Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Coho Kayak back for Repair and Refinishing

I built this Coho sea kayak from a kit by Pygmy Boats back in 1999 for my personal use. At about the same time, I also built the Pygmy Arctic Tern model, which is a hard-chined design, for my nephew Brian Nobles. I ended up selling the Coho in 2001 while I was off cruising in the Florida Keys aboard Intensity, the lucky buyer getting a great deal on a custom built wooden sea kayak because I needed cash at the time.

Brian eventually decided kayaking wasn't for him, so I bought the Arctic Tern back from him in 2003 and used it on trips such as the headwaters to the sea trip down the Pascagoula River that I did with Ernest Herndon. (For the book we wrote about this trip, go here:, the Arctic Tern is even on the cover.)

I never expected to see the Coho again, but last week the guy that bought it from me brought it over for repairs to a busted cockpit rim and general refinishing. I was glad to see that this boat has been used hard, as I built it extra strong for expedition paddling.

The cockpit damage was caused by driving into a too-low garage door opening with the boat on a roof rack. The owner ordered replacement parts in 4mm Okoume plywood from Pygmy Boats, so the repair would not involve fabricating any parts. I used a laminate trimming router with a panel-pilot bit to rip off the old coaming, and the new one has already been laminated on with epoxy. Next, I'll shape and glass it, then revarnish the decks and paint the hull from the sheer down. This boat has been scratched and gouged way too much for a decent varnish job on the hull, hence the paint. I think it will still look good, and will be ready for many more years of hard service.

The Coho and the Arctic Tern are both great boats, each weighing only 39 lbs., which is way lighter than any fiberglass or plastic kayak in the size range. They paddle exceptionally well, and track well without rudders, though having owned both I prefer the Arctic Tern for overall handling and tracking ability, especially in big waves or surf.

You can see my Arctic Tern here:

Or go to the Pygmy website and look at all the models they offer here:

You can buy the kit and build your own or hire a boatbuilder to do it for you. Pygmy boats are by far the best of the wooden kayak kits on the market, and all these kayaks are designed by John Lockwood, a serious kayaker with decades of experience who uses these boats on real expeditions.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Road of Life

My older brother, Jeff, the natural-born musician, singer and songwriter in the family has just released his CD entitled The Road of Life. Jeff has been playing guitar since I was old enough to crawl, and a lifetime of experience playing professionally in rock, country, blues and funk bands shows throughout this great new album. The songs on The Road of Life range from country to blues to an island style reminescent of Jimmy Buffett. Sailors and other travelers will especially appreciate the tracks Islamorada and Big Dark Cloud, and anyone affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina last year will be able to relate to track no. 2: Slabbed.

Living several blocks inland from the beach in Gulfport, Jeff got literally "slabbed" by Katrina when the storm surge swept his house off it's concrete foundation and took away all of his family's worldly possessions. Jeff always has been a survivor though, and he has recovered from this loss remarkably fast, moving back to the coast and buying another house farther inland and completing this CD project he had started in early 2005.

You can read more about the Jeffery Williams story on his website, and even listen to clips from each of the 10 tracks on The Road of Life. Check it out here at:

Scott's Boat Pages Site Update

It's been a long time since I've posted to this blog or updated my website, Scott's Boat Pages.
Most of my spare time this summer has been devoted to the extensive refit I've been doing on my Wharram-designed Tiki 21 catamaran, which will hopefully be ready to relaunch and sail about the time the worst of the hot weather here is over. Photos of the new paint job are posted on my other blog, which is devoted to this boat, at: The work I've done on this boat has included the full spectrum of boatbuilding crafts from woodworking and fiberglassing, to rigging and canvas work. It's been time consuming, but in the end I will have a practically brand new boat that will be ideal for exploring the shallow Gulf coast waters that are still filled with underwater hazards in the wake of Katrina that would make sailing a deep draft vessel chancy at best.

I've made some changes to the layout of the main website, and will soon publish several pages of photo galleries including images of the Mississippi coast both before and after Katrina, various other Mississippi nature photos, and travel and boating photos.