A little over cautious…..

Back story. A few years ago I was selling my International Canoe and a ‘buyer’ tried the the old cheque scam. I got phone calls at two in the morning and eventually a cheque which I took straight to the bank and reported as fraud which was confirmed.

My RS Vision was for sale on Apolloduck and an enquiry came in, strange email address, apparently from Germany and was along the lines of ‘I want to buy you boat, give me you telephone number’. I was very suspicious but without giving my number played along. The buyer was traveling around the U.K. buying boats, had a trailer in Derby but was in Edinburgh and must buy the boat on Tuesday etc etc, I was very suspicious now. Just for a laugh I asked for a selfie from Edinburgh and a picture of him sailing. This all came, with photos of the trailer and a bit more stuff. With his name I found he had sailed at Kiel week and did seam to run a business in Germany selling second hand boats. I sent my phone number and after a very long chat, boy could be talk, we agreed to meet early Wednesday. He wanted to pay via PayPal, suspicious I got him to pay me a pound via this method before we met.

Anyway he seamed a nice guy, 71 years old sails a Musto Skiff or a Contender if it is very windy. The boat was packed up and he disappeared into his car to transfer the money. Very long delay, £280 goes into my PayPal account, few minutes later £730, still not enough. More waiting, sheepishly he walks over big story of over the limit on the cards connected to PayPal. Lots of strange schemes, I can give you my second passport etc etc, I say nothing, more ideas, but eventually or ‘I could take you to a cash machine’. ‘That works’ I say.

At the cash machine, ‘I have Euros, I could give you Euros, saves me commission…….OK pounds.’ Quickly I squirrel the first £500 away. Next card, he has lots, the screen is in German and money doesn’t come out. Eventually he figures the card limit is in Euros and I get another £430. I have the rest in cash he says and starts counting out the rest. As he hands me the last note I say ‘oh that’s a Scottish one’. Well I thought he would just collapse into a sobbing mess as a quickly explain it is OK, it is legal in England.

Eventually we part, he is heading to Hayling Island via Derby, Whitby, Scarborough and I suspect a few more stops. The cash goes straight into the bank and I spent a nervous three days checking the money transfers out of PayPal. I am worried that there may be a away he can get it back out of PayPal, but I have checked and check and am sure he can’t.

There is relief when finally the bank balance jumps. Perhaps I was over cautious and probably a bit demanding and rude but I had told him about the earlier fraud attempt and Dieter took my behaviour well.

So the Vision is gone, and though many people are negative of ‘plastic boats’ it served us well. It got Erin into sailing, she had fun sailing with friends and eventually on the trapeze. I loved it single handed especially with the kite up, a very versatile boat. It was maintenance free, I only replaced one line, the jib furl line which snapped, I think it wasn’t rigged correctly and was rubbing on something. With a few house hold cleaners the hull was as good new when she drove away.


Iki Wa’a – three years on

Iki Wa’a and I have had some great mini adventures over the last 3 years

He is a 12’ x 30” open canoe which was built lightly and cheaply and without some of extra work and expense of similar craft.

I thought therefore it would be worth reporting how he has survived three years of abuse.

A bit about the build

  • 4mm quality 3 ply ply (Robbins Elite BS1088)
  • Canoe has fore and aft and side to side symmetry with ply internal and external ply butt joints all in line at the centre line
  • Chines internal fillet and covered with 50mm glass tape, peel ply used
  • No external tape on chines, keel coat with 25mm Kevlar tape. Outside chine area coated with epoxy to seal edges and minimal filling.
  • Inside bottom where the panel is wide coated with 200g carbon, I had some lying about.
  • So no epoxy encapsulation painted the big shed primer and gloss couple of coats of each.

As a shell Iki Wa’a weighs in at 13kg, 28kg to which an off the shelf SOT seat and buoyancy bags have been added.

The abuse, Iki Wa’a has been down mild rapids, bounced off rocks and down weirs. I have thrown him about a fair bit with the focus on use rather than care. He has also be converted to two variants of sailing canoe and further stressed as this development progressed. He is kept inside a garage.

So how has Iki Wa’a survived three years. A few scratches and dings on the bottom but very superficial and not through the first laminate of the plywood. The bow keel area did wear the Kevlar a bit (running up beach and portage dragging) and a 3mm stainless rod has been epoxied in. I have touched the outside a couple of times and he looks as good as new, which was a working finish.

No structural issues or anything worry about the long term durability of the canoe

Iki Wa’a – Sailing?

Over the summer I had four days of testing Iki Wa’a as a sailing canoe with the help of a test pilot, not yet the complete package but here is a video and some thoughts


General conclusion

◦ Works well with smaller floats angled up. This allows weight steering and kiting off wind. Gybe scary with this configuration

◦ Skeg helped off wind but weight and board steering lost sensitivity and could not be tacked effectively without using paddle

◦ Performance improved with crew further back / weight in back – approximately 3 inches down by stern good

◦ Ice boat style sheeting works well, very easy to trim sheet as it comes right in front of helm

◦ Paddle is too cumbersome to be practical

◦ Position of board relative to mast works well.


◦ Use on IC rudder to test, push pull with friction lock

◦ Turn hull around, this allows crew weight aft and attach mast and aka to existing yoke. Could return to permanent leeboard bracket.

That was all written shortly after the tests and I am now reflecting on whether I want to continue with this development.

My thoughts are partly based on my recent canoe trip and partly due to a change in circumstances and general thoughts on sailing.

  • As a family we are relocating probably to north Hampshire
  • Over the summer I have become disenchanted with competitive sailing
  • I will use this opportunity to dinghy cruise, probably buying a Gull Sailing dinghy
  • Where Sailing is possible on rivers the Gull will be more than capable of some good mini adventures.
  • There are many more rams in my new cruising area so dinghy cruising will be easy
  • A pure paddling canoe will be very good for exploring the upper reaches of rivers and the smaller local rivers near our house
  • Practically time wise I cannot see me ever further developing the sailing canoe

So rather than fill another garage with stuff that I don’t need and to simplify everything the sailing kit for Iki Wa’a not be traveling south. I think I can better invest time and money in dinghy cruising.

I am very happy with the developments I did with the sailing rig but still think there a probably a long way to go before I have a craft that can be confidently used in wide range of conditions

Iki Wa’a completes his design brief

Iki Wa’a my 12′ x 30″ canoe was designed and built to explore the rive Tees.

He has now traveled, over many trips, the whole navigable non tidal Tees suitable for a small open canoe. There are probably areas in the upper Tees where kayaking is possible but that is not what Iki Wa’a is for.

Yesterday I had an awesome day on the river Tees with Andy Young. Lower Dinsdale to the bottom on Andy’s road (down stream of Yarm), 12 miles in four hours helped by wind and flow. Iki Wa’a survived shooting another weir, something that only is required when Andy is about. The river downstream of Dinsdale is probably some of the prettiest with steep banks of mixed woodland. Further down stream it opens up to farmland and the ever present Snap Willow. We even managed a pint in Yarm without falling in.

Apart from the the odd scratch on the bottom the lightly build Iki Wa’a has held up without any issues and proved a capable little craft.

Peapod and Pooduck

Couple of designs I have been working on. The first a skin on frame pea pod. Liked the design but the frames would not nest onto one sheet of ply and the skin material is not readily available in the UK. Clearly this just half the design.

From that I ended up working on the boat thar could be made of three or four sheets of plywood. Flo-mo (http://flo-mo.weebly.com) has managed to nest Joel White’s Pooduck skiff onto three sheets. I worked on a lot of designs and added buoyancy to get a four sheet boat.

Test sail report

This is from the sail at Scaling Dam but thought I should review it and say what done.


✔️ floats behaved impeccably, simply provided the extra security I wanted

✔️ sailed upwind with good manners, with the board straight up and down he tracked upwind fine with the steering oar (paddle) out of the water (worked best with oar to leeward). Occasionally it would head up and a quick dip of the oar would correct it.

✔️ tacking was easy, if unusual, pull the board so it went angled forward, canoe would go head to wind, quick single stroke of the oar took the bow through the wind, return board to vertical. I do have rudder that could be fitted easily but considering the narrow river where I want to sail I think I will keep the oar.

✔️ assembled quickly and easily.


✖️ one of the floats tried to toe in when pressed, this only happened on one side but I think it was a combination of the float pivot being too flexible (joint made with tiewraps and tape) and too far forward. I added fore and aft brace lines and this cured this. ACTION – see previous post struts added

✖️ mainsheet traveler prevented the boom being pulled in enough

did not like to go off wind, this was better when I heeled to lee ward. ACTION – new iceboat style mainsheet

Picture from a few days ago out on Ullswater (photo credit Andy Young)