Here’s another kayak rehab effort underway. A few years ago when I was getting some kayak instructor training, the course leader suggested that I get a boat with a bigger cockpit for teaching purposes. I was using a boat with a fairly small ocean cockpit. The wiggling required to re-enter it during a rescue apparently looked too alarming.
My solution, needless to say, was not to buy a boat with a larger keyhole cockpit. I cut a bigger cockpit into a boat I already had. Cosmetically-speaking, it worked. But there was something about the width of the boat combined with the low front deck that rendered the new cockpit awful. A boat I enjoyed turned into a boat that collected dust.
This week I’ve been back in the basement, cutting out the old cockpit, gluing down a new piece of deck and reinstalling an ocean cockpit. Okay, I feel a bit like a dog chasing its tail. I’m making a lot of effort to get back to the same place.
There’s a moment before you take a saw to a kayak when you inevitably ask yourself, Is this really a good idea? And then there’s the adolescent appeal of cutting things to pieces. I grabbed an electric jig saw and hacked out about three and a half feet of deck. Simple and satisfying, as destruction so often is. Now I’m into the building stage. Since this involves thought, planning, blunders and rethinking, it’s slower and occasionally frustrating.
Which is to note one more reason why building boats is like the rest of life.