I’ve been lucky enough to be given this kayak yesterday. She’s around 13ft and has no manufacturers mark, that I can find. Obviously, quite an old model as The Thames license is 1996. She’s in really good condition and has just one 20mm bubble in the gelcoat at the stern. She appears to be well made, apart from the cutout edges in the seat/coving moulding, which I’ll tidy up,
Can anyone identify her please?
I’d also like to replace the rubbing 30mm wide rubbing tape to tidy her up. It’s nothing fancy, just a flat, thick insulation tape type product.
Any ideas for finding such a product?
I’m also toying with cutting out the seat (cut marked with the blue tape) and replacing with an adjustable seat from my Kirton racing K1, as the moulded in seat could do with being 2" further back. BTW, I can’t stay upright in the Kirton!
Am I mad? I can tell the seat moulding adds rigidity to the hull, so I may have to glass up a spreader plate of some sort?
Not an expert, as I wasn’t paddling back when that was made. But, here are my thoughts…
It is a whitewater kayak. Either looks like whitewater kayak from the 70s, back when many people made their own kayaks using borrowed molds or on their own. Or maybe is a slightly newer whitewater slalom racing boat.
If you do plan to use it for whitewater paddling, you will find that the designs have changed by heaps and you would be better off skipping on the free boat and get something much more recent which are available cheap on the used market.
If you are going to use on flat water, make sure it has added flotation (float bags or the like) for when you flip. And it really isn’t made for someone to get back inside it in deep water, so avoid places where you are too far from shore to swim back.
I had a similar whitewater kayak years ago — my outing club had an Augsburger mold based on the old Olympic standard 13’ slalom boats that we could use to lay up our own fiberglass on and it was one of those DIY jobs. This could well be one of similar home built origin which was common in tge 1970’s and 80’s…
We built ours with a thinner glass breakaway seam between the hull and deck halves (covered by the tape) and also the hull was two halves, bow and stern, glassed together lightly so if the paddler was pinned in the boat in rapids the force of the water could break up the boat and release them from entrapment, at least that was the intent though I never knew of it happening in practice.
i wouldn’t recommend cutting the seat if you can fit in it at all.
There is little structure in such a boat and best not to alter it. You do need full bow and stern inflatable flotation bags but since you have experience with fastwater boating you probably know that. The model is also similar to the old school whitewater “pointy boats” like the Perception Dancer that were hugely popular in the US in the ‘80s. Useful for winding narrow rivers and canals as long as you can compensate with paddling skill for them wanting to wander off track in the straightaways. (When I kayaked in Yorkshire a few years ago I noted that most of the local paddling club members I joined on the rivers preferred whitewater boats even on flatwater runs. Rarely the case over here but understandable there. )
Since composite boats are relatively popular in the UK (hope I am guessing your location correctly) a kayak dealer ought to have the seam trim tape available.
Thanks guys for your sage advice! I should have mentioned I’m UK based and live by The Thames in Outer London. My apologies…I thought it was a UK site, until I read some further posts, yesterday.
I’ll be using it for leisurely adventures along the river, which does meander, but about 80ft wide where I am. I can confirm already it does, indeed, spin out without warning! I put this down to the wind funnelling, but discovered from other posts today, it can be due to variance in position from the river bank. Quite different to anything else I’ve paddled, but I do feel very stable in it. I may experiment with a fin after reading posts here, just because! It will also give me a good excuse to improve my paddle technique, but I do think it will be tiresome on longer journeys.
I concur, it looks very close to the Perception Dancer design after trawling the web last night.
The home mould is interesting too, as it was also suggested to me when I called a local paddle manufacturer yesterday. We had a similar looking mould gathering dust at school late 70s/early 80s. I spent 7 years trying to convince my DT teacher to let us make one! Still not sure it’s home produced though, as the mat lay up quality appears to be above the old Ottersports Tourer I had as a kid. If I’d made it, I’d be very happy!
Still not sure about the seat after your comments. I may still cut and shut it just below the cockpit lip and just reposition the original seat, bonding it back in an inch or two further back? I still feel I’m a little too near the bow. I’d like the bow to be another inch out of the water, if possible. Like a fool, I was paddling about asking the local fishermen if the hull looked level (in a “does my bum look big in this” way!) LOL!
Thanks again for your advice and I’ll send some updates, if I chop it!
It appears to be built the same construction as one of my kayaks. I think you’ll find the cockpit is too short to get in legs first; you have to lay the paddle across the back of the cockpit and put your full weight on it to get in.
Removing the seat will weaken the cockpit structure; it may no longer support your weight, possibly crack and bend the deck. A fix might be to cut a dense foam bulkhead that wedges tight under the deck right at the back edge of the cockpit; it has to be tight against both deck and hull to support weight. I have these in both my '70s boats. But in the pic it looks like there is already something there?
There is a very active and helpful UK paddlers forum: Songofthepaddle.
I posted a query there 2 weeks before my last trip to Yorkshire and within hours got half a dozen responses, including an invitation from the members of a canoe and kayak club, the Malton and Norton Canoe Club, right in the town where I was renting a cottage to join them in paddling! Two members arrived at the cottage to welcome me within an hour of my arrival from the US and I had a great time with them during the visit, including two extended trips floating the Rye and Derwent rivers.
Other respondents on the forum recommended places to paddle and things to do during my visit. I had brought my own folding kayak and kit (a 12’ Pakboat Puffin) but actually could have used any number of boats that the folks in Malton had in their club boathouse that were available for visitors to borrow.
The Songofthepaddle forum is set up much like this one and free to enroll and post questions and greetings. Club president Paul Lister and 2 other members below, before we launched onto the Rye. Note that they were all using short whitewater kayaks.