Paul M. from Cornwall has just launched his Shrike. She has a 3-part deck for extra knee room, and gunwales lowered by 20 mm. She  is seen here rock-hopping in the English Channel swell off Plymouth.

Which model did you choose: Shrike with topsides lowered by 30mm.

What modifications, if any, did you make to the design described in the build manual? I’m 6ft 5in with a long inside leg measurement so the fit in the original Shrike would be impossible for me.  With the help of a friend who has built a Shrike, Shrik-R and a Vember, I made a masik which would allow my knees room under the deck to spread comfortably apart. The masik design resulting from this created acute angles such that one piece of ply could not withstand the bend.  Instead the top-deck became a sectional 3-piece construction. Both front and rear top decks were epoxied into place leaving a large triangle segment on either side spanning the rear and front top-deck, with the masik in the centre of the triangle.  This construction technique has still achieved an exceptionally strong top deck and has allowed my larger frame the room it requires for long comfortable touring. I fitted hatches in the front and day hatch bulkheads to allow access but primarily to fit airbags and drain any water. I used 3D-printed marksmen fittings to install the deck elastics for sowing paddles etc. I used super glue and accelerant to join the panels together. The boat has been twilled inside and out for extra strength but has added some extra weight. What is the weight of the finished kayak? 17.5 kg (38.6 pounds) I put this down to not RTFI when first attempting epoxy filetting!

Anything you wished you had done differently? Completed it sooner.  From beginning to end, this build has taken me 20 months (not touching it for the better part of one year due to summer kayaking and family commitments).  More importantly, I was relying on friends with more experience to assist with some of the more difficult aspects that deviated from the standard plans.

How does the kayak perform on the water? It’s a lot faster than my RM Valley Etain and handles very differently but I put this down largely to the fact that it is 11 kg lighter! The lower profile all around results with a kayak that wants to roll and it has helped me progress and learn a handful of rolls that were previously out of bounds.  Overall, it is a pleasure to paddle and transitions from shore to vehicle are now a walk in the park!