Custom Ocean Kayaks

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We are Moving

Sales of high end composite boats have been declining for some time. Competition from Asian composite, rotomoulded plastic and thermoformed kayaks and the shift in the economy have all contributed to this decline. Over the last few years it has become obvious that we need to change our business model. Our annual sales have now declined to the point where it is no longer feasible to continue in our present location with its high overhead costs. As a result, we are now in the process of relocating our workshop from Maple Ridge to Quadra Island. This will take place over the next few months. Once established there, the number of kayaks built will be a small fraction of what we previously built. The end result is that if you would like one of our kayaks I would recommend ordering it while we can still build it in Maple Ridge as it may be some time before I restart production on Quadra Island.

Along with this change we are reducing the retail price of our single kayaks to $3,800 for a glass boat and $4,595 for a Kevlar boat. We will now also be able to offer an even lighter weight version of our Kevlar kayak which incorporates a layer of carbon fibre in the laminate. You will save about 2 pounds on our already light weight, high tech Kevlar kayak. This kayak is primarily made of Kevlar with only the outside layer in carbon. In fact it probably has even more Kevlar in it than any of the competitors' Kevlar kayaks. Not all Kevlar kayaks are created equal.
We do have a couple of newish boats to introduce. The older of the two is the Ice Kap. Its slightly more voluminous cousin is the Illusion. Both boats are available with our version of a skeg. What is interesting is that we have determined that placing the skeg closer to the centre of the kayak rather than more towards the stern still allows the paddler lots of directional control with the paddle rather than just stiffening up the tracking. Both of these boats are available in the United States from Sterling's Kayaks . How this came about was that I had almost finished the design of the Ice Kap a few years ago but wasn't able to find the time to complete it. So Sterling Donalson came up to my shop and helped fair up the plug and then built himself a set of moulds. Sterling has since modified the original version a few times based on paddler input. After a bit we discovered that folks would like more volume in the same basic concept so the Illusion was developed.  In the picture below you can see the Illusion

And here are some pictures of the Ice Kap

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lighter Kayaks

We have just finished building the first Solander in Carbon/Kevlar and it came out almost 2.5 pounds lighter than our normal Kevlar Solander.  The weight of the finished boat was 39.4 pounds.  For those requiring an even lighter boat there is the possibility of saving some more weight with a lighter seat, footrests and rudder without compromising boat strength.  The weights in our catalogue are now a little heavier than the actual boat weights.  Mostly we are 2-4 pounds lighter.  We have achieved this by carefully refining how we layup and assemble our kayaks. 

We also have built our second Illusion.  This one is a special order for a dealer who will be installing his own seat and footrests.  The weight on this one should end up under 38 pounds including the skeg and day hatch.  Getting rid of the day hatch would get you to around 35 pounds. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Directions on installing rudder deployment rope.

To replace the rudder deployment line first pull the washer out of the bow grap loop to start. 

  It helps to use a pair of needle nose pliers to reach into the grap loop to pull the washer out.
Tie the new cord onto the washer and pull in to the grap loop.  Feed the other end into the plastic tube until it exits out the back of this tube near the rudder.  Now run the cord through the left side hole in the rudder block.  It will be the hole directly in front of the exit tubing.
Now feed the rope through the rear most hole in the rudder blade, out the other side and into the front hole and back to the left side.  Pass the rope around the cord and back through the back hole.  You tie an overhand knot to lock the cord in place. 
This is the finished knot.
Here's what it looks like on the other side.

Now feed the rope around the black disk and out through the hole in the back of the rudder block.

Run end of rope back through the opposite tubing, exiting back onto the deck.

Rudder loops configuration (WHILE RUDDER BLADE IS UP) should look like this for newer boats, but note will be the opposite for older models.

Tie off around washer using any knot to stop the rope from slipping as close to the exit tubing as possible.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What we do

Rainforest Designs Limited, also known as Nimbus Kayaks, builds the best sea touring kayaks available.  From our start in the early 70's we have been building the best product we can.  We started out building white water kayaks and then in the early 80's changed over to building sea kayaks.  Since then, our kayaks have evolved in design and construction to become the best anywhere.   Also in the last few years we have been developing a new style of bicycle--a "velomobile" which is an enclosed bicycle that offers weather protection, increased comfort, better aerodynamics and some crash protection.

The core technology that our kayaks are built with is vacuum bagging or, more accurately described, as Squeegee Assisted Infusion (SAI).  How it works is quite simple:  all the materials are precut and placed in the mould with extra reinforcement where needed.  A nylon bag is then sealed to the flange on the mould and the air evacuated from between the mould and the bag with a vacuum pump.  This causes the atmosphere to compress the layers of fabric together with about 7 lbs of pressure per square inch.  We then open the bag to introduce the resin in the middle of the mould, distributing it along the length of the mould, reseal the bag and apply vacuum.  Then we use squeegees to help the vacuum pull the resin through the fabric that is not yet saturated.  This process yields a better, more homogeneous and tougher laminate than hand laminating; up to 70% fibre content as compared to a hand laminate at 50% and just as importantly, seals the resin under the bag, greatly reducing the emission of volatile organic compounds.

The materials we use are somewhat different from those used by most of our competitors.  We use only 100% vinylester resins in our hulls and decks as the slight extra expense is completely offset by the improved performance and longevity.

We use a lot of non-crimped fabrics which offer technical advantages over woven fabrics in that the fibres can be optimally oriented and are not weakened by weaving.  Most of these fabrics have a polyester thread woven around the fibres which adds more impact resistance to our Kevlar laminates.  We are the only kayak manufacturer to use this kind of hybrid fabric (glass/Kevlar) as the outside layer of our Kevlar kayaks where we have glass fibres running transversely, while the Kevlar fibres run longitudinally.  The hulls on our glass kayaks have a glass/polyester hybrid inside layer which adds considerably to their impact strength and reduces the weight slightly.  All of our kayaks are selectively reinforced to add strength where needed, and have Kevlar reinforcement strips in the bow and stern.  All our Kayaks have FRP inside seams as well as outside seams.  We spend extra time on our outside seams, applying the glass tape after careful preparation and then filling and sanding it smooth before appyling the finished colour.  Our seams add significant strength to this joint between the hull and deck for minimal weight gain.

The term "Kevlar" is a registered Trademark of the E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.  DuPont Canada Inc. is  licensee.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Welcome to our new Blog

Thank you  for visiting our new blog.  Here you will find the latest infomation on what's happening with Nimbus Kayaks. 

Since we began building kayaks  we have striven to build the best possible quality product.  We now build the best touring kayaks available and intend to maintain these high standards.  However due to the present economy, we have found it necessary to decrease our overhead costs, without increasing the price of our boats.  In fact, we are excited to say that we will be lowering the price to compete better with our local competitors, and at the same time you can still depend on that great customer service and top quality for which the name "Nimbus" has come to stand.  We invite your input and comments to make your purchase the best possible experience.

There are some major changes about to happen.  After twenty-one years at our present location we are reducing the scale of our operation to more closely fit the amount business we are now doing.