Finally, the Redfish King is ready for the water. Here are thumbnail links to larger photos.
- Dark and light western red cedar strips 0.2 inches thick
- Alaska yellow cedar pin stripes
- Ash stems and mahogany coaming
- Stapleless construction
- 6 oz. satin weave s-glass inside and out
- System 3 clear coat and MAS resins
- System 3 LPU clear gloss finish
- Magnetic hatches
No kayak can do it all, but this boat comes close, very close. It has a great blend of maneuverability, speed, load carrying ability, and day paddling playfulness. It's a very lively yet predictable boat. I have over three years of constant paddling in this boat in conditions including 12 foot swells, breaking waves, 25 knot winds, surf landings, and two week expeditions. The boat handles it all very well.
One of this designs strengths is that it edges nicely. Edging slightly results in a small heading change. With more edging comes stronger turning until it completely skids around with a strong edge. Another is its ability to pick up wind waves and surf for a nice ride. I suppose it's the flat bottom amidships and possibly the swede form hull, but it does this rather well for not being a short, high rockered boat.
Being able to maneuver in the surf is very nice, yet I don't have any problem going straight in a cross wind. I love the way it catches small waves and rides over the big stuff. Rolling is smooth and predictable. Low bracing to bongo slide in surf is easy with no hint of catching an edge. I'm on the low end of it's designed displacement, so paddling it empty in wind is a tad more work. But then I built it to handle my tripping needs as well. I'm pretty happy with the compromise. It's top speed is not any faster than my old Arctic Tern, but I feel like the cruising effort is easier. This is a hard thing to measure and there's not much difference between boats at average speeds. As long as it's not windy and lumpy.
There are quicker turning kayaks, and kayaks that are faster in a sprint. But few that put the whole thing together so well.
I endeavored to make this boat as light and tough as possible. It currently weighs 34 lbs on my bathroom scale. This weight includes all outfitting like seat, bungees, footrest, decklines, etc, so I'm happy with that.
It looks like the steps I took to make a tougher boat worked out well. So far the boat has had a tough life what with things like running it full speed onto an unseen barnacle encrusted boulder and being t-boned in the surf. The bugger to work with 6 oz satin s-glass has stood up over time very well with very little whitening at impact sites and survived much better than any of my other boats would have. Similarly, the System Three LPU is quite a bit tougher than Captain's Varnish that I have used on three other kayaks.