Building a boat…

I’ve decided to join the ranks of those who’ve built a personal boat.

Decades ago I had a chance to try out kayak in a swimming pool. I paddled straight for a few dozen feet, tried to turn and promptly ended up under water.

Skip forward some decades to maybe 10 years ago and I got to paddle a canoe in a lake. This time I managed to stay dry.

Skip forward a few more years and my wife and I staying at Poplar Creek Bed and Breakfast in Minnesota were able to take a canoe out for the day. We paddled part of one lake, then dragged it out of the water and portaged about a quarter mile, up and over a ridge, to another lake where we then paddled to the far end, beached it and took a short walk to a nice group of waterfalls. Once again I managed to stay dry and we both had a great time.

A few years ago I decided I wanted to go portaging again with a few nights stay in the BWCA. My wife wished me luck. 🙂

I enjoy wood working and over the last few years I’ve been looking at various canoe and kayak plans. All the usual places, Bear Mountain Boats, Guillemot Kayaks, Chesapeake Light Craft, NorthWest Canoe and many others, were discovered during my internet research. Of course I also did many generic searches admiring all the assorted photos of canoes and kayaks that others have completed.

Most of this time was spent vacillating between a canoe or a kayak. I felt the kayak would be more enjoyable for me but my long ago pool experience held me back. I also really like the lines and appearance of the kayak compared to a canoe. But, the positive canoe experiences I had was swaying me towards them over kayaks. What finally helped firm up my decision was a combination of factors.

First off, I’m not small. I stand about 6′ 2″ and usually somewhere between 210 and 220. I discovered the Resolute plan from Bear Mountain Boats and saw that it is designed for a larger paddler while still being a reasonable (to me) in length and that it’s designed for general recreational/trip use and not really intended for white water rivers or surf or any of the other things I don’t ever plan on doing. I still had reservations until I spoke with a coworker who spends a lot of his free time outdoors. He and his wife dumped their canoe and went with kayaks and have never looked back. We had a good talk and it was starting to sway me to the kayak side. Finally I found a local business that offers kayak classes for both beginners (simple how to paddle, etc.) and for intermediate levels (self rescuing, rolling, etc.) and I am now sold.

Before I start to make any major purchases I will take the classes first just to be sure, but I’m at least 90% set in my decision on a kayak as my first boat. Who knows if more may be in my future….

This blog will be dedicated to my entire build process including not only what I did, but why I did it, how much time and money has gone into it and any other details that I would have liked to see when I was doing my research. I won’t hold back on mistakes either. If I make them (and I expect to) I’ll share them and if or how I fixed them.