Mainly kayaking photographs taken on the Isle of Man and beyond.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Sea Kayaking Isle of Man - Rockpool 3 Piece Alaw Bach.

Well, after 2 years of waiting and a great deal of persuasion, I finally picked up my new Rockpool Alaw Bach 3 piece kayak last week. I believe this is only the 5th created and will probably be the last. The others are owned by some extremely eminent kayakers including Freya Hoffmeister and Derrick Mayoleth and so I don't know how I got one, but I'm glad I have - it's superb.
First Rockpool build a standard Alaw Bach. They then proceed to saw it into 3 pieces. After that the new bulk heads are moulded and the clips which hold it all together are added. The 3 pieces are aligned by using male to female sea shell moulds as shown below. These allow the pieces to line up precisely and with no twist or slippage. Why sea shells? Well not much else has such a large surface area enabling maximum contact. Each segment is held together by six adjustable clips as below, although just one seems enough. It may well be over engineered but I'd prefer it that way when battling a tidal race!
There is carbon in the cockpit but due to technical difficulties the boat is mainly fibre glass. Having said that there is a minimal weight penalty for having the portability built in.
So how does it handle? Well to my surprise it is different to my standard Alaw Bach. It's more twitchy and playful. I can only assume that the centre of gravity is slightly different. Whatever the reason it is in my opinion the ultimate rough water sea kayak which enables me to travel the World. It's next appearance should be Vancouver Island, Canada, in the Summer.

Many thanks to Mike Webb (Webby) of Rockpool Kayaks for building me such a brilliant kayak.


Danny said...

Hi John
Beautiful boat , bet it paddles as good as it's looks, your a lucky man. John I have a little question - do Rockpools have a skeg or does the shape of the keel do away with that neck of the woods ? Happy paddling
Danny Carrickfergus N.Ireland.

John said...

Danny, a skeg is an option on all Rockpools. My 3 piece has one although, the slider is placed quite far back on the stern segment out of necessity. I never use skegs but most people think it does need one.

Jessica said...

I love seeing the factory shots... I can't figure out why. I kind of had this itching to see the NDK factory at the symposium, but I didn't want to lose a paddling day.. there's something about all those kayaks showing such great promise and potential.. Perhaps this is what people mean by a "calling"...