Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Coffee Pot Bayou

In Kayak Trips on January 30, 2009 at 2:12 am

Well I had so much fun the other day paddling to relieve stress, that my buddy Sean and I decided to go out again.  We were going to go to Egmont Key, but a cold front came in about 12 hours early, so we decided to go play.  We launched during a low tide from the ramp at Criss Park aka Coffee Pot Bayou.  We paddled against the wind (15-20 mph) up the channel looking at all the nice homes on the water.  We followed the channel out past the shallows before turning south towards the pier.  Again going into the wind so we didn’t have to fight it coming back.  Well as you can guess, high winds, beach shelf, open water, coming cold front storm all produce FUN!!!  The waves were between 3 1/2 to 5 feet, the ketch was close.  As the bow rose and crashed on the first wave, it would plow thru the second wave, and all you could do on the third was to lean forward and get covered.  The yaks would bounce out of the 3rd wave like a little submarine.  Even though we were only about 3/4 of a mile off shore, when I got tired I decided to head for the beach for a little bite of lunch and some fresh water.  With a constant brace and sweep, it took over 30 minutes to reach shore.  Once on shore, you could look back from where we came and the water looked sooooo calm.  It was hard to vision what we just went through.  I realise that we were standing on the backside of the waves, but it is amazing to me how deceiving the water can be sometimes.

After our break, we paddled into the Vinoy Basin to look at all the sailboats moored up in there.  Trust me there are a lot of very nice boats.  When Sean and I were done drooling, we followed the shore line back to the mouth of Coffee Pot and back  up the channel to the ramp.  Even though it was a fairly short paddle, 4 hours or so, I felt like we got the workout I was looking for.

Well, I woke this morning with my stomach and ankle muscles sore.  Yeh???  I guess I was bracing more than I thought?  I guess I am glad I didn’t break off one of my foot pegs. LOL  Now we have to wait for the rain to end before the next adventure.

Gandy Bridge – Picnic Island

In Kayak Trips on January 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm

01/26/09  trip was about 8 miles total, water was calm and skies clear.  Easy paddle with a strong current in the boat channel for the bridge, and an extreme current in boat channel for Tampa Boat Yard.

Making a Skeg for a wood yak

In Making a Skeg, Wood Kayak on January 21, 2009 at 1:59 am

On my Guillemot L, I decided to make a skeg in the same manner that P&H does theirs.  Havin 3 cables on hand, I am making 3 skegs… more yaks to come. LOL

I drew out the pattern of the skeg on a piece of 1/4 inch mahogany plywood and covered both sides of it with 4 oz glass and one coat of epoxy.  I also did one side of the rest of the plywood I had left to make the box out of.  I will fill the glass for the box before cutting it to size and put that side to the inside.  I will cut the blades out on my bandsaw and glue the cable in before filling the weave.



Here I am cutting the blades out on the bandsaw



Next I cut a slot in the top of the skeg inwhich to epoxy the cable to



And drill oversized holes for the cable in the top and connecting bolt through the sides.  I then tape the back sides and will fill all with epoxy when I do the fill coats.

Starting the slide block, I inserted a 3/4″ core box bit in my router table, and set up a center line on the fence


I took a mahogany block 1 1/2 X 1 1/2 X 6 inch block and laid out 2 marks 1 3/4 inches off the center line each way.  Lineing up the left line I lowered the block down on the router and slide it till the right hand line met up with the center line


This created a rounded groove like this


which I then epoxied inside to seal it up


I put the sides of the box together and taped them in place.  I then mixed a little wood flour with epoxy and made a 1/4 inch tongue depressor in which to fill all of the inside corners with a small fillet.


 I marked the ends of the handle block to drill the holes for the rod and cable


 Then I placed the block on the kayak so I can plane it to match the shape of the kayak body, then I marked how it sat on the inside


 removing the block from the boat, I planed and belt sanded the underside of the block and reinstalled it, tacking it in place using hot melt glue so it can be removed at a later date.


Then I installed the slide bar and handle to make sure everything works, but then removed both 


 Moving to the skeg box, I started fibreglassing the outside


I cut the box slightly larger than the tapered shape of the skeg


  I finalized it up by drilling a 1/4″ hole thru the box and skeg, using a 1/4″x1 1/2 S.S.bolt, fender washer, and rubber washer on the outside of the box, spacing the skeg with 2 S.S. fender washers on each side, and another rubber washer, S.S. fender washer and a S.S. acorn nut to hold it all together. 



Drilling the top of the box for the cable and cable tubing, it is ready to install.

Where the Boys are

In Kayak Trips on January 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Today January 18th 2009, 3 friends have left for a kayaking journey to circumnavigate the Florida Keys.  They are doing this to raise awareness of our “Wounded Warriors”.  Sean Fitzgibbons who is an amputee himself and works for “St. Petersburg Limb & Brace” along with Jeff  Fabiszewski is performing thier 2nd circumnavagation for this cause.  You can read more about thier efforts at http://www.liquidrhythmkayaking.com/ and http://topahonu.wordpress.com/.  Bryan Doleman who is a paramedic for the St. Petersburg Fire Department, and an avid paddler and works part time for one of our local kayak outfitters, as well as a guide for a local paddle club.  He has an ACA certification, and is a veteran himself.  Jeff got his ACA instructor/guide certification with Bryan a few years ago has a history with the Boy Scouts of America.  He is currently employed by Eckard College.  He currently volunteers for “Team River Runner” a national program to bring water sports to our wounded veterans.  His  passion is Greenland style kayaking as well as his family.


 Bryan, Sean & Jeff

I know that it is hard to leave your daily routines, wives and children to make this trip.  I am sure that you also join me in wishing them good luck and a safe journey.

They will be starting from Key Largo on the atlantic side and returning up the gulf side.  You can follow thier daily progress here at  https://kayakkev.wordpress.com/



01/18/2009 I just got my first report.  The boys had a great drive down other than the jitters are setting in.  They are staying the night at Key Largo Kamp and fixing a crab pasta for dinner.  Sean and Bryan are sleeping in thier “Tree Hugger” hammocks, Jeff is using his one man tent.  They have plans of being on the water by 8am EST.  Jeff is using my Expedition Single and a “Tuktu” paddle, Bryan is in his “Eddyline Night Hawk 16” using a “Bending Branches” paddle.  Sean is in his “Alantis Mist T” with his favorite “Bending Branches” paddle.



01/19/2009- Day 2  The first leg of the paddle and the boys made it to Windley Key.  A distance of about 22 miles.  They fought a 18mph head wind for most of the day, 1 – 1 1/2 foot swells.  Had rain for most of the afternoon, and was very impressed with thier “Columbia Omniwear” and “Kokatat” jackets.  Luck was on thier side first thing this morning when the people camping next to them last night, followed Bryan to where he was leaving his truck for the trip and gave him a ride back to the launch so he didn’t have to walk.  Thank you kind people.

01/20/09- Day 3  They are facing their first encounter with Mother Nature.  The Keys are being affected with the same Artic Blast that the rest of the nation is facing.  With a west wind of 25mph gusting to 35, they are needing to hunker down.  They are having problems as to where they can do this.  Tomorrow the winds will change out of the north which will put it to their backs and riding the swells instead of getting hit by them breech.  Lets hope someone on Windley Key, or Islamorada will help them with a 6×6 piece of land.


Okay, after much grumbling they got a late start and faced the weather to paddle about 6 miles to Indian Key.  Here they met a fellow paddler that knows the area very well and gave them a map of all the areas in which they can camp.  You know this Gentleman whos name is Paddler Ron from Wisconsin is a good guy cause he has a black Cocker Spaniel named Gala as a paddling partner.  With Rons help they found a location that is protected by trees that they can set up camp and wait out todays bad weather.  Hopefully the wind direction will change tonight and they can continue in the morning.

0120091341  (0120091341aRon and his partner Gala)











01/21/09 Day 4  Today was not a good day.  This Artic Front blew it’s worst today and was a trial for all mankind.  The Boys found themselves in 30 mph winds, swift hard currents, strong tides, and 4-5 foot swells.  In crossing two bridges, they had to paddle right at the bridges to be kept from being swept out to sea.  All this hard work netted them only about 12 miles to Long Key.  They are staying the night on a famous Florida chickee.  Spirts are still up even though they froze last night, and muscles are sore from fighting the water all day.  All 3 admitted that the bridge crossings was very scarey, but so far, so good.  I was glad to report to them that the weather only improves for the next week.  The worst is over.

Jeff called me later this evening.  Again spirits are high and he is ready to complete this journey.  He did admit it was hard with sleeping bags rated for 50 degrees and the nights being low 40s, the rats running all over his tent to the point it was unnerveing to see and hear them outside while he was inside.  And then to paddle the day with his yak (actually all 3 yaks) at an angle to the direction he was aimed.  His triceps are tight from using a constant left hand sweep stroke.

01/22/09 Day 5  Just got a call from Sean.  The weather has not improved much if at all, depression has begun to set in.  They are all freezing with the temps being lower there than they are in Denver CO.  As of 10 AM they are going to sit tight one more night on the chickee and see what tomorrow brings.  Remember that it is colder there now than it has been in the last 12 years and they are not prepared for it, plus they can’t even make a fire to warm up (chickees are wood platforms).

01/23/09 Day 6  Well the boys gave up and came home.  I will let them tell you why on their web pages and this will no longer be on my front page.  Thank you for checking on it everyday.

Spring Run

In Spring Run, Wood Kayak on January 18, 2009 at 2:16 am

There is not a lot to say about this yak, I haven’t started it yet. Hahahaha  This will be my 4th wood yak to build.  You can see this design at  http://www.redfishkayak.com/spring_run.htm

Joe over at Redfish was great in helping me decide what I wanted and was very quick in shipping the forms and plans.

Posting Progress

In Kayak Trips on January 16, 2009 at 3:47 am

I am Happy to tell everyone that I have some good friends that are going to circumnavigate the Florida Keys and I get to update thier progress on a daily report on both my blog and thier web page



I will be using the following map everynight to show thier progress and hopefully a few words on the days events mainkeys


Left to right is Bryan Doleman, Sean Fitzgibbons, and Jeff Fabiszewski



I am also happy to let everyone know that Jeff Fabiszewski will be paddling one of my boats. My Whale which is my first wood strip kayak, a Guillimot Expedition Single.dscf2024

Sean Fitzgibbon will be using his new Atlantis MisT which I was able to help him aquire.2980734735_e4f17fc982

And although I have not checked with him yet, I am sure Bryan Doleman will be using his favorite Eddyline yak.

Be sure to check in for the updates starting January 18th.