Last September I gave my youngest boy plans to build a kayak. Designed by Vaclav Stejskal of One Ocean Kayaks, the Cirrus SLT is perhaps the best design I’ve seen for a growing 11 yr old boy. Now almost 12, he and I started the stitch and glue boat almost 5 months ago. With part time attention, today marked the boat’s maiden voyage. It was christened “Bob”. We had a fun time paddling up a portion of the James River for lunch and then returned.
|Bob and paddler. Happy Birthday (10 months later).|
Here’s Vaclav’s description of the kayak. I heartily agree.
“This is a kid’s first dream kayak with serious grow up performance that they will not so easily outgrow. At a mere 28 lb it is just about the lightest kayak of it’s type available, even lighter than genuine racing kayaks. It was designed with great care to inherit all the nice tracking, efficiency and stability behavior from its parent design the Cirrus. The Cirrus SLT could also be the ideal craft in which to introduce your youngest to the joys of paddling in nature and perhaps even some practical woodworking skills in your shop: definitely a memorable building experience for both kids and the “adults”. The size of the kayak makes building possible in the smallest of shops and garages. Even shop teachers and Scouts now have a kayak that is basically dedicated for paddlers from 85 to 145 lbs and under 5’6″ in height”.
I’ll have to say that this site has all the performance data you could possibly want. The rolled plans could not have been better for a scratch build. The full-sized paper templates worked great. We scored the plywood with a utility knife, cut close to the mark with the jig saw, and made the final trimming with a small hand plane. The stitched panels were dead on. Aside from that, the boat’s rolled deck and Pettit Ocean Blue paint look great.
Some construction photos follow here:
|Hull wired in cradle with molds.|
|Close up of deck. Copper wire and hot melt stitches.|
|Test fit to the user.|
|Taped edges for clean glass trimming.|
|Set up for epoxy end pour.|
We have maybe $450 in plans and materials. Its all been worth it. The final product beats any roto-molded boat “bottle” by miles. My buddy can really zip along.
|Passed a couple crewed shells.|
The “Real Feel” temp was 102. Casting along in the shade was significantly cooler. Saw bass, brim, and gar. Water was done and pretty clear. We had a PBJ lunch on the bank before turning around.
|We skirted the south shore in the shade.|
Finally used my homemade and collapsible dolly. It worked great. A strap (not shown) holds the hull down. Pulled by the nose, now we can load the boat like a wheelbarrow and truck to the water’s edge.
|My homemade dolly.|
I loved the grin on my boy as he rolled along. We’re looking forward to some overnight trekking this Fall. Heck, I may have trouble keeping up with this water bug!