We've been having adventures in kayaks for many years now. Together we've paddled the rivers and canals of Somerset, the waters of the Lake District and the coast around Devon. Individually we've also canoed in the docks of Bristol, the harbour at Portsmouth and various canals amongst other places.

Snowdonia, North Wales

Our first water adventure with children involved a hired Canadian canoe on the Kennet and Avon canal. The children loved watching the ducks and gliding along the waterway. We stopped for a picnic lunch before heading back, the day was a definite hit.
Building our first canoe started off as a Daddy/Son project when the children were tiny. It was a 17 foot, skin-on-frame open canoe designed by Mark. The result was good and so enjoyable that we used it for many years. It was purposely built to be big enough for all of us.

The golden canoe, Lake District, England

Whilst cruising, our inflatable canoes allowed us the freedom to explore whilst taking up very little stowage space. When we returned to England with growing children and ageing canoes it was time to replace them.-o 

The first canoe was another Canadian style for the deckhands to play with, again designed and built by Mark. Using some old PVC water pipes and bits of pine which were lying around to create the frame it was then covered in camouflage rip-stop material. 
The next project was some single canoes. Mark decided to go for skin-on-frame again, this time using Yostworks Sea Bee design. He used exterior plywood with a heavy soaking of Danish oil for the framework. The skin is ripstop polycotton - bought cheap at some time in the past.

Wooden frames during construction

The bungees across the decks work well for holding paddles/pump/any other necessities that you want to be able to get to easily. The rope around the cockpit is a nice detail which came from another design.
The Sea Bee Kayak in Plymouth Sound


The end result was a couple of nice looking, fast kayaks. They have been used lots on the Devon coast. The deckhands have also been trying them out and are able to handle them well. Overall we are very pleased with the kayaks. They track well, are light to carry to and from the beach and manage in reasonable sized swell. There is also, very importantly, enough stowage space to take along a picnic.

 April 2018

Here is the latest kayak.

Built by eye this time and incorporating some nice features like a sail and some driftwood from one of the beaches of Plymouth Sound.

She's pretty but is difficult to turn because of the skeg. The outriggers provide the right amount of buoyancy if you tip but stay out of the water as long as you keep yourself upright. The skin is heavyweight polyester sewn on then varnished. Some blue oil paint was used to tint the varnish giving the lovely colour.

This was a testing session, the skin is going to be replaced with a lighter-weight but more resilient rip stop material and the skeg will be planed and reduced to at least half.

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