Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Miquanaut..part 1..evolution..

I've started a project to keep me occupied over the winter. I'm going to build my own strip built sea kayak.

Obviously it helps that I am quite handy at making things, and having a large workshop I can utilise certainly helps.

I've been using a programme called Kayak Foundry, which is available as a free download, but it's so good it's well worth making a contribution if you use it. Essentially it lets you enter and alter all the parameters you wish, to virtually design a custom kayak, with drag factors, stability etc

When you are happy it's possible to print off the forms at full scale to build the 'spine' of the kayak, which will be used to support the red cedar strips I will eventually build it from.

I sort of know what type of boat I want; a relatively fast stable tourer, but with a bit more rocker[ manouverability] than my current Valley Aquanaut HV [High Volume] which is a rotomoulded polyethylene boat, which is, er, not a light boat to say the least.

One of the main advantages of a wood boat is that it can be incredibly light even compared to a carbon /kevlar composite boat, and I will be hoping to produce something really special.

I've already started on a model of the Miquanaut, as I call it as it's loosely based on the lines of an Aquanaut, building a 1/8 scale model, which considering I'm a professional modelmaker is quite fun, and its also given me a huge insight to the construction method itself, and already highlighted future problem areas.

For those interested, the forms were produced on a laser cutting machine, and the strips made from 1.0mm Fomex at 3mm width, which equates to a 24mm strip at full scale, but I'll probably use 20mm for exta pliability. I used superglue [extra thin grade] to stick it together and U-Pol Super smooth body filler to fill the odd gap.

I'll go into the physics of wood strip and construction in Part 2.........