15 November 2010

When out on a Canoe…

Allow for the possibility of getting wet!

Saturday started off with another trip to Bunnings to get varnish and paint supplies, followed by a trip to the kayak and canoe shop on Sandringham Rd where I was hoping to get a roof rack for my car. Because I wanted a rack that used the existing anchor points on the car they didn’t know what was needed, they took my number with a promise to call back when they’d done some research.

Back home it was back to sanding, the boom followed by the leeboard and the rudder. I also improved the fit of the boom jaws.

Sunday I noticed that there was a voice message on my mobile. The shop had called back saying that they had found what I was after and that they were in stock. So after calling mum to tell her we’d be over for lunch, the family was bundled into the car and we set off. After fitting the roof rack it was back home to fit the bow and stern cleats and mount the canoe on to the roof.

Driving was interesting, it was a quite windy and the canoe had a noticeable affect driving over the bridge. At mum’s with the help of a neighbour I got the canoe off the car roof and next to Mum’s pool. Using cargo ties I quickly set her up and then into the pool she went:

She floats! (Not that there ever was any doubt… was there?)

So Nico and I got dressed up in our life jackets (good habits start early) and went for a paddle in the pool.

First impressions were of how stable it is and how light it was to paddle. Granted in the pool you’re not up against a tide or chop, but still it glided along smoothly.

As you can see in the photo, I should have gotten in from the stern and positioned Nico in front of me. With my confidence growing by the minute I decided that it would be a good idea to swap positions. And within a flash I was brought down to earth with a reminder of why you wear a life jacket. I’m not really sure what happened, but I lost my balance and felt the canoe start to go over. So rather than risking capsizing and giving Nico a un-welcome dunking, I let myself fall in the pool.

Lessons learned from that:

  • The water was warm and it was a nice day for a swim.
  • While the canoe is stable, it can still be capsized on starboard side.
  • Getting back in was easy. Although I did deliberately tip out a couple more times, I didn’t allow a full capsize so I wasn’t able to practice righting it again.
  • The ama has enough buoyancy to support me.
  • A wet person drags a fair amount of water back into the boat with them.
  • The plug in the aft bulk head isn’t sealing properly and water got in.

The plug isn’t a big surprise, I ran into a bit of trouble when fitting it. But it will need to be fixed before we go to sea because once there was water in the hull it quickly transferred to the bulkhead.

So at the end of week forty we have the roof rack installed and tested plus a boat that floats!


  1. Very impressive! Can't wait to see it out on the ocean. - Rupe.

  2. Very nice work Bas. I'm busy building an Ulua too, down in Rotorua. We head off camping on 22nd Dec and I want it done before then so I'm feeling the pressure! Cheers Dave