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SOF Greenland for a large paddler


Apr 4, 2016
Nova Scotia
Has anyone out there built a SOF Greenland kayak for a large paddler (6' and 250lb). If so how did everything turn out? What plan did you use? Any info would be appreciated.
OK well I'm not a big guy (5'8" 175 lbs) but no one else has replied so I'll chime in with my SOF building experience.

I followed Christopher Cunningham's plans in a couple editions of Sea Kayaker magazine. He went on to incorporate these into his book on the subject. The boat dimensions are all to anthropometric measurements- 3 arm spans, hips plus 2 fists, fist with extended thumb, etc.

The build went fairly well even though at the time I wasn't much of a woodworker. The boat turned out beautifully, a real stunner if I do say so myself.

Performance wise, well let's just say she was a little tender. Initial stability was almost nil. I like a hard chined boat and being on edge and this boat really wanted to be on that edge. It took most of my concentration to keep it level and I found it hard to take my eyes off the horizon. I welcomed a Euro blade rather than my GP for the firmer brace it provided. The first few times I rolled it I'd over shoot coming up and go right back over again. I'm sure given enough time and effort, maybe a warm inland lake, and a higher skill level (I'm a strong intermediate) I could have gotten more comfortable in it. Or if I was looking for a rolling machine I probably would have been thrilled with it. But I paddled it for a few times a season for a few years, then it hung in the garage for a few years and I finally stripped the skin and hung it on the outside of the garage as a decoration. Sold it when I moved west to a guy who was a real collector of all things arctic paddling.

I think the problem was not enough depth in the bilge, resulting in too high a centre of gravity. I don't know if being heavier would help this by floating the boat lower in the water. Before I stripped it I considered rebuilding the frame. So I tried fastening long 1" thick foam strips to the outside of the gunwales to increase the beam from it's original 20.5" to see if that helped. It did but not enough to motivate me to do a complete rebuild.

Your mileage will vary.
I'm not a SOF guy at all.
But I'll add a couple of thoughts here anyway.
I did build myself a 'Greenland-style' boat a few years back thinking I'd get more enthusiastic about rolling if I had a 'cheater boat'.
The tight fit and straight-leg position didn't work for me, so I sold the boat to a more deserving owner.
It was a hybrid wood-epoxy boat - plywood stitch and glue hull with a woodstrip deck. I took the deck profiles from Black Pearl plans I'd bought.

If you are looking for plans that will match the hull size to your size/weight, you could consider buying Black Pearl plans from Bjorn Thomasson - each plan set is scaled to the new owner.
I'm not sure how well the plans would work with SOF building, since quite a lot of interior space is lost compared to a strip or S&G boat.

Another possible contact (beside Bjorn Thomasson) could be Brian Schultz (Cape Falcon Kayaks) - he has a lot of experience teaching US and Canadian paddlers to build SOF boats, so might have some ideas about sizing.
John wrote:
Another possible contact (beside Bjorn Thomasson) could be Brian Schultz (Cape Falcon Kayaks) - he has a lot of experience teaching US and Canadian paddlers to build SOF boats, so might have some ideas about sizing.

Brian is back in the boat business, after a health related hiatus! I have not done this, but I have two good buddies who took his several day workshop, which marries skill building with construction of a sof boat tailored to your dimensions, which you take home at the end of the workshop!. They both rave about their boats, and the value of the workshop. Located just out of Nehalem, OR.

Definitely worth the money: http://www.capefalconkayak.com/kayak%20 ... asses.html

These are not SOF kayaks, but they are Greenland style S&G. When I was reading around the plans and website, there seemed to be a fair bit of scalability based on size and (I believe) weight. Might be worth considering.

The designers (Chris Crowhurst and his father) are quite willing to email converse and advise about customising the fit to suit your needs. At least that's what I'd wager.

If you're considering fuselage frame design here is a plan set you're right at the very top of at the bottom. http://gentrycustomboats.com/DiskoBaypage.html I had considered scaling up one of Tom Yost's designs a while back. One thing I read while doing so was people talking about too much spacing between the keel and the bottom chine allowing the skin to push in too far. This seemed to be an advantage for the traditional construction with all the ribs. Of course I have no actual experience with this, just something I read online.

Here is a link to a scaled up Black Pearl kit that John mentioned to get a rough idea on sizing. http://watercraft.clearstreamwood.com/s ... -pearl-xl/