MKII sailrig reflections

Posted by Petewp on Nov 23, 2007

Some of you who have been here forever might recall my kayak is a West River 180 - built from plans too. From the get-go it was intended that I would immediately jump into the MKI sailrig following the completion of the yak as I wanted a long distance sailing craft. Im glad that I waited and got the MKII version instead. I thought Id pass along some impressions of an assembly thats virtually completed. I built from plans alone.

1. Its tidy. After building an 18 foot long kayak and one with multichines resulting in these looonnggggg bendy panels of okoume the construction of a 10' ama was actually a neat and tidy affair. Indeed, it was akin to making a miniature kayak for a troll.

2. The flat deck only curved by the sweep of the deeply rockered hulls was a snap to put on. God Bless it, the chambered deck panels of all Chesapeake Light Craft panels are beautiful to behold - indeed in sunlight with miriad pearls of sea drops , still the simple ama deck contruction lends its own effective beauty as well. And again, how nice to plane the sheers, lay on thickened epoxy and lay flat the panels and nail away. It is this final assembly of the hull panel construction that puts the 3D sculptural quality into full bloom. From all angles - these things are beautiful to behold. They seem to holdthe promise of high speed, just laying there on the work bench.

3. The MKI design had the akas go directly into the ama itself requiring the builder to design a pocket or "boot" for attachemnt to happen. Then a buckle and strap were used to secure it. The MKII bypasses this bit of tedious outfitting by externalizing the juncture. Bolts not straps are used and the fitting of each is way simpler. Such is the progress of redesign. In the end, Im so glad I didnt have to construct a "boot" or "socket" for the ama to fit. It would have been doable to be sure , but again a tedium I didnt want to visit.

4. The leeboard. This in a word was simply "cool" to build. Its a foil and you sculpt it to its neat performance shape with random orbital sander. I used 60 grit sandpaper and just went at it. I like aviation and ofcourse, sailing, where foils are the principle of performance so this was an exercise in both the design of something beautiful and the satisfaction in seeing it unfold. The plans show you how to do it clearly, but theres that artistic flare about shaping it too. My fault however was in not just radiusing the leading edge but thinning it ever so slightly. We'll see what happens. If it vibrates, Ill no somethings amiss.

The rudder...

CLC offers suggestions on either using there larger rudder , building one of their design or designing and building one yourself with, again, tips and suggestion here as well. I did the ladder and took a flying leap.

I visited the WATERTRIBE website and got ideas there, I reread Nick Schades book and got ideas there - and then wnet ahead and designed my own - basically a conglomeration of all the above. Its nice. A robust design thats nicely sculpted with a slight forward leading edge to keep it balanced and able to facilitate both tiller and foot pedal steering. The foot pedal steering will wait until I see how I like it. If it seems like its unblalanced - that is, I have to push against substantial pressure to keep it on track - A new blade will be in order. Not a new rudder assembly - just the blade - and you how much I enjoy that. Another malfunction of design could be vibration of the foil. These things it should be mentioned are more of an issue at higher speeds than normal kayak paddling usually provides.

By and by it'll all come together.