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Back Bay Solo Sit-on-Top Kayak
-Coming soon


A modular approach to SOT kayak sailing and paddling

Sit-On-Top (SOT) kayaks are easy boats on which to learn to paddle. They have none of the “get inside the coffin and drown” psychological identity that one finds in the Sit-Inside boats and they’re amazingly adaptable to a wide range of paddling activities. It also doesn’t hurt that they are pretty straightforward boats to rotomold, which makes them very cheap to produce in large numbers.

I didn’t envision just one boat for this niche in the home-built kayak market. Instead, it came to me that there would need to be at least three models that could address the wide-ranging styles of boating interests in this area of the kayak world. The result was a couple of very clean, SOT models at 14’ and 16’ called the Corona and the Back Bay. The third model was going to be called the Wahoo, as it was specifically designed for the folks who spend a lot of time fishing with their SOT’s. I’ll get to the Wahoo in the next article for Duckworks.

As a canoe and kayak sailor and a guy who had just been out for a test drive on the Hobie Island, which is based on their 16’ SOT Adventure model, I wanted to offer my own take on what makes for a truly fun and stylish, sailing SOT kayak. The result was that a fully integrated system of component parts was designed for the basic Back Bay. This modular approach allows the Back Bay to go sailing by simply adding a system of light weight, easily built elements that quickly convert the SOT to a single aka sailing boat called the Scorpion, OR a double aka sailing boat, called the Doubloon.

The Corona and the Back Bay are virtually identical models, save for their respective lengths. For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on the Back Bay version and all the potential add-on systems I’ve incorporated in the design.

The Back Bay SOT kayak

Specifications:
Length overall
-
16'
Beam overall main hull
-
28"
Depth of hull max
-
12”
Weight
-
48 lbs. or less
Displacement
-
335 lbs.

This boat is built in the S&G style of construction in 4mm marine ply with 6 oz. plain weave fiberglass set in epoxy on the inside and outside of the hull for full laminate sandwich strength. The build process uses external cradles as strongback supports, ensuring that the hull goes together with minimum hassle when handling the rather slender and longish hull panels. The boat is bulkheaded internally at three key points. These bulkheads create not only integrated strength in the design, but they also cleanly separate the hull cavity into four unique volumes for gear storage and watertight flotation.

The Back Bay can be configured with a large, open tank well set aft of the cockpit, or built with a watertight hatch cover for internal storage in a conventional kayak style.


Scorpion Sailing SOT

Specifications:
Beam overall
-
10'
Weight (est.)
-
90 lbs.
Sail Area
-
56 sq. ft.
Displacement
-
350 lbs.
Draft (board down)
-
28"

This is a Sit-On-Top design for fun sailing, paddling, or Mirage peddling, as the builder desires. The sailing daggerboard drops through an insert in the Mirage trunk. (if the peddle function is chosen during construction) The owner can omit the Mirage capability if so desired and a simple slot for the daggerboard will substitute. Having the aka gull wing form set well forward permits a full paddle swing arc. This setup will allow the owner to power sail in light air with both the paddle and the sail providing thrust. It is also possible to offset the daggerboard trunk and utilize the Mirage drive for a power sailing option.

The amas are positioned to optimize capsize resistance when sailing off the wind and have sufficient buoyancy to resist capsize with full sail up in a 20 knot breeze. The amas do not touch the surface of the water at rest and provide only minimal wetted surface drag when underway by paddle or peddle.

The aft deck can be configured as a watertight hatch with full access to the aft sections of the hull, OR a large, diving tank well with self-draining ports. The cockpit is fitted with self-drain ports under the seat as well as forward, in addition to the daggerboard slot. There is a watertight deck plate just forward of the seat, between the knees of the sailor/paddler to provide secure storage for critical items that may be needed on a routine basis. The foredeck has a watertight hatch cover for bow storage needs.

The rig is a fully battened Dacron sail with two reef points and a multi-section, self-supporting mast which steps into a sealed mast socket in the hull. The mast and boom sections can be aluminum or carbon, as budget permits. The sail choice is open for the customer as long as it can be balanced with the fixed positions for the mast and dagger board. The Cunningham is run to the deck of the gull wing aka to keep the rig on the boat in the event of a capsize.

With 56-sq. ft. of sail on a 90-pound boat, this will be a decently speedy boat without being in over its head all the time in a stiff breeze. I suggest two reef points in the sail to allow for sailing in a wide variety of conditions.

This will be a wet boat at speed, yet there are no worries at all for flooding and sinking save for a truly nasty trip over a reef that shreds the entire underside of the craft. The bow, cockpit and aft hull volumes are all independent, sealed compartments, as are the ama volumes.

Reentry from a swimming session will be easy with a simple, sling ladder much like those used by rock climbers, called etriers.

Sliding foot pedals in the cockpit control the rudder. The rudder flips-up when it encounters an underwater obstacle, returning to the deployed position once past the obstruction.

The boat is constructed in a multichine, marine plywood style with epoxy glass laminates inside and out in a stitch and glue style. Stainless T-Nuts are embedded in the hull deck surface from below to provide a secure set of mounting points for the aka wing. The amas are held in place on the aka tips by large bungees and a notched lock system. This system provides for quick setups on the beach.

You just fit the aka to the foredeck, insert four, 1/4" threaded stainless screws with comfortable, knobbed grips and screw down the aka wing. The amas slip onto the ends of the aka and you lift the pair of 3/8" bungees up and over two raised hooks on the aka ends to secure the ama in place.

Doubloon Sailing SOT

The Doubloon is the second variation on the central SOT theme of this group of boats. In this design, I am looking to provide a more expansive utility application for the base, Back Bay SOT version. The Doubloon is essentially a solo craft and it carries the same, 56 sq. ft. sail, but the overall potential of the boat is expanded through the use of dual akas and full side trampolines.

The akas on the Doubloon are spaced to allow for a full paddle stroke with the boat setup as a trimaran. There are two sections of tubing that span the opening fore and aft between the akas from which the tramp is mounted. The trampolines are designed to roll-up on the outer tube section, much like a window shade and they are deployed by an endless loop of light halyard line. With the tramps fully deployed, the inner tube section lifts up and over a holding pin in the aka and the sailor applies as much tension to the tramp as he feels he needs by hauling-in the endless loop line and cleating it off. If a paddling session is desired, he simply pops the jam cleat and pulls the line to roll-up the tramp on the outer tube section. This procedure applies for both port and starboard tramps.

Like the Scorpion, the Doubloon can be built to utilize a Mirage drive in the center well and the need to roll-up the tramps for paddling is essentially negated, (though it is nice to have the option once in awhile as Mirage drives are hard to maneuver in tight places)

The aka beams are held to the deck of the Back Bay hull with the same, threaded knob strategy for quick setup and takedown times. Similarly, the amas are held to the aka ends with hefty bungee cords for the simplicity of use. There’s another, rather invisible, benefit to using the bungee cords for ama mounting. Because they are being held in place through a fairly dynamic hold-down system, the amas can move about, ever so slightly, while underway. This allows the amas to have some structural “give” and the result is that the banging and thrashing that is typically experienced by the ama, is somewhat dissipated through the flex of the joining system.

The Doubloon configuration allows the sailor/paddler/peddler to bring along extra gear, which can be lashed to the tramps in waterproof bags. They can also take along kids, or perhaps someone special, who could lounge out on the tramp surface while lazily sailing along for a sunset cruise on a warm summer evening.

All in all, I think the Back Bay SOT should be a really fun boat to own for warm water/warm weather boating adventures. It has the capacity to carry enough gear for several days out on the water. When rigged with a sailing system of your choice, it can also cover some pretty good distances if the winds are favorable. Plans for this boat and all its variations will be available from Duckworks.

Chris Ostlind
Lunada Design
Chris@Wedgesail.com