Before we go any further, The Skipper has a tale to
There was once an Eskimo called Chinachkook. He was a great seal and
walrus hunter and was married to the lovely Umiak. His life could not be happier, but for one
Chinachkook disliked the cold, which is unfortunate if you are an Eskimo and living in the Arctic
One particularly cold night, Chinachkook returned to his igloo and,
after dragging the two seals he had harpooned that day to his sled, he entered his cozy
abode. He told Umiak of the cold he had felt whilst paddling in the search
for his elusive prey and of the long paddle back. However warming the effort, his feet and legs stayed freezing cold.
Umiak looked up at him with great compassion and handed him the whale oil lamp so
that he could see better to sharpen his harpoon. Chinachkook placed the
lamp on the ground between his legs and was comforted by the gentle heat it was
radiating. As he began his task, he mused that it was a pity that he couldn't take this lantern with him to-morrow and..........but he
The following morning, Chinachkook rose earlier than usual and set about fitting a lantern in his
Kayak. It was a more difficult task than he had thought it would be, and
he had to do most of the work blind as he could not fit his bulk through the narrow hole in which he
sat whilst hunting.
At length the job was done and, after launching the Kayak into the freezing
water, Chinachkook settled into the cramped space, carefully ensuring his legs were either side of the warm
He then laced himself in, as a precaution against the ingress of water. His arms heaved the paddle through the crystal water and the Kayak sped swiftly across the bay that he had known all his
Chinachkook had always loved the icy beauty of his home. Today he was
warm and comfortable and so could enjoy it all the more. He felt such
peace of mind as he paddled out to the big ice flow that would, in a month or so, become solid pack ice and render the hunting of seal and
walrus more dangerous, as it would have to be done on foot.
Just as Chinachkook was passing a small iceberg, a piece of ice fractured from it and fell into the water with a thunderous
crash. He thought to himself that the fragment would become yet another "growler" to be navigated on his
return. The apparently harmless wave from the fallen ice reached his
Chinachkook was oblivious to the motion incurred but the lantern
was not and fell from its leather gimbal. There was no escape for poor Chinachkook
and he was quickly enveloped by the searing heat of the oil-saturated sealskin that
was stretched over the frame of the Kayak.
Umiak waited and waited, looking out across the bay, unaware that she
was never to see her husband again.
The moral to this story is that you can't have your Kayak and heat it.
Sorry. No, really, we are. We realise that Kayaking is
a very serious matter and we have no business to be so flippant about
it. As for any political incorrectness implied, we're probably sorry
about that too, only we don't know what we've done wrong. Is it
offensive to Eskimos? Sorry. Widows? Sorry. Whales? Sorry. Icebergs?
Icebergs?! Oh, come on! How can you offend an iceberg, apart from the
one my best friend is married to, that is? Look, we're just sorry
all round, O.K.? Good. Right then, all joking aside, have you heard of
the Laughing Loon?
Wood Strip Building...
Rob Macks- designer / builder, Laughing Loon Canoes & Kayaks
"I build what I know: canoes &
kayaks." Thus speaks a man who knows what he is about. In the
world of small craft building, this man apparently has few equals.
To those in the know, the name Laughing Loon is synonymous with top
quality custom designed and built boats. Each boat is unique and
these lightweight, wood strip canoes and kayaks are known for
their high performance. Each finished product is a beautiful,
individually hand-crafted, practical work of art.
Building plans and kits for Rob Macks ' designs are also made available
to the home builder. Wood strip building is easy enough for a beginner and yet is also the choice of professionals. A boat is created by gluing wood strips edge to edge over hull forms called stations.
The wood hull is then covered, inside and out, with transparent layers of fiberglass and
epoxy. This allows the beauty of the wood to show through.
Wood-strip building produces a wood-cored fiberglass boat.
The fiberglass and epoxy layers. on both sides of the wood core, create a stress skin panel, which is very rigid and strong.
Such a hull does not need internal ribs for strength and can be very lightweight.
"The wood strip method of building allows me to design and build boats with complex hull shapes. I don't have to compromise my hull design to the limitations of a less flexible building material or to the convenience of a manufacturing technique. All my designs use the wood-strip building
Rob Macks and his Laughing Loon designs, can be found at 833 North
Colrain Road, Greenfield, Massachussetts 01301, USA and you can e-mail
Rob on firstname.lastname@example.org
Linnet Woods for MarineZine