This junior racing K1 was built from reject Western Red Cedar venetian blind slats with Paulownia accent stripes. The slats were 3.5mm thick and 45mm wide. They were a gift from a visitor to the 2015 AWBF who offered them to me while inspecting the kayaks I took to that festival. Removing the rounded edge and ripping them down the middle gave me 20mm wide strips. The timber is covered inside and outside with 125gsm glass cloth and BoteCote epoxy with non-yellowing hardener and with Aquacote water based polyurethane for UV protection.
The edges of the strips are bevelled to get tight joints rather than using bead and cove. They are glued together around forms on a strongback using normal PVA wood glue. After sanding, the strips are covered with glass and after a few extra coats of epoxy to fill the weave and more sanding, the deck is connected to the hull with fibreglass tape inside and outside. Fitting out is completed with the cockpit, seat, footrest and rudder, and bulkhead to create an air chamber so that the kayak is unsinkable.
The kayak is my own design created with a program called “Kayak Foundry”. It was designed for a 30kg child and has been paddled by children between 25 and 40 kg, so would suit most children between 6 and 12 years of age. It is 4.2 metres long with a maximum beam of 47cm and a waterline beam of 40cm with a 30kg paddler. It weighs 7.65 kg.
Like most adult K1s, it has an underslung rudder controlled by a tiller bar and like many recent racing kayaks and skis, the deck is cut away to allow a more efficient paddle stroke by keep the kayak narrow at the catch, the point where the paddle enters the water.
It is a similar size to a couple of commercially available children’s racing kayaks. However it is quite stable for a racing kayak. The design gains much of its stability from the width behind the cockpit as the kayak is quite narrow in front of the cockpit to permit an efficient racing paddle stroke.
Adult sea kayaks take me roughly 200 hours to complete. This junior kayak probably took about 150 hours, partly because it is smaller, but also because not having the upswept bow and stern common on sea kayaks meant less time using a heat gun to help bend strips.