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Design & Illustration

Black Pearl – Bohdan Szymanik

Black Pearl – Bohdan Szymanik

A mail from down under:

Hi Bjorn, just to let you know the Black Pearl I started building in November last year is now getting lots of time on the water and I'm loving it! It's very lightweight (12kgs) which makes it really easy to put on and off the car. (I mostly used Paulownia and a lightweight tight weave cloth.) The finished kayak is very responsive to everything I do and it just brings a big smile on my face when I'm on the water.

The fitting out has been a gradual process over the last 6 months and it's now very comfortable with good bracing for the knee on the masik - crucial for my rolling.

All in all a great project - the building was great fun, it looks terrific, and it's fantastic on the water.

Thanks for the great design and a photograph is attached from a recent trip to Lake Taupo - my daughter's following along in an old polo boat and I can see a need to build something for her next:)



Bohdan, thank you for the report and beautiful photo. Looking at it I do agree with your last remark – the girl needs a Black Pearl of her own! While your BP glides effortlessly through the water without a wake and your paddle leaves almost no visible trace of applied power, she is struggling to keep up, the polo kayak producing an energy-wasting wake, and her large blades wasting lots of power producing large vortices ;-)

Paulownia is interesting – hard to get here in Sweden, but the few kayaks built here in imported Paulownia are also very light. 12 kg is a nice weight for a kayak. Mine, built in Norwegian Fir, tipped the scale at 13,4 kg initially but gained a little after a refinishing last year (~14 kg)...

Paulownia is a very intresting material for building kayaks. I've been trying to get hold of it for a while here in Norwaii but with no luck. If anyone have any knowlegde on how to get it I would appreciate any info.

Here in the south of Sweden, the best way seems to be a trip to Bauhaus in Germany: there you can buy strip-glued boards of Paulownia (bench top, book shelf etc) and cut them back to kayak strips – far cheaper than ordering the wood from the "normal" suppliers. A friend of mine did this for his spectacular kayak IONE, and reports that the strips performed perfectly in the project and that the kayak was as light and strong as hoped for.

Ha ha ha. Ser ut til at jeg må ta en tysklandstur en gang. Men litt synd med lengden. 2,2 m. Blir mye skjøting på en 6m kajakk. Jeg har ikke kommet så langt at jeg liker å skjule trevirket i kajakkene mine ennå.

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