(Shearwater Sport) What to do about overlapping hull/deck forms when aligning?

Hello all,

I am building my first kayak, a Shearwater Sport, and I am at the stage where the dry-run alignment between hull and deck is done. The problem I'm having is that when the deck is placed on top of the hull, the rear bulkhead and the corresptemporary deck form are exactly on top of each other (same for the two other rear temporary forms): the only way to join the deck and hull is to place the the deck form right in front or rear of the hull bulkhead, but that results in the tip of the deck to jut out an inch or so from the hull in one end or the other.

Looked thrice at the manual and couldn't answer my question there. Any clues?


4 replies:

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RE: (Shearwater Sport) What to do about overlapping hull/deck forms when aligning?

Hi -- I'm just about done my Shearwater Sport, but it's the first boat I've built so keep that in mind.

I had the same issue as you when I did my first trial assembly.  The simple answer is to leave the wires threaded thru the bulkheads, but don't twist them tight.  This is especially true along the sheer line.  The other stitch lines on the hull and deck can be tighter.  As you work the deck down onto the hull tightening slowly from bow to stern and vice versa the bulkheads will slide past the formers.  If you have to push one or the other over a slight bit to allow each to slide past that's not an issue -- just move each slightly so they slide beside eachother.

When I first tried assembly I had everything very tight and flush -- but ran into problems like you with the internal formers getting in the way.  I also found that its actually easier to get the boat true, faired and joints tight by starting looser especially any stitches that are nearest the sheer line.  When I focused too much on getting each stitch perfect from the onset, the wires would fatigue and I'd have to replace them.  This was especially true when I'd have to loosen and then retighten or "work" a set of stitches.  It worked much better to work all the stitches a little bit, asses the whole boat and then work all the stitches a little more -- that includes the bulkhead and former stitches nearest the sheer line.  Eventually you will have all stitches and joints tight and the bulkheads and formers will be slid past eachother.

I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I hope it helps.  Good luck on the build -- it has been one of the most fun and challenging things I have ever built.


RE: (Shearwater Sport) What to do about overlapping hull/deck forms when aligning?

Thanks Dave,

I think I understand what you're saying, but as far as I can tell there is no way to "properly" do this with the form in place: the form corresponding to the rear bulkhead is a replica of the top of that bulkhead (it makes sense, because the bulkhead will "replace" that form on the finished kayak). This means those two really want to be in exactly the same place - the alternative is as you say to wire it so loosely that I believe it will lose its function.

So what I'm thinking of doing is to use the form to get things roughly in place while tack gluing the deck, but then remove it immediately and fit the deck to the hull without the form, wiring the deck to the hull bulkhead instead. Other opinions welcome, as I will only be able to do this about a week from now.

RE: (Shearwater Sport) What to do about overlapping hull/deck forms when aligning?

So -- I'm not trying to dissuade you from your strategy but here are a couple other things to think about.

You'll see once you get the whole boat togther later in the process, that the tops of the bulkheads do not always touch the underside of the deck perfectly.  The manual references this later in build - page 49 near the bottom.  So some variation at the point you are at is normal.

I also found on page 36 near the top the manual describes loosening the wires on the bulkheads to allow the deck formers to slide by.  I would only add to that by saying -- you loosen them to allow the formers to slide by, but in the end everything should be tighten back up -- that way both the formers and bulkheads will be performing there function.

The last thing I would say is that the shearwater sport manual is not the newest version of how to build a stitch and glue.  You can see this if you watch some of the time lapse videos of CLC boats -- I believe the way you are describing your strategy is more similar to newer style builds that use formers on the outside of the deck and hull, however they still use formers.  I would be hesitant to go without -- now I say that because everytime I strayed from the manual, it cost me more time, more work, and more materials. YMMV.

Good luck,


RE: (Shearwater Sport) What to do about overlapping hull/deck forms when aligning?

Thanks Dave - I somehow missed that mention of the "sliding bulkhead" on page 36. I'll go for that then.

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