Meditations from a Sea Kayak Garden

Thanks to Easy Rider take apart kayaks for this interesting photograph.


Marcus jeffporcaro Demuth on

This is a pleasant exchange that Marcus Demuth (aka jeffporcaro) and I had on in 2007 regarding 3-piece sea kayaks. Marcus has a webpage dedicated to three piece sea kayaks and it is very interesting reading and recommended. Here is the 2007 archived exchange on my sectional sea kayak Advice post:

3 Piece Kayak Posted by: jeffporcaro on Nov-19-07 4:51 PM (EST)
The 3-piece kayak offers the opportunity to experience amazing travel adventures, such as seeing your bow section fly past your head while attempting a surf landing on the West Coast of Australia. See the 2 pics from the damaged boat and the SAS Emergency Rescue team who retrieved the kayak and my gear with me 2 days after I hiked out of the remote area where the accident occured, an area only accessible by 4-wheel drive. or, I went ahead and just ordered a new 3-piece from Nigel Dennis, this time with 2 recessed clips on the top of the kayak, and 2 on the bottom of the hull. The clips will save weight, will make the connection watertight (no holes for bolts) and will (hopefully) make the connection more secure. The new kayak will also feature a wire skeg, with the skeg control located in the stern section. When I took the 3-piece back from Australia to New York City, Qantas did not charge anything for the excess baggage (0$).Continental charged $100 one-way from NYC-Santiago, and LAN Chile another $50 from Santiago to Puerto Montt. The ferry from Puerto Montt-Puerto Chacabuco charged another $25, the amount they would have charged for a bike.When asked at the check-in counter what you are checking in, I realized it is an advantage for both you and the airline representative when you say you are checking in a "surf-kayak ... yes, you are correct, it is like a surfboard you can paddle". This way, the airline rep will look up the fee they would charge if you had a surfboard with you. It also speedens up the check-in process considerably.Marcus

Thanks Marcus jeffporcaro. Posted by: CD1 on Nov-20-07 1:54 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Nov-20-07 2:05 PM EST --
That is great information about the surf kayak idea at check-in. Good thought. Sorry about your experience with the prior NDK sectional blowing apart on you in Aussieland. Don't feel badly, though, it's likely not all sectional kayaks, just NDK shityaks.Great tips and thanks for your input. I hope you can sell the rehabbed Explorer via Pnet ads to some rec kayaking dolt that hasn't read this thread about the blow-up of your yak, or the NDK boat threads that explain everything from lousy decklines and tape jobs to broken seats and see-through gel coats on Nigel Dennis yaks. They must be constructed in some UK high school shop class that has graduated from wooden toilet seats to sea kayaks, and is laughing all the way to the pub every time they sell one of those bad boys. Don't give up. Try and get another sectional like a Valley. I will let you know if I turn up anything in the NY area.Happy paddling, Marcus jeffporcaro.

3 Piece kayak Posted by: jeffporcaro on Nov-21-07 10:17 AM (EST)
Hello cooldoctor,thank you for your reply! Yes, the experiences on the coast of Australia were more than I wished for, but in the end, it all worked out. The 2 gentlemen from the Australian SAS (State Emergency Servises) introduced me to the craft of home-brewing after retrieving my gear and kayak and spending all day with them in the 4-wheel drive. Means, I had a splendid trip after all, and I am currently home-brewing my 14th batch of home-brew ... thanks to the SAS!NDK: NDK boats seem to have a bad reputation, my take is, that a Valley (or any other boat make) would have broken on this trip as well. I saw so many broken surfboards on the beaches of Australia, which did not have 100 pounds of camping gear and water stored inside them, and they also broke. I felt I was in good company (in addition to the SAS).I just paddled with an NDK explorer around Ireland, 42 days of paddling, it held up fanatstic and performed amazingly well in the widest array of conditions. I feel I owe this boat a lot, especially after having paddled the West coast of Ireland with it. The first thing I did after returning home from Ireland was putting in a order for a new 3-piece in the Elite lay-up. I heard from one friend and from several people on this forum that they experienced QC problems with their NDK boats, but the result seemed that NDK always treated them with a new boat, or managed to fix the problems through the local dealer to the 100% satisfaction of the paddler.Marcus
An outstanding source of all paddling information is

The Nut and Bolt System

More comments from RobG in 2007 on see Older Posts below for his previous insights.
The biggest issue with 3 piece kayaks is moving the bags. One has a sense of 19th century Victorian era expeditions with the camel trains and porters, merely by moving the bags from the car and through the doors to the ticket counter. Then there is the cost, variously interpreted by airlines. Once there, the vehicle proposed to move “the bags” to the water needs to accommodate them in addition to your gear. Once at the water the assembly with a 4 bolt design takes between 20 minutes to 35 minutes. The reach to the forward bulkhead is the issue. The Tide Race, Nigel Dennis and Rock Pool kayaks use buckles. I have no experience with those. They appear to be much easier to put together. I will say that the 4 bolt design is very stiff. Care must be taken to ensure a very tight fit or you will ship water into your bulkheads. That happened only once. I am assuming that the buckle design folks wanted to eliminate penetrations into the boat which is another reason to do that. Another issue to consider is the added 10-12 pounds to the kayak due to extra bulkheads and hardware. A wise paddler indeed one would be if they carried a pair of ratchets and extended heads in the day hatch.On the water it paddles like a single piece hardshell. There are no further issues. I’ve put the Nordkapp Jubilee HM through some snarky places, including large surf, tide races, high winds and rocky areas. That boat, now owned by Chuck Freedman, is a fantastic boat. It did everything I asked of it. There were no skegs, rudders or anything to deal with. It went where I pointed it. It was nimble enough (heeled over) for me to get my 3* in it and serve as my solitary all purpose boat.Where the 3 piece concept comes into play is the length of your trip. If it’s over 2 weeks on the water, then the misery of moving the bags from your door to the destination begins to fade. The hatches, the smooth interior for dragging dry bags in and out, your gear to use at sea in a day hatch all are fantastic on a “your boat wherever you want to paddle it” style trip. Folding kayaks can be a pain in the neck when it comes to surf imploded hatches on the roll top and clip hatches, sliding gear in and out along the frame members, no day hatch and the necessity of a sea sock. Plus they leak a lot.Most folders have no trouble with a Garcia bear resistant food canister. The Khatsalano, my folder, does. They are a very wise piece of equipment anywhere along the BC or Alaskan coasts. The Valley accepted one in the rear hatch. Most folders are very tough, at least the ones made by Feathercraft. I’ve put as much abuse on it as I have any hardshell and it is one tough cookie. It is a delight, an absolute jewel, to get from my door to the launch of my choice. Night and day different than the sectional concept. Plus, the Khats is fast to paddle, but slow to assemble.If I were space challenged as in a living environment, I would have the 3 piece as it gives me the option of removing only the rear section, propping up the cockpit and front section in a corner and very fast assembly. The more impediments to the paddle, the less paddling. Additionally, I have few restrictions getting it to some oddball place that looks great to paddle, other than my logistical skills and ability to recruit some folks to help out. My take anyway on the concept of 3 piece kayaks. It works, it shines in certain areas and is pure drudgery in other areas.Cheers,Rob G (2007)

Take Apart Versus Folder

THis is the classic debate--folder such as the Feathercrafts above--versus sectional. Folders have a weight advantage, weighing 35 to 55 lbs. In the age of airline surcharges, the folder could be checked for a price, the sectional sea kayak likely could not be checked at any price. Flying? Folder! But the less rigid hull of the folder, plus the lengthy construction time (about 45 minutes for the Fathercraft Khatasalano), make them not ideal. The 3-piece sectional is rapid construction, but more unwieldy for air travel. My use of the take-apart is in vehicles, rather than strapping and racking on rooftop, and for that, a sectional is stellar. Provided, of course, that you have the vehicle for it. I will get specific length measurements of each boat section and post for you so that one could determine if it will fit in their personal vehicle.
Marcus Demuth is an experienced sea kayaker, and has some valid points about sectional versus folder on his well-traveled, single webpage on the subject:
Folding Kayak vs. Sectional Kayak
Owners of Feathercraft or Klepper folding kayaks point out that a folding kayak might be the lighter, easier approach of traveling with a kayak since the entire folding kayak can be packed in only one single bag. An advantage over a 3-piece kayak, where you travel with (and have to pay for) 3 oversized bags ...? Wrong! Since in both cases, no matter if 3 piece or folding kayak, you will travel with the same amount of 3 bags. The reason is you always have to bring you gear:
- Folding Kayak: My camping gear, paddles, and kayak kit etc. (barely) fit into 2 (two) oversized bags. Add a folding kayak to these 2 bags, you end up taking a total of 3 bags to the airport.
- 3-Piece Kayak: If you travel with a 3-piece kayak, you will be able to store your entire camping and kayak kit in not only the 2 hatch compartments (bow and stern section), but also in the cockpit (paddles). This eliminates the need for you to bring any additional bags with you, thus ending up again with 3 pieces of luggage (if slightly oversized compared with the 3 bags when traveling with a folding kayak). Since in both cases you end up with 3 oversized pieces of luggage, the 3-Piece kayak offers the advantage of a sturdier hull and a sturdier kayak less prone to damage to the canvas hull of a folding kayak, less assembly time and fewer parts such as wooden or metal ribs, bolts and nuts you might loose, damage, or forget at home.

Quantum Kayak Dolly

When we speak of larger kayaks, and know that we will need to transport them, it is a kayak dolly that does the trick. I posted to peers and was recommended this Quantum brand kayak dolly for convenience. I will need to take my sectional down the street to the boat lanch after assembling it at my condominium; this cart is ideal. Low profile, I can easily pull the wheel pins and place the entire dolly in my dry hatch. It functions well, and does not slip off the boat thanks to the red hook that hooks over the cockpit coaming. I recommend this dolly, in particular for flat paved or hard packed surfaces, for hauling your put-together kayak. Available at REI and other online retailers.

Capt. Ed in Wisconsin reviewed this specific cart:

I have used this cart for more than 3 years, and have concluded that I would be not be in paddlesports if it were not for this cart to help me handle the boat on land all by myself. It seems very well-designed and is so easy to attach and remove from my kayak. The cart even makes loading and unloading the kayak from my vehicle roof easy to do because of the stern mounting location. The cart is so compact and lightweight that it stows under my rear hatch or under the deck. The wheels are bullet-proof and large enough to go over rocks, sand, or rough terrain when walking the boat to the launch. The sleeve bearings and spacers are such that they will not lock-up from sand and grit, and show no wear at all after frequent use for a long time. The flexible, molded cradle conforms nicely to the shape of my kayak hull, and has never left any marks on the boat hull. It attaches on the stern, where the polyethylene boat hull is strongest. I just load everything I need for the trip into the cockpit and make one trip from the car to the water and back while carrying no more than half the weight of the boat and contents.I think this is a great, useful product and can think of nothing that would improve the design or utility of it. I highly recommend it.


Weight: Valley Argonaut 2002 Fiberglass

This is a true and accurate weigh in of the 2002 Valley sectional 3-piece Argonaut (now called the Aquanuat HV). The tale of the tape is that it's 22.5 inch beam and 17 feet 7 inches long. This model is all fiberglass, and was made in 2002, when fiberglass meant tough. And heavy. It has no foot pegs, but instead has a nifty foam bulkhead footrest. It has a built-in deck pump and all the rigging. It has a Nexxus compass. It has a skeg. I used the Seca scale and found the following:
The Bow 22 lbs.
The Midsection (cockpit) 42 lbs
The Stern 20 lbs.
Total Weight: 84 lbs!
So, this boat is 6 inches longer than the Aqunaut LV, and has compass and built-in pump, and weighs about 12 lbs more. The carbon Kevlar Premium hull (not deck) layup alone of the Aquanaut LV was said to gain about 8-9 lbs of saved weight, and that would appear to be the case.
What is interesting is that the "cuts" of the two boats are very different. The 2002 Argonaut has a light and small bow and stern and the rear section division is behind the day hatch. The 2008 Aquanuat LV has the rear division in front of the day hatch, thus adding weight to the stern piece and taking weight off the already heavy center piece. I like the new styling better.
I will post on another day about the differences in the skeg designs betwen the two boats and how that comes into play with the types of sections. For now, it's safe to say that this boat is heavy, but very rugged with double bulkheads. I will paddle it proudly and know that, like the on-deck batter swinging a weighted bat, when I step into one of my single piece rotomolded kayaks it'll feel like I'm paddling a carbon Epic.

TIP: Make a hardware kit

Take the time to assemble a nice kit of tools you will need for your sectional kayak. For the Valleys, it takes a 17mm socket wrench, some Hillman rubber washers, a pair of vice grips, a few flat fender washers, and most importantly, some spare 17mm nuts. I keep this kit on land in the vehicle. If I were going on a long paddle or overnighter, I would likely bring one spare setup (fender wahser, rubber gasket, bolt and nut 17mm, and a simple 17mm wrench.


Nimbus Horizon Sectional Sea Kayak

This March 2008 post is from Canadian blogger Michael at

Most people prefer to paddle a one piece kayak, but there are those other adventurous souls who need to fly off to remote beaches to launch their boats. Air travel and kayaks can be expensive combination and this has led to the production of sectional kayaks: boats in pieces. Best known perhaps are the English boats from Nigel Dennis and Rockpool. These boats are special items, I understand, in that one orders a regular kayak and it is then prepared as a sectional for you.Here in Canada, Nimbus Kayaks on the west coast also make up a sectional boat. It's the one in the pictures above. This boat is built from the start in three pieces and requires thirteen thru-bolts to assemble at the put-in. It's short, only 16'3", relatively wide at 23.5" and in kevlar weighs a whopping 57 lbs. The short overhangs at the bow and stern give it a longer waterline than one might expect for so short a boat.I've often toyed with the idea of a sectional boat. Transporting my kayak to the arctic and back was about the same as paying for an extra passenger. Transporting a sectional is more like paying for a bit of over-weight baggage and sometimes, not even that. I'd love to try one of these boats!
Posted by Michael at 2:05 PM
View the entire webpage with comments at:

Australis Komodo Tandem Plastic Modular Kayak

A Sectional Kayak Looks Like Solid Hull on the H2O

Here is Tsunamichuck's Nordkapp black and blue making a long crossing off SoCal. And in a state of Zen in the living room. Note the tail section standing in the corner. Try that with your single piece 'yak!

Weight: Valley Aquanaut LV Carbon Kev Hull Sectional

Weight is a crucial consideration with any boat. While a sectional can be assembled at water’s edge, thereby carrying only the components and not the entire boat, there are times when the whole boat will be preassembled and ready for a lug to the water. Furthermore, although it is said that “once in the water, all boats are similar”, this is not true from a physics standpoint. To create inertia, and forward motion, a heavier object requires more force than a lighter object.

An honest testing of the weight of my take-apart Valley Aquanuat 3-piece LV ensues. This was performed in my basement, with the pieces scattershot like giant Legos around a heavy duty and accurate Seca spring scale. The boat is a Valley Premium layup, which is a carbon Kevlar vacuum-bagged hull, and a fiberglass deck. It has no compass or built-in pump, but has the stock Valley seat, dry hatch covers and skeg. I have left in all nuts and bolts. This is the weight ready to launch. A drumroll please.

The Bow 17.5 lbs.

The Stern 24.5 lbs.

The Midsection with Cockpit 30.5 lbs.

TOTAL WEIGHT: 72.5 lbs.

A backbreaking 72 lbs, all told, and that's with the Premium carb Kev hull ($500 option). For the record, you can see that each individual piece is, by itself, light. And it is my opinion that the one-piece fiberglass (not carb Kev) Valley’s on their website –listed without hatch covers at an impressive 49-53 lbs depending on the model—are very unlikely to be those weights in reality with hatch covers and water ready, as I have tested this AqLV Premium layup.

The compromise to a sectional boat is, unquestionably, the weight.

Tryak 3 Piece Fishing Kayak


TIP: Vice Grips

One person putting together a sectional nut and bolt kayak will wonder: how will I hold the bolt--which is on the other side of the bulkhead--while I turn the nut with my wrench. The answer is simply to clip on a vice grip to the bolt. If the bolt rotates, the vice grip will stay on (unlike an unattended wrench) and the handle will eventually hit the inside of the hull and stop turning. Voila--an instant extra set of hands!

Bic Yakka 80 Inflatable Sectional Kayak

Bic Yakka Inflatable Sectional Kayak

Submitted by: cooldoctor108-30-2006
The Bic Yakka 80 is one of the new boats you may have seen in the magazines, and as my kayaking took me to a new level of wanting a fast and portable travel boat, I bought a Yakka. Folding kayaks seemed to take too much set-up time, and inflatables seemed like dowdy water plows. The Bic Yakka series appeared to be the best of all worlds: rapid set-up, great design, and a fairly fast rigid hull. Did it live up to the promise? Yes, with some limitations. The Yakka 80 is rated at 176 lbs max, and my 168 lb frame does not seem to sink the boat, and there seems to be weight to spare. The 9 foot 4 inch open length is compact, and there is a built in roller to pull the heavy 46 lb yak (two roller wheels would have been better than the one provided). Red inflatable cordura perimeter atop what is essentially a foldable sit-on-top, the boat sets up in about 120 seconds. Unfold, screw down a stabilizer bar, and inflate. I inflated this boat easily with my mouth (pump included but not mandatory). On my inaugural paddle, I was impressed by the speed of this boat and despite its short length and wide beam, it tracked fairly well as long as my paddle stroke was even and steady. I was impressed at the efficiency. It really punches through the flat-water (doubt this boat would be any good at all in waves and chop—get a folder for those conditions), which is what I wanted rather than an inflatable hull water plow. An immediate drawback was noted, and that is water coming in the midhull line where the two base hull pieces meet, i.e. some water comes in at the folding “joint”. How much? A lot! Enough for a wet butted ride certainly. I added a Surf-to-Summit SOT seat, which fits handy built in clips on the Yakka (even Bic was thinking you’d add a seat, I suspect), and was able to sit above the water and not get wet at all for my subsequent rides. I would say that the seat is mandatory. I find that the water ingress, although slightly disarming, hits a certain level and then stops, thanks to scupper plugs that allow a balanced egress. Thus, you will not get flooded, you’ll just feel like your getting flooded. I emailed Bic about this, asking for advice and to share my commentary, but the company has not responded after two months.
In summary, this boat is exactly what I wanted—a fast, easy to carry (4 foot 8 inches long closed) rigid hulled yak. Just bring a descent SOT seat, and consider a possible wet ride. The quality of the workmanship on this boat is really stupendous—years of refinement from Bic’s surfboards (and a big improvement over their cheap ball point pens). For the purposes mentioned, I will certainly have many paddles in this boat over the years (have threatened the wife that I may paddle the fountain pond at the mall while she goes shoe shopping). Deducted two points: one for the wet ride, and one for the weight, which still comes in at 45 lbs or so (would hope for lighter). Bic customer support is also suspect. Recommended. Rating: 10 of 10


Kajaksport Sectional Kayaks

TIP: Rubber Washers

These Hillman brand rubber washers are available at Lowe's and other big box stores in the aisle that has all the nuts and bolts. Typically under the "specialty" section, you will find many in these individual packets. They are about 50 cents each, so not cheap, but considering they are one barrier for water ingress on your nut and bolted take-apart kayak, they should be bought and stored in the kayak for long trips, and at least in your vehicle for short trips. I will photograph my entire specialty kit for my sectional kayaks and post soon. But to start, grab a handful of rubber washers as the old ones can tear, stick and get brittle.

EasyRider Eskimo 15 Take Apart Kayak

Iguana Australia Plastic Take-Apart Kayak

Kaskazi Take-Apart Australia

Rockpool 3 Piece Storage Custom Bag

John from Isle of Man Kayak explains:
It was a devastating blow last year when, on my return from Vancouver with my 3 piece Rockpool Alaw Bach, I discovered extensive damage to the boat. It spent several months with Rockpool undergoing repairs. It's now back with me, all be it with a few war wounds. I'd transported the 3 pieces across the Atlantic and the North American land mass blanketed in several layers of bubble wrap. In addition, I'd taped split pieces of pipe lagging foam onto some of the more vulnerable edges. Clearly, these protective measures were inadequate. But there's no point owning such a kayak if you cannot roam the globe with it. There had to be a better way?I hope this is it. A tough, waterproof PVC foam filled bag manufactured for me by Trifibre. The PVC is sandwiched around 12 mm tough foam. The bag measures 185 cm by 50 cm wide and 60 cm height. It incorporates a tough zip extending around 3 edges. There are handles and a shoulder strap. In addition there is room for cut 5 cm profiled foam pieces to separate the 3 pieces from each other. All kayaking gear, including dry suite, paddles, buoyancy etc. also fits into the one bag distributed inside the 3 kayak pieces. On the top I've had printed in large yellow letters a "fragile" warning. The whole thing can be carried by two people and fits into the back of my BMW X5 with ease. OK, this isn't quite "commando kayaking" as promoted by Dubside. It would be difficult to dispense with the car, but hopefully the bag will offer easier transport around airports, and may resist the disgruntled baggage handler more effectively than the previous
Posted by John at 27.11.08

Valley Aquanaut LV in a Chevrolet Avalanche

Notice the round flange "tabs" and the nut and bolt connectors; one oval and one round, they fit respectively on the third piece (not in photo). The 3-piecer fits neatly inside the stock plastic-covered 5 foot Chevy Avalanche truck bed. Unfortunately, the midgate--the panel between the cab and the rear seats, typical for an Av--has to be dropped down (eliminating the back seat for any rear passengers) because the length of each piece is over 5 feet. Note that no straps or racks are used to transport a sectional sea kayak in this fashion; saves tremendously on rack system (Thules and Yakimas are about $400 to get a system to haul a kayak). No need for Lasso locks or other anti-theft devices--would-be thieves do not know it's even in there. No rain in the hatches or cockpit, no lost hatch covers down the highway. Assembled, this boat is 17 feet one inch long. This photo only shows two pieces in the truck--the third, in sleeping bag carrying case--fits nicely on top.
The best part about a three piece kayak inside the vehicle: not watching those fluttering, guitar-string tight straps on a long drive. "Is that getting loose? I think it's looser than it was 25 miles ago."
Right on, Kimosabe.

NDK Explorer Three Piece ready to travel

Notice the rectangular interlocking "tabs" between joints.

A nice website and this photo is very appreciated to show the Nigel Dennis method of triple-piecing a sea kayak.

Isle of Man Kayak Blog

Posted by proud new sectional kayak owner, and a Rockpool, nonetheless, by John on May 18, 2008--notice the clip system.

Well, after 2 years of waiting and a great deal of persuasion, I finally picked up my new Rockpool Alaw Bach 3 piece kayak last week. I believe this is only the 5th created and will probably be the last. The others are owned by some extremely eminent kayakers including Freya Hoffmeister and Derrick Mayoleth and so I don't know how I got one, but I'm glad I have - it's superb.First Rockpool build a standard Alaw Bach. They then proceed to saw it into 3 pieces. After that the new bulk heads are moulded and the clips which hold it all together are added. The 3 pieces are aligned by using male to female sea shell moulds as shown below. These allow the pieces to line up precisely and with no twist or slippage. Why sea shells? Well not much else has such a large surface area enabling maximum contact. Each segment is held together by six adjustable clips as below, although just one seems enough. It may well be over engineered but I'd prefer it that way when battling a tidal race!There is carbon in the cockpit but due to technical difficulties the boat is mainly fibre glass. Having said that there is a minimal weight penalty for having the portability built in.So how does it handle? Well to my surprise it is different to my standard Alaw Bach. It's more twitchy and playful. I can only assume that the centre of gravity is slightly different. Whatever the reason it is in my opinion the ultimate rough water sea kayak which enables me to travel the World. It's next appearance should be Vancouver Island, Canada, in the Summer.--John.

EasyRider Eskimo 22 foot Tandem 2-piece Kayak


This is an article from WaveLength Magazine, available in print in North America and globally on the web.
by Ulli Höger
Scene in Ulli’s garage
...or why anybody would cut a perfectly good kayak into three pieces!
Plywood? A sea kayak made from 4 mm plywood? Is that a really good idea? I stood in front of this little booth at the 1999 spring fair in Halifax. My face must have given my skeptical thoughts away. ‘Volkskayak’-Gerry Gladwin had a gleaming smile on his face when he told me all about his Greenland-inspired kayak design, a stitch and glue boat building method, and his workshop where you can build one. That day I had no idea that ten months later I would be building my own Volkskayak.
During that summer I did a lot of sea kayaking with one of the local outfitters, and got hooked. By the end of the summer I decided that I had to have my own boat. Facing the problem of storing a sea kayak in my apartment, I remembered Gerry and his Volkskayaks. One particular design, the ‘Volkskomponentkayak’, could be the solution for my storage problem. This design, which breaks down into three pieces, would fit in an elevator and in the tiny storage room of my apartment. One important question remained. Familair with rotomolded seakayaks, I was curious how the hard-chined Volkskayak would feel and handle. Would I like it? Could I handle a kayak without a rudder?
I gave Gerry a call, arranged a test paddle, and a week later I signed up for one of his workshops. I started building my kayak in November, restricted to weekends, and it took me two months to finish the project. The first weekend I stitched the six plywood panels of the hull and deck together with wire, then glued them with thickened epoxy. After only a couple of hours the result already gave an impression of the kayak. The following weekend I removed the wires, taped the seams with fiberglass tape, coated the wood with epoxy resin, and reinforced the two bottom panels on the outside with fiberglass cloth. After the deck and hull were joined, my Volkskayak was almost ready to paddle. But my boat was designated to become a Volkskomponentkayak. In preparation for this step we had done a modification during the previous steps. We used beefier 8 mm plywood for the bulkheads, and doubled them. Apart from glassing in the doubled, heavier bulkheads the kayak was then built like a normal stitch and glue kayak.
Gerry handled the saw as I was too afraid to mess this part up. The saw blade had to hit right between the doubled bulkheads to separate the bow, cockpit, and stern sections. The operation was a full success, and the Volkskayak was transformed into a Volkskomponentkayak.
For paddling, the three compartments are bolted together with six bolts each through the bow and stern bulkheads. If I didn’t like it for paddling, I would at least have three pieces of unique furniture for my apartment!
Attachment system
The next two weekends I glassed the outside of the bulkheads and did a lot of sanding and finishing. After Christmas I had my boat painted and was ready to go.
I launched it in the Northwest Arm of Halifax harbour and since that day I have covered a couple of hundred kilometres in my Volkskayak, exploring the lakes, coastline and islands of Nova Scotia, ‘Canada’s Ocean Playground’ on the east coast. And if I have to move to a new paddling place somewhere else in this world, my Volkskomponentkayak will be with me. The first one became airborne last spring, when Gerry checked it in as his luggage for a trip to Mexico.
The assembled Volkskomponentkayak
Dr. Ulli Höger, originally from Germany, is currently working in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the Department of Physiology and Biophysics Dalhousie University. More details about building a Volkskayak can be found at or ©

TIP: Carrying Sections

If you open that stern and bow hatch cover (the one in the photo is closed) and stick it inside the hatch itself, it makes the boat section much easier to grab. Now you have a "handle" that permits you to hold the section, no longer like a cumbersome oversized object which you have to hug with your arms, but as something you can hoist with one hand if you must. Just put your hand in the hatch and carry.

EasyRider Sectional Sea Kayak

Peter Kauput of Easy Rider Sectional Sea Kayak from this 2002 post on Planet Kayak:

EasyRider Kayaks offers an offbeat option, a three piece rigid take-apart boat (above). If you’re interested in a hardshell kayak, you’ve got the choice of plastic, fibreglass, kevlar or wood. Plastic is cheaper than fibreglass but glass is lighter, and kevlar is lighter still but more costly

TIP: Easy Sectional Boat Covers

Wal-mart, $11 each, polyester sleeping bags (get extra long/tall if you can--hard to find--but regular adult size will do), one for each section. Slide on, slide off. Napping in the bags is optional.

Fadedred's Nordkapp HM Valley Three Piece Kayak

Thanks, Roy, aka Fadedred, for your super pictures and input. Roy has paddled this baby for years and has provided outstanding input for paddlers of all experience levels on Notice that Roy has the four nut-bolt Valley with black rubber washers to prevent water ingress. Also note that his three-piecer has flat bulkheads, i.e. the contact area is flat. Now--for better or for worse--the Valley's have a tab of flange with male-female interaction at the abutting surfaces. I will post photos of the Valley four nut and bolt system specifically.
Upcoming on this blog are weights of each section of my Aquanuat and Aquanuat LV boats, photos of the adjoining members and the four bolt-system, and an occasional tip about sectional kayaks. I will also link Marcus Demuth's website, which always googles to the top on the web for sectional kayaks. I would like to find someone with clips for joining the sections for some close-up photos and comments about that mechanism.