Boat design - crazy idea?

I’ve got this thought that I keep turning over in my head. If I took the lines off my Arctic Hawk and digitized them, I could readily re-draw the boat with say an extra foot or so in length, maybe chop an inch or so off the height of the decks, and decrease the beam by maybe 1.5 or 2 inches. I could then build a new boat.

What do you experienced folks think? I’ve never built, designed, or modified the design of any sort of boat. Will this approach yield a slightly faster albeit less stable version of the Arctic Hawk with a little less windage or is there a lot more too the equation that I’m missing here?

As for construction, there are four possibities that pop into my head: SOF, S&G, stripper, or composite. I wouldn’t attempt the composite myself, but there’s a fellow in town doing nice high end whitewater & downriver boats - I bet I could talk him into it (we’d probably build a one-off mold to keep the cost down).

Any thoughts? Crazy idea that’s going to lead to a barge (or worse yet, a sunken barge)?

If You’re Not Tech Phobic
and have a fast computer, go over to and do a search on free boat design software. Some of these, help you design, give displacement, center of gravity, theoretical hull speed, etc. However, real world testing is always needed to fine tune.

You can also go low tech. When I reskinned by SOF, I saved the skin to make templates for a panels to be used in a S&G. The issue of time. Some many projects, so little time. Oh, we are supposed to get some paddling in there somewhere… :frowning: Of course, we get winter up here but that is actually some of the best time to paddle up here.


I could help
I could help you develop the hull lines if you want.

IMHO, stitch & glue would be the easiest way to go if it’s your first time.

Form Follows Function
You have it visualized, so do it! Do what you have in your head. It sounds like a great concept and a lot of fun. Push this whole thing far enough and you’ll make a fortune. Einstien said “If you can visualize it it can be done.” Picasso said “Understand your time.” and I say “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth over doing.”

Above all, have fun! If you build it, regardless of the physics, it will be the best boat you ever paddle.

Many have gone before…
Every plan out their has probably been modified by now by someone. You boat is of a family, and already a mod of sorts. There are MANY other designs - some much closer to what your looking for.

Go for it, but don’t re-invent the wheel without rolling it around a bit! Some research before you commit to a plan will be worth the time.

Go to:

Better place to get that sort of info. Post what you are looking for in a kayak (on building and design forums) - and what you’re thinking so far. I’m sure you’ll get more ideas and a lot of help.

saw a similar request before
Someone posted this idea back in Oct 2002:

Same person now?

My thoughts…
I’ve done a similiar project, different boat. I liked the lines of a SOT and the way it paddled. It was poly and I just got tired of the weight. I took the boat to a sailboat builder and he did molds and a one off in fiberglass that I really like. He wanted to modify the molds and try to make the boat more sail worthy, so I had him make another for my wife–who blew it off in favor of her SIT-IN. I think you should take the boat to the glass person and seek their advice.

Greyaks’ right, many boats have been modified and the kayak forum is a great place to start. I used it and lots of research including purchasing a keylar SOT before I decided to follow my own idea. Don’t be afraid to follow your own thoughts and ideas, you know what you want…go for it.

My .02


I modified a boat once
I found that I put a lot of work into something that wasn’t a very good design. The people that design the boats seem to have learned many of the lessons that I learned the hard way. Unless you are very knowledgeable in boat design you might find all the work you did was for nothing. From now on I am going to take advantage of others experiences.

I and another fellow designed my version of what I wanted in a 18’x21 four panel s&g kayak based on pre-glued and spread sheerclamps (CLC style) ,by the time I was in the water and thinking of making another I made a Merganser 16,"oh hell why bother, "…

For the modified boat check out Bill Whitcomb and Bobby Curtis’ designs that came from the “Northbay experience”.