Test Paddling the Greenland Kayak! Part 4

If you haven't already, check out our previous posts to see how Tristan built the Kayak frame, sewed up the fabric skin, and coated the kayak with a waterproof coating

Tristan applying the coating

Tristan applying the coating

So, after Tristan coated the kayak skin with 3 layers of a special polyurethane coating to waterproof the kayak, the temperature outside dipped cold. This caused the coating to not set or dry properly and the entire top of the kayak remained a sticky, thick mess. OH NO! All that work and time! So what do we do now?

Tristan tried many things to try to get the coating to dry, including applying heat, coating the sticky in beeswax and trying to scrape it off. Nothing worked. So in the end, he had to take a knife to the fabric, and cut and peel it all off the frame. It was sad. 

The frame was in fine shape though and Tristan decided to try something else. He covered the kayak in a clear 20 gauge vinyl, allowing the beautiful frame to be seen through. It didn't take long and the kayak was ready to hit the water for a test paddle! 

It handled in the water just as it was designed to do. Tristan built it to fit him like a glove and he felt like he was one with the boat. Too forceful of strokes would turn him in a circle, and he had to gently paddle in order to stay straight on course in the calm water. 

The beautiful frame shows through the vinyl skin.

The beautiful frame shows through the vinyl skin.

Even so, he was flying by me as I struggled to paddle in my sit-on-top plastic kayak.  It was silent, beautiful and graceful as it glided through the water. (wow, that sounds so romantic!) Tristan didn't want to venture out of the calm waters of the canal into the choppy St, Johns river as it was windy and the river is quite wide. He needs to be proficient in rolling the kayak first (and that is quite the skill to master!)


Here are some pictures of the framework from inside and out.


So... is it durable? That is the question we get over and over. Well, not as durable as a plastic, Kevlar or aluminum boat. But it is fairly abrasion resistant and VERY hard to rip. It would not be good to scrape over oyster beds or run into a steak knife in the ocean.  Thankfully there aren't too many knives floating around. This kayak is not meant to go down river rapids. It is designed to go long distances on the ocean or large lakes. But mainly, it ended up as a functional, but beautiful piece of workmanship.  


Tristan learned a lot building this kayak and was fairly pleased with how it turned out, being his first boat he ever built. He can't wait to build another boat again soon!