Mk.II is a continuation of the Needle. Her daughter if you wish. She inherited half of her building style. The other half came from tradition and for sure by using better and more tools.
Mk.II was born in a kitchen this time. The roof was no longer available, and even if it would, it rained a lot anyway. The garage was also taken. So where else would one build a kayak, apart from the kitchen? Forget about the intricate process of extracting her from there via winching her down the window under the stunned eyes of a guy just exiting his garage situated under my window. Ha ! Imagine opening your garage door and finding a kayak hanging in front of your bonnet.
I moved a lot those days. But once started, I couldn’t stop the process of building and being at sea. The seed seeded a long time ago encountered the water. Plenty of it. And started to sprout.
Mk.II was not very inspired as a name. It was in fact only a way to address the boat until a proper name was found. That name never came, so Mk. II stuck.
This boat inherited the deck of the Needle. I used pallets for the gunwales, risers and deck beams. They were also butt joined with screws, resulting in a not so even or straight deck. The rest was of a more classical construction, this time using ash for the ribs. The ribs were steam bent.
I used the pallets for the gunwales as I still lacked in tools. Even if I found timber at the specified length, it was impossible to cut it, or split it. The pallet planks were already cut in shape, width wise if not length wise and I bought the rib stock already cut in shape from a local store. Those 3 ft long sticks, used in frame works, or to mask the corners of the walls.
I made a steam box too. This one was steamed by being in direct contact with a pot on the stove. There are advantages to build your kayak in the kitchen, aren’t there?
I used cable ties only to temporarily hold the parts in place this time, and used twine, pegs and screws to mount them after. I used the screws in places where the wood was very week, or additional strength was required.
Mk.II had quite an original hybrid frame at this time. Pallets made deck, rounded steam bent ribs, and a mixed joinery.
Enters the skin. This boat is the only one I ever skinned in ballistic nylon. I found it eventually and had it shipped to my address from Germany. By comparison to cotton I found it more difficult to work with, and more sensitive to temperature variations. Cutting the required parts was a nightmare, as it kept unveiling itself. I only learned later about a specialized hot cutting tool. The skin was waterproofed not with 2 parts urethane, but with some marine grade varnish, a cheaper alternative to the German made Coelan varnish. I never truly liked the finish. It looked nice, rude, primitive, kayak like, coming from history, but when touched it had that impersonal plastic feeling which leather or cotton will never give you. Also made that dastardly squeaky sound when rubbed with your fingers.
Mk.II looked great otherwise. The skin was transparent when wet, and due to the improperly lined up elements of the deck had a primal air which modern boats don’t have. I really liked that in her.
On the water she proved to be a docile critter. A proper entry level yak, the perfect trainer. She initiated more people into kayaking than any of my other boats. She rolled better than the Needle, being a good coach here as well.
Personally I didn’t use it much, as she was mostly used by my friends, to whom she was also eventually donated.
Mk.II remains the yak in the kitchen in my memory, the kayak soup. I have no clue about her current fate since I donated her. The deal was to be given from hand to hand to whomever needs her. And I am convinced she’s still afloat somewhere doing her job.