Rhino experimental skin-on-frame
What's up with the Rhino?
well.... since the text and photos below were posted, I've built
3 more of these, and I just can't get it quite right. The
boat does everything it's supposed to do, holds in tight on a wave with
good speed and clean cutbacks, and functions OK as limited range
cruiser. I'd still rather surf a glass IC boat though.
There are critical finishing touches to the shape that I am having a
hard time figuring out how to make in a skinboat. It's very
frustrating, especially because the design actually works pretty
well. It's hard to put so much time and energy into something and
have it not work out like I wanted, but I am always a paddler first and
I'm not going say "oh, it's pretty good for a skinboat." It's
either great, or it doesn't get to be a Cape Falcon design.
I'm not giving up, but I have a lot of things to do right now so I'm
taking a break for a while.
Deep Vee bow, flat
hard railed stern, a little under 12 feet long, 21-23 inches wide, less
than 25 lbs
The question arises, "What am I actually doing in a kayak?"
Personally, a trip to the beach usually means a bit of surf, some
fishing, some caving and rock gardening in harsh, cold, exposed
waters. That means either suffering the shortcomings of one
kayak, or bringing a variety of boats, until now. Whereas
the F1 is an excellent sea kayak that surfs pretty good, the Rhino
shifts the balance toward an excellent surf kayak that sea kayaks
pretty good. Anyone who has spent any time in a surf kayak
knows that they are slow, tippy, very hard to roll, hard to punch out
and difficult to drop in. Sure, on a perfect wave nothing rips
like a glass surf kayak, but in mushy crappy blown out conditions with
long paddle outs and big scary water, they are essentially
useless. So the idea came to me, could I build I short sea kayak
with a surf kayak tail that would give many of the paddling advantages
of a sea
kayak but could still crank top and bottom turns and hold in on a wave
without sideslipping or skipping out? What if that boat was also
capable of short
ocean excursions traveling a few miles at slow to moderate sea kayak
speeds, carried a bit of
gear, and still spun 180 degrees with a single sweep? The Rhino
is my answer to this question, and I'll be the first
to admit it's a weird boat for a niche market. Most people will
simply shake their heads, but for the few wave warriors who's desires
lean more towards the surf end of the spectrum, this just might be the
ticket to refresh a tired kayak quiver.
Comfort is critical in a boat I spend hours in so the Rhino cockpit
has the exact same geometry and slidelock footbraces as the F1.
Here Zach messes around on flat water, we found we could comfortably
paddle it alongside normal sea kayaks at sightseeing speeds. (3-3.5mph)
It was super easy to roll and brace. The rails on the rhino are
very special, they actually reverse the flare of the boat at the stern,
it took five prototypes to get this right, and it makes all the
difference in surf performance.
Now this is what I call a layback.
I took it out for a test in the worst surf conditions you can
imagine. Small, ugly storm surf, not a good wave anywhere.
The high volume slicing bow climbed through foam piles that would throw
surf and sea kayaks end for end.
I found lots of fun little rides.
Not as fast or as smooth as a sea kayak in mixed chop, but miles ahead
of a surf kayak which have no use in this sort of water.
...and like every Cape Falcon Kayak, tough enough to take the
The Future: Finally, finally, finally, after so many prototypes,
I'm getting the Rhino dialed in. I would call this the
final experimental stage, I need to shift the paddler forward 3 inches,
and chop a few inches off the bow and I think we've nailed
it. I'm obsessive about things being perfect before I
release them, and right now I'm super busy. I'm hoping to build
the final prototype in August, then I'll add it to my list. Look
for more photos and the final boat
later in the summer.
Until then, paddle on...
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