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Design & Illustration

New China assignments

Diskussion med VD och produktionsingenjör kring en ny kajakprototyp

I have been on a very short visit to China again, checking out new molds and prototype kayaks – including an interesting test drive with the new rotomolded Axis X4. Small changes made necessary by the material and production technique, means it behaves slightly different from the laminate kayak. The plastic is heavier and have less structural rigidity and the stiffening profiles in the bottom increases the directivity while decreasing maneuverabiliy – the plastic X4 will do better with a rudder kayak than with an adjustable skeg. The lamiate version is works nicely with skeg or rudder (not skeg and rudder, even if some seem to think that is a good combination).

Testpaddling av nya Axis X4 i termoplast
Launching in not very clear streaming water. (Photo: Yuki Wang)

The kayak did very well on the test drive, and confirmed what I had hoped for. The water quality though didn't invite to rolling and bracing so some tests had to wait for another opportunity.

En bit kinesisk å mellan två forsar blev teststräcka
Safe and stable in the moving water. (Photo: Grace Wang)

Axis X4 med surfskiinspirerat skrov...
The surfski-inspired hull showed an inpressive acceleration. (Photo: Grace Wang)

Kanske den snabbaste termoplastkajaken som finns?
Maybe the fastest rotmolded kayak on the matket? (Photo: Grace Wang)

As usual there are details to discuss. Even a fairly detailed drawing is to some extent open for interpretations – and those cab differ depending on who is making them. But in a lerger picture that is often a good thing, since these interpretations sometimes reveal ingenius solution that I wouldn't have though of ;-)

Montagehallen – diskussion kring detaljlösningar
The assembly hall – discussion about details and small adjustments after the test.

I also had time to scrutinize a new kayak, I designed directly for the Chinese manufacturer. It will be available in single and double versions, the latter with two/three cockpits or one big open cockpit.

Provgjutning av den nya kajaken i gult mitt i bilden
The first new kayak from the mold (the nearest yellow one)

The factory, a couple of hours with the fast train (300 km/t and silent and smooth so our Swedish "pride" X2000 feels old and primitive) southwest of Shanghai, offered high summer temps during my visit – 31-32 deg days and down to 26-28 nights. For a Swede enduring the coldest may in memeory it meant sweating copiously!

Pratstund med VD Grace Wang i det luftkonditionerade kontoret om detaljer i skrovform och utrustning
Discussing hull and outfitting details with SEO Grace Wang in the airconditioned office – a welcome break from the humid heat. (Photo: Yuki Wang)

As usual China was a gastronomic treat: gourmet food and the best tea I have had anywhere. Since Restaurants outside the tourist lanes seldom have menues in English I let my hosts pick, and I believe they went the whole hog! There was some first-time-ever among alll the plates that appears during a Chinese meal – fx small frogs in a spicy sauce, some unidentifed bird(?), something I first took for a squid, but with the help of google was identified as some kind of jellyfish, and a fish that another google translation identified as an oarfish – though I am not sure about this, since oarfishes are very large and considered not very tasty, and these titbits came from a very small fish. But whatever it was I ate, it tasted excellently.

I was bit lucky going back. On wednesday Shanghai and Puding airport had been closed after severe downpour and flooding and hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed – but my thursday morning flight left in time and I got home to the traditional midsummer feast with pickled herring and schnaps...


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