Friday, March 14, 2008

Sectional Kayaking


Most people prefer to paddle a one piece kayak, but there are those other adventurous souls who need to fly off to remote beaches to launch their boats. Air travel and kayaks can be expensive combination and this has led to the production of sectional kayaks: boats in pieces. Best known perhaps are the English boats from Nigel Dennis and Rockpool. These boats are special items, I understand, in that one orders a regular kayak and it is then prepared as a sectional for you.



Here in Canada, Nimbus Kayaks on the west coast also make up a sectional boat. It's the one in the pictures above. This boat is built from the start in three pieces and requires thirteen thru-bolts to assemble at the put-in. It's short, only 16'3", relatively wide at 23.5" and in kevlar weighs a whopping 57 lbs. The short overhangs at the bow and stern give it a longer waterline than one might expect for so short a boat.

I've often toyed with the idea of a sectional boat. Transporting my kayak to the arctic and back was about the same as paying for an extra passenger. Transporting a sectional is more like paying for a bit of over-weight baggage and sometimes, not even that. I'd love to try one of these boats!

14 comments:

David H. Johnston said...

Thanks for the great post. I have a good friend who is just in the market right now for a sectional boat. I think that he is going to look into a Valley boat. Not sure on the model yet.

From the little bit that I have heard about them, the bolt through set-ups are a real pain to put together.

Cheers,

David H. Johnston
http://www.paddlinginstructor.com

Douglas Wilcox said...

Hello Michael, I regularly paddle my friend's Valley Aley Sea II, 2 piece double. It has 4 internal very large bolts. Because the Aleut has a huge centre hatch it is relatively easy to access the bolts between the bulkhed behind the front cockpit and the bulkhead in front of the centre hatch. Despite this, it is still a real faff and most of its life has been spent as a one piece. In fact its only time spent apart is when the bolt seals need replacing because they are leaking.

The external ski boot binding used by Rockpool is much faster though I guess under extreme force, it would fail before the huge bolts used by Valley.

derrick said...

Like doug said, on the other hand in the instance where the cleats fail you may just prefer they did. :)

clairesgarden said...

too many shopping oportunities on the internet!
a boat that would pack up small would be a good idea in that I wouldn't have to pay for storage, but as i have found out before if the boats not right at the beach i don't paddle. . . .

Richard Hayes said...

Can you spell VOLKSKOMPONENTKAYAK???
The VK can be built as a demountable - looks exactly like my VKs, but comes apart - fits in a Honda Civic, travels as airline luggage, goes to the 17th floor via elevator. The VKK is basically a VK built with doubled fore and aft bulkheads, then sawed apart between those bulkheads and fitted with a bolt-up system - costs a small fraction of the commercial demountables. Here's a link to Ulli's VKK...drop me an 'e' if you want further info...

Richard Hayes said...

http://www.swbans.org/boats/projects/Ulli/buildvkk.htm

Silbs said...

At Canoecopia, Derrick was saying how some airlines wouldn't take his packages aboard when he related that they contained a kayak. Apparently, you have to say it's something else. Reason: Unknown.

Kristen said...

Grahame Sisson recently made a first-time bolt-together for Paul Caffyn's Nordkapp, to be able to get his way to Greenland via small planes.

kayakbrooklyn said...

Marcus Demuth has a good article about his experinces with sectionals:
http://marcusdemuth.com/default.aspx

coolkayaker1 said...

I have owned a Valley Aquanaut LV for a year, sectional with a carb Kev hull (not deck), and it weighs about 70 lbs (including hatch covers). But, I have had no issues with bolting and unbolting. I can whip it out of my Avalanche pickup fast, each piece is less than 25 lbs, and put it together with eight bolts in about 12 minutes. Faster in some cases than my friends getting theirs on or off the cartops. I take it apart regularly, and once together it is rock solid. There is a photo of it on Marcus's webpage (coolkayaker1). Other than the weight and cost of the sectional mod itself (don't even ask--it's very costly), I find it to be truly convenient. For instance, I have a full size conversion van, and it fits in the back of that, too. It is a joy to wail on down the Interstate and never worry about loose straps, rain in cockpit, or someone stealing the thing while I grab a bite at Denny's. I have never had a clip type kayak, but see some minor disadvantage in that the clips are on the outside, and prone to damage (banged clip=nonfunctional clip and potentially fiberglassing in a new clip); admittedly, the clipped sectional can be put together rapidly. I find my Valley even with bolts to be watertight--there are rubber gaskets under the nuts, and I have bought spares from Lowe's in case I need them. I carry a small 17 mm wrench (I know, more weight), in the boat but have never used it. On land, I have a 17 mm ratchet wrench with extension, and even though I am short, reaching into the 'pit or hatch to tighten the bolts is not an issue. The hardest of course is past the footpegs, but I can "wrench" myself in there. So, all in all, it's a tradeoff. Increased weight certainly is a negative, and if you buy new the price of the mod will make you gasp. But for years of grea use, I think it's a fine way to go, esp if someone wants to pickup or van it. Just a few comments. If anyone has any questions about sectional Valleys, I am pleased to reply. Have a great day!

coolkayaker1 said...

P.S. Marcus mentions a concern I had about takaparts in his blog: "Some 3-piece assemblies with the nuts and bolt construction require a 2nd person to hold the bolt on the other end (to prevent the bolt from turning)."

I can turn the nuts on nicely without help for the most part, but there is a little twisting of the bolt (which is on the other side of the bulkhead and cannot be seen while you are tightening the nut) and I have the solution: a small vice grip. I put a vice grip wrench on the bolt, and it turns until it contacts the inner hull of the kayak, and then stops and holds there while I turn the nut.

I am thinking about starting a blog just for sectional kayaks as a couple friends have them too; share some tips and advice. Bye bye

kerry said...

As a perpetual apartment dweller, I discovered folding kayaks long before I had ever heard of sectionals. I am really intrigued by the idea, but I'm not sure I am convinced that it's worth the weight tradeoff. Although I imagine it's much simpler to assemble, and assembly can be a pain with the folders...

Coolkayaker1 said...

http://sectionalseakayak.blogspot.com/

My sectional blog.

Tore said...

I have this Nimbus Horizon S, and are very satisfied with it. it takes about 15 min. toput it together, and it has never leaked. It is not the fastest kayak, but handles vawes very good :-)