Hold my Whisky, It’s Play Time!

(Part 2)

The deck rigging

When it came to the rigging, I wanted red as it’s my color and it stands out against the white, but I opted to limit it to the shock cord only, going with black perimeter lines. There was a practical reason for this choice. During rescues, we teach students to hold onto the perimeter lines when they are moving between kayaks in the water or as additional support as they are climbing back onto their boat. Static cord offers support. Shock cord doesn’t.


Opting for differentiated deck rigging colors was designed for safety.


Experience has taught me that telling paddlers to grab my perimeters lines during a rescue doesn’t work. Not everyone knows which ones are the perimeter ones or they simply hear ‘grab lines’. Differentiated line colors allow me to shorten my directions and make them clearer – grab my black lines.

(I have since learned that Team Paddler input for another brand led to this differentiated color scheme being standard on all of their kayaks for this reason.)


Additional safety features were added too.

I had Joey add additional clear tubing around the perimeter line sections in front of and behind the cockpit to make it easier to grab (and get gloved hands around them in cold weather/water and rough conditions) for someone holding Ghost for me to re-enter if needed, for the swimmer to hold onto while they are in the water, and for others to easily grab if support is needed in their re-entry.


Dragon’s Nostrils.

We added the ‘dragon’s nostrils’ at the bow to make it easier to slip a paddle into the rigging, both for carrying a spare and for securing my primary one during a rescue. (Paddle management is a thing!)

I may adjust this once I use it a few times. I’m thinking I’ll make them a bit smaller and/or add tubing over the flat rigging just past them.

Black perimeter lines and red shock cord plus silcone tubing on my Petrel Play for safety reasons.

‘Dragon’s Nostrils’ added for paddle management.
A few changes are likely in the coming months to this design.

Still to be added

The compass. The Brunton/Silva deck compass has been tough to find. I did manage to get my hands on one as well as the gasket kit and stainless steel machine screws with nuts (I don’t recommend the standard screws since they’re pointy and sharp!), but haven’t been off the water long enough to get it installed.

What’s missing

There is no day/whisky/deck – whatever you want to call it – pod. It’s an option, but one I passed on adding. 

For a long time it was a favorite feature of mine. It was useful. And I used it. Until it wasn’t. And I didn’t.

I found getting to hatch to be a pain in the end. My contact tow line was always in the way. When I needed a chart on my deck (or class/course materials for students), the hatch was inaccessible. Plus it made it hard to read the chart or write notes. Anything I’d keep in it could either be stowed behind me or in my PFD.

The layup

There have always been three variables when it comes to building a kayak – strength, weight, and price. Want it feather light, you give up strength and pay a premium. Want a bomb-proof hull? It will not be light (and likely more expensive). On a budget? You’ll give up a level of durability and add weight. 

But, Joey is always pushing the limits. That meant using a new layup option. One that would create more balance between those variables…..

And with me wanting (needing) as strong a layup as possible while minimizing weight (and being reasonable/practical about the cost), the new layup was perfect:

Ghost was built using a Basalt/Innegra layup. 

With respect to strength, this layup is about as tough as you can get without going rotomold. How tough?

Take a look at this video. Tuff Stuff is a Basalt/Innegra hybrid cloth used in place of Royalex (discontinued in 2013) for canoes.

I don’t plan on (or suggest) abusing the Petrel Play this way, but it’s nice to know the hull can take some significant impacts as things do unintentionally happen.

I do, however, intend to put Ghost through its paces to test it to my fullest abilities, or lack of. (Look for pictures and videos on my Instagram profile in the near future.)

For those wanting to learn a bit more about the materials:

I didn’t compromise on weight or price!

As for weight – Ghost comes in at roughly 35 lbs. That’s 5 lbs lighter than the fiberglass layup and only 5 more than the carbon fiber option.

To be clear here….the weight is due to a combination of factors. The cloth is one, but it’s Joey’s resin infusion process that makes all the difference. 

Nick Shade has a great article on the subject of layups (and the variables mentioned above) and it’s worth a read: Translating A Wood Kayak Into Fiberglass 

And price? This layup is only nominally more than the fiberglass option and significantly cheaper than full carbon fiber. 

The end result is that Ghost features an strong, impact resistant layup and is incredibly light for a more than reasonable – affordable – price!

More than a solid layup

Ghost has one other asset that contributes to its strength and durability. There is no gel coat on Ghost. The outer layer is the Element Extreme coating. Unlike gel coat, which is hard and becomes brittle over time, making it easy to scratch, chip, and crack, Element Extreme remains pliable. That makes it scratch resistant and more durable – but I can attest that hitting rocks will leave battle scars. (Even rotomold kayaks get them!)

This combination will allow me to push Ghost to the limits and be completely confident in its hull integrity.

The specs on Ghost

(For those interested in that sort of thing!)

  • Length: 14′
  • Beam: 23″
  • Hull: Swede form
  • Weight: 35 lbs
  • Max Payload: 260 lbs
  • Cockpit Size: 31″ x 16″
  • Depth at knee: 10 1/4 Inches
  • Depth at rear of cockpit:​ 6 3/4 Inches

Want to test paddle Ghost?

Get in touch with me. Not only is Ghost available for a test paddle, I have Joey’s Petrel Play residing in my fleet as well.

See you on the water!

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