tied in a reef (worked great!) and headed out with the fleet. Things felt good, with the latest iteration of the leeboard bracket holding it down OK and seeming snug. But then… we came about and the board pivoted up. Athwartships. The bracket failed again in a new way. Ugh. Discouraged but resolute, we headed back in, more iterating ahead of us. In retrospect, we should have given the race a whirl anyway, lateral resistance be darned. But there is always next year…

Dept. of Pretty Nifty – a true folding kayak

I friend of mine sent me a piece recently entitled “Origami Kayak”. I thought “this must be a gimmick, but it will be fun.” I should know better, though: said friend has a good eye. The article talks about Oru, the Folding Kayak, and it is truly a kayak the folds out of a case similar to an artists portfolio. The product is launching soon, so I imagine you’ll be more than happy for me to cross-post the promotional video:

This actually looks like a decent light kayak. It has reasonable pleasant, Greenland-ish set of lines and seems to set up fairly quickly. Would I want to go far afield in it? Probably not – the boat seems like she’d ship a bunch of water (stash some buoyancy bags in the case, folks!). Would I want to play in a rock garden in her? Definitely not. But suppose you were going on vacation overseas and wanted a boat to explore beyond the resort. Wouldn’t this be a great solution? If it really goes for $500, that’s a ton more reachable than a Folbot. I like it – nice work!

Races at Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival


For those scoring at home, your 2011 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival sailing race winner was a Sunfish. A non-traditional, plastic boat – kinda violates my sensibilities. But well done.

I am eager to get going with the paddling race as it is COLD here in St. Michael’s, MD.

[UPDATE] It was me and four kayaks. I got shallaced… again. Time to get my double paddle working with this boat (tried once and I could get my position right). At least the race committee noted I was the only single paddle and called me my own class. So they gave me recognition.

Iain Oughtred kits available

I noted recently that Jordan Boats in the UK has started producing Iain Oughtred design kits. They have licensed the patterns to Hewes & Company of Maine in North America. I am guessing that this a quality kits, though they are for experienced builders (no materials provided other than the cut lumber). Even so, this makes for a nice shortcut to a SWEET boat.

Kayaking tragedy in the Congo Basin

I just saw this story on the AP wires: Kayakers recount deadly crocodile attack in Congo. Yowza.

The boaters – two Americans and a South African – traveled some 1,000 miles of river this way, through some of the densest concentrations of man-killing wildlife in the world. They were on a quiet stretch of the Lukuga River in Congo, paddling just 4 or 5 feet apart, when a crocodile slipped up from behind and ripped trip leader Hendri Coetzee from his red plastic boat.

This crew certainly knew what they were doing and what the risks were, but this is why nature must be respected.

Trans-Pacific in a strip-built kayak

I found this piece from several months back (via My WoodenBoat of the Week) about a couple paddling from Phuket, Thailand to San Francisco via the Bering Sea. I concur with one other reader that it is a nicely-built Nick Shade design. Anyone heard tell of this voyage?

I was thinking of going for a paddle this week…

… orrrr maybe not…

Snow on kayak

Catching up with the traditional boat blogosphere – recent stuff from some peers

I have so engaged in designing and building that I haven’t been on the computer as much in the PMs. I have clearly been missing out on what some of our traditional boat peeps have been putting up. In case you missed it directly, here is some stuff to check out:

Indigenous Boats
Bob over at Indigenous Boats always has great stuff. No falling off as we checked in.

Tom at 70.8 has a few really nice posts: Continue reading Catching up with the traditional boat blogosphere – recent stuff from some peers »

New paddling discovery – Mattaponi Creek, MD

I got out in the kayak last weekend for the first time in a few weeks and followed in my paddle strokes from our first and only outing in PEACE OF THE PUZZLE a couple weeks before that. The spot? Mattaponi Creek, off the Patuxent River in Maryland. The canoe trip served to discover this sweet tributary. We went some of the way up and had to head back. I resolved to finish business as soon as I could.

The creek meanders through a gorgeous marsh with abundant wildflowers, bird, and butterflies. Both voyages gave close encounters with bald eagles, along with the usual herons and osprey. The paddle ends where the beavers have gotten to the creek – there were a couple of obvious lodges along the way. Spectacular find. Anyone in the Mid-Atlantic should check out this area (see directions here). – a great resource for skin-on-frame boatbuilding logo
OK – its best I admit it. They say that is the first step. I am thinking about a new boat already. I want to build to my own design. I have some ideas coming together – I’ll share more when there is more to share. The key point is that every time I see a skin-on-frame boat I feel incredibly drawn to them. I think it has to do with the rawness of the medium – the boats go together by feel with pegs and lashing. Its gorgeously primal.

In the course of noodling on this idea I came across the site, which consists of The Skin Boat School and Spirit Line’s Skin Boat Store. The former, as it sounds, is the educational resource area, though there are some good nuggets online. The latter piece seems to be a great source for materials. I found proprietor Corey Freedman extremely willing to chat about this topic, giving me a number of ideas that I didn’t directly solicit. This is one worth keeping close at hand for the skin-on-frame medium.