A beautiful Spray in Michigan
An amazingly well-built Spray was launched earlier this year in Detroit, Michigan. Built by Dan Caouette for Jim in Detroit, it was shorter and wider and very light: just 13,2 kg!
"Late last summer (2018) I was commissioned to build an all-wood “Spray" surf ski for Jim in Detroit, Michigan. He requested an even shorter version of the stock Spray, wanted it VERY light (sub 14 kg) including a wooden bucket and ALL outfitting. I knew it was going to be a tough project.
Due to other projects I was not able to start until November. I got the forms cut out but the “real” work only start after New Years.
Final dimensions are 488 x 55cm (16.0” x 21.5”). Jim specified a shorter ski so it was widened to compensate. The final, fully outfitted, weight came in at 13,2 kgs (29 lbs)!! He said he wanted it very light. To achieve the low weight it was built almost entirely from 3mm western red cedar, tightweave fiberglass laminated with bio-based epoxy from Entropy Resins, and finished with several coats of automotive urethane. The bare hull after clear coating only weighed 11,8 kgs (26.0 lbs).
To give options depending on conditions it is set up to use either an under hull mounted ski rudder or a stern-mounted SmartTrack race rudder. All of the carbon fiber steering hardware and handles are from Stellar Kayaks. The cockpit dimensions and cross sections as show in the plans were a good starting point but had to be extensively modified to accommodate the Stellar Kayaks hardware.
The self bailer was sourced from Epic Kayaks & Paddles. Behind the bailer is a slot and bungee to hold a water bottle.
For access to the forward compartment, a 150mm plastic deck plate was bonded to the interior of the bulkhead and then skinned with the wooden cutout.
Black walnut was used for the recessed deck fittings, recesses for the cockpit handles, and steering tubing termini.
Due to website issues, photos of the entire build were posted to Facebook and Instagram – and a full walk-around video can also be found on Facebook.
Jim's Spray has been used a lot during the summer and it is already pretty well known in the surf ski world. Here are a few comments by Jim from trips during the summer:
"The Spray was true to her name and Sprayed a wake at 11 mph. I got a chance to surf her on some 5' Lake Erie waves today. She surfed like a champ. The volume up front is just the thing to keep the bow from diving on the face of these very steep wind-driven waves. I went to the 9" rudder for a little extra control and that performed very well. I was able to move across the face of these waves with perfect control and with all the stability in that hull, I never felt even close to going over. I thought about trying to make a video, but it was a little rough for that."
"Hope you have had a chance to get out on the water, but I know you have many other things going on. Just want to let you know that the Spray continues to turn heads and I haven't been dumped yet. I have done a few remounts and between the general stability and the low gunnels, I can hop right back in."
"Got out on the Detroit River today and a fellow paddler took this picture. Everyone in the group paddled the Spray and they all loved the boat. "Who built this beautiful boat" is the first thing they ask. Downtown Detroit is just behind me and Canada is over the bow."