18' 4" North Star Cedar Strip Kayak Kit
The Following courtesy of Rob Macks, Designer,
North Star specifications; Length-18' 4", Width- 22-1/2", weight 40 lbs. North Star© was inspired by the kayaks of the Aleut Eskimos of Alaska and by George Dyson. Using anthropologists drawings of a baidarka as a starting point, I designed North Star to retain the excellent handling qualities of this native design and yet have the stability and features the recreational paddler wants.
Laughing Loon was the first, and still is the only company, offering the Aleut "baidarka" style sea kayaks of the north Pacific Aleutian Islands region, as a hard shell "stripper". I built the first North Star baidarka in 1993.
I had the good fortune to hear George Dyson speak at the Maine Maritime Academy in 1992 on the "baidarka" style sea kayak. His claims about the outstanding speed and sea worthiness of this design seemed exaggerated. I was paddling solo whitewater boats at the time and immediately noticed the similarity between the high volume and full stems of then current whitewater boats, and the Aleut baidarka. These baidarkas were designed for big waves and rough water!
I have since found the baidarka design to be the the fastest, most sea worthy kayak I have ever paddled! I have had many calls and letters from owners and builders of my baidarka designs, tell me the same. I have also had my baidarkas called the "surf board you sit in", for their outstanding surfing characteristics.
The unique features of the baidarka are: The split or bifurcated bow. The lower half is a cutwater, parting the waves for a smooth flow of water over the hull. This lower vertical edge also improves tracking as it slices into waves keeping the bow from being deflected by winds. The upper half of the bow flares outward. Waves hitting this surface create lift and coupled with the great volume of the forward hull, lift the kayak over waves. The bow makes a smooth transition into a highly rocker keel accounting for 1/3 of the fore hull. This rocker coupled with the design of the bow make the baidarka style an incredibly great kayak for surfing waves.
As a kayaker paddles faster, hulls with a fine or pointed stern will squat in the depression created by the stern waves. The high volume of the baidarka style stern, keeps it high in the water reducing stern squat, and increasing speed.
Also this truncated stern, sends hull waves farther back as speed increases, forcing the waves to act as they would on a boat with a longer water line, increasing speed. For photos of these details follow this link.
The volume of the stern is carried backward and is truncated, then sweeps into a fixed rudder. The rudder makes tracking excellent. The swept sides of the rudder create a surface that is an asset in surfing. One of the hardest parts of surfing is catching the wave. The surfaces of the rudder get a push from braking waves to help you catch the wave.
The North Star design has a much greater volume/width carried forward and aft as you can see in the drawing above. This means that you will have more foot room forward and more gear carrying capacity forward and aft.
All other kayak designs, are based on Greenland kayaks, which narrow to a point very quickly and offer less foot room for someone with long legs. And less gear storage.
The North Star is ideal for the larger paddler. I suggest this kayak for paddlers 180 to 250+ pounds. It has a generous cockpit with ample leg room and foot room. The North Star can handle 400 pounds + of paddler and gear.
The baidarka hull is "fish form" (the widest part of the hull is forward of center) said to be the most efficient design for speed. North Star has moderate primary stability. The high volume of the hull produces incredibly high secondary stability.
The features of the bow and stern combine with the shape of the hull, to produce very fast (easy to paddle) kayak, designed to handle rough seas with ease. This kayak has the highest volume of any single kayak design around, making this an outstanding expedition kayak or a kayak with room and capacity for the tall or large person.
I have retained the excellent handling features of the baidarka in my wood strip interpretation the North Star. I rounded the central vee section of the traditional baidarka hull to improve stability for the recreational paddler. I added water tight storage compartments fore and aft, accessible through water proof, hard shell covers. And, I modified the deck line and enlarged the cockpit to make a more comfortable seating arrangement that is easier to enter and exit.
North Star tracks, turns and surfs like a dream! This is an outstanding sea kayak!
Length: 18’ 4”
Hull Weight: 40 lbs
Max Payload: 400 lbs
Paddler Weight: 150 - 250+ lbs.