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Decked Kruger Seawind style build

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    Decked Kruger Seawind style build

    I started working towards my next canoe build a little over a month ago and am just getting around to share a few of the details. Thanks to Deerfly and his documented build from last year I decided on the JEM Northwind as my next canoe build. The Northwind is essentially a strip version of Verlen Krugers Seawind solo decked canoe. The canoe is 17’2” long and 28.5” wide with a very low bow and stern and a deck that covers roughly ¼ the front and rear of the boat. I have been looking at this design for a number of years now, having a friend with two Kruger style boats and seeing the advantage of this design in bigger rivers, lakes and ocean paddling if neccesary. I own a sea kayak and have a number of friends with them, but ergonomically I am much more comfortable paddling a single blade and sitting upright. I’ve also had issues with tendonitis in the elbows, which is made worse with a kayak paddle. A canoe paddle seems to be no issue.

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    Kruger Seawind on the left and a Mad River Monarch on the right. Luckily I have access to these 2 boats for guidance on my build. The Seawind has been paddled by my friend Norm from Fort Nelson, BC to the Arctic Ocean and all the way up the Missouri River and down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean.

    My desire is to build a reasonably strong boat while keeping the weight overall weight reasonable. I plan to do very little portaging with this boat. The main purpose for this boat is for long trips on rivers or big lakes, or just good old heavy trips with lots of stuff.

    I’ve mentioned it in other threads, but I am able to get nice clear Englemann Spruce here in Montana in lengths up to 16 feet. The boards I can get are between 19 and 23 lb/ft3, which is the same or lighter than the western red cedar I have measured. The spruce is very tight grained and has other advantages over western red cedar in terms of hardness and elasticity. Another advantage is that the spruce is significantly less expensive than similar WRC.

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    The spruce, on the right, is nice tight grain, about 30 rings per inch.

    Here's my layup:

    Deck (top down):
    4 oz. E-glass
    1/4” Cedar
    5 oz. Kevlar inside with extra reinforcements of glass around cockpit area

    Hull (bottom up):
    4 oz S-glass football with s-glass and dynel reinforcements on the stems
    6 oz E-glass
    1/4” Englemann Spruce
    5 oz kevlar with reinforcements in the stems and seat/foot area

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    To add a little strength and impact resistance to the hull, I decided to add internal ash stems. Steam bent and laminated.

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    It was a toss up between trying to build this boat on my existing strongback, or making or buying solid beam to build the boat like a kayak. In the end I decided on using the strongback. It presents a few challenges building the boat this way, but in the end I’ll just have to pay extra close attention to getting the stations set up for the deck exactly the same as for the hull.

    Mark


    #2
    Originally posted by dogbrain View Post
    I started working towards my next canoe build a little over a month ago and am just getting around to share a few of the details. Thanks to Deerfly and his documented build from last year I decided on the JEM Northwind as my next canoe build.
    Mark, if anything – ANYTHING – could ever convince me to try building my own canoe, to my own, known style, preferences and peculiarities, it would be another Kruger-ish decked canoe. We have a Monarch, and it is the most capable boat we own in open water or wind.

    Some of the bought busted used cheap 1970’s tandem “European-style” decked canoes we soloized as sailing trippers are almost as nice. Of course they were free, almost free and $200 apiece.

    The ’71 Old Town Sockeye is a woven roving beast, but is very curvy and deep throughout, and oddly the best sailing canoe we own. The ’77 woven roving Klepper Kamrad TS is likewise a weighty beast, and at 15’ 11” doesn’t quite measure up to high volume gear load length.

    The glass and nylon Phoenix Vagabond suffers from being a bit shallow amidships with a big guy/big load, and the stern is too shallow in large following waves when loaded down.

    The ’77 glass and nylon Hyperform Optima is as close as we come to a poor man’s Kruger. Love that hull.

    All of them have design and construction elements I would incorporate, from seat style to depth to cockpit size and coaming to, especially, rudder and controls design.

    I’ll be watching this build. Not that I’ll ever do a build from scratch, but hoping to learn things.

    Comment


      #3
      You are off to a great start Mark !

      Like your layup !

      Guessing you will cradle the hull while you strip up the deck ?

      I too will be watching as my building is on hold until next Spring !

      Thanks !

      Jim
      Keep your paddle wet, and your seat dry !

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Jim Dodd View Post

        Guessing you will cradle the hull while you strip up the deck ?

        Jim
        I'm already on to stripping the deck now. I have spacers on the hull every 3 forms to hold the shape. I'm waiting to glass the inside of the hull until I'm ready to do the inside of the deck. Do you think making cradles is important?

        Comment


          #5
          The rudder and assembly housing, and foot pedals and controls on a new decked canoe would be the biggest question for me.

          The Kruger-style rudder has the benefit of simplicity and ease of field repair. But sometimes I don’t like for the way it sticks up at a 45 degree angle when “retracted”.

          A Feathercraft rudder has the advantage of retracting 270 degrees to lay flat atop the back deck centered in a rudder rest. But needs a continuous cord loop around the pulley, and usually a line guide and pad eye or cleat affixed outside the hull. And for a 17’ decked canoe it really needs FeatherCraft’s tandem-sized rudder blade to have enough “bite” in the water, which can drag overdeep in shallows.

          With Feathercraft out of business finding a used, ubiquitous FeatherCraft rudder housing and making your own (wider, foil shaped?) blade may the easiest solution. That housing and pulley wheel system has proven the test of time, and people who have bought into the “Real paddler’s don’t use rudders” nonsense sometimes remove them.

          http://feathercraft.com/the-feathercraft-rudder/

          I’ll take a well designed rudder any time it is available, especially in a cross-wind or, better still, while under sail. Skegs, eh, the housing takes up too much valuable storage room for me.

          Some of the other manufactured rudders have too many springs, moving parts and etc for me to trust, or hope to repair in the field.

          The Navigator rudder was slick in the way it retracted, but promised to be stuck-not-so-slick-stuck or future fussy. I don’t really know, we didn’t have one around long enough for any durability assessment.

          https://eddyline.com/technology-inno...vigator-rudder

          The “Toe Pilot Foot Control” SmartTrack rudder system is still available. The brace-able design does have advantages, but I have heard tales of failure-prone parts, at least in salt-water applications. YMMV in freshwater.

          http://topkayaker.com/index.php?main...ex&cPath=73_86

          Yakima, later Werner (or vice versa), now Mohawk foot control pedals were once my favorites, but the last couple sets I got from Mohawk were not of the same manufacture; the sliders bound up too easily in the track, and didn’t slide as effortlessly as they once did. I think I returned one set as unfixable, which is a PITA to discover once installed.

          Still, those are aluminum rails and track-adjustable aluminum footpads. In that foot pressure and rudder sliding guise I’d rather not have too much plastic involved.

          Comment


            #6
            My ears perk up at any mention of Kruger boats. I learned of their existence 8 or 9 years ago when I crossed paths with a paddler who was doing a quick weekend circumnavigation of Philip Edward Island, Georgian Bay, in a Seawind. At the time I was double-blade paddling a solo-ized Tyne tandem folding kayak (long-defunct British "folding canoe" builder). We were somewhere in the vicinity of the Foxes or The Chickens, don't remember which. We stopped and chatted and he explained some of his boat's attributes as well as his admiration of the man, Verlan Kruger, himself. I'd never heard of Kruger or his boats, but after that encounter did some research. What a story!

            That opening for me got me re-thinking ways of paddling my partially-decked folding kayaks, the solo-ized Tyne as well as a solo-ized Klepper Aerius II and later, an Aerius I. Since that time I paddle these boats primarily with a short bent-shaft paddle. To do so, though, I raise my seat 4-6 inches (a jury-rigged thermarest-supported hanging seat) to approximate the position and posture of seated hit-and-switch canoe paddling. The folding kayaks have the beam and stability to safely allow me this shift in height. I deploy the rudder when using the single blade, and love the feel and efficiency of paddling that way. I always have a double-blade on board which I make a point of using from time to time to better distribute the paddling stresses on my body, i.e. for variety, and for when the waves and chop are bigger. I rarely deploy the rudder when double-blading. Double-blading my folders, though, usually involves manually deflating air from the seat to reduce my height in the boat. That does make shifting paddle-styles on the run a bit of a challenge. It's do-able, though.

            I wonder how single-blade rudder-deployed paddling in my folders compares to the feel of paddling a hard-shelled sea canoe like the Monarch or Kruger. Like Seawinds, Kleppers have an impressive history of rough-water crossings including several high-profile transatlantic crossings and the passage around Cape Horn. Has anyone here messed around with both hard-shelled sea canoes and Kleppers? How do they compare?

            Don't want to hijack the thread, but those boats fire up my interest. Dogbrain, good luck on the project. Looks like a fascinating direction in which to explore.

            Comment


              #7
              Mike, I went back and forth on the rudder, but I decided to buy the newer version of the Sea lect that mounts with a pin. I like the gas pedal controls that come with it that allow you to brace and steer at the same time, plus I like how the rudder retracts by pulling straight up and on to the deck without having to flip 270 degrees, and the rudder depth is adjustable. It doesn't seem to have that many fiddly parts, but I agree that the Kruger rudder is better for field repairs and appears to be more rugged. There are a few set screws that I should have in a repair kit though. I have a modified design for a Kruger style rudder in my mind that will drop right in to the place of this rudder, but don't want to hold up progress on the build by getting sidetracked with that project. I liked Deerfly's solution of fiberglassing a small length of carbon tube to the stern as the mount, which is way way better than drilling holes and putting stainless screws or bolts in the stern of a wooden boat right near the waterline.

              Mark

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by dogbrain View Post

                I'm already on to stripping the deck now. I have spacers on the hull every 3 forms to hold the shape. I'm waiting to glass the inside of the hull until I'm ready to do the inside of the deck. Do you think making cradles is important?
                My question was more out of curiosity !

                So you removed the hull from the forms. I should have guessed that !

                It does look like a sweet hull !

                The pics of the wood planks appear to be quarter sawn. Is that correct ?

                Jim
                Last edited by Jim Dodd; 11-20-2019, 05:29 PM.
                Keep your paddle wet, and your seat dry !

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Jim Dodd View Post

                  The pics of the wood planks appear to be quarter sawn. Is that correct ?

                  Jim
                  That picture is of 2 strips next to each other, so they are flat sawn boards and quarter sawn strips. The spruce is really nice to work with. Its not as splintery, nor does it tear out as easily as cedar when routering bead and cove.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Martin I can't compare the attributes of a folder such as an Aerius to a Sea Wind. We had a Aerius long ago but it was bits and pieces and we never actually paddled it much and always double blade. I have a Monarch now and it is better suited to single blading in the middle seat position ( it has a height adjustable seat). I sometimes rap knuckles on the middle seat height and always on the lowest seat height when using a double blade. Never had any kind of knuckle banging experience single blading.. The highest seat position is way too high for paddling here on the ocean unloaded. It might work loaded but I have not tried it.

                    The gravity fed Kruger rudder is sometimes an annoyance but we lowered ours an inch and purchase is better in all sea conditions. While quite field repairable if you have the right tools it is far from elegant. ( Mine has met with a palm tree trunk)

                    Dogbrain are you installing the Tru Course Rudder? I would be interested in finding how well this works. I dislike the cable system in the Monarch as it can get pinched and fray gear and float bags stored forward
                    Last edited by yellowcanoe; 11-21-2019, 08:54 AM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by dogbrain View Post

                      That picture is of 2 strips next to each other, so they are flat sawn boards and quarter sawn strips. The spruce is really nice to work with. Its not as splintery, nor does it tear out as easily as cedar when routering bead and cove.
                      Yes ! Perfect grain for strong strips ! More pics ! Ha !
                      Keep your paddle wet, and your seat dry !

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by martin2007 View Post
                        Don't want to hijack the thread, but those boats fire up my interest. Dogbrain, good luck on the project. Looks like a fascinating direction in which to explore.
                        Martin, I paddled a Nautiraid folder last year that has similar lines to one of these decked boats. After paddling it I thought it would be interesting to build a skin on frame version of a Seawind too.

                        Mark

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by yellowcanoe View Post
                          I have a Monarch now and ...... the highest seat position is way too high for paddling here on the ocean unloaded. It might work loaded but I have not tried it.

                          The gravity fed Kruger rudder is sometimes an annoyance but we lowered ours an inch and purchase is better in all sea conditions. While quite field repairable if you have the right tools it is far from elegant. ( Mine has met with a palm tree trunk)

                          Dogbrain are you installing the Tru Course Rudder? I would be interested in finding how well this works. I dislike the cable system in the Monarch as it can get pinched and fray gear and float bags stored forward
                          I agree Yellowcanoe, the Monarch is a little tender unloaded. The Seawind is a bit more stable due to a flatter cross-section in the center of the boat. The boat I'm building is rounder like the Monarch in cross-section, but has the same width as the Seawind. Compared to the Monarch, the Seawind is a little deeper and is a little fuller towards the ends.

                          I did buy the Truecourse rudder, it seemed like the way to go. I'll let you know what I think of it. The rudder on the 1985 Monarch pictured above is kind of a flimsy thing. The one on the 1997 Seawind was a big improvement.The Seawind has all the rudder cables running inside a channel along the deck/hull split, so they're completely out of the way.

                          Mark

                          Comment


                            #14
                            For the hull I cut strips from 2 - 16' and 2 - 12' 1x6 spruce boards. For the deck I found a couple nice 12' 1x6's. Now, for anybody planning to build this boat in the future, I used all of the spruce except for 6 - 16' strips. I got nervous at one point halfway through stripping and thought I didn't have enough, but luckily I was wrong.

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                            The Spruce cuts very nicely and I had virtually no waste with those boards. I tried something a little different this time. I decided to lay strips cove up until I got around the bilge, then cove down the rest of the way to make it easier to handle the glue. I prefer fitting the overlaps at the stems with the cove up, it just seems easier to me and they go together cleaner. I ended up making a few strips with a bead on both edges to make the switch. I think I'll do that from now on.

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                            My only concern was how the strips would lay on this 90 degree bend at the stern.

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                            The stern was no issue, and stripping the first half was a breeze.

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                            I trimmed the centerline with a big sharp chisel and moved on with the slower process of filling in the other half of the hull.

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                            In no time I was down to the last strip. This time around I thought ahead. For the second to last strip, I used one that was flat on one side to face the flat side of the centerline. Fitting a strip to slide in between two flat faces is a lot easier than trying to deal with forcing a coved strip in that space. I'm sure other builders figured this out a long time ago, but some things I just have to discover for myself.


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                            A bit of work with a spokeshave to knock off all the high points and I was ready for sanding. My sanding regimen is probably a little different from other builders. I hit the entire hull with 60 grit on my random orbital sander, on the aggressive setting with one reasonably quick pass. I start by running the sander across the grain and at an angle on the bilge and don't linger at all. I am very systematic about moving down the hull and getting the bilge rounded off in this first pass. Next, I run the sander along the sheer and work on the vertical stem areas. I am somewhat aggressive with this pass so I don't have to come back to that area until the final sanding. I'm not worried about taking too much off since the sander is pretty flat with the wood. Finally I do the flatter area on the bottom in the same way I do the sheer area. Next, I switch to 80 grit and clean up the bilge curve. I run my hand along the bilge feeling for any uneven spots or flat areas and work those until everything feels good by hand. I work on the stem areas with a sanding block or sandpaper.

                            I wet the hull at this point which really brings out any dents and dings, but also swells and fills in most of the staple holes. After it dries, which doesn't take long in Montana, I mix up some thickened epoxy and fill any gaps. The next day I go over the hull with 120 grit and it's ready to glass. That's it. I'm sure it's not perfect, but I don't see any waves in the final finish and I certainly don't notice anything paddling.

                            On to glassing the hull..............

                            Mark

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I have two Seawinds, and have/had several ruddered kayaks with different rudder assemblies. I find a number of significant advantages in the Kruger kidney bean rudder over the typical straight vertical rudders.

                              With the kidney bean rudder only partially deployed you don't have to worry when paddling up a current about being pushed back onto an obstacle and breaking the rudder assembly since it will just lift up and over the obstacle (tree, gravel bar, etc). The straight vertical rudders will kick to the side in these cases and jam you up or break.

                              The kidney bean rudder is also sufficient should you decide to put some decent sails on the boat. All of the single kayak rudders I have seen and tried had insufficient surface area and leverage to work as rudders on a sailed kruger or sea kayak.

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