What with all the varnishing questions being posted I just want to remind everyone that there is a foolproof method completely described at The Varnished Kayak , one of the many helpful articles under the Tips for Boatbuilders section of CLC's website. It tells you how much to sand, how to sand, which varnish to use, how many coats, what tools to use to apply them, how to apply them, etc. In short, it's a cookbook for a shiny kayak.
The techniques described are exactly the same ones used by CLC on their showroom & demo models, which are the boats you see in the catalogue and website pictures. They're also the same techniques demonstrated by Commodore Harris himself at the Okoumefest varnishing seminars. So they work. Of course there are a lot of other approaches out there, but if a builder follows those instructions as written, they will end up with a finish good enough for CLC to sell boats with.
So first-timers, don't worry, just do exactly what the shop tip says for your first boat. Then later, either at refinish time or for the next boat, you'll have that experience to build on and then you can develop your own variations on a theme.