Fusion 14 Sit On Top Canoe
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Design by Chris Ostlind- Salt Lake City, Utah - USA
 
FUSION 14 SPCIFICATIONS
 
LOA
-
14’
BOA
-
30”
Bow Height
-
15”
Freeboard at design waterline
-
7.5”
Displacement
-
315 lbs.
Weight
-
50 lbs.

I’ve been designing boats for the last five or six years now, focusing my attention on canoes, kayaks and multihull sailing craft. I’ve also done the odd, outboard powered design and a few monohull sailboats to fill-out my portfolio with some balance. You may have even seen a few of my more esoteric designs that are meant to provide a little levity in the design world of boats.

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Fusion is a first in the world of buildable plans (as far as I know) in that it is a Sit-On-Top Canoe and not a kayak at all.

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I had never brought any attention to the absolutley raging, Sit-On-Top (SOT), design world before. So, for the past several months I’ve been looking at the commercial offerings from what seems like a hundred different manufacturers to get a feel for the important parameters in the style before tossing my own hat in the ring with a few new SOT boats for homebuilders.

I’ve now done three new SOT kayaks that will be nice additions to my design portfolio. The boat I want to share with you in this article is kind of a first in the world of buildable plans (as far as I know) in that it is a Sit-On-Top Canoe and not a kayak at all.

Now, I may be splitting some fairly fine hairs here with that claim, but this boat has all the typical styling cues of a canoe and it is strikingly different from the SOT kayaks I have seen. Let me explain.

This boat has all the typical styling cues of a canoe and it is strikingly different from the SOT kayaks I have seen.

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The significant elements that I feel are incorporated in all Sit-On-Top designs are as follows:

  • 1) An interior volume that provides for flotation as an integral part of the form.
  • 2) A capacity for passive self-draining to keep the boat afloat even when it has been swamped.
  • 3) A profound recreational utility that spans several sporting disciplines.
  • 4) A strong capability for car topping.
  • 5) The owner won’t feel trapped if the boat capsizes.
  • 6) The average person can get back in/on the boat easily when dumped.

The hull of the Fusion 14 is very canoe like in its appearance with distinct bow and stern stems and an internal volume that is very canoe-like for its length. I have included the typical, above the waterline, deck surface of the everyday, SOT kayak, along with a self-draining function designed to keep the boat dry in the funkiest of wave conditions. But, I also have the nicely shaped walls rising to form an internal hull form such as you see on the everyday canoe. An SOT kayak is basically a big flat surface form with butt and footwells in the center of the hull. A storage well aft for the gear being used while on the water is also a normal design element.

Build style is in marine plywood, glassed in epoxy in an S&G technique. All the exterior surfaces showing will be fully glassed. The seams inside the hull and deck surface are to be glassed with tape and epoxy. The bulkheads are taped and filleted to the hull surface.

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Build style is in marine plywood, glassed in epoxy in an S&G technique.

The Fusion 14 has two-inch thick, hollow sidewalls on all vertical surfaces and a raised deck that sits four inches above the hull bottom. The boat is equipped with a trunk for a Hobie Mirage peddle drive well forward of the sitting position to allow for comfortable, semi-reclined, leg action when using the Mirage.

Because the deck and side panels enclose the interior volume, there is a sizeable volume of flotation automatically contained in the hull walls and below deck areas. This ensures that the boat is, for all practical scenarios, unsinkable. Oh, sure, you could crash-land the boat on a reef in large surf and probably kiss it goodbye as a floating object of merit, but I can’t design for every eventuality. The design objectives for end use do not include that scenario or any of the other hair-raising possibilities that could render the boat sunk. In short, you take on those situations without my encouragement.

I have pegged the final boat weight at 50 lbs. Designed displacement is set to 315 lbs. at the four inch waterline so it would take a fairly large dude to start to bring water into the hull of the Fusion 14 through the Mirage trunk. That particular dude should be looking to ask me to draw-up a Fusion 16.

Because the deck and side panels enclose the interior volume, there is a sizeable volume of flotation automatically contained in the hull walls and below deck areas.

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Everybody else gets to experience a fully self-draining hull without touching a bailing scoop. If you happen to fall out of the boat, all you have to do is roll yourself back over the side and into the hull and all the water will quietly drain away while you pull yourself together in the rapidly drying hull.

There are three frame style bulkheads under the inner hull surface to handle the loads and provide unique, self-contained buoyancy chambers. Access to the interior is via three 8” waterproof deck plates, so that interior volume can be used for light gear storage. An enterprising builder could also create a series of walled-off boxes in the sidewalls with netting to secure the stuff that one might need on a more regular basis.

I see this boat being used by fishermen, bird watchers, swamp explorers, duck hunters, and just plain old outdoors people who want a small, easy to use boat that will go on the roof of their car with ease.

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I see this boat being used by fishermen, bird watchers, swamp explorers, duck hunters, and just plain old outdoors people who want a small, easy to use boat that will go on the roof of their car with ease.

Mirage propulsion is nearly effortless and it allows a hands free means of getting around so that you can take pictures eat a sandwich, have a beer, etc., without stopping the boat. Steering is controlled by a simple handle on the hull that connects to the flip-up rudder via a stainless cable through the hull interior. Easy to rig, virtually maintenance free each season and simple to replace if the need arises.

This is a fun boat to build, own and lend-out to lazy friends who should be building one for themselves and not trying to borrow yours all the time.

Have at it folks, full size template plans will soon be available here at these Duckworks pages for $85.

Chris Ostlind
Lunada Design
Chris@Wedgesail.com

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