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An Aleutian Speed Machine
A Baidarka loosely based on the 1845 MAE AC.

Turner Wilson was here for Coastbusters 2006 and during a conversation on kayak building he mentioned that he thought a Baidarka would be the ideal machine for New Zealand conditions. I had been thinking about a Baidarka as the next kayak to build after the Sea Spirit so a new project was conceived. Now I have to admit that this Baidarka isn't my proudest moment as a kayak builder but from the little time I had in the kayak it seems to go ok, it rolls as well as my Greeland SOF and maybe now I'll be able to keep up with Kate in her Sea Spirit.

My overall impressions of the build process are that other than being a little more time consuming than a Greenland kayak, mainly because of the work in the bow, the process is very similar. Here are a few dimensions to start with; Length: 5586mm (18'4") Width:432mm (17'") Depth to Sheer: 197mm (7.7") I lowered the deck ridge height by 20mm (.75") as I wanted a tight fitting kayak but it ended up being too tight so I had to raise the deckbeam directly in front of the coaming by 20mm and I reshaped it a little hence the "knuckles" on the deck.

It is constructed out of radiata pine for the bi-furcated bow, gunwales and tailfin, with oak used for the ribs, stringers and coaming. Everthing is a lot lighter than a Greenland kayak with the ribs and stringers only being 8mm x 6mm and the whole thing flexed a lot until the skin was on. They are designed to flex when in the water so I suppose this is to be expected. Once again th eskin is 8.5oz ripstop polyester but this time I have used a black 2 pot marine polyurethane to paint it, which was faster to apply than the single pot flooring polyurethane used on the Greenland SOF.

Due to an injury suffered on launch day (while rolling the Baidarka) I can't really give any info on it's paddling characteristics but as soon as I'm 100% again I'll take it for a decent paddle and give an update.

SOF at Marahau Beach.
All finished! Ready for the first paddle, all five minutes of it..

I've dumped a few unedited photos of the Baidarka into my Picasa Web album. It is a bit messy but it'll give you an idea of what is needed to build one.

I had a bit of a play in it

The top ladder for the kayak assembled.
A Baidarka in its raw form .

Deck beam tenon.
And the reference material used to build it.

There was quite a bit of work involved in the bow but it was satisfying to see it take shape.

The tail
Here is the other distinctive feature of the Baidarka.

An interior shot showing the modified deckbeam. Don't look too closely at the ribs.

Team effort
I've got to thank Steve and Pete for the coaming, it was a good Wellington team effort. The toogles are made from Purpleheart.

The knuckles
I quite like the look of the knuckles that the modified deckbeam produced.

Family helping
It's a tight fit and I needed a hand to get in. It should get easier with practicer.

I think she likes it
Kate was hoping I wouldn't fit.

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