Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Petrel Build #1 - Idea in the Making

I have decided to start a new project, building a cedar strip kayak.  I toyed with the idea of building a kayak at first but as I have learned more about the building process I have become more enthused to build one.  I know it not everyone's cup of tea, it wasn't really mine at first, but after seeing some great builds such as Auld Blug's Sedna to name just one, which has the look of a modern composite boat but made with beautiful cedar wood, I decided to give it a go.  The idea of turning a pile of wood and glue into a beautiful boat and imagining the places it will take me is quite exciting. 

This is the Petrel designed by Nick Schade founder of Guillimot Kayaks in the USA.   It was designed as a responsive, light weight boat suitable for day trips in rough water but also at home in sheltered coves and estuaries.  It is a 17ft boat which does suite the smaller paddler (ideal).  It is a lively boat which accelerates quickly, carves down wave faces and maneuvers easily.
It does mention that it does not have the capacity for extended trips yet it is bigger than my boat and lets face it how many multi day trips have I done.  I'm sure it will be fine for the long weekends.  I am going to build mine with all the modern bits and pieces such as rubber hatches, skeg, foam seats carbon fiber rims etc.. unlike the purist wooden form seen in these pictures.  It should resemble something like Aluns Sedna although different design. 
I am in no rush, I will buy the parts along the way an hopefully have it in the water by the time I go up to Skye in September.  I am currently in the process of drawing out the forms (backbone to which the strips are laid).  Only one major set back so far, I don't have a place to build it.  Most garages I've been able to acquire are roughly 15ft long! I'm making some enquires but if anyone local knows of anywhere please let me know.  I will add a new tab at the top of my blog if anyone is interested in following my 'slow' progress.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Cardiff Bay By Night

Elan from Up-&-Under invited me to meet up with a few others for a paddle down Cardiff Bay Monday evening, I've been meaning to join them for a while.  We paddled out from the shop, down the River Ely and out into the bay.  I struggled to keep pace alongside the P&H Capella and Elan's finely tuned paddle stroke.  Out in the Bay it was stunning, lights shinning brightly in the darkness, bats flying overhead.  We did a lap of the bay before making our way back up the Ely.  Here are the best of the photo's I took, not much good.  They either came out almost completely black or with the increased exposure blurred, some good effects with the lights though.  Cheers guys really enjoyable night.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

A Short Trip Home

After last weekends eventful misfortune I thought it would be best to keep a low profile this weekend.  Also it was a big spring tide with low water smack bang in the middle of the day and didn't really fancy the long carry or same old trip to Porthcawl and back.  Pity because it's been a glorious weekend.
We took the boys down to the beach late afternoon an hour before high tide.  I took my boat along so I could take the short paddle home, hopefully catch a good sunset or maybe a shot of the "supper moon" (moon is supposed to be much closer to earth this weekend, hence the big tides).
The Jurassic Limestone cliffs of the Glamorgan coast were highlighted by the low afternoon sun.
I traced the yellow cliffs bleeding off into the distance leading me home.  There was a slight swell but the sea was lovely and calm.
This looks like a fairly fresh fall, the sediments of limestone still stacked in place.  It won't be long before the sea breaks them up.
The horizontal sediments slope off drasticly then settle flat again.  There's not much beach left now.
Looking back the sun is dipping down behind a low band of cloud above the horizon, no chance of a sun set then!
Light is fading fast by the time I reach Aberthaw Power Station.
The end of a nice short gentle trip to feed my appetite this weekend.  I phone the wife to pick me up and tell her I'm in another life boat..he-he. 

A paddle around Cardiff Bay Monday night then probably another local trip next weekend.  I'm Hoping to get out west the following week, get in a trip around Skomer Island for the arrival of the first migratory birds.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Welsh Canoe & Kayak Show 2011

The Welsh Canoe & Kayak Show will be held at Cardiff Marine Village on 21st May 2011.  More information can be found here.
I will be there again testing more boats I can't afford.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tyla Images Expedition - Circumnavigation Wales

My good friend and kayaking buddy Taran is planning a solo navigation around Wales for charity.  Armed with a new boat and 4 star training he hopes to set off on his voyage end of April early May.  Unfortunately due to work commitments etc I wont be joining him but will try and give him some company and support along the way when I can. 

If you would like to support Tarans challenge please make a donation here or contact Taran via his blog.  All proceeds go to Make a Wish Foundation.  The charity supports young children with serious, life threatening illnesses, granting them a wish of their dreams.  This charity is personally close to me as my younger sister has received support from this charity.  So please join me in supporting Taran and wishing him a safe journey.