Frej – John Power
From John Power, launching his Dan Caouette built Frej earlier this summer, came a couple of photos and a nice review of the kayak's performance during a camping trip.
"Hello Bjorn Dan Caouette built me a Frej, he posted pictures May 27th, Here are some recent pictures of a 3 day solo trip I did off Stonington, ME (USA). I’ve paddled my Frej on flat, calm lakes, in ocean tide races and most recently I went on a 3 day solo camping trip to Stonington, ME on Deer Isle. It is the Medium length model, I purchased plans before you added the other sizes. I am 195cm tall, 77kg.
As others have said Frej is highly maneuverable, it can be spun around w/a couple of sweep strokes. There is the feeling that the boat floats above the water. It feels quick when paddled even against wind/tide as well as fully loaded w/camping gear. The use of the Skeg is essential for controlling weathercocking in a cross wind situation, a small amount of skeg deployed is enough to increase tracking dramatically.
Primary stability is really good, maneuvering in/out and around the cockpit the boat feels rock solid, scramble re-entries and self rescues are quite easy too due to the stability. Dan built the deck around the cockpit w/a flat profile, this provides a sure surface to place my hands for entry/exit, a nice design feature I’ve come to really enjoy.
In a tide race situation getting the most of out of the boats performance requires an active process using skeg, edging and paddle strokes similar to driving a sports car using brakes, clutch and accelerator. I am surprised that in certain situations edging alone and no skeg the boat handles really well when in other situations (cross wind) a small amount of skew is essential. The rockered hull design and plumb bow keeps the bow from plowing into waves while surfing or when going down wind.
The boat can handle 4 days worth of camping supplies. I was initially concerned the added weight would not work well for this design. I quickly realized the boat settled into the water basically the same way as unloaded and maneuvered in a similar fashion just a bit slower w/the added weight. If I was to change anything in the design I would raise the rear deck height 1/4" to better accommodate dry bags.
I would like to mention Dan Caouette did an amazing job building this beautiful kayak, his attention to detail and precision is impressive! I highly recommend him as a builder."