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Thread: Want to build the lightest kayak

  1. #1
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    Default Want to build the lightest kayak

    We live near the water, I have a yacht and various dinghies, and a fibreglass cruising kayak. But I'd like a kayak that I can carry down to the water with one hand, lift easily onto the boat etc. I'm not after performance. I want to paddle it for fitness and just to get out on the water on the spur of the moment. I don't really care what it's made of except that it'll have to be of materials I can easily obtain here in Australia. Small and light. Any suggestions?

    Rick

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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Skin-on-Frame. Lots of choices.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Designs, etc from a local (Tassie):
    http://www.canoesandlampshades.com/

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    I made a glued lap ply canoe years ago. My own design. Quite a roundish cross section and a bit of rocker. It was light. Like one hand pickup. It floated. It looked cool. It paddled OK. It was easy to build. It got wrecked by waves sweeping over the foredeck on the way to PNG.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Skin on frame and it can be whatever performance your skill could put you into.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Thanks.

    I wonder if anyone can recommend a particular design? I'm not interested in attending workshops or courses - just need plans really.

    Rick

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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    "Yeah, well, that's just, like your opinion man"
    -The Dude-

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Do you want a kayak you can roll - like a fitted Greenland style - or a more sheltered waters type as shown in #7?


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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Quote Originally Posted by RFNK View Post
    We live near the water, I have a yacht and various dinghies, and a fibreglass cruising kayak. But I'd like a kayak that I can carry down to the water with one hand, lift easily onto the boat etc. I'm not after performance. I want to paddle it for fitness and just to get out on the water on the spur of the moment. I don't really care what it's made of except that it'll have to be of materials I can easily obtain here in Australia. Small and light. Any suggestions?

    Rick
    The boat best suited depends largely on the skillset you already own - assuming that
    1: You can already roll - or are willing to devote a few hours to learning
    2: You don't need precision performance in white water.

    Then my pick would be the "Shrike" plans are free, kits are available.
    http://cnckayaks.com/project/shrike/

    The plans include adjustments for different sized paddlers - the build manual alone is well worth reading.


    Having made the mistake of building the lightest possible kayak I'd not bother with anything below eight kilos.

    That said Mick Storer's 12lb canoe story stands reading https://www.storerboatplans.com/faq-...d-12lbs-5-5kg/
    Last edited by P.I. Stazzer-Newt; 12-31-2018 at 10:24 AM.
    Creationists aren't mad - they're possessed of demons.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Is 8 lbs. light enough?

    https://www.gaboats.com/

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    I’ve built both Robert Morris’s and Christopher Cunningham’s skin on frame designs. Morris’s book is pricey but it includes plans for several styles of boats. Their both on amazon. Both books are great guides. These boats can be built form a few hundred bucks total.

    my 17 foot Cunningham weights 35 pounds.
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    3E92FB8C-59FC-4983-A8C2-EE2114466B7C.jpg

    This boat has blown away twice while stashed on the beach. It’s a 12 foot big hole kayak. She don’t for rolling.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFNK View Post
    Thanks.

    I wonder if anyone can recommend a particular design? I'm not interested in attending workshops or courses - just need plans really.

    Rick
    Mine was loosely based on something in a book by Tom Hill, Ultralight boatbuilding. It's a good how to on glued lap strake

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Quote Originally Posted by RFNK View Post
    We live near the water, I have a yacht and various dinghies, and a fibreglass cruising kayak. But I'd like a kayak that I can carry down to the water with one hand, lift easily onto the boat etc. I'm not after performance. I want to paddle it for fitness and just to get out on the water on the spur of the moment. I don't really care what it's made of except that it'll have to be of materials I can easily obtain here in Australia. Small and light. Any suggestions?

    Rick
    Need more details on your dimensions, skillset and intended use. Skin on frame, folding coroplast or wood/epoxy could all work. with a wide range of weight. A kayak for a 150lb person will not be the same as a kayak for a 225lb person anymore than a pair of pants.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    3E92FB8C-59FC-4983-A8C2-EE2114466B7C.jpg

    This boat has blown away twice while stashed on the beach. It’s a 12 foot big hole kayak. She don’t for rolling.

    Peace,
    Robert

    Damn, you look normal but up close just blobs of color!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Skill set? Well, I've been in and out of kayaks, canoes and rowboats all my life. I don't do any white water stuff as there isn't any anywhere near here. I do like to drug around out in the chop when it gets windy - it blows 15 - 20 knots most days here in summer, but I don't expect to be rolling.

    The list of ideas above looks great to me. I am interested in the SOF ideas but I'd probably need to use ballistic nylon or something as the rocks here are mostly covered in oysters.

    I have a cruising kayak so I'm not interested in another like that. Small, light and maneuverable is what I'm after. Preferably decked with the capacity to fit a skirt. If I build something that can roll, I think I'll enjoy learning how to do that.

    Thanks everyone!!

    Rick

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    I built the Cape falcon F1 design kayak down at the wooden boat center in tassie and it's a brilliant boat. Mines slightly longer and wider than the standard dimensions to accommodate my height and weight but it still weighs next to nothing. You can buy plans and access to complete video build guides direct from the cape falcon kayaks website if you aren't interested in attending an actual course.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    I'm a fan of Pygmy Kayaks (built 3 of them) most of them run around 35 pounds/16kg.
    http://www.pygmyboats.com/boat-kits.html
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Quote Originally Posted by RFNK View Post
    Skill set? Well, I've been in and out of kayaks, canoes and rowboats all my life. I don't do any white water stuff as there isn't any anywhere near here. I do like to drug around out in the chop when it gets windy - it blows 15 - 20 knots most days here in summer, but I don't expect to be rolling.

    The list of ideas above looks great to me. I am interested in the SOF ideas but I'd probably need to use ballistic nylon or something as the rocks here are mostly covered in oysters.

    I have a cruising kayak so I'm not interested in another like that. Small, light and maneuverable is what I'm after. Preferably decked with the capacity to fit a skirt. If I build something that can roll, I think I'll enjoy learning how to do that.

    Thanks everyone!!

    Rick
    Do you want to be able to lift your knees up and shift your legs around while paddling? Or have them locked in under the deck?
    "Yeah, well, that's just, like your opinion man"
    -The Dude-

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    12' Wood Duck from Chesapeake Light Craft?

    https://www.clcboats.com/modules/cat...onal-kayak-kit

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt young View Post
    Do you want to be able to lift your knees up and shift your legs around while paddling? Or have them locked in under the deck?
    It doesn't really worry me. Kayaks I've had before have all been decked. I want to be able to paddle in fairly rough water throughout the year so I'd like to be able to fit a skirt when warranted.

    Rick

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    There are times when you'll be happy with a spray skirt but for those frosty winter days there's nothing like a tuilik.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Second the post about Cape Falcon's F-1. Born in the rough surf of Oregon coast. Rollable although not optimal for it' the F-1 is more manuverable than my LPB ( a longer version). Plenty of foot space. Stable.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Hmm, just to offer an alternative to SOF, strip built kayaks are also very light if care is taken during the build. I've built a couple from

    https://www.thomassondesign.com/en/

    This is Njord

    IMG_2930.JPG by Fredrik Ekström, on Flickbr />
    Regardless if you choose SOF or strip, I strongly suggest that you chose a design intended for "advanced" paddlers (or at least intermediate paddlers). It do not take very long time to develop the skills necessary for a more demanding kayak and you will soon be limited by the designs intended for newbies. Have a look at "Black Pearl"...

    https://www.thomassondesign.com/en/catalog/my-kayaks

    /Fredrik

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Howdy,

    Lightness mainly comes down to choice of materials and considering minimum weight at every point.

    Any design can be built heavy or built light.

    But if wanting real lightweight it is attention to detail at each point.

    Plus avoiding some myths.

    The biggest one is that "glass doesn't weigh much". It is rather interesting when identical boats are built with different amounts of glass.

    My datapoint for glass weights is the venerable Jarcat designed 30 years ago by Ross Turner with hundreds launched.

    4mm ply with 2oz - yep two ounce - glass over 4mm (3/16) ply. Very durable structure.



    Consider that many kayaks are 4oz glass and there is a trend to glass to kayaks INSIDE as well as the outside. Does that raise your eyebrows?

    Consider the thousands of stitch and glue kayaks just built with tape and polyester resin in the 60s and 70s. Epoxy is a huge advantage for durability, but those boats were light and did fine. Glassing is to be avoided ... or just glass where really needed.

    Making timber for the skin thin can be a mistake - it is better to retain the thickness (unless you have feedback from builders that the boat works just fine with a thinner plywood). For strip plank boats I would never ever thin the strips - Timber doesn't weigh much and much greater savings are available by minimising glass.

    Thicker plywood is often lighter and stiffer and far more cost effective than ply with glass both sides.


    This is an example of how lightweighting can be applied to a standard design to get around a 30% weight savings over and already quite light standard structure.
    https://www.storerboatplans.com/boat...on-15kg-36lbs/

    And here is the article about how there has been an absurd trend to excessive glassing - heavy, a hassle and expensive.
    https://www.storerboatplans.com/faq-...ailing-dinghy/

    And as was mentioned the balsa canoe - that was an experiment to build as light as I dared while retaining integrity - and the boat was durable in every department with disposability accepted ... but then it was found to be durable with a careful owner.
    https://www.storerboatplans.com/faq-...d-12lbs-5-5kg/

    There are always lessons from lightweighting and none whatsoever from the more dominant tendency to build heavier or beef up the structure.

    If it didn't break before ... it won't break if heavier. It is an intellectual dead end.

    These ideas can be applied to many different types of structure. But main thing ... is lightweighting is about a consistent approach at every point. It doesn't cost much to do this and may even save labour.

    But get sloppy and the weight starts piling up.

    Best wishes

    MIK
    Last edited by Boatmik; 01-01-2019 at 06:44 PM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    What Mik said.

    Lots of good advice here - a number of factors will go into finding a good fit for you. Lots of good boat suggestions, too.
    Including how big you are, as Lee G notes. So, how big are you?

    Since you asked for suggestions, I have several Greenland style kayaks which handle great in rough waters, roll easily, and fit different sized paddlers. If you're 82kg or less, the Mobjack Bay is my favorite - very light, comfortable, stable and fun to paddle, with no vices. She weighs in at about 10.5kg, and there are large and small options for the cockpit. http://gentrycustomboats.com/Mobjack_Bay.html


    The non-traditional skin-on-frame construction these use have just a few plywood frames, and go together very quickly and easily - no class required.

    Good luck with your search! And if you have SOF construction questions during your build, I am happy to answer them (if I can), no matter what design you opt for.

    Dave

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Sizing and use matters. I had a nordcap type, nicknamed psychoyak, that I finally realized was meant for expeditions. To my 220# + I took on a good deal of other people's gear for a trip down the Elizabeths. After that, for recreation boating in that kayak I build racks for 300# of weights. Brought her down to her marks and became a good boat. In the future, should I want a recreational day boat, I'll make one more suited to my bare weight.

    Size matters.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    About 80kg but I'm planning to lose some, so probably about 85 by the time I build this thing …… About 180 cm tall.

    This is all such great and interesting information and I've also received a bit more through email. I appreciate it!!

    Rick

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Yeah nice discussion, great ideas tips. and I’ll put this in as another option. He lists it at 28 pounds.

    http://www.laughingloon.com/darkstar.html


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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Plenty of interesting information here. I am thinking of the lightest sailboat, but the methods apply to both, except for stiffness needed to sail.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Coroplast (corrugated plastic) boats are almost weightless and supercheap DIY. This kayak claims to cost $30 and under 6 pounds because it doesn't double up panels for the usual origami foldability:



    I have a foldable Oru one, and it does tend to double it's light weight upon landing with some water in it which is hard to drain. But otherwise very light and durable. I'm gonna carry a large sponge with lanyard next time.

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    I am thinking of the lightest sailboat, but the methods apply to both, except for stiffness needed to sail.
    Do a youtube search for coroplast sailboats, and find some crude homemade examples. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyzLTIaffcA Just "coroplast boats" brings up interesting variations such as a yuloh powered boat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO5VnvXTlic

  33. #33

    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    If it is true that you want lightness, easy to handle when lifting, and don't care about performance but want exercise for fitness: to me, the logical choice is a small ww type kayak. They basically make slow moving holes in the water, but provide a performance platform that can be use for all kinds of typical [paddling] or 3d [rolling, cartwheels, squirts etc] exercise as long as you don't wish to travel long distances. They store anywhere [say if 7' or less long], don't catch the wind [or fill up so awkwardly] when carrying like all the larger kayaks mentioned do, can be picked up with 1 or 2 fingers [depending on construction type], easy to bail out [or out of!] and at some levels, are legitimate performance machines.

    Essentially covers all the bases mentioned except 'covering distance'!

    I have f/g, plastic and S&G short boats and more often than nought, grab one of them [rather than a sea kayak] if I'm going out to the adjacent inlet for one or a few hours paddling: throw 'em in the back of the wagon - quick jaunt down to the shore and I'm in and paddling. [S&G: I think I'm the only guy stupid enough to design and make one, but at 6'-8" long, kevlar, carbon fibered and heavily glassed it stores vertically over in the corner and can still be picked up with one finger fully outfitted - like there's not too much material in a little boat basically the same height as you are]

    So horrors on a build board - buy a short plastic ww boat at about 35# +/- . . . . . . . or go to the library or old seakayaker magazine or builders on line and get Robert Morris's instructions on building a 10' recovery kayak and make it 1 or 2 inches wider and 2 feet or so shorter and you've got a great, light, fun little boat that you can store almost anywhere, can get loads of exercise - and more importantly . . . you'll be out there.
    bcmarinetrails.org - an attempt, by volunteers, to protect and enable 27,000 km of continuous camping and accesses along and around the whole Wild West Coast of British Columbia - for small beachable craft

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatmik View Post
    Thicker plywood is often lighter and stiffer and far more cost effective than ply with glass both sides.
    While this statement sounds true, I didn't expect the difference to be as large it is. Out of idle curiosity, I did the math.

    From the weights on the Boulter site, each mm of okoume weighs 0.095 lb per square ft. (466 g/m2).

    A decent layup of 6 oz glass will contain 7 oz or more of resin, so it weighs 0.090 lb per square ft. That is nearly equivalent to 1 mm of plywood.

    Having done the math before, 6 oz glass does surprisingly little to stiffen plywood. The glass is stiff, but very thin (0.005 in), and thickness stiffens by the cube, so 4mm of okoume is about 64/27 stiffer than 3mm.

    3mm okoume plus one layer of glass will weigh 31% more, cost twice as much and will not be much stiffer. 4 mm of okoume doubles the stiffness of 3mm with a 33% weight and 25% cost increase. A glass skin does protect the plywood well and there is some weight trade off between more varnish without the cloth layer.

    http://www.boulterplywood.com/MarinePlywood_4.htm
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: Want to build the lightest kayak

    Quote Originally Posted by mick allen View Post
    If it is true that you want lightness, easy to handle when lifting, and don't care about performance but want exercise for fitness: to me, the logical choice is a small ww type kayak. They basically make slow moving holes in the water, but provide a performance platform that can be use for all kinds of typical [paddling] or 3d [rolling, cartwheels, squirts etc] exercise as long as you don't wish to travel long distances. They store anywhere [say if 7' or less long], don't catch the wind [or fill up so awkwardly] when carrying like all the larger kayaks mentioned do, can be picked up with 1 or 2 fingers [depending on construction type], easy to bail out [or out of!] and at some levels, are legitimate performance machines.

    Essentially covers all the bases mentioned except 'covering distance'!

    I have f/g, plastic and S&G short boats and more often than nought, grab one of them [rather than a sea kayak] if I'm going out to the adjacent inlet for one or a few hours paddling: throw 'em in the back of the wagon - quick jaunt down to the shore and I'm in and paddling. [S&G: I think I'm the only guy stupid enough to design and make one, but at 6'-8" long, kevlar, carbon fibered and heavily glassed it stores vertically over in the corner and can still be picked up with one finger fully outfitted - like there's not too much material in a little boat basically the same height as you are]

    So horrors on a build board - buy a short plastic ww boat at about 35# +/- . . . . . . . or go to the library or old seakayaker magazine or builders on line and get Robert Morris's instructions on building a 10' recovery kayak and make it 1 or 2 inches wider and 2 feet or so shorter and you've got a great, light, fun little boat that you can store almost anywhere, can get loads of exercise - and more importantly . . . you'll be out there.
    That style of kayak is pretty much exactly what I'm after - something to thrash around in, in the chop, and that I can easily take anywhere. GRP, carbon, wood - whatever, but not plastic.

    Rick

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