Cobra Revision - First Impression

Well I finally got a Cobra Revision.  Thank's Maria for such a wonderful Gift!  

The nice folks at Savannah Canoe and Kayak helped me outfit it with deck lines and help me rivet in handles to be used as foot straps.  They also lent me a back band as I had left mine at home.

I got to try it out in flat water for a while and found it does not stand a chance of keeping up with the sea kayaks on flat water.  It is slow just like the old whitewater boats are slow. However once you get on a wave it planes easily and surfs quickly.  Flat turns are easy, but you need to use the paddle to rudder so you stay on the wave.  Using a bracing rudder turns you off the wave or at the very least turns you backwards on the wave.  I had a lot of fun wearing myself out in the small stuff near the edge of the inlet on Tybee Island.

The boat is very stable with a unique bottom that is flat in the middle, then become slightly rounded, and at the edge has channels that make for really hard chines.

Seems like it will be fun in some of the mildwater I run, but it may be tricky avoiding catching an edge.

I'll let you know more as I learn more.  This is my first new boat in many many years, but I definitely think it will be a keeper.

Trituradora de Canoa - Damage Assesment & Repair

A close up of the bottom with tape added to the most flexible part of the keel. I put a short strip right over the crack, which looked much worse than I had thought after sanding.  It is too bad, I cannot reach this part of the sit on top from the inside of the hull.  After the short strip I added a 1.5 inch strip and a 2.5 inch strip about 3 feet long.

Here is a long shot of the hull after sanding reveals all the old repairs.

To make tape by cutting fiberglass cloth in a straight line, I remove a few threads. This makes a path I can easily see for the scissors to follow.

I save the left over threads and twist them up and add resin to them to repair the stern wear on the keel.

Here is the stern repair. After the epoxy set a bit more I used my fingers to form it and smooth it out.  I will do minimal sanding on the sides of the repairs and the rest will get smoothed by rocks and logs.

Now I'm wondering if a composite boat is actually better than a plastic boat.  I drag the plastic boats everywhere except on pavement and they last a long long time without ever needing repairs and painting on the bottom.

Fat Frank or Trituradora de Canoa

My old Watertribe name was Fat Frank, but based on my boats maybe it should be changed to Trituradora de Canoa.

Anyway, I was very optimistic about the Current Designs Kestrel 140 repairs after coming back from all the rocks in UP Michigan.  I thought I would not need any repairs until this winter, but the oysters in Core Sound were more than my light hull could take.

Mostly I just have scratches in the paint and epoxy.

These scratches look bad but it is the paint that was removed.

Here some of the epoxy was worn down to the old gel coat.

The scupper hole has these weird cracks around the epoxy here. I just smoothed out what the previous owner did and filled it with paint.  It never leaks here so I think this will be fine for a few years.

This crack will need repair.  It is just forward of an area where I stiffened the hull by adding more layers of glass.  I think I need to extend the glass stiffening layers forward given the abuse this boat is subjected to at times.  At this rate it will be as heavy as a Kruger Canoe in the coming years.

Boats or Kayaks for Children

My first boat was a military surplus inflatable raft from a mail order catalog.  We got two paddles with it and my dad made them into a single kayak paddle.  I went all over the Cross Bayou in Florida with that boat chasing alligators, snakes, and fish.  My sons got a kayak, a pirogue, and an inflatable as their first boats.  Today there are a lot more options for a child's first boat. 

I still think the first boat should come at the age of about 6 years old.  At this stage children just play with the boats more than paddle them any real distance. A boat is a source of self esteem  and independence for a child that they should not miss.  Kayaks are ideal first boats and now they make more child's sizes and models than ever!

Jackson Kayak is really bringing up the rec boat and whitewater market for children!


I really like Tim Niemeyer's "No Child Left Inside" initiative.  You can read more about it on his excellent site here: Kids Wave Kayak

This may be the best thing you can buy any child and it is available all over the place just type "kids wave kayak" into your browser.

This boat is rated for up to 120 pounds and they are stackable!  I think these may be the ideal solution for a young paddling family.  Children are rarely interested in tripping but they like to play on the water. so a couple of these and a canoe or pair of kayaks for the parents would be great for camping near the lake or the sound.  Once they little ones get bigger they could try them in the surf, but make certain is is really easy surf and they are properly equipped for it.

I think inflatable boats are actually the best solution for the surf because they don't hurt as much as you learn the lessons needed to stay out of the way of the boat.  Hard boats in the surf can really hurt children so be mindful of what can happen.  The problem with inflatables for children is that most of them are so wide the child can not reach the sides easily.  I found the best solution here is two children per inflatable with one paddling on each side with single blades.  Sometimes they get it right and it is a joy to watch.  When they get it wrong it is usually hilarious! A parent wearing swim fins can be a lot of help in guiding them out through the surf and coaching them onto the waves.  Ideally another adult is onshore with a good camera. I do regret not having a good water proof camera for taking pictures when my boys were young.

Jordan Lake - to the dam and back

We launched at Fearrington Point as always and went down to the dam.  Then Nancy lead on a longish lunch hike up to the dam and across it to a picnic platform with restrooms and a view.

Jordan Lake - Easy 10 miler

This was my first 10 miler with the single blade paddle in the Kestrel 140 that I am taking on the Lumber River Challenge.  I kept up better going into the wind than down wind, because of the number of correction strokes I had to take down wind.  In the twisty river I paddle on one side and then the other because I'm always following a curve so I hope I'll be able to keep a 4 MPH moving average for the 20 miler Lumber River Challenge.

Strokes and Maneuvers

I had fun working with everyone!  
We had a really good group of likable people and we all worked well together.