andygates: (Default)
I've just ordered the HDPE slab for the kayak project.  Seems as good a time as any to look at the parts that go into it:

Lordy, he does go on. )
andygates: (Default)
The first stage in turning a notion into a project is to work out what it is you actually want to do.  Well, the notion is to build a folding sea kayak that's more capable than my fun-but-limited Sevy Pointer.  What are its specific limitations?

* It's short, 10ft, so it doesn't exactly slice through waves.  Long days out are tiring, and it turns to beam a bit too eagerly.
* Seaworthiness is nominal - a force 4 is the friskiest it'll play in.  
* Being inflatable, it sits very high, and thus it weathercocks like a chicken on a church roof.
* While it's spectacularly stable, it cannot be rolled. If it ever capsizes (and being short, that means going beam-on in surf) you've got to exit the boat. 

When it comes to home-build folding sea kayak plans, there's really one place to start and that's Tom Yost's Yostweks. There are lots of designs, so there's some whittling to do.  First, general displacement: Allowing 100kg for paddler and kit, and wanting some gear stowage as well, we quickly get rid of all but the long models.  Next, stability: I'm no ninja, so the twitchy designs are out.  Beam comes into both of these.  Finally, gear: I want some but not a daft amount -- this is a dayboat, not an expedition boat. If I build a barge, it'll be bargey all the time and I'll just overload the thing with unnecessary junk. 

With all that in mind, I've settled on the Sea Tour 17.  17ft long, about the right cockpit size, 300lb displacement, but not the expedition-scale extra volume of the EXP.  Here are the design drawings
andygates: (Default)
I'd heard that Tornado, the lovely new Peppercorn Class A1 steam loco, was going to be passing the South Devon coast today.  I'm no train-spotter, but thundering steam and pretty cliffs is a photo opportunity if ever there was one.  A plan was hatched: paddle out to a scenic spot, lay in wait and get a killer picture.

First, I'd need a sea anchor.  Kayaks drift in the wind, and inflatables doubly so: I need a parking brake.  A small Ikea bag was quickly repurposed: some coat-hanger to stiffen the mouth open, and many staples to hold it in place and discipline the handles.  Add a grotty old carabiner and Bob's your uncle: just clip to the anchor line (which is in the anchor trolley).  The sea anchor, it must be said, was great.  You could fish with this, easily.  I could certainly put the paddle aside and concentrate on the photography with both hands and full attention.  The boat went deliciously stable, and drift was right down under 10m / minute (tested with the GPS anchor-drag alert).  To work as a drogue I'll want to put a fist-sized hole in the base, to allow a smoother flow-through.  Still, pretty damn fine for free.

So there I was, watching the world go by, and very mellow it was.  The allotted time approached.  The light was awful: hard reflection off the water and the cliffs in shadow - should have guessed that.  Still, a thundering steam locomotive: that's teh awesum.  I can fix the rest in post.

Only the train never came.  I got excited over more bloody Virgin CrossCountry trains and more two-car local runabouts than is reasonable.  Eventually I had to pack up.  And it turns out all the train photos were rubbish anyway (though I did get a nice one of a tour boat, a poopy buoy and another mandatory cockpit shot).  A lovely calm, mellow little paddle even without the star of the show.

(title hat tip to Andy Horton, who may well have found a tornado today)
andygates: (polarbear)
The Sunday geohash for the 51,-4 graticule is a reachable spot off Woolacombe Bay: halfway between Baggy Point and Morte Point and out a way.  Since I can't bike right now, I'm going for the Pirate King achievement* in spades. 

Nautical wittering... )
andygates: (Default)
Things we learn on a 15km sea paddle:

Wittering on... )

Not many photos, because after the Aqua Dalek the wind picked up and it was all toil.  You know how you can coast a bike on smooth straight roads and snap away, but offroad if you so much as look around, you're on your arse?  That.

Orcombe Rocks (by andygates) Aqua Dalek (by andygates)

Oh, and there's a nudist beach at the far end of Budleigh Beach.  That was a surprise.  :)

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