Kayak Kit Epistemology

Posted by CLC on Mar 24, 2005

>>>>>>>>how is a particular kayak design and construction schedule lay-up "proven" to work?


If there was any one hard and fast rule, all kayaks would look alike. There isn't so they don't. Commercial aircraft all have an outwardly and inwardly similar appearance because widely accepted engineering, economic, and safety issues converge. The Boeing 737 is "proven to work" through time and successful landings, although there are still lamentable failures.

With something like kit kayaks, the engineering requirements are more prosaic and there are many correct approaches, notwithstanding the passion and zeal of some who have made up their minds. We study the tradeoffs, ease of construction, economics, and a hundred other factors, make a choice, and put it in the manuals. Backing up our decisions is the feedback on the kits we've shipped since the beginning (we passed 12,000 sometime back in November 04) and my own experience, which includes about 170 boats of all types built beneath my own hands, 105 of them teaching CLC classes. Those numbers, and my eleven years manning CLC's tech help lines, form a formidable baseline for decision-making.

You'll never catch me saying "There's only one way to do it," but backing up our recommendations is an enormous number of "successful landings".

It should be noted that we wouldn't be doing our customers much of a favor by saying in the manuals "The next 30 pages are devoted to the 28 different ways to fillet-and-tape a chine seam, and all of them are correct," just so we can satisfy the diversity of opinion on the topic. That'd be unproductive, expensive, confusing, and silly.

I should start a separate Forum entitled "The Epistemology of Kayak Kit Design." The philosophers and zealots could retreat there for windy discussions on esoteric points, while the rest of us get on with building good boats.

In Response to: Proven to Work. by Howard on Mar 24, 2005