Our Shrike kayak, with her West Greenland origins, has been a remarkable world-wide success, but Vember is for those who desire a lightweight day-tripping kayak which is more “British-style”. In particular, a kayak with a round bilge hull to give smooth and progressive stability from upright to edged; a kayak that would be capable and reassuring in rough seas and strong winds. Vember has proven to satisfy those requirements. (Vembex is the lengthened expedition version, and specific details are red in this manual)
I’ve long been interested in strip-building a round-bilged sea kayak, but had been put off by the many hours this seemed to require, in comparison with the 100 hours to complete a stitch-and-glue Shrike. To reduce the construction time, Vember combines a strip-built hull with the simple, light-weight and quick deck construction used in the Shrike family, and a first-time strip builder might take 150 hours.
Taking a successful chined hull, and creating a round bilge by drawing a fair curve to link the gunwales, chines and keel has proved successful in the past, and Vember draws on that technique. Here is the foot bulkhead template of Shrike, placed in Vember’s foot bulkhead position:
This increase in volume would make the hull rise excessively out of the water, so this is compensated by a 9% reduction in length from that of the Shrike, with the beam remaining the same. An added bonus from this is that several people have told us that their garages are slightly too short to enable the construction of a Shrike. This mundane solution has an honourable heritage. Over fifty years ago the late Derek Hutchinson, author of “The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking”, designed his first successful sea kayak, the North Sea Tourer, around the length of his garage.