NFCT, My Hornbeck Nomad, & Brainstorming | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

NFCT, My Hornbeck Nomad, & Brainstorming

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My Hornbeck Nomad

I'm planning potential canoe outings for upcoming months; including some on flat waters of the 740 mile long Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

I'm also planning a couple canoe projects and am interested in brainstorming with those of you who like to design and make things for adventuring. More on that below.

NFCT-map-descrip615x900.png

The NFCT goes from the northern tip of Maine through New Hampshire, Vermont, part of Quebec, and to the Adirondacks of New York.

The Adirondacks are where I found the perfect watercraft for my adventuring three years ago; my 14' Hornbeck Solo/Tandem Nomad. Primarily a flat water/calm river boat and not a rapids runner, I've found it to be a terrific way to expand and extend my adventuring around North America. I've posted about it and shown some of these images here before.

My Nomad has proven to be great for photography, birding, fishing, shore-hopping and island overnights. Though capable of carrying another 220 lbs in addition to myself, it only weighs an amazing 28lbs itself.

Being so light means it goes with me on every adventure, and that I use it far more often than I would if it were 60-70lbs or more, like many of the kayaks and canoes I researched in this thread: Kayaks - Inflatable, Rigid, Folding...whaddya-have and how do ya like it?

nomad_1900-1000.jpeg
14' Hornbeck Nomad Solo/Tandem. This boat wants to be on the water.

>>> BRAINSTORMING:
I'm looking to brainstorm ideas and hear other's experience on a couple things. Not so much just for potential NFCT adventures, but for my canoe use in general, wherever I may be around North America.

1. SPRAY SKIRT:
I'm hatching plans to sew a waterproof spray skirt that will spread over simple low arched bows both fore and aft and fasten via marine snaps or HD hook-&-loop along the gunnels, to snug up around my waist, keep me and stowed gear dry, and keep water out in rough water or rough weather. I'm researching materials now like lightweight cotton/poly ripstop such as used in tents. I think I can create a skirt and supports that will pack small enough to stow in the flotation chambers at either end of my Nomad or will contain the poles in hemmed pockets and strap easily along the inside of the gunnels full-time for quick deployment.

Though primarily for use when solo-canoeing, I may include a way for it to be used in tandem paddling. I mostly want it for paddles that include long crosses across open water that may have a bit more chop or when rains pop up. I don't mind paddling through rain if I'm staying dry myself. It's actually rather exciting and invigorating. Multi-day and overnight paddles on lakes in wilderness areas will be far more enjoyable if I have the extra capabilities of a covered canoe.

I also like the idea of being able to unfasten one side of the skirt when on land, with the canoe tilted bottom up and using canoe and skirt as swag shelter over a sleeping bag, or to snap to an additional packed tarp or one of my FPG Thermashields spread over my kayak paddles or line for a larger shelter area, to reflect heat from a fire for sitting, cooking, and reading.

roaddude_hornbeck-islandcamp-900-0788.jpg
Canoe Camp
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2. OUTRIGGERS/SAIL:

I'm also toying with fanciful daydreams of portable outriggers attached to the Nomad's thwarts to allow a greater stability in increased chop, and that may allow me to stand for poling in shallows or while fishing. The Nomad is narrow like a Cajun Pirogue, with a beam of only 30.25" and practically no draft. Outriggers may also allow for a simple mast and sail such as used on early dugouts, so I am researching lightweight options for materials for both the outrigger floats and a potential sail arrangement.

I'm forever intrigued by expanding the uses and capabilities of my gear, and my Nomad has increasingly become an integral and important part of my adventuring. If I can do simple things that make it even more practical and useful, I'm all for it.

I'm a tinkerer and designer at heart, so plan to experiment with it all while camping, then implement versions, including the sewing of skirt and sail versions and the fabrication of the outriggers, while camping, not in a home workshop, backyard, or driveway.

The idea is to expand my skills, expertise, and abilities while adventuring, and to depend on only my vehicle and myself for all tools and power needs.


limitedhorizons_0704-900.jpg
Morning Mist

Nothing quite like being alone on a lake as the sun comes up.

This is part of a Limited Horizons series I'm working on. Here's another:

limited-horizons_1026-900.jpeg
Bright Morning
.

greatblueheron_8216-1067.jpeg
Great Blue Surprise

This boat is so quiet and graceful. I gave it one last strong paddle towards this Great Blue Heron from a good ways off, then just stayed motionless as I drifted. My Nomad actually bumped the rock she was on before she alerted and took flight.
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roaddude_hornbeck-9075-800.jpg
Nomad, Ready & Waiting

This angle always puts me in mind of a Viking craft, and shows the sleek design of the cheeks and end keel lines. It is a completely symmetrical craft--same going one way as the other--and though it has no real keel the length of the boat, these keel lines at each end keep it tracking and drifting in a straighter line.
..

I'm interested in hearing ideas on spray skirts, outriggers, and sails as outlined above. I am not interested in commercially available solutions, so posting what you made, not bought--unless it incorporates functional ideas that can be used by makers--would be more helpful.

Much appreciated,

~ Road


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That looks like an awesome canoe, I've recently gotten into SUP but I'd love to have a canoe again. They enable some REALLY cool multiday trips. Personally I wouldn't bother with much in the way of spray skirts/outriggers/etc on a small canoe like that. The exception being of you wanted to stand and fish, then that might require some different solutions... If you're looking at a trip where you'll have any portage of the canoe/gear from water body to water body, sometimes having a simple canoe makes it easier to drag your stuff around. When I was in my teens we did a 10 day trip across the Boundary Waters in north Minnesota and we ended up having a LOT of land to cross between water bodies. We had some heavier rental canoes that were a PAIN to portage, but we made it work. I digress.... that is sort of a different beast than what you're looking at doing...

I'd personally look at the Hawaiian style outrigger canoes for some inspiration on how they lash the Ama (outrigger) to the iako's (outrigger support) and the Vaka (main hull). I spent 3-ish years in college doing outrigger canoe racing, so I'd def take a look at some of what works in the ocean environment for ideas. I think for that canoe, a secure mounting cradle for the iako is going to be your biggest challenge, as those outriggers see a ton of force, and they'll have a near constant load to some degree depending on what your configuration ends up being on the canoe. The Ama and Vaka were a fiberglass construction, lashed with hemp rope to the iako's which were made out of hardwood. Ours were six person canoes, so they were huge (close to 42' long...). I usually ended up steering ours and lemme tell you, a canoe that big in the ocean is a LOT of fun!

Something else to keep in mind for outrigger canoes is that they become a LOT harder to right if they get flipped over.
 
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That looks like an awesome canoe, I've recently gotten into SUP but I'd love to have a canoe again. They enable some REALLY cool multiday trips. Personally I wouldn't bother with much in the way of spray skirts/outriggers/etc on a small canoe like that. The exception being of you wanted to stand and fish, then that might require some different solutions... If you're looking at a trip where you'll have any portage of the canoe/gear from water body to water body, sometimes having a simple canoe makes it easier to drag your stuff around. When I was in my teens we did a 10 day trip across the Boundary Waters in north Minnesota and we ended up having a LOT of land to cross between water bodies. We had some heavier rental canoes that were a PAIN to portage, but we made it work. I digress.... that is sort of a different beast than what you're looking at doing...

I'd personally look at the Hawaiian style outrigger canoes for some inspiration on how they lash the Ama (outrigger) to the iako's (outrigger support) and the Vaka (main hull). I spent 3-ish years in college doing outrigger canoe racing, so I'd def take a look at some of what works in the ocean environment for ideas. I think for that canoe, a secure mounting cradle for the iako is going to be your biggest challenge, as those outriggers see a ton of force, and they'll have a near constant load to some degree depending on what your configuration ends up being on the canoe. The Ama and Vaka were a fiberglass construction, lashed with hemp rope to the iako's which were made out of hardwood. Ours were six person canoes, so they were huge (close to 42' long...). I usually ended up steering ours and lemme tell you, a canoe that big in the ocean is a LOT of fun!

Something else to keep in mind for outrigger canoes is that they become a LOT harder to right if they get flipped over.
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Great info and details, @rho, and very much appreciated!

A good part of this is just that it's fun and interesting challenge to see if I can design and create something workable. I may not use it much, though will have taught myself a lot.

My thinking so far is to contrive a quick mount that would attach solidly the 2 outrigger cross pieces, Ama you say, to the 2 existing thwarts (more visible in the first canoe image at top). I can also add/move thwarts anywhere along the length of the Nomad for better placement, if need be.

IF I bend the Amas (they might be steambent cherry like the gunwales, fiberglas, carbon fiber, who knows, though light and strong) to conform somewhat to the curve of the length of the canoe, and can somewhat match the drop from the Nomad's gunwales to water surface, it will make it easier to stow inside the Nomad when portaging or packed on the trailer, and eliminate the need for added material at the end of the Amas with which to attach whatever float, bag, etc I use.

I've done canoe trips up in Algonquin Prov Park in Ontario with long portages, and remember well what it's like carry up and down hills. This Nomad is so light--only 28lbs--that whatever I might create for a portable outrigger setup would have to be quite light, too.

An outrigger is all very much in the beginning, mind-only, design phase, which is a challenge I enjoy. Sometimes I come up with an idea for a creative project, design and figure out the specs and everything and lay it all out, then when I have it figured out and know it would work, I don't need to do it. It's the designing and coming up with a creative solution that is interesting.

The spray skirt/cover is a separate thing and something I see a more real need for, that I would like as a functional, useful, aid in keeping gear dry and water out in a good rain, so I can expand my canoe opportunities. It would also serve to keep gear, firewood, food, etc dry in the canoe when in camp overnight, if needed.

I'd get out in the shallow waters of a favorite lake and see how much I could tip it with a cover and how much, or not, it would prevent or delay water from coming over the side. A lot of this is just about testing the limits of the canoe and myself and expanding possibilities. I love that boat and the more I use it the more it becomes an extension of myself.

I lived in Hawaii for a while and have no doubt that my experience there is influencing this creative desire.

I would love to go out in a six-person or larger canoe, as well as experience what it's like to be part of a team in a sculling boat.

You might enjoy this Canadian video The Canoe, in which they profile several different people deeply connected to the canoe; one of which is a family in a monster of a canoe:

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Thanks for adding great input to this, @rho!
.
 
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Here's a little history on the ocean going canoes and their cultural significance in Hawaii. It also has some cool run downs on the canoes themselves and the history of them, as well as the construction/methods they've used over the years.

For yours in particular, the twarts on yours might need to be a bit reinforced or thicker/sturdier ones to help distribute the load from the ama across the gunwales. The ama will end up being a second hull and thus will end up carrying a % of the overall load in proportion based on the delta between the displacement of both hulls... Solo steering/paddling an outrigger canoe will be a little more of a challenge as it'll generally track much straighter than before and be much less nimble. Steering a 6 person canoe was a constant challenge between having to use a few different steering methods (you use most of them with a single person canoe, mono hull canoe as well.), skippering the boat and shouting commands and then paddling/adding to the power/speed whenever possible.
Sometimes the agility of a simple canoe can't be beat in some waterways!
 
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The spray skirt/cover is a separate thing and something I see a more real need for, that I would like as a functional, useful, aid in keeping gear dry and water out in a good rain, so I can expand my canoe opportunities. It would also serve to keep gear, firewood, food, etc dry in the canoe when in camp overnight, if needed.
I've ordered fabrics and insulation from a site called "ripstop by the roll" before and they have a HUGE range of high performance fabrics, insulation, notions, etc. Its a great great place to get raw materials from
 
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Here's a little history on the ocean going canoes and their cultural significance in Hawaii. It also has some cool run downs on the canoes themselves and the history of them, as well as the construction/methods they've used over the years.
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Is there a link that goes along with this?

I'm sure, once I start getting into hands-on experimenting, I'll be able to test and try different methods, materials, lengths, etc and what needs to be modified and strenghtened will make itself apparent. I can't think of a more pleasurable day than messing about in a lakeside camp playing and experimenting with ideas. Your help is certainly a good push in the right direction.
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I've ordered fabrics and insulation from a site called "ripstop by the roll" before and they have a HUGE range of high performance fabrics, insulation, notions, etc. Its a great great place to get raw materials from
.
I'll check them out; thanks! There's gotten to be quite a few places with tent fabrics and polycotton ripstops. The variety and performance of the various materials is interesting in itself.
Another thing I'm looking forward to is sewing more sidewalls for my big-assed awning that have zippered entrance points and windows, so have already been researching fabrics and meshes.
.
 
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Is there a link that goes along with this?

I'm sure, once I start getting into hands-on experimenting, I'll be able to test and try different methods, materials, lengths, etc and what needs to be modified and strenghtened will make itself apparent. I can't think of a more pleasurable day than messing about in a lakeside camp playing and experimenting with ideas. Your help is certainly a good push in the right direction.
.

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I'll check them out; thanks! There's gotten to be quite a few places with tent fabrics and polycotton ripstops. The variety and performance of the various materials is interesting in itself.
Another thing I'm looking forward to is sewing more sidewalls for my big-assed awning that have zippered entrance points and windows, so have already been researching fabrics and meshes.
.
yeah, there was supposed to be a link along with it, LOL.

Hope this helps!
 
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yeah, there was supposed to be a link along with it, LOL.

Hope this helps!
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You're the best, @rho!
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So, kind of a late follow up to this but I've been putting together a stitch and glue kayak for the past couple weeks now... I'll grab some photos when I get home, but I've finished the interior fiberglass and I'm getting ready to start on the exterior glassing of it. Its been a SUPER cool project so far.
 
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So, kind of a late follow up to this but I've been putting together a stitch and glue kayak for the past couple weeks now... I'll grab some photos when I get home, but I've finished the interior fiberglass and I'm getting ready to start on the exterior glassing of it. Its been a SUPER cool project so far.
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Sounds awesome, @rho - I'm excited to see what you've been creating.

I just got back from five days, four nights canoeing boundary waters of New Brunswick/Maine. Could paddle and fish all day long and not see another soul.
.
 
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PXL_20210919_140102492.jpg
Here's how she sits right now... we're currently sanding and getting prepped for fiberglass.

Its been a ton of work but so far it's been a really fun build.
 
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Handsome, @rho! Very nice lines, and looks like she'll zip through the water.
Any idea on finished weight yet?
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Its about 32-ish right now, I'm expecting it to end up around 35-38lbs after all the outer fiberglass, epoxy, varnish, etc. Really, as long as it ends up under 40lbs I'll be super happy. It end up a LOT lighter than almost anything else out there for the size, save for super high-end composite kayaks.

Its 12' long, and a bit wider (almost 30" beam) than an sea kayak, but this is more of a inland water type boat, with a large cockpit. It should be awesome for fishing too.
 
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Its about 32-ish right now, I'm expecting it to end up around 35-38lbs after all the outer fiberglass, epoxy, varnish, etc. Really, as long as it ends up under 40lbs I'll be super happy. It end up a LOT lighter than almost anything else out there for the size, save for super high-end composite kayaks.

Its 12' long, and a bit wider (almost 30" beam) than an sea kayak, but this is more of a inland water type boat, with a large cockpit. It should be awesome for fishing too.
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That lightness is key, in my book, and helps make it more nimble and quick. Not to mention easier to handle off the water when loading/unloading/portaging. That's why I went for what I did with my Hornbeck Nomad canoe, which is a 14' solo-tandem, 29" at it's widest, and only 28lbs empty.

I love it, and the fact that it is so easy to handle means I get out on the water that much more. Flat water boat, though, not suitable for rips and rapids.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how yours looks all finished and how she handles.
.
 
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That lightness is key, in my book, and helps make it more nimble and quick. Not to mention easier to handle off the water when loading/unloading/portaging. That's why I went for what I did with my Hornbeck Nomad canoe, which is a 14' solo-tandem, 29" at it's widest, and only 28lbs empty.

I love it, and the fact that it is so easy to handle means I get out on the water that much more. Flat water boat, though, not suitable for rips and rapids.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how yours looks all finished and how she handles.
.
Weight is a huge factor IMO. Some of the folks I do fitness paddling stuff with out here have some OC1's and surfskis that all come in at like 20lbs or something silly for a 18' boat, but that weight is a BIG deal when it comes to ease of putting them in the water and portaging. After this one is finished I might try my hand at making a cedar strip kayak... I should be able to get a boat built around 35lbs in the 14-16 foot range.
 
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