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Free Kayak Plans – Siskiwit Bay

Siskiwit Bay cedar strip kayak plans

The Siskiwit Bay is all-around, fast, mid-sized, British-style, touring kayak. This solid boat suits a medium to heavy paddler looking for good initial stability and lots of secondary stability. As the water gets rougher, this kayak feels more stable. It’s a fast design slightly more efficient than most British kayaks in its class.

  • Length: 17 feet
  • Width: 21 inches
  • Volume: 12.325 cubic feet

Displacement and Sizing

This kayak was designed with a five inch waterline to carry: a boat built to 50 pounds, a 200 pound paddler, and 50-pound load. It accommodates paddlers ranging in weight from 140lbs (4.25″ waterline) to 240lbs (just under 6″ waterline). It can carry more than 50 pounds of gear, but why would you? See the Nessmuking articles.

The deck height 48″ forward the back of the cockpit is 11″ high, which will handle U.S. size 11+ feet vertically. The rear coaming height is 8.5″ with a recess and the front height is 12.75″.

If you want a more sporty sea kayak with less volume, consider the Siskiwit LV sea kayak plans.

Cockpit Placement

Ideally you want the longitudinal center of buoyancy of 7.903 from the stern to line up with your center of buoyancy. Or you can put the coaming of the cockpit 5 inches behind the longitudinal center of buoyancy.


These are the John Winter/KAPER numbers using Sea Kayaker Magazines stipulations.

    Knots – Pounds of Resistance

  • 2 – 0 .921
  • 3 – 1.915
  • 4 – 3.554
  • 4.5 – 4.976
  • 5 – 7.381

Get the Drawing Package and Free Kayak Plans Download

The free study plan includes all the stations and the stems overlaid on one sheet. The drawing package includes the full-sized study plan and each station and stem drawn separately on a PDF that prints full sized on ARCH D size paper (nestings). You can cut these out and glue them to plywood to cut full-sized forms. A pdf of the electronic drawing package is available for this kayak. You can print the file on 24- by 36-inch paper on your own. The DXF file is also available and a mastercam file is available.

Download your drawings or packages here: Siskiwit Bay Kayak Plans

Builder’s Gallery

Whether or not you donate, please, send me a picture of your build–I’ll add it to the builder’s gallery.

Free Kayak Goodies Downloads

Other Builder’s Photos

Some builder’s have been providing photos of their builds. Please, consider doing the same.

Recommended Books to Buy Before Building


  • Note on sheerline: This kayak is designed so the deck and hull seamlessly join in one smooth curve. The offset file lists the height of the sheerline on each station. Build the deck above this point and the hull below.
  • It is your responsibility to determine the seaworthiness of this craft. These drawings come with no guarantees of safety or otherwise. You build at your own risk and when you paddle, you paddle at your own risk.

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  • Can not find the distance between each section

    am i missing something ??

    • Yes and no. It’s not noted, but it uses the standard 1′ between sections. If you follow the instructions in Nick’s book (link in the article), you end up with a kayak that works.

  • […] Siskiwit Bay Kayak: A 17-foot British-style touring kayak with great looks. I prototyped this kayak, fell in love with it, but ended up selling my prototype to a friend who loved it even more. A number of builders who I only know through the Internet have labored away building their versions of it. […]

  • Hello,
    I am probably going to build this yak but havent seen anyone on here using it in a river. Will this design work well for that? Its not whitewater just the missouri and the yellowstone here in montana. Thanks for your help and nice site.

    • Hey Dan, it will work fine for rivers without whitewater. Are you planning on using it for day tripping or multi-day trips or both? If you want, I have the drawings of the sporty LVish version which will turn quicker and be more responsive. It might be better for river use. The prototype hasn’t been finished yet, so I’m not 100% on how the Sport/LV version will perform, but it should be a nice kayak. Someone in Britain is building the LV version in carbonfiber, so he’s confident enough in the design. It has slightly less volume, so it’d carry a little less for multi-day trips. If you’re interested, email me and I’ll hook you up with the drawings.

  • I am getting a little cabin fever, even though I am living in an apartment in China, but within sight of the Pearl River Delta, and the winter weather is in the 50’s. Very different from my life in MT… but
    I am thinking I will try to use your general lines and try to build a skin on frame boat. It will take a bunch of design changes, I can’t get everything I want as far as parts and such, and I have only built one S-O-F or any other kind of boat, and that was a King Canvasback with my dad and brothers in the late 1960’s. I will probably end up using a canvas skin because I can find canvas and an usable (enamel house paint) coating here.
    It may end with me giving up in frustration, but at least it will be doing something I can see that I have done, or not done.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Wish me luck.


  • Hi Rob,

    The multi-chined version of these kayak plans may work as a starting point for you.

    If you’re going to build a skin-on-frame Yost-style, outputting the frames at intervals would be easy enough. If you’re interested, just let me know the positions relative to the stern you’d like to have frames and I’ll output them and post it in the multi-chined page.

  • I have to laugh, you are way over my understanding at initial thought, after running it through my translator, I am guessing the frames are what holds the shape of the kayak. I am guessing about 8 or 9 frames. Chines must be the longitudinal stringers. Frankly I do not know the advantage of multi- chines over a single chine other than strength. I think I am perhaps a bit more like the native builders…. Hmm, that looks good, lets try that. I know I am building by the seat of my pants. It is hard to get books here, they have to get by the censors, and that can take months, so I am literally just taking a leap into thin air, or maybe water. I don’t speak much Chinese, so I have spent about 2 months just trying to find stainless steel staples here, since I am going to play in the ocean, I know the steel ones will not survive long. Most Chinese don’t know or understand the terms. I had to get a Chinese friend to find an engineer to find out the words for stainless. I don’t have a table saw, or access to one, so I will be using what ever Chinese standard stock I can find, or maybe I will buy a hand held electric planer to reduce my stock. I will have to leave the planer, (and the boat) if I leave China, since they use 220 volts here, so I am going to have to buy some tools, and I will get pnuematic, since I can take them back to the states and use them with out problems. I don’t have much hope for buying clear stock, it will be pine, and I hope for small knots, or to cut up the bad pieces for frames, etc. I hope I can find a little 1/4″ marine ply to use as gussets, etc, 3/8″ or 1/2″ if I can’t, ell the metric equivalent. I guess I really don’t know how to answer your question, though I know you are trying to be helpful. Sorry. I am just looking at an approximately 17 foot boat with a beam of about 24-27 inches. I am 55, 6′ tall, and about 210lbs. I am not as athletic as I used to be, but I am not ready to head for the rocking chair, (and they are WAY complicated to build). Who knows where I might end up. :-)

  • @Rob, check out this instructable. If you’re not trying to duplicate the performance of the Siskiwit Bay, it will allow you to build a single-chined Greenland style kayak without using any plans.

  • Thanks for all your help Bryan, I have been up late nights for over a week researching kayaks, and to be honest, repairing my computer a bit too. My wife is getting a little frustrated that I haven’t made it to bed before 2 am in that time, but…

    I spent a few hours yesterday hunting through the local wood shops, and I was only able to find some clear pine moulding, but I think it will work admirably, even though it will take more work. I have enough to make 130′ of 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ stock.

    The moulding is (metric but about) 3/8″ X 1 1/2″. I think it will bend well, I have the option of laminating it before, or after I set the stringers to the frame, and I have thought about one piece inside on the gunwhales, and the second on the outside, sort of a rub-rail assembly that could also serve to help hold the deck cover, and I could do the same on the keelson to give a bit (3/8″) of a keel, and some rub protection. I haven’t decided if I will have to use a scarf, the pieces are 7.25′ and 8.5′, respectively, just starting them from opposite ends gives me a minimal 16″ overlap on the glue joint. I think it would be strong enough.

    I have spent a lot of time on the instructables site, and got some ideas there, and also on the Yost site, which I really like by the way, but I like the looks of the SB better, and since I have not paddled either, that is all I have to judge it on. The material that I have indicates I will have a boat about 15 1/2′ in length (8.5′ + 7.25′ moulding, with a little trimming), and I am thinking of a widest frame of 22 1/2″, since I never plan to roll this thing (given my own choice).

    I am unsure of just where to put the cockpit to make a “balanced” boat. Perhaps you can offer a suggestion? My stations/frames are currently planned to be balanced/mirrored from stem or stern at 0, 18, 42, 66, 120, 144, 168, 186. I hope to set the cockpit, and use a frame for and aft that will finish it off, at your suggestion, if I may be so bold as to ask.

    I am pretty excited about starting this since I haven’t built anything with my hands in about 4 years, (since I came to China), but on Monday I fly off to Guizhou province to Caotai Lake to see if the black cranes have arrived, and then on to Kunming and from there to just above Myanmar to Xishuanbana, to see the wild elephants (mating season I am told), then down the Mekong (in a motor boat) to someplace in Laos for a few days hiking, and then off to Bangkok until the middle of Feb. I admit I will enjoy the vacation, but I won’t get to start for 3 weeks… I guess I am excited about all the aspects of what is coming. Thanks again for your help.

  • @Rob- Sounds like an exciting vacation. Are you still planning on a single chine or are you going the multi-chine approach?

  • Hi Bryan, At this stage I could go either way, but I am thinking the single chine approach at this moment, but that could change tomorrow. I am influenced by the ease and the speed of the build, and as I said, I am not interested in rolling the kayak, and I think the multi chine version would be a smoother roller. I think both designs have more stability as they are loaded, and that is a good thing, as Martha used to say.

    I have about 5 days after my trip, and before I have to go back to work… lots of details to figure out. These aren’t exactly a kit boat, and I think that is good.

    I have a few other travel pics at if you are curious. I haven’t added any new pics lately, but I plan for some boat building pics to end up there some day before too long.

  • Rob, I’m working up a 15′ multi-chined 23-24″ wide design based on the Siskiwit Bay. If interested drop me a direct email and I’ll send you some more info.

  • […] of shoreline grabbed my attention. Using what I learned from my other kayak builds, I designed a new kayak and used it to explore the lake. During that time, I started guiding kayaking for a resort, and […]

  • Hi! I love this site, reading how everyone loves working on boats. Pretty much a self taught woodworker. Built us a 16′ canoe. Plywood cut into 3/4″ strips. Then the wife said she wanted to kayak, got some plans out of an old handymans encyclopedia, they were tiny and fuzzy, and for a canvas, but I made them work and built us 2 9’2″ kayaks. Plan on more as we have lots of nephews that we taught to kayak. The kayaks are Poplar about 30 lbs, and very flat bottomed, we use them in lakes. Glad I found this site:)

    • I’m glad you like the site and glad you found it too. I hope that you continue to follow along when new articles are posted. Please, pass along the website to others. Good luck with future boats.

  • I’ve recently relocated to wisconsin and a kayak is big on my list of must have toy’s,but I don’t want just any ole plastic thing.After finding your website I’ve gotten really excited about building this kayak but I’m having a hard time with the lofting process and was wondering if you offered full scale plan’s for purchase.I’ve tried downloading them on a flash drive and taking it to the local print shop but they are unable to help me,they suggested “copy to fit” but that just distorted everything.If not,do you have any”lofting for dummie’s”suggestion’s would be greatly appreciated,thank’s

  • @Thomas — Not yet. Adding full scale plans for purchase is in the future plans, but for now I don’t have the capability nor the money to buy the printer. Your best bet is to download the free kayak plans on 11- by 17-inch paper. Most print shops or copy shops can print that size without issue. Call ahead to make sure they can.

    To get the right size:
    1. Have them print at Full Size. Some of the image might not print, but on the 11 by 17 drawings there’s enough overlap that it doesn’t matter if you lose the edges.
    2. Arrange the four pages until the indexing marks (crossed circles) align. Tape together.

    To loft from the offsets:
    1. Make a X-Y grid.
    2. Plot each point for a station on the X-Y grid.
    3. Connect the dots using a flexible batten.

    If that doesn’t work, drop me an email and I’ll help you figure it out.

  • hello, i was wondering, do you use a straight 2×4 to put the sections on, or curve it. Also, how to do u attach the wood slats together. and what do you use for the very front of the kayak, or the tip of it and the rear end of it

  • Hi, JJ,

    I follow the advice in Nick Schade’s book. You use a straight 2×4 or a plywood box beam. The wood goes together with glue and eventually fiberglass. I use various woods for the stems just to cover the open grain.

  • […] The Siskiwit Bay SOF is a multi-chined version of the original Siskiwit Bay cedar strip boat. It’s a great modern British-style sea kayak that a builder can scale down […]

  • I am planning on using this design for a year 10 project, what timber is used for this design and what would be easier, the multi-chined design or this one?

  • […] prin a construi o macheta de caiac dupla planuri gratuite de pe internet. Modelul este siskiwit: Free Kayak Plans – Siskiwit Bay – si il voi face la o scara aprox 1:10. Am printat toate planurile (menite sa fie A1) pe hartie A4 si […]

  • Where does the cockpit go (exactly/approximately)?

    • Cockpit Placement Rule of Thumb = The aft of the cockpit opening should be positioned 3.5″ from the back of the paddler when the paddler’s center of mass and the kayaks center of buoyancy are aligned. Or for most paddler’s 14″ to 16″ behind the Cb.

      For me at 5’10” and 200 lbs, it equals about 15.5 inches.

      The center of buoyancy for the Siskiwit Bay is 7 ft. 10 13/16 inches from the stern.

      • Thank you. Is this in mr. Schade’s first book (The Strip-Built Kayak)? I only bought the second (Building Strip-Planked Boats)

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