Kahala Skiff

Design Brief

Working with former Patagonia designer, published fly tier, and avid flats fly fisherman Terry Baird from Hawaii, we set out to create a craft that answered his exacting demands for a dream fishing machine.  The main characteristics were that it must be lightweight for ease of car-topping and launching, it needed to get him to his favorite spot quickly and safely, and then, for good visibility while spotting fish, it was necessary to paddle or pole from a standing position.  

 The rugged Hawaiian coastline, with its constant wind and short choppy waters, creates a unique environment that requires a refined hull shape.   The long, slender hull with a fine bow entry will prove efficient in slicing through the chop while the upper chine and flared bow will keep the spray down.  The lower chine, which disappears before crossing the waterline to eliminate chine slap, and the two reverse spray rails help lift her quickly onto plane while also adding to directional stability.  

Although keeping her lightweight, narrow, and efficient were priorities, safety was also addressed.  To increase stability while fishing, the upper chine flat was designed so that after 3 degrees of heel, the chine submerges, and drastically increases her stiffness.  Besides being completely self-draining, areas for flotation material were carefully designed into the layout to meet ABYC recommendations so that not only is the boat unsinkable but she will float level if fully submerged.  

The construction utilizes a beveled strip planking method covered in lightweight fiberglass cloth that saves countless hours over traditional strip planking while still creating a lightweight and easily maintained hull.  The construction setup uses permanent frames cut from full size templates that are positioned on a strongback incorporating the sole from the cockpit.  Without temporary molds, there is very little energy and materials wasted.