Many pixels are dedicated to some seriously high end equipment here at Modern Kayak Fishing, for which we make no apologies for. We do after all, seek the best fit for the sport. Then sometimes, something else absolutely unique comes along. A one of a kind hand built craft that makes an entry level vehicle to get another generation on the water and passionate about pursuing fish with the stealth of a “no engines” craft. Enter the “Peace Canoe”.
Designed by Chesapeake Light Craft in the USA. At the waterline, she has a length of 5.1m (18') and a beam of 900mm (3'). Super stable, physically cannot possibly sink, tons of storage, elegant lines and weighing in at 100lbs, she's been an interesting project.
The plans spruik the ability to construct this project over the course of a weekend. We've decided that you'd have to be a professional chippie on Dexedrine with seriously fast curing glues and an Army (or Navy) of helpers to make this happen. 2 weeks off and on later and she's painted and ready to slide into the water and christen with the customary champagne. Here's how we arrived at this point in time.
The plans arrive after 6 weeks of USPS shenanigans and a lengthy stay on the Crown at the Australian Customs service. They're opened with much anticipation,delight and nagging from a keen 11 year old.
Time to shop for the materials: 2kg's of screws and nails, 8 tubes of Sikaflex, 5 sheets of marine ply, 99 feet of pine and 4 litres of paint. After several hours of reminiscing with the friendly staff of Mitre10 Mullumbimby, all is loaded onto the ute and carted home.
Days three to five:
The marine ply is laid and the dimensions transcribed onto one surface of the ply sheets. The process made interesting, to say the least, by the plan's use of Imperial measurements rather than metric. Luckily the builder's manual contains hints on techniques for achieving the various curved lines.
Time to play with the electric table saw, kindly supplied by builder friend Andrew. Adjustments and test runs to check calibration and acquire working knowledge of it. Then the angles were cut on the pine and placed aside for later use as seats, bow and stern posts and chine logs.
Now it's time to very carefully cut out the ply. (The ply being the most costly ingredient.) The manual giving excellent hint on use of the circular saw. This is where port and starboard sides are labelled, and bow and stern ends also.
Day eight and nine:
We construct the three major parts: port side, starboard side, keel and hull. Completed with the aid of so very many nails, butt plates and several tubes of Sikaflex.
Scarf joints in the middle of the chine logs and sheer clamps were created to give th 20 odd foot length required. Time to secure the chine logs and sheer clamps to the sides. Again, many nails, careful bending of the pine and lots of Sikaflex. The seats were also constructed and filled with expanding foam and recycled old life jackets for extra buoyancy. Stern and stem posts were added to one side.
The port and starboard side were joined to the seats, then the bow and stern. A tricky operation, the stern not quite lining up as anticipated, the seats a little askew. The hull and keel then combined with the sides create one piece. The canoe starting to actually resemble one at long last. A milestone and a good reason for a frosty ale.
Once all the Sikaflex had cured, time to take the rough edges off all surfaces. The hull ground back at the edges to make a neat chine with the aid of a flapper disc on the angle grinder, all nails hammered flush. Generous digit staining, sticky Sikaflex beading applied to any gap, crease, nook and cranny. Then the orbital sander went into overdrive, the angle grinder sparked away some more. Surfaces starting to look neat and ready for painting.
Day's thirteen and fourteen:
Paint. Three coats of waterproof primer in and out. Drying times excellent due to some well awaited sunshine. Then two top coats of Lisse's blend of “Sky Blue”. A colour decided on by the boys as camouflage. (The fish look up and see the sky.) Chine logs, gunwales, bow and stern posts trimmed in white. It's reminiscent of a fishing vessel from the Greek isles (and by no coincidence, the colours of the boy's favourite footy team)
Maiden voyage. Many interested parties, both involved in the build or just keen to take a ride on S.S. Brunsfishers gathered at the Stuart Street boatramp for the ceremonial cascade of champagne upon her bow, and the blessing of both craft and all who sail upon her. Darren headed out solo for the “Watertight integrity, primary and secondary stability tests. Passing with flying colours, time to load up the children and set them off. Things started interestingly. Getting three four boys under the age of eleven to cooperate and navigate at the same time is like herding cats with ADHD. Soon enough however, they learned to combine their paddle strokes and move ahead in ONE direction. Fishing conditions were lousy due to the amount of fresh in the system, but a great time was had by all. The level of enthusiasm displayed by the boys most excellent. I took to the water in my Hobie Revolution to escort and supervise them hearing at one stage the boys exclaim that “This is better than the boat!” (a $45k Quintrex with 90 horses of Mercury Optimax on the back)
Conclusion: The builders website and manual are not correct, unless you do in fact have access to Dexedrine and glue that cures yesterday. The longest part of the build, is waiting for the plans to arrive. A Seriously manoeuvrable, fast and stealthy weapon against fish, that is rated for a whopping 600lb payload.
What not to do:
Don't use finger jointed pine. Mill you own if you have the use of a table saw, otherwise many mills can custom make you the parts for the gunwales and chine logs.
At all costs source the correct nails. Choose brass first as it does not rust and stainless failing that.
Some of the more crucial parts of the build, i.e. The seat insertion phase requires steady hands, some muscle, attention to detail, most of which, regardless of the level of enthusiasm, 11 year old boys just don't posses.
Whilst the plans lay out a cut out pattern, extra time could be spent to double the ply to cut both sides exactly the same clamped together, cut together to give two identical pieces, as opposed to cutting each side separately. Symmetry is the key.
Make sure you put the gunwales on the right way up to alleviate the stress on the scarf joints!
This vessel is not designed to go on a car or ute top. A very clever submersible trailer has been built to take care of that, sporting a jockey wheel for easy transit through the streets of Mullumbimby, and a keel slot holding the canoe in place. More on this later.