5-part Black Pearl – Dan Caouette
Dan Caouette (Clear Stream Custom Water Craft) just launched his spectacular 5-part plywood Black Bearl – one of the most beautiful, smart, light (considering the take-apart part) and most exciting on-off kayaks I have seen!
I finished it last Wednesday. I christened it the “Areia.” It’s the Spartan name for Aphrodite whose was symbolized by the metal copper. Seemed appropriate. Another name related to Aphrodite that I had considered was “Cytheria.” I quickly decided not to use it after a quick internet search revealed the name was also that of a porn star with interesting talents…
If I’m not mistaken I believe “Areia” is the first “official” plywood Black Pearl in North America and the first sectional one ever(?!).
Total time for the build was 90 hours. Here’s the breakdown of the extra work: Plywood templates (for making future Black Pearl panels): 19 hrs, sectional work: 21 hrs, custom paint: 3 hrs extra. With those numbers a basic plywood Pearl would take about 47 hrs to build including making the carbon coaming and cutting out the panels. If it was offered as a kit or assembled in a class the total time should easily be less than 40 hours.
It weighs in at about 35 lbs (15.9kg). I figure making it a sectional added about 2 kg. The bolting hardware alone added 500g. The custom paint added some weight also. Between the primer, sealer, black base, copper pearl and clear coats there are 10 layers. I used about 3 liters of paint. In the shade it’s nice reddish brown but then the sun hits it. It simply shines like a copper penny. What a color flop. It’s hard to accurately portray with pictures. I’m very happy with the effect.
It’s joined together with 18 bolts. The bolts have plastic knobs so they can be finger tightened. No tools are required. To keep it water-tight there is soft foam hatch tape on the ends. So far I have the process down to about five minutes (longer if there’s a crowd of people asking questions). Sea kayaks are quite rare up here, let alone a sectional Greenland kayak.
Of the five Black Pearls I’ve built of the years, this is the first one I’ve actually had a chance to paddle for more than five minutes. It’s wonderful to paddle. With the narrow 48 cm beam, there’s not a lot of primary stability but I’m getting used to it. Without a proper spray-skirt I haven’t had much chance to lean it or attempt any rolls. Until my custom Snapdragon skirt comes in I’m using the one of my Guillemot that’s 3 sizes too large. I add an extra bungee to cinch it tighter but tons of water leaks under it.
It was a very interesting build. I think the hardest part was figuring out was color to paint it! The response to it has been phenomenal. It’s going to be an excellent show piece and a great kayak for paddles during lunch breaks.
BTW: There’s already some interest from friends of mine to build a few Alleqs over the winter. Someday I’ll build that Qanik… J
Best regards my friend,