My brother and I owned a heavy tandem kayak which was built when I was 14 in 1960. It was build by the grandfather of my friend Bennie Huisman from marine plywood on heavy Amarican oak frames. The cockpit coaming was Djati teak. So a very heavy kayak.

The double kayak in 1962

The builder ran out of marine ply so the last meter and a half on port was from triplex which rotted away after 2 years. The kayak did only come out of the water in winter.
I replaced the rotten part with marine plywood. That was my first boat building experience.
One year later I built an R1S youth racing kayak from plywood on mahogany frames. It was 5.2 meters long and 51 cm wide with a flat bottom, verry tippy at the start.

R1S design

It was lost in a fire in 1970. From that time on until 1998 I only played with sailboats in the freetime.

In 1998 I bought a Gans Grandy expedition kayak (polyester).

Gans Grandi

The Grandi is not a real sea kayak. It is good for big waters but it paddels rather wet and tracks extremely because of its fixed skeg. Also its volume is not big enough for a 80 kg paddler with camping gear for a week.

A few month later I got the chance to buy a used P&H Baidarka Explorer designed by Dereck Hutchkinson with an ocean cockpit.

Baidarka Explorer by Dereck Hutchkinson

It is not a baidarka at all but P&H gave this name. It is not a beginners kayak but performs very well when the water gets rough. This is the only kayak I unintended capsized with. A few frightening moments because I could not find the grab loop. With an ocean cockpit the loop is much closer so I was searching to far away. I still can only manage the first part of the eskimo roll just as any body.

In 1999 I did find Nicks website and downloaded the plans for the S&G Guillemot. I paddled 10 years with it and enjoyed it very much. I ordered the plans for the Expedition Single and the Night Heron years ago.

Padling on the river Ems in Germany 2002












At first I wanted to build the Expedition Single but because it was my first build I started with the Night Heron High Deck, which I thougt a bit easier for a first time strip builder.

Now, at the end of 2011, I paddled more than 500 km with it. The first few minutes I found her a little tippy but soon I was happy in it. I cannot fall a sleep in it just as in the S&G Guillemot but she is stable enough. Very responsive and fast. Tracks slightly better then the S&G Guillemot. I don’t need a drop-down skeg until now. Loaded with full camping gear she is very stable, far better then I expected.
After 10 years, S&G Guillemot is replaced as favorite by the Night Heron.

And now 2016 I paddled one year in the Fire Star designed by Rob Macks. It is a very nice paddling boat. Much room for camping gear. Unloaded with gear it is very tippy. But loaded with camping gear very stable.
I made a drop down skeg like Björn Thomasson.

De scheg functioneert niet goed. De bedieningsdraden lopen vast als ze nat ijn.

The skeg is not functioning well. The pull wires are to thick when they get wet

Jan vaart er ook lekker mee

Jan also likes paddling in it

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