Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Black is Back (in the shop for some retrofitting)

My, but it's been a looong time since I've made a blog entry!! That's not to say that nothing has been happening, it's just that I've gotten too darn lazy!! But I digress. . .

The latest project involves the Black Pearl. That lovely black craft that exudes kayaking sexiness!! The boat was built with an ocean cockpit, i.e., small, oval and very hard to get into if you are in a hurry or have bad knees. I suffer from the latter. Not long after I built the boat I started to regret the ocean cockpit. It was fine in the pool or when launching from a nice ramp, but a bugger in dumping surf or a hard beach landing!!  But I was committed to the small cockpit because I spent over 150.00 dollars on a custom spray skirt!!! Fast forward to about 2 months ago!! I left said skirt at the pool and, lo and behold, it went missing!!  It never ever turned up. So now I had a boat with an ocean cockpit but lost my good skirt. I had an old one from before but I'll admit I was just looking for an excuse to get rid of the ocean cockpit. My left knee has really been acting up lately and I was having a real bear of a job actually just getting into the boat. These two excuses were enough to plant the seed for a new project - tearing out a perfectly good ocean cockpit coaming and replacing with a more standard keyhole configuration!!  Time to get cutting!!!  Oh, and while I am at, why not drop in a skeg for good measure??

Like I said, I am getting lazy so I will VERY heavily rely on images to tell this particular story!!

Here's the Pearl back in the dry dock awaiting work:

Let's cut that sucker off!!
No turning back now!!

Foam mold and new keyhole shape.

Profile shot.

Laying up the coaming. Took 8 layers of 6 oz cloth.

Make sure to trim after every few layers. Best done before the epoxy sets up hard!!

Roughed in. No sanding at this point!

Pumps on my epoxy crapped out so I went with scales, Very easy and VERY accurate ratio measurements.

All laid up.

Snow leopard pattern that magically appeared after sanding. I toyed with the idea of keeping it like this but opted to paint it black!!

Just hacking another hole for the skeg!!

Skeg slot in the VERY rough. Yes, I cleaned it up, and yes, the skeg fit in there perfectly. And YES, it is lined up with the centre line even though it does not look so in this picture!!

Test fitting the skeg.

Add cutting yet another hole. This time to provide access to the skeg.

Temporary skeg access hatch!

Skeg in place.

Adding a lip in the access hole.

Lip ready to go. Cut out piece in background ready to be dropped in.

A look at the final cockpit.

And another.

Skeg access hatch ready for painting!

Another hole for the skeg control box.

Skeg control box in place!

No evidence of back access hatch now. Gloss black replaced by flat black = a more menacing look, in my opinion!!

And that is the project in pictures. I am just finishing up the paint job now and hope to have the boat back on the water in time for the Kayaking Retreat on the 16 - 18 of May!!


  1. Great job Sean! You do very nice work.

    Tony :-)

  2. Thanks Tony. I really enjoy doing the work. If it turns out nice, then that is gravy!!!

  3. Sean, looks great. What paint/coat did you use for the flat black?

  4. Stephen:

    Believe it or not, I used spray on truck bed liner - the kind that you buy at the local automotive/hardware store and comes in an aerosol can. Some products are pretty smooth while others have a very rough texture. The stuff I use actually pretty smooth but I did give it quick rub with a nylon abrasive pad to knock down any feeling of grittiness. The beauty of the stuff I use is is that it dries super quick (10 minutes), you can do one small section at a time - even after they have dried (no need to keep wet edges like brushed on paint), it's quite hard scratch resistant and finally, because the whole boat is the one color, touch ups should be a snap!!

    I first used this stuff on the tips of my Greenland paddles, then I graduated to cockpit coamings, small sections of decks and finally, an entire boat!! What could possible be next??