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Skin on frame design

Greenland kayak

Aleutian kayak (baidarka)

A playboat

Skin on frame canoe

Paddle making

A Playboat

The playboat is an excellent choice for someone who wants to learn skin on frame building skills in just six days. This boat is also ideally suited for someone who wants a light-weight boat that is easy to transport from the car to the water. The weight of this boat comes in at just a little over twenty pounds. This is a boat you can carry with one hand.

At 24 pounds, the average paddler can lift this boat with one hand.

The construction of the playboat is based on small kayaks built in the Arctic for retrieving game from the water. It's shape and size is similar to medium volume whitewater boats. Construction is typical skin on frame starting with the deck followed by ribs and stringers.

Top view of the frame. There is an extra deck beam in front to accomodate two different leg lengths. Deck beams are pegged to the gunwales and deck stringers are lashed to the deck beams.

Bottom view of the frame. Longitudinal stringers are lashed to the ribs with nylon twine. Construction is the same as for longer sea kayaks, but the number of ribs and the amount of assembly work is less, allowing you to finish this boat in a mere six days.

The boat's light weight makes it a joy to paddle. In just a few strokes, you are going 4.5 miles per hour, fast enough to keep up with most casual paddlers. Maneuverability is excellent, lean back and the boat spins on a dime. This is the ideal boat for exploring small creeks and canals and the far ends of sloughs. Maneuverablility comes at the cost of tracking. However, with a little practice, you can make this boat go straight as an arrow.

The short boat reaches hull speed of 4.5mph in just a few strokes. Getting the boat going feels practically effortless.

This boat was built for a 130 pound paddler, but still carries my 190 pound weight, though the stern sits a little low when I lay back.

All content copyright © 2005 Wolfgang Brinck.