Canadian Canoe Routes

Hyperform Tandem Conversion
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Author:  Mike McCrea [ September 18th, 2013, 3:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Hyperform Tandem Conversion

I recently pick up a ‘77 Hyperform tandem kayak with the intention of converting it to a solo sailing tripper. Time to start taking apart the hull. ... isassembly

The massive rudder blade comes off with a simple pin and keeper. 15 oz gone.

The rudder pivot is likewise easy to remove, along with the crudely attached cables. Another half pound out. Although if I can make a Kruger-style rudder shape & retraction cord work the pivot piece will go back in.

The oddly “hinged” seat pan and backs are held in place using the same pins and keepers as the rudder blade. 8lbs, 4 oz out, and the seat hangers and frames are yet to come out

Vintage “gas pedal” style rudder controls. 1 lb 2oz. More cunning attachment hardware.

Front foot braces – 10oz

Foam pillars bow and stern. Perhaps the best installed pillars I’ve ever seen. Glassed and glued into place. With a saw cut, finagling and brute force I could remove the ethafoam, but the fiberglass “walls” will need to be cut out. The foam pillars alone were 2 lbs, 4 oz and the decks are plenty stiff without them.

The more complex disassembly required a Dremel tool. The tandem seat hangers and frames were molded as part of the cockpit rims and needed to be cut out. I stupidly tried cutting out one of those hangers with the hull upright on standard-sized sawhorses.

I know better. Working upside down, bent over into the hull, is a mistake. After mis-cutting the first of the four seat hanger sides I wised up and moved the hull onto the 4’ tall sawhorses so that I could work right-side up, facing my work at a convenient height.

The half-circle ethafoam stiffeners between the seat frames and sides of the hull were held in place with fiberglass and resin, as were the foam pillars.

A lot of Dremel cutting and grinding was required to remove that glass, in addition to cutting out the two seat drops/frames. Another 3 lbs 4 oz came out.

I have learned not to trust my math skills, but that looks almost 17lbs removed, and there’s still some sanding and grinding to do before commencing with the actual rebuild.

There are still a few pieces that need Dremel attention, but two sessions working inside the hull, PPE clad and immediately showered and changed (actually, I aim a leaf blower at myself before I even take the mask or respirator off) are all I can stand for now.

With the hull gutted I moved it outside and power washed the inside. There was 35 year’s accumulation of grunge stuck inside the hull. Now there is only 15 year’s worth of crud; even with soapy-soaking, scrubbing and powerwashing some of the dirt/pollen/pollution is still firmly adhered to the inside of the hull. Some of that grunge isn’t coming out.

And then to re-weight it and see how close my math skills and scales prove.

61.5 lbs when I got it……and crap, with the hull gutted and washed I weighed it several time, but my bathroom scale is less than consistent when standing atop holding a 16 ½’ boat – repeated weight-ins gave me a range between 47lbs and 43.5lbs.

I only weighed it once at the get go, so I don’t know how accurate my initial 61.5 lb weight actually was. I’ll trust the individual parts and pieces removed weighed on the small weight scale at 17lbs, and all that really matters is the final weight after outfitting.

Now comes the fun part – putting in a solo seat, utility/sail thwart and outfitting.

Author:  Paddle Power [ September 19th, 2013, 12:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hyperform Tandem Conversion

Good luck with the project.
I look forward to following your progress.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ September 19th, 2013, 1:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hyperform Tandem Conversion

Paddle Power wrote:
Good luck with the project.
I look forward to following your progress.

I have high hopes for this boat. I like the lines, shape and hull depth a lot. I think it is going to make a kick-ass solo, semi-decked and ruddered sailing tripper.

I have two other vintage hulls retrofitted in similar fashion; a ’77 Old Town Sockeye tandem, 16’5” long x 31” wide x 15” deep, designed with a wonderfully rounded wave-shedding cross section. It looks like a freaking torpedo, but it is rock solid stable and sails as well as any boat I own.

If the Sockeye wasn’t an unwieldy 70lbs of woven roving fiberglass it might be my favorite hull design - and I usually paddle a Kruger-designed Mad River Monarch.

The Sockeye is the yellow and black hull that looks like a 70’s Dodge Superbee.


I also soloized and retrofitted an old Phoenix Vagabond in similar fashion (16’5” x 29”). That is a glass and nylon hull and as such much lighter than the Sockeye (AKA “The Sea Wimp”). But the Vagabond’s center depth is insufficient in waves with a tripper load, and it is very flat bottomed. (The red hull with black diamonds – styling after a late ‘50’s Rambler station wagon)

The Hyperform Lettmann has a deeper hull and taller decks, and a hint of a shallow arch, so the bottom is stiffer. (The blue/white hull above)

The Hyperform has a date with a barrier island coastal bay in late November. Plenty of time for some custom outfitting and test rides.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ September 22nd, 2013, 11:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hyperform Tandem Conversion

Hyperform Solo Seat ... olo%20Seat

I had two leftover seat choices on hand in the shop; a plastic bucket Mad River IQ system seat and the front bucket and aluminum tube frame off a Wenonah slider. The weights are nearly identical, 9 – 10 oz, and the IQ seat is an oversized bucket with built-in lower back support that I know works well for me.

But the IQ bucket would require a lot of custom carving on a 3 or 4 incch thick block of minicel to create a pedestal, and I would have to incorporate channels in the minicel base at allow water movement and not create a hull-wide dam for bilgewater.

And I don’t have a slab of minicel large enough to make a foam pedestal. I’ll go with the Wenonah.

I know that bucket seat needs a Ridgerest foam pad glued in place, and that is much easier to do before the seat is installed.

First up I needed to make a paper template for the foam shape. Since the chances of me placing a large piece of foam pad on instant-stuck contact cement with any precision are nil, I made the template ½” larger all around and trimmed the excess/overlap after it was glued in place.

An alcohol wipe of the seat surface, followed by three coats of contact cement on the Ridgerest and two on the seat, with drying time in between. I know the Ridgerest (or any other thin foam pieces) will want to curl when contact cement is applied, so I staked the foam piece down on the workbench with some pushpins before applying the contact cement coats.

With the foam glued in place I sandbag weighted the seat and binder-clipped the edges – those are two things are surprisingly handy in the shop for holding things down or together.

Once the contact cement cured I trimmed the excess/overlap with a razor blade and ran a bead of Plumber’s Goop around the perimeter of the foam to seat edge. The Goop adhesive/sealant edging may have been superfluous, but once this seat is in it isn’t coming back out.

I wanted to somehow epoxy the Wenonah seat directly to the floor, using the aluminum tube frame in order to retain that seat height. But I didn’t want the rigid tubes against the glass & nylon hull.

I have hard plastic seats mounted to the floor in other boats, but they are on short minicel pedestals, and the foam pedestal help soften any hull deflection when hopping over speedbump logs or getting hung up in shallows or cypress knees.

Even though the bottom of the Hyperform is very stiff (thanks to the interior keelson) I needed to add some schedule of material between the aluminum seat frame and hull for extra strength and rigidity.

Just measuring the location for the seat placement was trickier than I anticipated. The internal keelson was originally installed at a bit of an angle, so the best I could do was repeatedly one-eyeball a true center line for the seat and mark the tube locations.

I installed a multi-layer subfloor to help support the aluminum tube frame of the old bucket seat. First a large square of dynel, not as much for the abrasion resistance properties as for the fact that it swells thicker than glass when coated with epoxy.

Then a length of 4” glass tape atop the dynel where the seat tubes rest. And – eh, it’s now or never - a length of 2” tape atop the 4” layer.

I wanted to soften the transition between the round bottom of the aluminum tubes and the hull/dynel/glass. A couple of lengths of epoxy saturated kevlar felt provided a conforming bed for the tubes to nestle in.

Each of the sub-floor layers – dynel, 4” glass tape, 2” glass tape and kevlar felt - is several inches shorter than the layer below, so there is no sharply reinforced transition.

With the materials laid and epoxy covered I sandbagged the seat in position and came to the first shop supply shortage – I did not have enough peel ply left to cover the entire area of exposed dynel and glass tape. The best I could do was cut what I had on hand into strips and lay them over the edges.

Once the epoxied subfloor had cured I ran 4” glass tape laterally across the tubes. I actually thought ahead for once and saved the last 4 small pieces of peel ply for that tape.

I have some other glass and epoxy work still to come inside the hull, but I need to get some peel ply first. The seamed edges of glass tapes stand especially tall and sharp when epoxied, and dynel wets out rough; using peel ply eliminates 90% of any subsequent sanding effort and helps prevent adding weight with additional coats of epoxy to fill the weave.

Author:  ezwater [ September 22nd, 2013, 2:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hyperform Tandem Conversion

I had some peel ply once, but I found it harder to get it to conform to repairs than plastic food wrap. Sometimes I've had to put an air bag or sand bag over the plastic film and the cloth layers underneath to get them to sit properly.

I save about 85% of post cure sanding by not giving a s**t.

I won't use Kevlar felt on principle, but you didn't use much, so that's good.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ September 23rd, 2013, 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "Optima" Tandem Conversion

ezwater wrote:
I had some peel ply once, but I found it harder to get it to conform to repairs than plastic food wrap. Sometimes I've had to put an air bag or sand bag over the plastic film and the cloth layers underneath to get them to sit properly.

I save about 85% of post cure sanding by not giving a s**t.

I won't use Kevlar felt on principle, but you didn't use much, so that's good.

I have had excellent results using peel ply, at least on flattish areas or simple curves. I have always ended up with a crinkly finish when using plastic wrap or release films. Peel ply leaves a very faint weave finish that is almost smooth.

Epoxy coated dynel produces a cured surface with the consistency of 80 grit sandpaper, and the seamed edges of fiberglass tape stand tall and sharp enough to slice flesh unless sanded down. Neither is a surface I want to leave exposed inside a hull, but peel ply eliminates both of those issues without sanding.

I understand your kevlar felt principles given its history of use as a terrible skid plate material. But as a resin soaked “bed” in which to nestle the seat frame tubes it was ideal.

When I install a utility/sail thwart across the front of the cockpit rim I’ll cut a wide thwart to size and shape, with the ends matching the curves of the cockpit rim as exactly as possible, but for the initial install I’ll staple a length of kevlar felt to the butt-ends of the thwart, coat the felt with epoxy and smush the thwart into place.

The kevlar felt and epoxy ends assure that the thwart matches the curvature of the cockpit rim exactly, and once that epoxy has cured I can further glass the ends with the thwart already held firmly in place.

Mike McCrea wrote:
I’m jonsing to start gutting the Hyperform (damn I wish I at least knew what that boat was called

I sent an e-mail to Lettmann inquiring about the boat name, and now I know:

“The boat is a licensed building boat from the company hyperform. We sold this boat under the name Lettmann Optima”

Cool beans.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ October 11th, 2013, 8:00 am ]
Post subject:  Peel Ply

Mike McCrea wrote:
ezwater wrote:
I had some peel ply once, but I found it harder to get it to conform to repairs than plastic food wrap. Sometimes I've had to put an air bag or sand bag over the plastic film and the cloth layers underneath to get them to sit properly.

I have had excellent results using peel ply, at least on flattish areas or simple curves. I have always ended up with a crinkly finish when using plastic wrap or release films. Peel ply leaves a very faint weave finish that is almost smooth.

There is a good article in the most recent issue of Epoxyworks (#37, Fall 3013) “Advantages of 879 Release Fabric”.

I knew it was ideal for leveling out the edges of glass tape and smoothing the rough surface of dynel (or etc), and that it could provide a higher glass-to-resin weight ratio, but I didn’t know that peel ply prevents amine blush.

Or perhaps “removes” amine blush; any blush that occurs is atop the peel ply and is removed when release fabric is peeled away.

The release fabric article does note that it is intended that the epoxy fully cure before removing the peel ply, which eliminates the epoxy-on-epoxy chemical adhesion of a top coat. But I’ve been able to pull the peel ply off almost cured but still a wee bit tacky glass and resin and topcoat with good results.

If you start to remove the peel ply and the glass moves at all it’s too soon; press it back down and try again in another hour.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ October 13th, 2013, 7:08 am ]
Post subject:  Optima progress (and mistakes)

I have made nearly every mistake imaginable when rebuilding boats. I continue to make them, and continue to learn from them.

The seat frames hangers have been Dremel cut free from the coming.
MISTAKE: I miss cut one of the bow seat hangers too close to the cockpit rim and sliced through the coming with the Dremel blade. I’d love to go back and cut that one correctly, especially since shop partner Joby was standing on the other side of the boat telling me “No, not there, that’s too close to the coming” as I proceeded to ignore him and cut it badly.

The side I cut correctly and left a little long is exactly where the utility thwart will be positioned, and that extra depth inside the coming would be helpful for glassing the utility/sail thwart in place.

CORRECTION: Repaired with 2” glass tape and resin, but woulda, coulda, shoulda listened to Joby. He needs to be less gentle in his persuasion; just grab the Dremel out of my hand next time dammit.


The floor mounted Wenonah bucket seat is in.
MISTAKE: I didn’t have enough peel ply to cover all of the dynel and fiberglass tape subfloor. I did manage to peel ply the seamed edges of the tape and some of the dynel, but the rest of the dynel is rough-surfaced and not in easy places to sand.

CORRECTION: I sanded what I could and top coated the rest with more resin. There are some places I simply can’t reach to sand, and the extra resin added no strength. The real correction is that I bought enough peel ply to last this boat and the next. At 80 cents a square foot that is almost certainly the stupidest cost/benefit ratio mistake I’ll make.


The old worn rope handles have been cut off and the holes filled with pigmented resin.
MISTAKE: I should have packed the holes with PC-7 epoxy first and top coated that with pigmented Gflex - the rope remaining in the holes drank in resin.

CORRECTION: I kept adding blue pigmented Gflex until the holes were filled.


New carry handles are attached. I marked out the extent of my arms reach inside the hull and resined in lengths of 4” glass tape (and peel ply!) to beef up the decks at the carry handle locations.
MISTAKE: I went one section further back with the position of the stern carry handle, so there is no glass tape under the rear attachment point of that handle.

CORRECTION: The handles are attached with short machine screws, washers and nylocks; I can go back I next time the hull is upside down, unscrew that handle and add the missing glass tape.


The seam tape between the hull and deck was missing, although the groady adhesive remains of the OEM tape were plainly visible. I ran 1” black Gorilla tape around the seam, hit it with a heat gun and smoothed it out with a insulated glove. It is amazing how much better the hull looks with that seam taped.
MISTAKE: I sanded down the bumpy seamed edge before laying on the tape, but I missed a couple of rough and raised spots.

CORRECTION: The rough and raised spots under the heat-pressed tape are plainly visible. Live with it.


The Surf-to-Summit back band was installed using four pad eyes.
MISTAKE: Time will tell; those were some very awkward places to install pad eyes.

CORRECTION: I’m hoping none is needed, the first test paddle will tell.


I beefed up the locations where the foot pedal rudder controls will be mounted with layers of 2” and 4” glass tape and resin (and, of course, peel ply).
MISTAKE: None. Maybe I’m getting better.


The OEM rudder was massive, and functioned crudely. There were no rudder retraction controls, the choice were simply to have the rudder down or to remove it from the housing. Not exactly convenient for on-water manipulation.


I designed and cut a new flip-up blade from aluminum stock that will work with the existing rudder hardware, patterned after the shape of the blade on the Monarch.


I would prefer a Feathercraft type rudder that flips up onto the back deck, but a new/modern rudder would cost more than what I paid for the boat, so I’ll make what I have work. Old rudder 15oz, new rudder 10oz.


That may not be the last word on the Optima rudder size and shape. Since the rudder blade is simple to unpin and remove from the pivot housing, making a new one would be as easy as cutting another piece of sheet aluminum.

Being able to remove the rudder should be handy for transport as well; I have occasionally whacked my head on rudders when walking around the truck, despite having them all stripe-painted and reflective taped to better catch my attention.
MISTAKE: I did not have clevis pins sized for the antique rudder housing.
CORRECTION: I used a couple of stainless steel cotter pins as a temporary solution to hold the cables to the housing and true up the rudder controls.


I have a variety of rudder control pedals and sliders available from past rebuilds, including the peculiar OEM gas-pedal style controls from gutting the Optima.


Even though they are the heaviest of the lot I’ll used the Yakimas, they are fairly bombproof and seem to bind less than all-plastic controls.


I needed to have shop partner Joby on hand before installing the rudder cables and foot pedals. That is a two-man job. And a two brain job; with both of us thinking and talking out the sequence and methodology we got that part done right.

I attached thin bungee cord to the front end of the sliders. That bungee runs through a nylon cable clamp under the deck with a cord lock on the bitter end for easy tensioning adjustment. That bungee keeps the sliders from falling out the back of the Yakima track and auto-centers the rudder if I take my feet off the pedals.
MISTAKE: The thin bungee I had was way too thin, but for truing up purposes it’ll do.

CORRECTION: Replace it when I have the correct bungee.


I needed to drill a hole through the deck for the cable clamps underneath, and so I married the hole to nylon pad eyes on top of the deck. A third pad eye centered and forward gives me a place to run a ^ of bungee cord atop the deck.

I don’t like gear on the front deck, for wave shedding splash reasons, and the decks on the Optima are quite peaked, but I do like a bungee run positioned there to shove a paddle blade under (hence the wooden ball – it’s easier to get the blade under the ball than digging away between the deck and a tight bungee.
MISTAKE: I didn’t have any reflective bungee, which I prefer.

CORRECTION: I used what I had, and when it stretched out beyond being reknottable I’ll replace it with reflective bungee (if I can find a source).


I ran the retraction cord for the Kruger-style rudder through a closed cleat on my dominate side. I installed a pad eye on the back deck to keep the retraction cord from drooping too much when uncleated, and added a wooden ball to the bitter end of the cord so it is easier to grab and can’t run out through the cleat when released.
MISTAKE: I tried holding a washer on the rivet shank under the deck and squeezing the pop rivet gun left handed. Don’t try that at home (unless you are left handed).

CORRECTION: After drilling out the fugly pop rivet I called for a second pair of hands.


I don’t like gear on the bow deck, but the stern deck is another matter. That’s a good place to strap down excess lightweight/bulky gear if need be. “Strap” down is the operative word; securing something like a dry bagged Therma-rest under bungee cords quickly stretches out the bungee and isn’t very secure.

A couple of grommet straps provide secure locations to run a length of webbing and ladder lock. Grommet straps work better if they are located in a position where the slot if slightly raised and easier to pass the webbing through, not flush with the deck.
MISTAKE: I have a couple of grommet straps left and remember thinking that I needed to add them to the stern deck of some boat. But I don’t remember which one.

CORRECTION: I’ll have a look later. And buy more grommet straps.


The funnest and fastest part of putting a boat together is installing the machine screwed or pop riveted outfitting, especially if you know how and where you want it.

Every re-build or retrofit poses new challenges, and I make new mistakes every time. Some people scratch their heads at Soduku to keep their grey matter active. I puzzle over boat rebuilds and try to learn from my mistakes.

Time to clean the cluttered shop benches of parts, tools and materials, and make a list of what still needs to be done in sequence.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ October 17th, 2013, 2:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Optima Thwarts

The Optima needs thwarts. Plural.

The Optima needs a utility sail thwart, but unlike the other decked boat conversions I have done it also needs a rear thwart. The cockpit opening on the Optima is only 18” wide and there is a lot of curved and unsupported side hull along that opening.

It needs stiffening behind the seat. It would probably work as is, but a slender thwart positioned a few inches behind the back band would not be in the way of gear storage and should help stiffen the cockpit coming, and will make me more comfortable when levering myself out of the boat or tensioning a trucker’s hitch over the hull when roof racking.

I cut and fit luan templates (scrap luan is great stuff to have around – I made the final rudder template out of luan) before making the thwarts.


Cutting a thwart to close tolerances along a cockpit coming is tricky biz. There are angles tapered / and there is curvature on the cockpit coming ) (.

Between saws, router and sanders I hit those angles, curves and tapers as close as I could on the butt ends of the thwarts, leaving a little gap on either side for the initial adhesion. The initial installation is done by stapling a butt-end sized piece of kevlar felt (sorry G2D) on the thwarts, saturating it with epoxy and pressing it into place.


Those thwarts were propped and wedged into place atop a raised platform, with resin saturated felt ends smushed against the coming and it was time to walk away. Tomorrow is another day; the thwarts will then be firmly held in place and I can lay some glass tape/cord/etc over the top and bottom of the thwart between the cockpit coming and thwart ends for a beefier connection.


Tomorrow is today, and the kevlar felt and Gflex are holding the thwarts firmly in place. While the thwarts were propped into place and the resin curing I painted a bead of Gflex along the top and side edges to soften the L transition.

I put the Optima on the tall sawhorses so that I could work comfortably inside the inverted hull and G/flex beaded the underside thwart transition. While the hull is upside down I measured and cut cloth materials to resin into place along the bottoms of the thwarts and inside hull edge.


I cut dynel for the bottom of utility thwart and strips of 1” glass tape for the stern thwart. And, of course, pieces of peel ply to cover the cloth. I continue to be amazed at how long the prep stages for glass and resin work take – sanding, cleaning, cutting materials to size, drip-taping the edges – and how fast the actual application of glass/resin goes.


Tomorrow is yet another day, and when the bottom cloth reinforcing is dry I can remove the peel ply and do the same thing on the topside.


Tomorrow again became the next day and the next as I removed the peel ply from the bottom and glassed in the thwarts on the top. Having used peel ply I have minimal sanding to do on the cloth tape reinforcement areas. I will try my best not to do glass work without peel ply on hand.

The thwarts will eventually be sanded and painted, but I’ll give the epoxy a long cure time while I’m off on a trip. Meanwhile I can position and install the utility thwart hardware.

Spirit Sail basemount, deck hooks and pad eyes for bungee paddle keeps


Open cleat for bowline keeper and deck hooks for compass


Now that all the parts and pieces have been installed I can determine the location of a lateral run of bungee over-under-over the thwart, drill the holes and bevel the edges.


16 strategically positioned bolt or screw holes in that thwart; it’s 5 ½” wide and already crowded.

Everything comes back off and I can final sand and paint the thwarts.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ November 15th, 2013, 2:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Optima Final Assembly and finishing touches

Three weeks should be enough time for the epoxy coats to cure before painting, doncha think? I’m back from a long trip and I can finally step into the shop and work towards completing the Optima outfitting.

I sanded and cleaned the thwarts and painted them black to appear contiguous with the black cockpit coming, and reattached the various hardware bits and pieces in the already-drilled preferred positions.




While in painting mode I added blue stripes to the rudder. The stripes help make the rudder more noticeable and make me less likely to whack my head on it when roof racked*, or walk into it when beached. I’ll add some blue high intensity tape to the rudder and to stems as well.



*Well, not when roof racked; I used the OEM rudder pivot and removable pin, and attached the rudder retraction line with a stainless minibeener, so I can unclip the line and remove the rudder while traveling. Unlike a Feathercraft style rudder the Kruger-ish ones always stick out behind the boat some distance.


Cutting out the old foot brace holders was too much of a challenge during the various Dremel sessions. I would all but certainly have sliced through the hull in any attempt to cut those pieces free. The metal foot brace channels remain well and firmly attached to the hull. The ones in the bow need to be padded to prevent snagging or tearing gear.

I have a box of minicel circles drilled out with a 3 ¼” hole saw (I needed the donuts, but I saved the holes). One of those cut into quarters serves to cover the metal edges nicely and leaves the channel open for future use – floatation bag or gear restraint strap perhaps, time will tell.



While the contact cement was out and the wax paper-wrapped brush was still fresh I set the hull on a thick foam pad on the shop floor, got seated and marked the positions of the knee bumpers and heel pads. I sized the heel pads long enough to accommodate a range of paddler heights, and cut the cockpit coming minicel deep enough to tuck under the cockpit edge and serve as thigh braces as well as knee bumpers.

Both are cut from ¾” minicel, which provides sufficient compression comfort in knee or heel location.


Some words about minicel adhesion: Good contact cement application helps immensely; using multiple coats on both surfaces (especially the foam, which sucks in the initial applications) is key. Using a heat gun on both surfaces before the instant press-and-stick helps too. And a test press and calculation of clamp positioning is a good idea before first coat of glue goes on.


The biggest enemies of lasting minicel adhesion are sheer forces from exposed right angles and water/grit/sand/debris infiltration between the foam and hull.

I radiused the corners of the foam pieces and shaved down the top perimeter edges with Dragonskin. Removing those right angles helps eliminate sheer forces that might lift the foam. Once the contact cement clamped/weighted minicel pieces had set I beaded the foam-to-hull edges with Plumber’s Goop to help prevent infiltration of water or grit.



The outside under-edge of the cockpit coming was nasty rough and sharp in places, not from my work but from original manufacturer. A little hand sanding knocked down the nasties and I can look for a storage over that fits. The Optima cockpit is both shorter and narrower than any of our other decked boats – 78” x 21”, vs 90x 23 for the Monarch or 94x22 for the Vagabond.

I just happen to have an old 90x22 storage cover on which I repaired some tears, which necessitated shortening the length a good bit. It’s still a little saggy, but the back band and thwarts provide some undercover support, and I try to remember to store my decked boats tilted at a sideways angle while in camp so any water runs off the cover. It’ll work, and the price was right.


I like it. I like the lines, the gear haulage depth and the still relatively lightweight.


One last thing before the Optima goes out for a trial trip; she needs the shop Gogetch and new name painted on.

Author:  ezwater [ November 15th, 2013, 6:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hyperform Tandem Conversion

Impressive improvisational work.

One note for readers about minicell and shear forces. There may be internal shear forces from, for example, a knee working back and forth on the surface of the foam. Eventually this can cause the minicell to loosen next to the glue line.

The way to avoid this is to make a guess about how your knee, or other body part, will work against the pad, and to reduce the shear forces by pad placement, or by use of minicell elsewhere to control limb motion. For example, for knee pads glued near a pedestal seat, intall knee wedges to keep the knees more in one place. The minicell pad will last longer.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ November 16th, 2013, 6:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hyperform Tandem Conversion

ezwater wrote:
Impressive improvisational work.

It might be fun to total up what I have in this boat costwise:

$200 for the boat
$0 in the seat; it was a Wenonah bucket I took out of another project boat.
$20 in S glass, Dynel, glass tape and peel ply
$20 in epoxy resins (West System 105/206 and G/flex)
$10 in good quality bungee and rope
$28 in grab handles
$10 in cleats, pad eyes, strap grommets and deck hooks.
$5 in minicel
$30 in expendables; sandpaper, brushes, contact cement, plumber’s goop, pop rivets, painter’s tape, Gorilla tape, Dremel blades and SS hardware
$0 in storage cover; it was a freebie thrown in with a used boat I bought years ago.
$0 in floatation bags; they came with the boat
$0 in the rudder or foot controls; the rudder was cut from an old aluminum sign and the controls were leftovers from another boat rebuild.
$20 in rudder cables.
$0 in an old Grade VI bucket seat pad (just found it in a box of miscellaneous canoe gear)
$20 in gas to pick up the hull and a couple of trips to the hardware store or outfitter shop.

$363. Minus a thousand dollars worth of fun in the shop taking it apart and putting it back together.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ November 25th, 2013, 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Opie Trial Run

I like it. I like it a lot.

Opie held a huge amount of gear, paddled very well, responded nicely to the rudder and sailed like a champ. It won’t replace the Monarch, but it may be my next favorite decked boat.


There are only a few outfitting tweaks to finish Opie; the decks need one more pad eye and two more grommet straps for perfect gear storage and the minicel heel pads need to be extended further towards the middle of the hull.

As an act of blind faith – fully gutting and refurbishing a hull without ever having paddled it – Opie came out very, very well.

Author:  Ralph [ November 25th, 2013, 10:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hyperform Tandem Conversion

I'm glad that you are pleased with the results of your project. I always enjoy following your work and seeing the ways that you resolve issues.
Thanks for posting these.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ November 25th, 2013, 11:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hyperform Tandem Conversion

Ralph wrote:
I'm glad that you are pleased with the results of your project.

Ralph, I’m always looking for the next shop project. Rehabbing or retrofitting boats is a source of pleasure, especially the Thoreauvian aspect of salvaging parts and pieces from one rebuild and using them on another.

Rehabbing a canoe is great fun, but resurrecting these old tandem decked boats as solo sailing trippers is even better. More of a puzzle, more new-to-me “How do I do this?”.

I did not know that such a boat as 1977 Old Town Sockeye even existed, nor the ’77 Hyperform Lettmann Optima. There are similar vintage oddities out there I’ve never seen firsthand; the Bavaria Boote Missouri II/Amazonas: ... eview.html

Even the discontinued Pamlico 145T–Pro (kevlar hull) would make a nice pocket sailing tripper:

I am sure that there are 1970’s make/models of composite tandems I do not even know exist. I’m going to need a winter shop project, but those old composite “European-style tandem touring canoes” are rare as hen’s teeth.

I’m eyeballing the local Craigslists for a 15-17 foot kevlar canoe, preferably one left on the ground with rotted brightwork and listed cheap. I have a plan, and I have all of the parts and pieces available in the shop.

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