Rating the MC 13

Posted by Alan Speakman on Sep 2, 2006

Hi all,

Frankenyak saw its first water yesterday! Some ratings, some thoughts...

* Weather: C+ (cool, windy, cloudy) * Water: C+ (somewhat choppy) * Seat with LL Bean cushion: A+ (I could seriously bring that rig into the living room and watch football on it...) * Ocean Kayak 1.5 lb folding anchor: (not tested from kayak, but tested from shore. I have my doubts concerning holding power in packed sand. Probably will work in mud, though.) * Vacu-Rak/holding straps/pool noodles: A++ (see photo... Man, oh man, those vacu-raks grab! While I'd NEVER trust them alone, when working in conjunction with fore and aft straps, they make up a significant part of a very slick little hold-down system that's perfect for LOCAL driving/kayaking. Just exactly what we wanted.) * Interlux primer and paint: A++ (Color was great with just one coat. I'll put on more later, but all told she looks fantastic even now!) * US Composites epoxy: A+ (I like it and it's relatively cheap.) * MTI model MDU PFD: A+ (Amazingly comfortable and warm... Funny story there... I used to work with a woman whose "significant other" worked in a BIG marine supply shop. When she found out that I built boats for a hobby, she sent her boyfriend on a scrounging mission... He snagged every demo/promo/sample item in the place, packed it in a huge box and gave it to me for free. There were wet suits, PFDs, rain gear, and lord knows what else... The boating community is a loony but kind bunch!) * Bending Branches paddle: A- (Very efficient, but drippy) * Rare earth magnets under the deck and on the paddle to secure the paddle to the deck: C+ (Works well when we could align the magnets, but trying to "find" the underside magnets was a pain... Have to find a way to mark the deck as to the location of the magnets without marking the deck... Hmmm... I sense inlay work coming on...) * Yakima foot braces: A+ (Solid, adjustable... I messed up and mounted them a little too high, but I'll fix that.) * Mill Creek 13 design: A++++ (Chris Kulczycki did a masterful job designing this... No other way to put it... Stable, tracks well, capable in a moderate chop, easily handled, stunning to look at, relatively inexpensive, sturdy, comfortable, capable of reasonable speed... I'd say that pound for pound and dollar for dollar, the best boat I've ever seen.) * The wife saw two swan and a green heron on her first cruise, (the latter being a very close, first-time sighting for her!) Extremely cool. * Got a honk and some waves from strangers in town. Cool!

A funny thing happened while the wife was out on the water... A "30ish" couples wandered by and asked why I was just standing there. I told them that I was waiting for my wife to come back in her new kayak... And so we chatted... You know the conversation... "Oh you built it yourself!" Yada, yada, yada... They'd just bought a house on the other side of the pond... Yada, yada, yada... They'd just bought two plastic kayaks (they were professionals with deep pockets and old money -- they made that plenty clear...) Yada, yada, yada... And my wife paddled up, they broke into spontaneous applause. The woman turned to her husband and solemnly, quietly, hopefully asked, "You can make me one of those can't you?" He just said a quiet "No." and then turned away... They made quick, polite talk and left in absolute silence. Very sad, weird, and very, very awkward.

Anyway, yesterday was a memorable day for me and for my wife as well, and it was punctuated by "what might have been" for that young couple...





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