Damian Walker – Shrike

What model Shrike did you choose?
Full size Shrike with keyhole cockpit.

What modifications, if any, did you make to the design described in the Build Manual?
Fitted a back-band rather than a foam backrest (I’ve got a bad back…)
Glassed the cockpit cheek plates so they’re strong enough to act as anchor points for the back-band
I put the front and rear decks on before cutting out the cockpit hole. If nothing else, you get the joy of seeing the uninterrupted curves of the boat (before you start butchering it with your jigsaw.)

What is the weight of the finished kayak?
16kg when I last measured it, but possibly nearer 17 following a few modifications.

Anything you wish you had done differently?
Installed maroske fittings to the rear deck (to hold a Greenland Storm Paddle) before I’d installed it. And maybe put some more glass on the underside – we’ll have to see how mine copes with the abrasion…

Any tips you’d like to suggest to future builders?
Make sure you secure the glide box from the inside of the cockpit with fillets and glass tape.
Make sure the seam between the top of each bulkhead and the deck is watertight. If not – put resin in the gap and cover with a fillet.
Check the skeg box for leaks. Mine leaked at the top corners (with the boat standing upright.)
If at all possible, do the work somewhere warm. In England in winter, the temperatures drop too much so the resin thickens and it becomes very difficult to wet out the glass tape.

How does the kayak perform on the water?
It rolls without any effort at all. I haven’t really had much experience in the Shrike, or sea kayaks generally, but on a recent test-paddle, I only needed to think about turning and the boat would do it! After getting used to the different stability characteristics to my white water boat, I found it behaved itself impeccably.


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