I’ve now had the opportunity to refine some of the fittings as we continue to find out more about the boat. It was clear from the first few sessions that we needed to be further forward to trim the boat and as such, I moved both seats and footrests forward by about 10cms.
I also covered the seats with foam and lifted them by 2 cms using aluminium square tubes. This significantly reduced the bouncing caused by the thickness of the plywood. The front of the seats are now 18cms from the bottom of the boat.
The front footrests are well under the front deck now, but still lots of room for big feet. I’m going to add pull bars to both sets.
Everything is starting to come together even after just six outings and the boat moves well on the canal and the river. We are maintaining a good 10 minute/miles average – 6 miles/hour on the canal even with portages. We did Dreadnought Reach to Shiplake (4.3 miles) in 35.5 minutes which is 8.25 minute/miles. There was however, a good flow on the river.
I was surprised on how quick we are over the portages (for two old blokes!). The rim around the gunwale provides an excellent purchase for hands to haul it out of the water. The portage handles allow the boat to be lifted and turned upside-down onto the shoulders for running, and the decks sit comfortably on the shoulder.
I even made a spray deck to cover the large exposed area between the paddlers, however I stupidly left it on the bank at Great Bedwyn and it’s gone.
During the design stage, we were a bit concerned about the freeboard and buoyancy. We’re not fat boys or racing snakes and the boat seems to cope easily with a combined weight of about 160 kgs.
What I also like about the boat is the stability. I’m not going to pretend it’s as solid as a touring boat, but I reckon it’s about a seven on the racing kayak stability scale. This is mostly due to the flat profile through the hull, where it matters. The maximum width at the waterline is about 60 cms.
That just leaves the name of the boat. When I first conceived the C1, I never envisaged that I would go on to design a C2 version, so I didn’t consider a naming strategy. For the two man version I considered “The Double Darkness”, “The Darkness Squared” and “2/Two/Too Dark”. You can see why I’m not in marketing!
Anyway, I’ve opted for……………..
…………..but please don’t ask us to sing