The Mystery solo racing sea kayak has been optimised to be as efficient as possible at race pace, while fitting within the rules for a Sea Kayak Touring Class as defined by the United States Canoe Association. The hull is computer-optimised to have a very low wetted surface area and extremely low wave-making shape for the minimum possible drag. The overall maximum beam flares out 20″ to conform to the minimum requirements of the Blackburn Challenge Sea Kayak class. The flare also provides additional secondary stability and excellent downwind surfing performance.
The foredeck is high to provide a clean, dry and fast ride going into heavy chop on open water. The deck ahead of the cockpit is cut away to allow efficient, close-to-the-hull paddle strokes without hitting the boat. The cockpit is long enough for paddlers to sit with their knees up, free to move, allowing full leg extension and torso rotation. This kayak design is strip built with 1/8″ thick cedar strips on the deck and 3/16″ strips on the hull. With a lightweight racing layup the kayak can be built with a bare-boat weight of 26 lb and fully equipped at 31 lb or less.
The Mystery sea kayak will perform best when equipped with a rudder. It tracks very straight and is barely affected by wind, but efficient steering at a race pace is best provided by an efficient rudder. It is a stiff turning boat, not suitable for races with a lot of sharp turns, but runs fast on a straight away. Due to the narrow waterline beam of this design, it is not particularly stable, however a low seat will make it comfortable for most experienced paddlers. A higher seat placement will allow better leverage for those comfortable with the stability.
The plans contain sufficient information to make it possible to build the boat from scratch rather than a kit. They include full size drawings for all the forms. We recommend Nick Schade's book, The Strip-Built Sea Kayak, which covers the techniques that are used to build strip-planked kayaks.
For those wanting to obtain the other materials needed to build the boat from other sources, this option contains the pre-cut forms and strongback and the necessary plans to build the boat. The cedar strips are not included (see below).
The Mystery Bootlegger uses non-standard thickness strips – please contact us if you are building from plans and require pricing.