More notes on building a stitch and glue Kayak.
Here are some additional notes and comments, now that I finished building
Dimensions and finished weight:
17'6" loa, 23" beam, 44 pounds (with bulkheads, and probably too much
Date of first launch:
July 4, 1999
Typical paddling conditions:
Puget Sound, flat water, ferry and other power boat of all sizes) wakes,
tidal currents, mud flats and deep water channels. Also some fresh water
My comments on the boat's performance:
My comments on building the boat:
Still adjusting to a single vs double, so it seems tippy at first, which
is typical of any double to single transition impression.
Secondary stability good. I need to get my paddling skills up to the level
to complement the boat.
Good tracking, once I get better at leaned turns I imagine turning will
Handles wakes well,
Did not seem affected by a mild wind.
Still a little in shock that I could build a boat that is seaworthy!
Haven't loaded up for longer trips, but seems to have plenty of load carrying
Has a nice, light feel in the water.
Biggest problem so far is me broadcasting my nervousness into how the boat
Other useful sites include:
More information and notes on building at: http://www.sptddog.com/daveu/kayak.html
(no pictures though).
Like others, I've found the pygmy kit fairly complete. Went through more
epoxy than they provided. Instructions do pretty well, though a little
unclear at some points. It might be nice to mention which jobs could be
combined to conserve on epoxy usage. For example, glass all the coming
and hatch lip pieces at the same time (along with bulkheads).
It seems I spent a fair amount on disposable gloves and foam brushes/rollers.
Built as a stock boat per Pygmy's instructions and full kit except using
the no drill through customization for foot pegs.
Building a second Coho for my wife, and there is definitely a learning
curve that once you get some confidence in the epoxy and glass makes things
The epoxy really likes some 70 degree temps to cure. Since it was typically
cooler than that in the barn where I was building, quartz halogen work
lamps helped warm up epoxy enough to cure in a timely manner. Don't use
these initially when coating bare wood, or you'll get bubbles like crazy,
though it can still be useful to finish out that lingering in tacky, almost
cured stage you get when the temps are low.
I've been following discussions about pygmy vs other kits. Pygmies multi-chine
hull almost seems like hybrid between stitch and glue and strip built,
that seems to be the nature of how the strips are cut, not much torturing
of a single sheet of plywood into the finished shape, and they give you
several temporary frames to help shape the boat. Other stitch and glue
seems to have you work on the inside to glue strips together, and filet
with epoxy. With the frames, you glue from the outside, pull wires (much
easier without the epoxy fillets), then glass outside before removing frames
only then do you filet and tape inside seams. Also no shear clamp at hull
to deck connection. Its just another seam that you epoxy glue together
then glass (as part of the deck glassing) and tape or filet inside.
I did as much filleting as I could reach from the cockpit. Added more through
the hatch openings once those were cut.
Not sure I like the peaked deck at coaming. but glad I wasn't trying to
force a single piece of plywood into the deck shape.
Made lots of use of a "sureform shaver" for beveling edges, trimming fiberglass
and cleaning up drips.
Also started to use a belt sander on the second Coho for cleaning drips
of epoxy. A light touch is needed.
In general no power tools are required unless you want to speed up sanding,
or trimming coaming and hatch lips to shape. I had access to a band saw
which made some of that trimming faster than doing by hand.
Its not clear from the instructions, when they talk about positioning the
hatches from the deck chines, they mean the cut, not the outside of the
spacer strip, otherwise your hatches end up too small. Called and visited
store in person, they are always quite helpful.
Biggest trick is learning what to spend the time on, and what to not sweat
and keep moving. I can point out flaws, but so far everyone else's reaction
has been "wow, what a nice looking boat".
There are a number of insects sealed into the epoxy on the boat. I'm learning
to deal with it, its a boat, not a piece of furniture.
More notes on building a
the kayak builders
BBS is a great source of information and help when building a kayak
of any type.
of So Cal is a nice, non commercial page listing other boats that people
have built, and some ideas for customizing your boat.
Pygmy Boats Inc..
P.O. Box 1529 Dept 8
Port Townsend, WA 98368
is where I got the kit I built.
last updated 7/8/1999
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