Shearwater Sport launch in Clayton

What started as a vision last fall turned into reality on August 2, 2015 when I finally got to launch my Shearwater Sport on the beautiful St. Lawrence River just outside of Clayton, NY.  What a thrill and sense of accomplishment!  I estimate that I logged between 40 and 50 miles on her over our two weeks.

Technically she isn’t actually finished yet.  I ran out of time before we left on our vacation, and there was no way I was leaving my new kayak home!  I was able to apply two coats of varnish to get some level of protection for the epoxy, so I’ll still have to get two or three more coats on as well as installing the deck rigging and better grab handles at the bow and stern.  I think I’ll wait for the temps to drop before I continue though.  Varnishing in a “booth” when its 90 degrees outside is NO FUN especially when you’ve never done it before!!!

I built her from plans, used contrasting Behlen Solar-Lux stains, and put patterned material under the fiberglass within.  This is my first kayak build, so I was really low on the learning curve.  I learned a ton, and made plenty of mistakes all of which I overcame.  It’s kind of funny how many things I worried about turned out to be no problem and vise versa.  For you other new builders all I can say is relax, research the forum, send an e-mail to the tech support address, and when all else fails call the support line.  I received really good advice from the CLC folks, and sometimes it was just good to hear a calm voice from “someone who has been there and done that”.

Anyway I am just thrilled with my new kayak!  I received plenty of compliments while on vacation some being shouted from shore as I cruised by which I found particularly cool.  By the way, she cruises really nice especially when the water is calm.  I found it very interesting that when paddling across the wind and/or current the bow always wanted to turn into them.  Has anyone else experienced this?  I would have expected the opposite.

I am attempting to attach pictures with this post, but they really won’t do the Solar-Lux dyes justice.  As Nick Schade says in his tutorial the dyes really do add a “pop” to the okoume.  For what it’s worth my coloring is predominantly American Walnut with Golden Fruitwood on the shear panel and the coaming.  To be honest neither came out as I envisioned, but I still loved the final result.  The Golden Fruitwood just glows when the sun hits it at certain angles.  Another thing I was pleasantly surprised by when using dyes is that the shades of the colors are always changing slightly with variations in sunlight intensity and angle.

As kind of a side-note I should add that I also carved the Greenland paddle shown in the pictures using Brian Nystrom’s book.  What an absolute joy that was to use.  I honestly can’t see myself using a euro paddle again.  It is a bit “drippy” when you start off from a stop, but once you are underway it’s just smooth as can be.  The Inuits really knew what they were doing!

Thanks CLC and Eric Schade for a great kayak building experience!


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