Standard lay-up construction
The standard range is built to withstand abuse and hard expeditioning. Pigmented gel coat is hand laid. We hand lay the gel coat as we believe the gel coat needs to be thick in order to withstand heavy scratches without breaking through to the glass cloth. Provided the gel coat flexibility is matched to the lay-up, you will not get problems from star cracking. Excessive UV will affect the gel coat after a period of about three years. Provided kayaks are stored away from the UV when not in use, star cracks will only start to appear after a much longer period of time (up to ten years). The choice of colour will affect the kayak considerably. The yellows, whites, greys and other light colours will not show scratches badly. The darker colours like British racing green, black, dark blue etc. are terrible for showing every scratch. The worst colours affected by UV are the red based pigments. Deck temperatures can vary between light and dark colours. The difference is sometimes as much as 20 degrees. The deck is manufactured from a woven mat and a chop strand mat. The strands of glass are pressed into an even layer with strands running in every direction. This gives exceptional stiffness and minimises the problems of delimitation when damaged. Chop strand can only be used when hand laying the glass. If you were to inject the resin, then strands of the chop strand would flow with the resin and cause inconsistencies with the lay-up. All recessed deck fittings are glassed in and backed with glass patches. We reinforce the deck just in front of the cockpit to make sure that rescues of fully laden kayaks can be undertaken knowing that no damage will be caused.
Our gel coat is thick along the keel line. The keel line is designed to be run up rocky or stony beaches. We do not recommend keel strips on new kayaks unless they are to be abused on longer expeditions or dragged over ice. It is better to use the kayaks, and once the gel coat starts to wear, showing the glass strands, apply a new keel strip. You need to be able to land on rock (carefully) but still in anger in a reasonable sea without scratching through to the glass and have a good chance of not holing your kayak. If you expose glass fibres, the kayak will start to take on water and the weight of the kayak will increase. We use woven mats and chop strand mat in the hull. A length of diolen tape is also run along the keel line of the kayak. This reinforces the keel and adds to stiffness in the cockpit area. When laying a hull, the skeg box plug is bolted into the hull of the kayak. The glass cloth is pulled out over the total length of the hull. The glass is split along the length of the skeg box to allow the plug to come through the cloth. As the hull is wetted out and the resin worked into the glass matt,
additional cloth is laid over the skeg box plug making a strong joint to the hull. All kayaks since the end of 2001 have had a flow coat of resin painted over and around the skeg box, with skegs and boxes modified to improve efficiency. The flow coat seals any small voids that may have formed. It is impossible to build a kayak without glass cloth in the keel behind the skeg-box. If you did, the gel coat would fracture when taking the kayak out of the mould. Some people are under the misconception that the hull construction can be checked by shinning a strong flashlight through the keel in order to inspect for glass. Unfortunately, the better the laminates (well wetted cloth), the less you will see the glass. It is for this reason that the reinforcing diolen tape that is placed in the keel line, has died strands in the weave allowing the glass to be seen when inspecting with a flash light. All seams are glassed with tape on the inside and one on the outside. No “H” channels are used as once these leak, it is impossible to detect exactly were the water is penetrating the kayak as the water will track along the “H” section. Star cracks usually only appear when the kayak has received a blow, impact or been stressed. If you want a lighter kayak with thinner gel coat then you can purchase any of our kayaks in an Elite lay-up. The only model that cannot be supplied in the Elite lay-up is the Triton. The Elite kayak is at least 8 lbs lighter than the standard specification. All Elite kayaks leave the factory with the weight of the kayak clearly marked. Elite kayaks have short bow and stern keel strips. An alternative is a kayak that has glass hull and a carbon-kevlar deck, please see Custom features. The standard lay-up is the only one we would recommend for heavy expedition use. Our kayaks are designed for easy maintenance and repair. If you were to smash our hulls with a hammer, the hole could easily be repaired as all the damage would be localised to the hole, and a simple repair could be carried out without the problem of delamination. We might not use the sexiest lay up in our standard kayaks, but it is as bomb proof as a kayak can get.