SC-1 design evolution page

Skin-on-frame definately has it's drawbacks, but the single most positive thing about building this way is the ability to evolve designs.  We build boats, you give feedback, the design changes.  My last Mariner inspired skin-boat went through two years of design work and got worse and better throughout the process and is still being designed.  The SC-1 is in it's infancy so I decided to post my conversations with students.  These are unedited and provide an unusual transparancy into how the kayak is really handling and how I do design work.   Note:  I also didn't edit out my criticisms of the original Coaster, or to be fair, my critisisms of my own boat.  The original Coaster is nearly a perfect kayak.  Most of my performance changes are endemic to the skin-on-frame medium.  Some of them are good and some not so good.  I would not want anything said here to be interpreted as a negative commentary on the original Coaster, and if Matt and Cam ever start selling them again, by all means, buy 'em.  I like mine better but that is just beacause I like how a skinboat feels much more than glass.

David Harry (fiberglass Coaster owner):

Chris and I have been out a couple of times together with our
boats. The first trip was more of a shakedown outing in Yaquina Bay,
primarily flatwater, but later in the afternoon we ventured out
beyond the bridge into the jetty area where we found some smaller
(2-3') breaking waves in a mild ebb.
I paddled the SC-1 for only a short while. Keep in mind I've
paddled a good number of sea kayaks, but never before a SOF. I've
heard many others speak of how SOF boats flex, but I've never felt
it. What a difference! I hadn't bothered to adjust the footbraces,
or make any other adjustments, I just climbed into the cockpit and
launched. The boat edges nicely and allowed me to carve turns much
like I do with the Coaster. There was a steady breeze of about 15
mph, and while paddling across the wind, the tracking also felt much
like the Coaster, meaning that I could use edging to easily keep the
boat going where I wanted to.

Chris is still working on outfitting her boat. She had used duct
tape to affix her thigh hooks and get a feel for placement. She had
also placed a couple of folding thermarest pads along the the bottom
of the hull to sit on. In my Coaster, you may remember that I have
some substantial foam for my hips and thighs. Even without the extra
outfitting, the SC-1 seems to fit me fairly well. The shape of the
Coaster's foredeck makes for a very roomy feel once in the
boat--which is a good part of the reason I want the outfitting! But
once in the SC-1, my knees fit comfortably up against the skin. I
don't know the reason, but it certainly feels like a more secure
(snug) fit (a slightly lower foredeck?, or perhaps because I was
sitting on foam pads on top of the frame or?).

Yesterday, we paddled at the mouth of the Alsea River, launching
just west of the bridge from a small beach near the Howard Johnson
motel. We first paddled towards the mouth and found some bumpy
water. I headed out to find more (in the Coaster) while Chris stayed
inside and played on the bumps. Later on, before the ebb got too
strong, we paddled upstream on the north side and swapped
boats. This time I adjusted the footbraces and the feel of the SC-1
felt even better than before. I did a few rolls without problems,
except that I again noticed a difference in overall flex--especially
with my knees pushing against the skin of the foredeck. Later on, as
we paddled back downstream, the ebb had picked up and I had a chance
to surf some smaller (1-2 ft) standing waves in a rip--it was
great! The SC-1 felt very much like the Coaster in these
conditions--great tracking, no tendency to broach, good edging,
etc. Finally I turned around, paddling as fast as I could straight
into the waves--I was just trying to see what the feel of the ride
would be like. Of course the nose easily rode up and over these
waves, and the overall ride was smoothed by the flex of the hull.



Dale Kitchens:

Here are pics of our maiden voyage yesterday. We had
strangers on the jetty and banks taking photos of the kayaks must have looked good. I am
pleasantly surprised at how well these boats
perform, especially with my heavy arse sqwatting
mine down. Stability is just right, perfect handling
in wind(12-15kts) with no weather or lea pointing.
Tracking is excellent altho leaned turns could be
quicker, yet sweep strokes brought it about nicely.
I'll probably appreciate the tracking in bigger
conditions. The boats are fast and easy
accellerating with a comfortable cruise speed(est
4kts) easy to maintain with euro paddles. We are
letting the G paddles dry out a bit before we try
them. We will carve a couple af spares when I dig up
some nice sedar boards. Saundra loves her SC-1 and
is very proud of her accomplishment. Her experience
of first time out echos mine...very happy with these
sweet boats. The tote from car to put-in and back is
a joy. Hoping to get our float bags soon, so we can
go out on the sea and really put them to the test.


thanks for emailing me, I'm glad you liked the kayaks
and your assesment of them echos my own. These
perform close to the original without the
irritating stability but also without as powerful of a
leaned turn, leaned turns still happen but only about
65% of what the original did. The reason is the keel.
But like you said, a little coax with the paddle
brings it about nicely, and in a strong wind the same
will happen. If you hold the gunnel right at the
waters surface she comes around easily, up or down
wind. What will really jazz you is how this boat was
designed to fit perfectly in the trough of a wind
chop. There are fun times ahead!

I thought the tracking was a bit much but it really
helps on a wave or in a following sea. Keep me posted
on any thoughts or suggestions and I am very glad you
like the boats. All feedback is welcomed. I enjoyed
having you and sandra at the barn, tough class, but
still fun. Thanks for coming and building boats.


I took my Tempest 170 out on the Chetco River today
and found that the damn thing was a pain to keep
going straight without putting down skeg....winds
were 12kts. I much prefer the stiffer tracking of
the SC-1 for all-round enjoyment of the paddling
experience. I can still turn the SC-1 when I want to
and yet not have to fight the changing breezes. I
think I'm getting spoiled.
I took out a friend's F/G Coaster(seat was too tight
and too far fwd) a couple of days ago and found(for
my size) the initial stability was just fine and
when leaned quite turny. It was quite a bit looser
in dir stab espec in following seas and with qtrg
wind. Coming in over the Chetco bar, I had to rudder
and sweep to maintain hdg. I much prefer the tighter
no fuss tracking of the SC-1. I really don't see why
people have to paddle long/heavy kayaks when for 90%
of their paddling the Coaster/SC-1 will do a better
 job. My 18' Force 4 may be heading to greener


My 2 cents on increasing the carving ability of the
design: rocker up the aft line of the keel starting
from 3' fwd of the keel/stem to end with 3/4"
vertical taken out of the keel at the stem. Also,
dropping the height of the chine at the stem an inch
or so. I am willing to experiment on this end by
building more SC-1s. There are 2 more guys
interested on building them down here. I will email
you after some open water and surf time tomorrow.


I paddled(w/euro paddle) my SC-1 out around the
headlands of Port Orford yesterday. W swell 9 ft, 3
ft windwaves, 20 kts of breeze with reflecting slop.
Unlike my other kayaks, I could enjoy bobbing in the
soup or paddling thru it with only an occasional
bracing stroke. Stable and comfortable, yet with a
gentler, organic interface with the
waves...and no slapping sounds. The considerable
breeze had no didn't point up or down
in beam and qtrg winds(don't need no stinking skeg).
I still had to sweep to turn it, yet for these
conditions, the tighter tracking felt good. Very
easy getting short rides on the windwaves....the
13+ft length fits into the trough nicely. No
broaching or purling tendancy on a few swells I
surfed that were breaking around the point...easy to
control with rudder/stern brace. More surfing later
 this week on the flat sandy beaches of Crescent
City. This is one sweet boat. The only reason to
have a plastic or F/G boat is to carry lots of crap
and run up on rocky beaches. Speed doesn't seem to
be an issue.

Yesterday, leaning way fwd and pushing on the
outside foot peg while edging did improve the
turning, so wanting a little more turnability, I
have now moved my sitting position fwd 1.5 " and
will take off the wood rub strip. Moving the
tracking/turnability line a tad towards turnability
will make this boat perfect for me. I'll let you
know if this helps.


I'm so jealous Dale, today the swell is 10ft at 13sec
and makes that soft rifle crack sound when it hits the
sandbars offshore, I've always considered that the
sound of personal injury so I'll be paddling the bay
today....again, sigh. We have no sheltered launches.
It's beachbreak or nuthin. I might use one of my
"less bad" hike in launches sometime this week. This
is a decent option with a skin boat but you still have
to contend with the full force of the break wherever
you land. The thing I like about the SC-1 is the
ability to get up to speed on a peeling wave and then
turn straight downwave when it pitches, outrunning the
initial impact and avioding the worst of the spinal
repercussions, though you still get swallowed by the
foam. I registered 20.5 knts on a gps doing this,
(and subsequently killed the GPS doing this). It's a
liitle scary for bigger waves because of how late the
boat drops in, and how it doesn't broach out the back,
but that's not really the point of this kayak anyway.
Stoked to get your reports and keep me posted with any


John and I took our Coasters out today to celebrate
my 62nd birthday. The tweaking(moving my seating
position forward 1.5" and trimming the rub strip
down to a thin rounded shape) has shifted the
handling to very closely match the F/G Coaster. Much
more "turny" when edged, with the tight tracking
loosening up...allowing qtrg and beam winds to cause
some weathervaning. Moving my seating position
forward got me sitting a little higher because of
rib placement, thereby reducing the initial
stability noticably. I will remove one of the foam
pad layers and see if stability gets back to where I
like it. How much was CG shift and how much was the
thin rounded rub strip? My sense is the rub strip
was most of it, yet I will evaluate again after
resetting the back band to the original position.
John took his turn in quiet waters and really likes
the boat. I expect he will send you his comments.
Still tweaking and having fun. Surfing trials this
weekend. I tried the G paddle today inside the
 harbor...a little strange, yet I'm sure these things
take some time getting used to.

John Day:

I got to try out Dale Kitchen's freshly made boat today and was
impressed. I have a Coaster built in 1985 that I purchased about
 three years ago and it is my favorite all around kayak. Your
design is very similar in looks and handling. Good Job!
I have been so impressed with the Coaster that when I hear of someone
that I know thinking of getting another kayak, I try to get them in
my Coaster before they make a decision. I tell them that they
need to take the Coaster out in busy conditions and see how easy it
is to lay their paddle down across their cockpit and relax, even when they are
surrounded by chaos! If I can get them to do this, then I tell
them to look for those same qualities in whatever kayak they are trying out
or deciding to purchase. I really like what you've created.
Hopefully, and with enough room in my garage for
another boat, I'd like to build your design sometime soon.

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