Re: Weights: Fact or Fict

Posted by Kurt Maurer on Jul 9, 2006

I believe that the published figures are plenty realistic, although I wouldnt exactly call 'em conservative. I say they're based on the builder having a bit of experience and/or talent.

Thing is, first-timer builders almost invariably use too much epoxy, and that's where 90% of the excess weight comes from. They're just never sure what's "enough", and what's "not quite enough", and nobody wants to sink. So they goop it on until they can walk away reasonably confident she's gonna hold together long enough to ensure human survival in a hostile element.

I have a background designing and building building aircraft (competition 3-meter RC sailplanes), so I have a pretty good feel for lightweight structures that are robust enough to do the job. And that's why I can build an 18-foot kayak that weighs 36 lbs. I'm really, really stingy with my epoxy and hardware, and sweat every ounce I add to a project, always on the lookout to see if a fillet can be made smaller, screws eliminated for other means of fastening something, etc., etc. People who mess with airplanes also know that paint adds a surprising amount of weight.

I also like to say that every boat you build gets faster (to build), lighter, and cheaper. If you ever decide to build another, I'm sure you'll find it a breeze compared to the first one. You'll work a lot more confidently, and at least some weight savings would very likely be competely automatic, without even thinking about it.

Cheers, Kurt

In Response to: Weights: Fact or Fiction? by MikeY on Jul 9, 2006