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Stories about boat design

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The successful design of any boat is a subtle blend of art and science. While there is a lot of room for personal preference and choice, there is also much that is constrained by the immutable laws of physics. The artistic choices are in determining the desired performance and then shaping the boat such that it interacts with the hard-and-fast rules of nature to achieve those goals.

While there are obvious differences between a super-tanker crossing the Atlantic and a kayak bobbing on a bay, the water and gravity effecting the two boats are exactly the same. The science developed for large ships is precisely the same as that which relates to small boats like a kayak or row boat. The difference is the design goals of the kayak designer vs those of the ship designer. While a tanker designer needs to worry about carrying a heavy load across an ocean and into defined spaces like the Panama canal, a small boat designer may want a kayak that carves down a wave or is stable for fishing.

Making Little Boats out of Big Boats

Scaling kayak designs

"Can I make a 10' kayak from a 17' kayak by decreasing the form spacing." or similar, is one of my more commonly received questions. The reason for asking may be that the questioner only has a 12' long work shop, or they don't want to put a longer kayak on their Mini Cooper or they just don't want a long boat.

The KayakForum is being Upgraded

KayakForum Screen Shot

 I have recently been going through the process of upgrading the software for the KayakForum. For those who are not familiar with it, the forum is an open discussion board devoted to the design, building and use of kayaks and other small boats.

Canoe Stems

I want a canoe. I love kayaks and the Nymph canoe is great fun, but there are time when my wife Robin and I want to hop into a boat after dinner and go for a relaxing paddle. And for a simple no-nonsense paddle there is really nothing like a canoe. A canoe lets you slide the boat in, pull on a life jacket and get going. A kayak or double paddle canoe will usually involve a certain expectation of getting wet, if only from the paddle dripping on your lap so it usually involves a little more pre and fuss.

How Should I React to Zegul/Tahe Baidarka?

Something Awfully Familiar

A few months back I saw an image on Facebook that looked familiar. It was an early rendering of the Tahe/Zegul Marine "Baidarka":Tahe Baidarka

Kayak Design Presentation for Connyak

Apr 20 2011 6:30 pm
Apr 20 2011 9:00 pm


Kayak Design log


I'll be making a presentation at the Connyak April meeting. I've been asked to talk about kayak design. The goal is to help people who want to design their own boat as well as give guidance to people who are buying boats and want to have some tools for evaluating designs

Designing a Traditional Skin On Frame

I recently took on the task of designing and building a skin-on-frame kayak in the Greenland Inuit style. "Designing" a SOF kayak before building isn't really the traditional way. Typically they are built to traditional measurements based on an anthropometric measuring system i.e. using hands, hips, arm spans etc. as measurement units. These basic measurements may be tweaked based on the builders experience, making a wider/narrower or longer/shorter as needed by the user.

Stitch and Glue Kits from Chesapeake Light Craft

I was talking to John Harris at Chesapeake Light Craft last fall. As the conversation wandered around various boats and projects we were working on, it became apparent that we each had some issues that we might be able help each other with. I had some designs that I had not had the time to develop usable plans and instructions for, and he had a demand for some boats that he didn't have time to develop designs for.

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