Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Glacier Walk-Around

In my last posting, I introduced our new boat, the Glacier by EasternIsland Kayaks. I'd like to take this chance to show some of the details of the craft. 

I was a bit apprehensive about buying a tandem as some of them are quite ugly and do not even resemble kayaks. After the designer/builder Craig Greenham sent me recent pictures of one he'd just completed, I was quite amazed that, while still a fairly big boat, the Glacier still has the nice lines and look of a fine kayak. Those pictures that Craig sent, sold us on the idea of buying the Glacier.

Many tandems have very high decks and I was concerned that it would be an issue for Cheryl and I as we both use Greenland paddles. (I find that I hit my fingers off the deck of higher boats when I paddle). I also explained to Craig that we did not intend to use the boat for heavy touring, so greater storage capacity was not a necessity. As a result I asked that Craig drop the deck by 1" -  which he said he could do with no problem.  The result is what can be called a Glacier LV. The coaming height at the front of each cockpit comes in at 13" - which is pretty low for any boat. Lowering the deck height also also makes the boat look a bit more sleek, in my opinion.

This is not a heavy tandem either. Cheryl and I carried it with relative ease from the car to the water and back in St. Philip's today. Getting it back on the rack is not too hard either. Still. this is a 20' boat so it's going to be handful to move around not matter what weight. I'm guessing that it's about 80 lbs. Craig offered to do the boat in carbon/Kevlar for further weight reduction but I did not see the need.

Now, on to the tour  . . . 

Profile shot showing dropped deck.

Looking aft.

Looking fwd.

After taking in the overall shape of the design, the next thing that hits you in the craftsmanship that Craig puts into his boats. The layup is superb and his attention to detail really stands out.

Let's start with the cockpits . . .

The seats mounts are integral to the cockpit coaming. The seat, itself, is bolted to the mount with two screws on each side. These screws allow slight pivoting of the seat. The seats themselves are very comfortable.  Craig used Kajaksport backbands which provide good support and are easily adjustable using large velcro straps. The coaming is very smooth with no sharp edges. The coamings are a pretty standard size, too. Not big and sloppy liked you'd expect in a tandem, Our Seals 1.4 sprayskirts fit perfectly which saved us a chunk of money by not having to buy new ones. The aft bulkheads are angled and the joins are very clean.

Craig left the foam off the thighbraces as he figured we'd like to do the customizing ourselves - which is quite true.  The footbraces in the forward cockpit are by Kajaksport.

The two images below give a good indication of the clean look and feel of the cockpits. Very nicely done.

Fwd cockpit.

Fwd cockpit.

I was giving the rudder a good looking over when Craig told me that he makes all the parts himself. I was quite impressed. This is a well made and solid setup. He even uses 1/8" braided SS cable - which is a substantial size and it's not hard to tell that it's a step above what other commercial boats use. I'll admit that after we ordered the boat, I began to wonder what kind of rudder system Craig would install. I've seen some chintzy systems but no worries about that here. Craig really came through with this boat!!!

Made right here!!!!

Of course, I was also wondering about the style of rudder pedals as well. I was afraid that I'd end up with the   sliding type. Again, Craig came through with flying colours when he installed the Kajaksport "gas pedal" system. In this case, the pedals remain stationary and you simply pivot them with your toes to activate the rudder.  We had a somewhat similar system on our Prijon Seayak but this setup is much more comfortable.

Gas pedal for the rudder!! Take note of the clean FG layup on the hull and bulkhead!

Rubber hatches are not an option on this boat but I'm more than pleased with the ones it has. Each hatch lip is built up just like a small cockpit coaming.  Craig has a sprayskirt company make up the neoprene covers. The hard cover for the hatches is laid up fibreglass with a gel coat finish. The images below show the three steps of hatch closing.

Looks just like a tiny cockpit coaming!

Neoprene cover is nice and tight.

The gloss of the gel coat matches the rest of the deck nicely!!

In all the images above you will notice the clean look of the deck and the fittings. All hatches, coamings and deck fittings are recessed and all have excellent drainage too so that no water stays on the deck. These are signs of a designer who pays attention to detail.

Today (Sunday) Cheryl and I took the boat out for a 2.5 hr paddle. We both noted that the seating was quite comfortable and I must admit that it's nice having the leg room to stretch out. (My Black Pearl is VERY tight and there's no leeway when it comes to "foot space").   We were getting much better at staying in sync as well once I adjusted my stroke rate. I think we will have lots of fun with this boat.

Well, that's a quick look at some of the key features of the boat. I will try to do another posting on paddling impressions after we spend some more time in the saddle, so to speak.

Cheers and thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Introducing . . . The Glacier

I am just going to post a few images of our latest addition to the fleet. The detailed review will have to wait until we finally get a chance to get the boat on the water!!

Briefly, the Glacier is a glass double built and designed by Craig Greenham of  Eastern Island Kayaks. Craig can design and lay up a boat that will rival and, in many cases, better some of the world's renowned kayak companies.  On July 24th, I gave Craig the green light to build us a new boat. It was ready for pickup on Aug 24th. That's not a bad turn-over for a hand built boat!!!

Cheryl and I drove out to Twillingate to pick up the new boat. We made a chance for some "away-from the-kids" time and spent the night in Gander alone. We drove to Twillingate the next morning to meet Craig. He had the boat prominently displayed on his lawn so that we'd know which house was his. In hindsight, the boat on the lawn in slings would've made an excellent picture - insert face palm here!!!

Our initial impressions of the boat were "wow" and "holy crap, what a beautiful job"!!!

After speaking with Craig for about an hour, settling the score, and strapping it the top of the car, we headed off for Twillingate lighthouse for a look-around.

At Twillingate Lighthouse.

Showing the nice lines!!

Twillingate as the backdrop!!!

When we finally got home and took the boat off the car, we had a chance to look at the craftsmanship. No doubt, I will be doing a full review in the near future. For now, we are just champing at the bit and waiting to get this thing on the water!!!

Cheryl checking out the primary and secondary stability!!

Stay tuned for further updates!!

Thanks for dropping by!!