Looking for plans/kit for proven light, quick, wind-cheating (~35#) skin-on-frame or plywood yak with long (=>36"x17") cockpit. 15’-17’l x ~24"w. Worry that if I stretch the cockpit on current SOF/ply plans/kits I’ve found, I’ll screw up/weaken the structure/stability/efficiency of the boat. Designers I’ve contacted seem reluctant to lengthen their cockpits to what I’d like possibly because of the additional support structures that may be needed, adding to the weight or changing performance? Maybe I’m dreaming? Thanks, Rick
Stich & glue kits
Pygmy has some kits with cockpits that size http://www.pygmyboats.com/boats/borealis-XL-kayak-kit.html
There are several SOF builders who hang out in the blue heron forums (http://www.blueheronkayaks.com/kayak/index.html)
Drop over to http://www.kudzucraft.com. Drop me a note using the contact link and we can discuss your problem.
SOF keyhole cockpit
I've got a SOF Greenland replica (built by Monkcraft of Oregon, who no longer makes boats) where the builder altered the traditional design from the small round cockpit to a 34" x 17" keyhole. It's a little longer and narrower of a boat than you are describing, but it might be the basis for a design modification. The basic design is the 1935 Sisimuit shown here on Brian Schulz's website (except, of course, my coaming is much longer that the survey drawing):
The cockpit could also have been extended a couple of inches without altering the design much. I have a number of photos from the builder showing the frame in progress as well as shots from inside the cockpit showing the rib arrangement under the bow deck. Send me an email (click on my screen name) and I can forward those to you so you can see how he built the coaming and modified the deck. This design has a fairly spacious foredeck that allows more footroom and more space for coaming extension.
Sweet boat, by the way. 18' x 22.5", weighs 32 lbs. effortlessly fast and tracks like an arrow with that built in skeg under the stern. There are some shots of my boat in the gallery at the builder's website (the jade green boat in the lower shots plus one of him paddling it alongside a rocky cliff).
Though he may be too busy to get back to you quickly with all the projects he has going on right now, Brian Schulz in the past was a great resource for answers on such sorts of modifications of SOF's. I believe he will still build boats to order.
And if you have the fortitude for it, the forums on http://www.qajaqusa.com have a huge participant base of expert SOF builders who could weigh in on your design dilemma. I say "fortitude" because the level of obsessive detail that arises in some of the exchanges there can be daunting. And (be forewarned) you may run into purists scandalized at the prospect of such an oversized butt hatch in a "traditional" kayak.
There is also this fellow who builds baidarkas and qajaqs, some with obviously spacious keyholes (and I have heard he may offer kits):
Rick, I have the Firefly which is Kudzokraft’s take on a Baidarka. It has a 36 x 17 cockpit. Im 6’ and 250 # and have plenty of room in this kayak. He has some shorter boats if you want a more general purpose boat and can work with you on the cockpit if the modle yo0u choose has a shorter cockpit. Not sure all models can be changed but Jeff will do what he can. I find mine very stable and good for lake paddling. Would not want to use it on a river with much current. Well other than a big river like the Mississippi. As a matter of fact, I used it in 2010 for the Phatwater Challenge. I finished mid pack but considering I only got the yak a few weeks prior to the paddle I was pleased with it. I’m sure better paddler would have places it near the front.
Disclaimer: Since I know Jeff and have had the good fortune to paddle several of his yaks I’m sure I am biased, but his yaks are second to none IMHO