Shearwater 14 maiden voyage



My daughter and I took her Shearwater 14 on its maiden voyage this week.  Follow the link for pictures if interested:


Very pleased with the boat; it is a great looking boat and a great little cruiser.  It is perfect for my daughter.  This build process was easy; no surprises.  I always add some custom features to my boats.  This one has magnetic hatches, paddle park and custom deck rigging.


Great design by Eric Schade and a quality kit by CLC.

14 replies:

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RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

Great looking yak.  Have fun. 

Coach C. 

RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

Great looking boat but what really caught my eye was the 'yak trailer. Can you tell us some details about it? Commercial, custom???

RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

Dusty, it all looks fabulous.  What I'd especially like to hear/see more about is the paddle park and the magnetic hatches.  Interesting!


RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

Oops, I meant Dennis ...  Say, you also mentioned custom deck rigging.  It looks nice and clean, what did you do different there?


RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

Thanks for all the nice comments.  I’ll try to answer some of the questions:


Yak Trailer:


The trailer is a Magenta trailer built on their ‘52’ frame (52 inches wide).  I talked with Gary Oldenkamp the owner and told him what I wanted and he put the package together for me.  Assembling it was pretty straight forward.  Gary was great to deal with.  They have a lot of different options but I wanted one that was wide enough to take high cross winds which we have around here occasionally.  The trailer cost me just $1900 delivered to the inside of my garage including upgrades to heavy duty tires etc. By ordering it off season, I was able to get it discounted.  It will hold six canoes and up to 12 kayaks if I double up the kayaks on their sides.  I could easily add two more bars and haul more canoes and kayaks if I ever needed to.  Magenta is working on some new trailers including a new bolt together aluminum trailer.  I really would have liked to get an aluminum one but could not find anything I liked at anywhere near the price point of what I was willing to pay. 


Magnetic Hatches;


The hatches were built using a method I learned from Joe Greenly at Redfish Kayaks.  Basically you recess the magnets into the hatch and then build a composite hatch lip with matching magnets built into it for the lip.  This is all done before mating the deck and hull.  The magnets are rare earth N52 type magnets.  I used ½” discs 1/8” thick spaced about three inches apart.  Plenty of holding power; will use less next time.


Deck rigging:


The deck rigging is thru the deck bungee cords.  First you drill an over size hole, 1/2” in my case and fill with epoxy.  I tint mine black with graphite before filling hole.  After hole is filled and cured, I re-drill hole to 5/32”.  Then I take ¼” bungee and roll back the outer edge, cut away the protruding rubber strands, roll back the outside covering and twist it into a ‘tit’.  The ‘tit’ is then given a touch of CA glue to hold and stiffen it.  That end is then pushed through the hole and latch onto with a pair of pliers.  By pulling on one side with the pliers and the other side with your other  hand; the  bungee cord can be stretched (which makes it smaller in diameter) and can be threaded through the smaller hole.  When released, the bungee cord compresses against the sides of the hole and seals the hole. A knot is tied under the deck so that no matter how much it is pulled on, it will not come out.  I (and others) have used this method on several boats and can tell you it does not leak even a little bit.  The result is a very clean look with nothing left to get hung up on when doing rescue practices and such.


Paddle park:


The paddle park consists of a 12” long bungee cord attached along the shear of the boat with a ‘catch’ located three inches above the center point of the 12 inch bungee.  The bungee is attached using the same method as deck rigging described above.  Make sure the location and design of the ‘catch’ does not interfere with the paddling of the boat.  I located my ‘catch’ near the cockpit coaming but far enough away to not interfere with putting my spray skirt on and off.

A couple of other notes about paddle parks.  Some people like them located just ahead of the coaming so that the paddle is parked cross ways on the boat.  They feel that they can quickly grab the paddle as it is in a ‘paddle ready’ position.  As a kayak guide, this simply does not work well for me and I design mine to lay along the length of the boat beside the cockpit. This allows me to get next to another boat to help with adjustments or perform assisted rescues.  I also located my wife’s paddle park on the opposite side on her boat so that we could raft up together without a paddle between us.  Not only does this arrangement earn some husband points (when do we get to cash those in?), but it makes it easier to raft the boats together when drifting or eating lunch etc.  If you follow my link and look at the Coho album, it shows some pretty good pictures of a paddle park.  That one I designed with a curved area to support the paddle.  Also if you tie the two ends of the bungee cord together on the inside and form a continuous loop, you will have a nice place to hold your sponge or whatever.


RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

Thank you Dennis.  I'll have to do some research on rare earth magnets.  Your Coho photos are really interesting too.  Don't have much time right now, but will fire off a couple quick questions:

Foredeck bungee loops:  Don't see any knots - how did you fasten the ends together?

Through-deck webbing loops:  How do you do those, and how do you get inside access way out in the bow and stern ends?

Toggle carry handles:  How is the rope loop fastened into the handle.

Very impressive!


RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

Your handle -cord system sytem is top shelf---clean,funtional and good looks--your daughters yak on the video seems to glide through the water effortlessly ------thank you for sharing--CZ

RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

The through the deck loops used on the Coho are called Greenly Soft Loops, named after Joe Greenly of Redfish Kayaks who came up with the idea.  The method involves folding a length of webing and holding it between two hard blocks with about a 1/2" exposed on the ends.  The end of the blocks must be flat; the blocks can be hard wood, metal, ceramic, etc; anything that melted webing won't stick to.  You simply put a flame to the exposed ends of the webing and light it on fire.  When it melts down and starts flowing onto the end of the blocks; blow the fire out and let it cool for a minute or two.  Seperate the blocks and remove the piece of webbing.  The ends of the webing will be melted togather and you will have a small 'glob' of webing with a perfectly flat edge on one side that will mate against the inside of the deck and keep the loop from pulling through.  A slot is cut in the deck and the webing is pulled through the slot.  A bead of sealant is placed along the flat edges of the webing before being pulled through.  To pull them through the outer slots near the stern and bow, a strong line/string is fed through the slot and tied to the webing.  This is then pulled back through the slot and the loop ispulled into place.  I always cut larger slots first, fill them with epoxy and then cut smaller slots in the cured epoxy.


I will sometimes splice the bungee ends togather and then position the splice inside one of the loops.  That is why you do not see any knots.  I am still expermenting with ways to make a good splice.  So far the best seems to be to roll back the outer edge of one end, cut off the exposed rubber cords, use ca glue to adheare the ends back togather,  roll the outer sleeve back over the glued togather ends, saturated with epoxy.  You can also cover the splice with heat shrink or electrical tape for neater look.

RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

Thank you Dennis for all the great information.  I am very tempted to try your "Greenly Soft Loops" method to anchor the hold down straps for the hatches on my Ches 17LT, because I think they would hold the hatch covers more tightly to the deck if they were anchored to the deck close to the edges of the overlapping covers, rather than farther away, at the sheer clamps.  I also love the clean looks of your through-deck bungees.

When you do your through-deck anchor points, do you reinforce the area with a plywood doubler underneath, or is the single thickness deck ply sufficiently strong for most purposes?  I also wonder how strong the epoxy infill is when the "drill, fill, drill" method is used on such a thin layer of plywood.  I'm thinking about that now, because I'm debating whether I should do that with the holes for my through-bolted footbraces.  Might have to do some destructive testing using ply scraps ...

Dennis, when you fill the large holes with epoxy, you use something like tape on the inside as a temporary backing, correct?  How did you epoxy fill those little Greenly slots in the far bow and stern then, which I'm guessing you could not have reached on the inside, via the hatches.  Another clever trick?



RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

I don’t use plywood doublers but some do.  I place and extra piece of 4” square glass under the area for re-enforcement.  The glass is plenty strong and leaves a smooth surface (nothing to get snagged on). 


I cut and fill the larger slots and holes before mating my deck and hull.  That way the re-enforcing glass covers the filled slot/hole (this is before the smaller hole/slot is cut of course). This is also how I can reach the ones near the ends of the boat.  However, if you are using tinted epoxy as I do for the fill, you will want to epoxy coat the outside of the slot area before filling.  This will prevent the tinted epoxy from bleeding into the raw wood.  The smaller holes/slots can be done anytime after the fill and supporting fiberglass has cured.


I do use tape to back the holes/slots when filling.  I also thicken the epoxy but leave it thin enough so it will flow nicely into the whole.  I usually place the tape on the inside of the hull and fill from the outside.  I overfill and then sand after curing to achieve a flush surface on the deck surface.


I would definitely use the fill/drill/fill method for the through hull foot brace bolts.  However, the best method is not to drill them at all.  Use the mounting studs that do not require a hole through the hull.  CLC sells a kit.  Here is the link:


Here is another little trick to help you get your hatches to seal better.  Use a small block or round dowel between the strap and the hatch.  This will cause the strap to provide more down pressure on the hatch.  The block/dowel can be permanently glued to the edges of the hatch if desired.  A better method IMHO is to cut a slot in the dowel/block so it can be slid onto the strap.  This offers the advantage of being able to move the dowel along the face of the hatch if you want change the point of pressure.  Also, it means you can completely remove them if you decide you don’t need/want them at all.  You also have the option to remove them during rescue/boat re-entry practice if desired.


Good luck with your build.


RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

Thanks for the generous explanations, Dennis.  I'm really sold on the Greenley loops.  The little patch of glass cloth on the inside sounds like a good solution. 

Would this be a reasonable approach for making the deck slots?:  Cut the oversized slot, cover with a glass patch on the inside (also serves as the backing), fill with epoxy from the outside, cut the final slot through the epoxy and glass patch.

Dennis, how do you cut and finish your deck slots?  Drill a series of holes, connect them with a saw, and finish with some sort of thin little file or folded sandpaper?



RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage



I think that approach would work fine.  Especially if you do your fill within 48 to 72 hours of applying  the glass.  This would enable a chemical bond, as opposed to a mechanical bond, between the glass and the fill.  If you do that, let us know how it works out for you.

The holes are done as you describe.  I tape a small steel ruler to the boat and use that as a guide to drill my holes in a straight line.  You can then remove the material between holes with a utility knife, small saw, dremel tool or rasping type bit mounted in a drill.  You can also make router jigs to cut the slots but I find drilling the holes to be more practical.  You will want to use a smal, thin file to dress up the slots. A ignition point file works well on the smaller slots.  If you don't know what that is, ask the old guy next door or some motor head who restores car:)  I bought mine at Sears.


RE: Shearwater 14 maiden voyage

Dennis, I'M now the "old guy next door" - and nobody should be listening to me!  Thanks again, kind sir.


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