She was born from the wish of having a functional boat to carry us, our doggies and a decent amount of load in whatever fresh water expedition we’d dream of. The lines of the canoe have been drawn only in my mind, and they revolve around our bodies and corporal weight. If there is something I built using only my eye, this is it – Analaska.
I didn’t touch any plans, any measuring tools, or dedicated templates. She is the result of years of being in contact with boats and looking at them. My work on her has nothing special. How would it have when these boats have so many years of tradition behind them? I only preserved parts of this tradition and implemented it in Analaska. She is the result of many years of observing rather than studying, many hours of boat porning the Internet and many odd stares coming from shipyard watchmen.
Analaska is a 2 seats canoe which can accommodate 3 small breed dogs and has enough luggage space for a multiple days trip. She is of a classical skin on frame construction and bears the artistic mark of my partner who also did the skin job. We measured the basic dimensions by adjusting the gunwales according to our own dimensions (a process which was constantly repeated at different stages of the construction), and we obtained a 4.1 m long boat.
Because of her wider beam, wider than the average kayak we built, I decided to build a steam-box for the ribs and ease my work. Would have been quite clumsy and an invitation for accidents to steams the ribs in a pot as I did before. The stems have been imported from kayak building, as I decided not to have them bent, but made out of a solid board. The shapes of them have been imagined and drawn first on a piece of cardboard, then cut out of wood. The ribs were bent by the eye, slowly shaping the hull by paying repeated trips around it and looking from different perspectives.
We decided against having the seats, but kept the central thwart in place and the smaller hand-hold ones. We decided so in order to save as much weight as possible, have as much space as possible and keep the tradition of paddling seated on the floor boards or kneeling on them. The floor boards themselves were built out of spruce. Everything is held in place by a total of 90 meters of nylon twine, without mentioning the skin. That would add another 18 meters. The skin is cotton canvas as I never really liked the touch and aspect of nylon.
The final result is a queen boat. She matches our expectations on regards of space, speed, maneuverability and beauty. We tried her on a Sunday in force 3 to 4 winds which subsided eventually at sunset. We tried her even with 3 people onboard, and she handled the load well. However that would be an alternative for still waters only as we had 3 fingers of freeboard left. The canoe gave us the impression she is faster than some of the kayaks we build but that remains to be proven. She carried us fast for sure.
Analaska is looking forward for some expeditions now. She will be prepared accordingly and probably later in her life she will be rigged for a crab claw sail and an outrigger, as I’ve always been a fan of the Hawaiian style.