Epic V7 Modifications


They say material things cannot bring happiness but I've derived a lot of pleasure from tinkering with my Epic V7 to make it suit my purpose for Touring, Fishing, and Sailing

I first paddled Jim Smith's demo boat in Raleigh at Lake Crabtree.   I liked it right away.  It was very very comfortable without anything but the shape of the seat.  It is the most comfortable boat I've encountered.

Shortly after buying one I had to cut a hole in the front to install a hatch so I could use that big empty space for tent poles and other items.  After all this is my most comfortable boat so I wanted to paddle it on any long trips I might make.

Next I got a proper hatch cover from Hurricane Kayaks that fit the rear hatch.  The soft cover was sort of water tight and fine for surf, but I think it would be subject to tearing in rivers where there are a lot of branches that will scrape the boat when I'm right side up and a lot of rocks I might scrape over upside down.  Also this cover is much quicker to open and close that the fabric one.

Next came an out rigger. This provides superior stability which helped me in many situations.  I think this is version two and I made many versions and am not yet certain I am done tinkering with outriggers.

Above is an extremely curved outrigger that I thought would lessen the drag and still provide great stability.  It was a lot of work to bend and has a lot of dimples from the heating and bending, but it worked well enough.

Later I chopped the outrigger shorter as I did not need the extra weight for stability and the ends were well out of the water.  I also started making the connections stronger.  The akas or crossbeams are simple 4 foot hardwood dowels and they have worked really well, but the connections at the main hull and the ama or outrigger hull have been subject to failure in surf and larger waves.

Here you can see an alternate seat I tried on a day trip around Harkers Island.  It was affixed over the gunnels raising my position in the boat buy more than 6 inches.  This proved far too tippy for anything but calm water and the improved bio-mechanics of paddling from a higher position provided little in added speed.  And most importantly, it was not as comfortable as the standard Epic surfski cockpit.

Naturally once cruising or touring aspects are settled, it is time to add fishing to the mix.  This boat is an excellent trolling machine as well as a decent all around fishing boat.

And finally I've added the sail to make it my do everything boat.  At least it has become my favorite boat for all warm weather paddling.  

This small sailing rig is very easy to handle.  It is not a fast rig and most of the time it just adds a knot or two of speed to the paddling rate.  I think the sweet spot for an auxiliary sail like this is 7 to 15 square feet for a paddle craft without a lee board.   Once you go much bigger, the complications of a bigger rig, bigger rudder and leeboard, make the boat less useful. In the shallow waters of the Core and Bogue Sounds I find it faster to paddle straight upwind in a narrow channel than to try to tack. A small simple rig paddles upwind better.  I can make more miles per day with this small rig than I can in a canoe or kayak that is set up primarily for sailing with a bigger sail.


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