Friday, August 11, 2017

Building The Cascade 14 Touring / Racing Paddleboard

Having been paddling stand up paddle boards (SUP) since 2007 and enjoying everything from flat water cruising to SUP surfing and ocean down-winders, I decided it was time to get a long and fast cruising - racing design SUP.

Not wanting to pay $2500 - $3500 for a ready made racing SUP though, and because of my previous experience building several wood/glass/epoxy kayaks I decided to build a hollow wood / glass/epoxy SUP kit.

The one that appealed to me most was the Clearwoood Paddle Boards "Cascade 14". See:

I received my complete Cascade 14' kit from Randy Bogardus, Owner and designer  of Clearwood Paddleboards including the Cascade 14, in April 2017.  See the Clearwood Paddle boards website at:

Randy Bogardus on his Cascade 14 

16' x 3' Work Table. Can be disassembled into 6' center and two 5' end sections.

I spent three weeks working on and off rebuilding my old 18' work table I had previously used for building two Chesapeake Light Craft kayaks. The hardest part was getting each table section level.and squared with the other sections so that the whole table was level end to end and side to side. 

16' x 3' work table and Cascade 14 "Wishbone" frame being laid out.

Using carpenters square to layout frame ribs lines perpendicular to center stronger lines after epoxying center stringer sections together.

At this time (June 2017) I searched for a thin kerf tablesaw blade to save wood and $$ when cutting and ripping the expensive Paulownia Wood planks that I purchased as part of the Cascade 14 kit from Clearwood Paddle boards.  I ended up getting the Total Saw Solutions 10" Micro-kerf saw blade which is only 1/16" thick!!! It cuts, rips and resaws the Paulownia wood beautifully leaving a very smooth surface. It generates a lot less saw dust, is quieter and definitely easier on my 1 1/2" tablesaw motor. It is well worth the $$ and will be used on lots of other projects too. Check it out at:

Wishbone frame dry assembled.

Epoxying on glue strips to each frame rib to add glueing surface for deck and upper rail wood strips.

I discovered that adding wood glue strips to the perimeter of each frame is a big job and is best done before epoxying the frames to the center stringer! 

I used 1/4" thick by 1/2" wide strips of Balsa wood to make these giving me an additional 1/4" of glueing surface per frame edge.  Balsa is very light weight but strong and I have used it before with no problems  for this purpose on my old Mitchell Wing aircraft spruce frame, foot launched hang glider / ultralight sailplane. Stories and photos of this glider are found in this blog. 
 It takes a lot more time than I anticipated to cut, epoxy to each frame member slightly proud and then trim and sand off excess. To do so I used a hand coping saw, hand plane and sanding block. I only did the deck and foredeck sections of each frame and the upper ! rail sides for now. Wanting to save time to get.on with the project I decided to add the bottom surface glue strips when I turned over the board. 

It would be great if somehow each ClearwoodPaddleboard kit would include pre-cut glue strips matching each frame perimeter that could be glued down to each frame prior to assembly of the wishbone frame. Being able to do so by laying each frame flat on the table to glue the strips and not having to cut out each strip would really save building time.

Glueing the Frames to the Stringer

At this point I am finally ready to epoxy each Rib frame to the center stringer. To do so I am using epoxy mixed with Cabosil (Collodial Silica) epoxy thickener  mixed to smooth, soft ice creme  consistency. Over the years I have found it to be outstanding for glueing up strong structural wood to wood bonds. 

In preparation for glueing with this I apply paint masking tape along the side of each glue joint leaving about 3/16" of wood showing back from the edge of each joint. This allows me to glue up the joint and make nice epoxy filler fillets along the seam of each joint. It also prevents smearing epoxy filler on the bare wood too far out from the edges of each glue joint making more work to clean off and adding excess weight from uneccesary epoxy saturation of the wood fibers outside of the joint. The epoxy/silica filler mix cures to an very hard state that is difficult to sand  and/or remove so this is another reason to work cleanly with it and use The masking tape. 

After applying the epoxy and fixing the frame in place properly I wait until the epoxy has started to harden and thicken up a little. Then I pull each strip of tape off carefully. If you wait until it fully hardens then pieces of the tape may stick to the wood and be hard to remove. 

Nice & Neat Epoxy-Silica fillet glue joint
after tape removal

Aft 10 Frames taped and ready for glueing

Positioning Fairing Battens and
Deck Accent Strips

Experimenting with nose deck layout.

Making Fairing Batten facets to improve rib frame to strip glue surface contact

Starboard Fairing Batten in place and portside waiting for epoxy to set.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Exocet WindSUP Saves The Day

Once again the Exocet Wind SUP saved the day when what would have previously been considered a pretty much unsailable day, turned into a really fun ocean and wave riding afternoon. This was on a day when weather, wind conditions, time and other commitments prevented going elsewhere. This board continues to reward time and again. It provides the ability to get out on the ocean in light winds to catch a bunch of fun wave rides and downwind swell surfing. Then just sail way back up wind with ease thanks to the daggerboard and repeat the whole process again and again.  Overall the WindSUP’s versatility as a light wind ocean/wave board, an SUP for paddling, a flat water windsurfing long board, and a stable easy board for beginners to learn on, is very impressive.  
Does it have drawbacks? Yes, it is big at 11’8” long and fairly heavy. Hence it is more weight to lift and launch and more prone to ding damage when handling /transporting if you are not careful.  There is also more potential risk for damage in the surf inherent to sailing any big SUP or windsurfing long board in surf conditions.  Still these are drawbacks and risks I understand and accept in turn for all the fun this board can provide.  Would I prefer to be shortboarding? Of course, but when the winds and conditions are not cooperative then boards like the Wind SUP certainly beat just sitting on the beach wishing and waiting for better conditions.
So after several straight days of really light straight on shore south wind at Emerald Isle, NC, this last  Saturday it finally began to swing a little SSW and more side-on.  By 2:00 p.m. it was up to around 8-10 knots so I decided to take the WindSUP with a 7.5 Aerotech Phantom down to the beach. The tide was still fairly high.  Due to the more on-shore winds, higher tide and shore break it was not easy to just flop the board down in the water, beach start and go like you would in more side-shore winds.  The best method is to wade out while pushing the board and rig out past the in close shore break area. Once out and about 10 - 15 yards off the beach, you could then just climb aboard, up-haul quickly and go.  Here again, the high volume and stability of the Wind SUP makes uphauling far easier in the rock and roll surf conditions.
Then by kicking the WindSUP daggerboard down I was able to quickly sail upwind to just east of Bogue Pier. The waves are usually better there and thus the reason for the Pier being a popular and well known North Carolina surfing spot. However, although the waves were 2-3 feet the onshore-side on wind made for pretty poor conditions for surfers with only a few out and in close. There were no SUP paddle surfers or Kiteboarders to be seen either. So I had the whole place pretty much to myself.  By then the wind began increasing to 10-12K and I was able to more easily plane up and onto a number of fun wave rides almost into the beach and fast tacks back out.  
After catching a few waves I then kicked the dagger back down and headed out about 300 yards past the pier to clear all the fishing lines, and sailed upwind about 1/2 mile west. Made a few more wave rides there and by then the wind had increased to 12-14K with a few higher periods. This made for some really fun beam to broad  reach planing and swell surfing - down-winder style, back to the east side of the pier.  Now with the added wind strength and being able to plane easily you could catch waves farther out and get some really long fun and fast rides in.   Plus the Wind SUP with its wide classic long board nose just climbs up and over the breaking surf and white water with such ease when heading back out. This really makes going out over the surf in light winds so much more stress free!

Finally  after about 3 hours non-stop on the water and having made a whole bunch more powered up beam to broad reach runs in and out while catching more  waves and swell rides  back to where I started, I  called it a day.  Thanks again to the Wind SUP I had the opportunity to get out and have a really fun windsurfing and light wind wave riding session in what before were generally considered unsailable ocean on-shore wind conditions. Thanks to the Exocet Wind SUP it was not only sailable but a whole lot of fun on a beautiful sunny and warm June afternoon off the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.