As of today, I've built just two kayaks this winter, both smaller variations on the Rebecca design. One of my favorite parts of the building process is when I finally have the opportunity to find out how she actually floats on the water. A well established, low-investment method for doing this when building a skin-on-frame boat is by wrapping the wood frame with industrial pallet wrap, then going for a paddle. Its just cool. It always feels novel to me.
Will these things really float?
Its a miracle!
Martin is more gung-ho than me for these testing days. Thanks Martin!
I'm always slightly incredibly overly worried about putting a hole in the pallet wrap because its hard work to wrap these suckers by myself, and after transporting them for miles undamaged, I really don't want them to be holed during launching. Its with that perspective that I hover over Martin like a.... a mother hen? "Watch those rocks.", I say. I steady the boat for him while he gets in. Annoyed, Martin growls "I've paddled a boat or two!" as he smoothly slips in and paddles off. I get nervous once he's in water over 3 feet deep. I'm a fool, really. I've never holed these pallet-wrapped boats ever, and the bilge always stays perfectly dry.
Do kayaks have bilges?
Martin quickly forgave me after a couple of minutes of paddling:
Still giddy, I follow with this; forgetting to don my PFD, I paddle to the middle of the lake in the dead of winter without immersion gear. In a saran wrap boat. Man it was great! It feels so good to paddle without so much stuff on. Martin sternly disapproved upon my return. You're right, buddy:
I'm supposed to be paying attention to how the kayak handles, but its easy to get distracted:
In the end, Martin and I both agreed that one of the boats felt a tad sluggish, (which I expected), so I changed a few things, tested it again, then deemed it worthy of its permanent covering of 8.5 ounce ballistic nylon. Its hard to tell, but in the image below the kayak is travelling at about 3 MPH. Slick!