Kayak Plan Queries/Which One?

Sorry for the long message but please bear with me.

I am very interested in building a stitch and paste kayak and have been studying numerous websites over the past four months or so. The problem is I am now suffering from information overload and getting increasingly confused. Nothing seems particularly suited to my needs.

First, I must explain my position. I am living in Thailand so buying a kit is not really a suitable option as the freight charges and customs duties will double the price of the kit. As such I only wish to buy plans and will source my materials here in Thailand. Sourcing my materials here may be a bit of a problem, but one I am looking forward to. It is likely that the epoxies and coatings here will be much more suited to the very humid atmosphere: 70 to 85 percent, or maybe I am just fooling myself.

I am 182 cm tall (6 foot) and weigh 73 kg (161 lbs) age 47.

I will be based at a dam (resevoir) that is 288 square kilometers in size (approx. 111 square miles). The type of kayak I am interested in will be used for fishing, nature watching and touring. I will be covering some quite large stretches of open water between the many tiny islands on the dam and the dam can get quite choppy when the wind is blowing. I believe I need something quite stable for fishing (which I do a lot of) so something with good initial and secondary stability but I also want to be able cover long distances at a reasonable clip (not racing), while at the same time I need a reasonably good degree of manoeuvrability as there are many small coves and inlets in the dam. I will not use the kayak in the sea, but I will also be doing some yaking in some medium to slow paced rivers (no white water).

Some of the kayaks that have made my list are below:

Pinguino Sport (Pygmy) Plans don’t appear to be available

Wood Duck 12 (CLC) Concerned about covering long distances*

Mill Creek 13 (CLC) Again concerned about covering long distances*

Chesapeake 17LT (CLC) Good for touring but not so sure about fishing and nature watching.

14 Foot Great Auk (Guillemot) Perhaps not so good for fishing

MicroBootlegger (Guillemot) Perhaps open water issues

Wadefish 15-32 (JEM Watercraft) This is a SOT but may be worth considering because of the heat here but it looks too ambitious a build for me.

Sea Island Sport (CLC-Guillemot) SOT. Seems ideal for fishing and tropical climates but may have touring issues.

*When I say I am concerned about covering long distances, I simply mean that they seem fine for fishing or nature watching but not suitable for touring.

Are there any special considerations I should be aware of being in a tropical climate, which could impact on the build, use, storage or qualities of the kayak. For example termites are a big issue here in Thailand so the wood would be treated before the build. The water temp will be much higher than what you are used to in the states and Europe so that may be an issue (I honestly don’t know). The water would have a cooling effect but would you overheat sitting inside the kayak for long periods of time. Maybe a SOT would be the way to go.

As you will see from my ramblings above, I do not have much experience. Many years ago, about 30 to be more accurate, when in the scouts I used to do a lot of kayaking but have not done any since. At that time, we were not into studying theory it was all a matter of getting out on the river or lake.

Any suggestions, recommendations, comments, would be greatly appreciated.



– Last Updated: Aug-26-09 11:03 AM EST –


I built a S&G solo canoe that might be a good option. It works well with a single or double blade, and has been fine in starting-to-whitecap conditions on the local lake, even when my 75-pound dog is trying to bite the tops off the waves. Adding a spray deck would make it even better. For your conditions an open boat with a removeable fabric deck might be a good way to balance comfort and seaworthiness.

It's the Osprey S&G from Green Valley Boat Works:

The design was recently revised -- I don't see it on the site yet, but I got an email from them saying that it was ready.

A skin-on-frame might be another option for you -- they don't have to be skinny Greenland-style boats! The Yost site has a ton of information about building, plans are free, and you could ask on the kayak builder's forum or at qajaq usa about modifying a design to better suit your needs.

What are the native craft in that area?

Concerns about some CLC offerings.
The Wood Duck and the MillCreek are both more “recreational boat” designs. As such, I have concerns about using them if the waters are going to be very choppy. You’d be better off with a sea kayak or sit-on-top design.

I’ve heard surprising reviews about the CLC Sea Island Sport - that it’s remarkably quick for what it is.


– Last Updated: Aug-26-09 11:09 PM EST –

Thanks for the information. The locals mainly use small dugout type canoes (some motorized)for close to shore but some of the fishermen use wooden long tailed boats made from wood planks.

I had not given much thought to SOF because of the use issue. I will be doing quite a bit of fishing and was concerned about perforating the skin.

The Osprey looks interesting but not quite what I was after. I will look at the otehr links and see what I can find out.

Response to dsetzer
I had the same concerns about the Wood Duck but was not sure about the Mill Creek. As I will be getting in and out quite a bit I may have to go with a SOT or a canoe, but really wanted a kayak.

Some thoughts . . .
I got to test paddle the CLC Wood Duck a few months ago. While it’s a very attractive boat, it truly is not a touring boat - not fast and very wide - probably good for short trips and local fishing, like you said. CLC does offer a stitch and glue (Not paste) sit-on-top, which looks interesting for your needs, but I am not familiar with it.

All of the Pygmy Boats kits are great, but I know they don’t focus on offering plans. You might contact them and ask.

Finally, please, please don’t consider trying to treat the wood that will be in your kayak for termites! First, the treatment may very well affect the bonding of the epoxy, which is critical to the strength and water tightness of the boat. Second, a properly completed S&G kayak has the wood components completely encased in epoxy and fiberglass.

Having spent part of my childhood in the Philippines and having finished growing up in Vietnam, trust me when I say I know and appreciate tropical termites. Unless the termites in your locale are known to eat through layers of hard epoxy and fiberglass, you have nothing to worry about.

I wish you the best of luck in your building adventure. Who knows, it could lead to a lucrative enterprise for you!

Reply to Angell
:):):slight_smile: What a fool I am. Of course, with everything covered in fiberglass etc the termites are not an issue. Although I had heard of some species eating through plastic pipes.

I hadn’t thought that the repellent would have had an effect on the epoxy. But, as you rightly point out, it is now a non-issue as I won’t be using any!!

I understand that humidity will have a great effect on the epoxy and coatings. I’ll have to research more on that and see what is available here in Thailand.

SOF durability thread

not necessarily
The stitch and glue kayak kits do not necessarily have the wood completely encased in fiberglass on the underside of the deck or on the inside of the hull.

Of course, you can go ahead and glass the inside of the deck and hull if you choose since you will not be building from a kit.

I built a kit from Pygmy and one from CLC. As I remember, the CLC boat kit just had fiberglass cloth tape to use on the seams on the inside of the hull and not glass for the underside of the deck (in fact, due to the CLC design, it would have been difficult to glass the underside of the deck). The Pygmy kit did include enough glass cloth for the inside of the hull, but not the underside of the deck, if I remember correctly.

Don’t worry
Being your first boat don’t analyze it to death. I did and you will never be totally happy with the first one. Don’t go really short, in choppy water they are like being in a rocking chair! 15-16 foot is a good choice.

SOF are tough at nails. Don’t let their fragile looks fool you. I put mine places you think would shred the skin.

Don’t fret over stability either. You will be uncomfortable at first in anything. But you will adjust quickly as long as you didn’t buy a really narrow boat. Just pick one and jump in. Paddle it a while and learn what you like and don’t and build another. :slight_smile:

Pygmy boats has us cover
the entire boat under construction with one or more layers of fiberglass - inside and out, including under the deck. Joints are additionally reinforced with layers of fiberglass tape and any stress points (e.g. back of coaming where you may sit) are reinforced with layers of fiberglass inside under the deck. This makes a really strong boat.

Even if the underside of the deck is not fiberglassed, as in the case of some of the CLCs, there are still protective layers of epoxy - hence no risk of termite invasion.

Moobin, I just checked the Pygmy
Boats site here: http://www.pygmyboats.com/KITS.HTM , and they are now offering plans for some kits. I invite you to review their site for the possibilities, then call or email with your questions. Their customer service is exceptional and they will patiently address all your questions.

They may even be able to work out some personalized arrangements for your particular needs.

And, don’t fault yourself for not knowing some of these issues - a couple of years ago, I knew nothing about S&G construction. If you put yourself in the guidance of experts who know every detail, it will be hard to go wrong - plus you always have somebody there to address your questions.

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor.

Thanks for the update
I have visited the Pygmy Boats site a few times. I am not sure that there is anything really suitable to my needs.

I am very green when it comes to work of this nature, however, I do most of my own home repairs myself (even though labour costs are so low here in Thailand). I work in an office but in my free time like doing manual tasks that also take quite a bit of thought. I already have most of the tools I would need, except for the jigsaw but I can get one easy enough.

I am looking for locally available materials and it is proving quite difficult, even with being able to speak the language.

Thanks to everyone for their input.

For a body of water that size I’d highly recommend something longer, at least 15’ if not 17’. Manuvering isn’t really an issue, the turning radius of a very straight tracking boat will be maybe double that of an easy turing one, but that’s a difference of perhaps 20’ radius. Doesn’t matter much unless you’re right on the shoreline.

I take my long boats on moving waters without any problems at all.

Bill H.

Moobin, from what you are saying,
it seems like you would have little problem with building a boat kit, since the most challenging work (design, cutting, organizing materials and the building steps) is already done for for you. It would be more of a challenge to build from plans for your first boat.

I encourage you not to rule out the possibilities until you explore all the options with any kayak companies that interest you. It may actually be less expensive to build a kit and pay customs and shipping than to come up with the materials, tools and resources to build locally from scratch.

Angell - Possible Kit
I think I need to look into this further. See what shipping alternatives are available and check the customs tariffs.

However, I think for the most part, the raw materials are likely to be much cheaper here than they are in Europe and the States. My main concern is whether the coatings availble here will be as good as what you can can get over there.

Build Materials in Europe
There’s several good sources for epoxy and fiberglass in Europe and throughout the world.

I have several that my builders have used and recommended listed here: