Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Came Early

Last weekend Paul and I visited Santa Claus (Graham Byrnes) at the North Pole (Vandemere). I must have been a really good girl this year, a new B&B Yacht's Grand Diva kayak kit is my big gift. Merry Christmas to me…

We spent the day visiting with Graham at his workshop, while watching his CNC machine cut out the new kit. Graham was wonderful, and very accommodating to the few customizations I wanted, such as different hatches and cockpit sizes.

This is will be the 5th Grand Diva kayak to date (still not even listed on his website). Its 17’ 6” long, 21” wide, and Swede form in symmetry. The Swede form design is characterized with the wider part of the kayak behind the true middle of the kayak. It is often considered to be a faster and more desirable performer.

The picture above was taken from the Rogue Paddler website. See his article on ‘Choosing the Right Kayak’,  where he discusses kayak symmetry.

Why a new kayak?  It'll be a nice addition to my growing fleet.  Much lighter (possibly as much as 20 lbs lighter than my NDK Explorer), and I’ll add a rudder which will make sailing the kayak with my Pacific Action Sail a bit more pleasant.

The plan is to try and finish the kayak in time for the 2010 WaterTribe Everglades Challenge. Hopefully Paul will have enough free time to help me, or it’ll never get finished.

Graham said he wants to see me finish ahead of KiwiBird this year :) and he'll be quite interested in hearing my opinion of the kayak.  Opinionated I am, hopefully this kayak will help with the fast part.


Silbs said...

"Why a new kayak?" is a rhetorical question and does not need to be answered aloud. Looks like you're getting a fine boat.

Anonymous said...

I hope your experience with plywood kayaks is better than mine! My unrequested advice is to work as cleanly as possible with the epoxy, leave as little sanding as possible despite your Watertribe name. Don't let anything dry thinking "I'll just sand that off later." You want to be ScrapeyBottom for this build -- scrape that epoxy when it cures green instead of sanding.


Anonymous said...


I hope you love your grand diva as much as I love mine! I have built and raced a lot of canoes/kayaks and it is my favorite all around boat. Great in the big water of New Port RI and quick down the Missouri/Mississippi River where I am now. I too changed Grahams design to a CLC style cockpit and fluch hatches. The speed a which I sas able to build the boat based on Grahams butterfly was ammazing. I had the boat built and on the water in 10 days. I wich you the best and congradulate you on your good choice in boats!

J Redfern Mascoutah IL

Anonymous said...


I hope you enjoy your Grand Diva as much as I love mine. having built and raced alot of texas water Safari styled boat I needed a Sea Kayak for 6 week trip to RI. After much searching I chose to get plans from Graham. The butterfly design allowed me to build the boat in less than 10 days. My plan was to install a rudder (all my other boat have them, but after paddling this boat in the big swells off of Newport RI I choice to leave it off (for the time being. I too changed Grahams design a little when it came to the cockpit (went with a CLC style) and flush hatches.

Good luck on your build. OH yea pack the lip balm your lips will be chapped from the speed!

J. Redfern
Mascoutah IL