Frej – Ralph Merriman
Ralph Merriman's new Frej, slightly customized, was recently launched somewhere in Puget Sound in US northwest – as nicely constructed as his previous kayaks; Njord and Thule/2.
After taking way too long to get a sailboat project out of my shop I was able to start my Frej in November. It went into the water a few weeks ago so I thought I would send the obligatory back yard beauty shots.
Although I am not particularly large I decided to make the boat a bit roomier than the plan. I am in my late 60s and I wanted more leg, knee and foot wiggle room than I might otherwise. My Njord lacks a bit in this regard, and I wanted to be happy with the boat. I added 2 CM height along the sheer and squared up the deck a bit from knees to toes. I also took out most of the swoop at the back of the cockpit to get me more lower back support. Deck height is 21.5 CM at rear of cockpit and 29.5 in front. Beam is 55 cm. So not as sleek and sexy, but comfier for an older guy (who is not quite as sleek and sexy anymore either).
I love the way it paddles. Maneuverability is wonderful. It reminds me of my white water days, when the boat needed a lot of attention. Skeg down it is quite docile. Secondary stability is very solid and reassuring, as good as I had hoped. I have not had it out in any rough stuff yet, but I am looking forward to it. Definitely a keeper.
I am staring longingly at my Panthera plans, which you were kind enough to send me.As lovely as it is I have not managed to overcome my dislike for rudders. Do you know if anyone has built one with just a skeg? I would not be surfing big ocean swells, just dealing with Puget Sound wind waves.
Thanks for the great design, and I trust I did it no great damage with my alterations."