Converting a standard tandem to a sectional

Submitted byGreenGuy77 onSat, 12/07/2019 - 15:29

Hello, and thank you for having me here. This is my first post so if I stray from some house rules feel free to call me out. I have a valley aleut sea 2 kayak. It cuts through the water great and my wife and I love paddling it. Key word paddling.... it’s 21’ long and we live in an apartment. Does anyone have any insight into converting this kayak into a sectional? Is it possible? Will it effect performance? How long will it take to assemble/disassemble? Can it be assembled/disassembles on location? I’m handy with fiberglass. How much special equipment, knowledge, skill etc... is needed to make a conversion, if it is possible? Anyone have some good links for doing a conversion? ANY help is appreciated, so thank you in advance- Eric 


Sat, 12/07/2019 - 17:45


Welcome to kayakforum!

Your question is completely appropriate - interesting project!

Is the problem the length, or the weight of the kayak?

Dan Caouette (Clear Stream Kayaks) has built a sectional 18' Black Pearl kayak, so he may be able to give you some hints.

You may also get some ideas by searching on sectional or 2-part dinghies - they are fairly common on smaller sailboats.

With fiberglass and epoxy, just about anything is possible.

The basic idea would be to install two bulkheads, separated by only 1/8" or so, and then cut the kayak between the bulkheads. Reassembly usually involves some sort of bolts.

Is your kayak a workout/day paddling boat or do you haul food, water and gear in it? The greater the load, the better the connections will need to be.

An alternative might be to sell your present boat and buy something that's easier to store and handle. If you are both good paddlers, you could get a shorter tandem with the cockpits closer together - which requires synchronized paddling.

Or, find a storage spot away from your apartment.


PS: the user guidelines here suggest using your real name; even something that seems like a real name has more of the 'community feeling'.

But any new participants are more than welcome here!


Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:02

The beast on my last car Thank you for your reply John. 

The issue is transportability (weight would be the main concern). I drive a F150 and getting it on and off the truck is really tough for my wife. It was a lot easier when I had a Prius. 

We are not great paddlers. It is one of the reasons that I chose such a large kayak. The stability is amazing on the water. With the rudder down we don’t need to sync perfectly. We live in Florida now but up north we would take it out crabbing and as long as one person was stabilizing, the other could goof off and be reaching over the sides with no problem.

Currently it is day paddling but we are interested in longer trips and I wouldn’t want to limit us. 

I also enjoy a challenge and sectionalizing this kayak seems like a good one. 

Thank you for the tips! My real name is Eric but I go by Captain Greenie (not an actual captain). My lucky number is 77 hence the user name. If it bothers anyone I can change it 


Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:42


Thanks for that info and the pic.

I paddle most weeks with a group of friends. Most of us are retired and there's a good variety of Hullivators, rollers and home-devised schemes for loading on to vehicles. Trucks and SUVs are high, which adds to the problem, so short ladders and step-stools are often used. Many modern cars have very curved rooflines which make the racks close together, and not a very stable platform. Your Prius is an extreme example, for sure - a bit scary!

Is your idea to make the sections small enough that they can fit into the back of the truck?

BTW, Point 65 makes a lot of 'modular' kayaks that are take-apart, so they might be worth a look. If you could find construction details of the CLC kit kayak that's sectional, you might get some good ideas there, too. 

If you like this boat, my first suggestion would be to make it easier to load as John suggests.  We have a Shearwater Double (78# fully rigged) that we routinely haul on a 4x4 GMC PU, with rollers on the back rack and saddles on the front.  I take the bow up a step stool onto the tailgate, then lift up onto the rollers while my wife takes the stern.  I then go down, take the stern and push the boat forward as I go back up the step stool.  Once the boat goes over center and rests on the forward saddles, I can slide it forward into the transport position.  Taking it down is reverse of the same process, unstrap the boat and slide it aft until it is nearly over center, then take the stern and pull aft as I go down the stool, then I go back up and carry the bow down as my wife carries the stern.  As a note, my wife and are both small people, I am 5'7"/152# and she is 5'2"/115#.  Of course, we prefer to use our kayak trailer is conditions allow it.

For ground handling, we find a cart (C-Tug) invaluable.

If you can't make that work, I'd look at other boats (as John also suggests).  Being a kayak building site, I'd point out that a number of plywood designs will be 20+ pounds lighter and strip designs maybe even 40# lighter.  There are many sizes and styles to choose from.

I'd really suggest that trying to convert your Aluet to a sectional should be your last resort.  No doubt that some could do that, but few could really do it well.  With the time that you would sink into doing it well, your could probably build another kayak.

Below are a couple pictures of our Shearwater Double, which is a GREAT boat.  It is only 18.5' long but the cockpits are spaced 6.5" apart so that the paddlers do not have to be in sync.

SW Double on GMC PU

SW Double on Truck


SW Double

My bride demonstrating hear synced paddling technique.

Suzzane Paddling

I used to load my double solo on to a station wagon Toyota Cressida, and I certainly do the singles that way on to a Ford Econovan. Side loading. If too high use small steps. Lift one end on to the rear extension bar. Now lift the bow end on to the rack. Lift the aft end across on to the rack. The extension bar must have something to stop the kayak sliding off.

Some ideas here might help -

If cutting the double in to two, make / fit locating pins so the sections are in alignment before bolting together. Freya when paddling around the South Island of New Zealand had problems with her sectioned single because there were no alignment pins. Halfway round she got it glassed as a one-piece kayak. It was as far as I know a Nigel Dennis built single.


Mon, 12/09/2019 - 13:29


Thanks for that link to your page on loading kayaks.

I hadn't given much thought to where I put the extension bar (Yakima BoatLoader), so now I realize I should move it to the rear rack!

I don't use the extension much any more. I found that when 'swivelling' the kayak from the extension on to the cradles, the cradles on the (round Yakima) bar tended to rotate out of position.

Shortly after I bought and installed the BoatLoader extension, I found an unused Yakima Showboat rear roller on the local 'Used For Sale' listings. It works really well on my VW Golf.


Mon, 12/09/2019 - 13:31

Jay- Thanks for that youtube link.


Pretty complex build, for sure, but very well engineered.

Also an object lesson for the 'design your own boat' fans!

The side load bar I use was free, simply a piece of metal tube that fits into the square section rack crossbars.

However for a rack with different shaped crossbars this is a way of making a side extender -

There are YouTubes and other websites about the side loading of a kayak. All of those putting the extension bar on the front crossbar are blonde. I use the rear crossbar and am not blonde.......

John VanBuren

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 07:08


You could try contacting Chesapeake Light Craft ( the folks who see the kits for your boat)?  They just might already be working on a sectional design for your kayak. 

Alternately, as others have suggested - I have used rollers to help me load kayaks with some success.

John V B

John VanBuren

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 07:26

Somehow I got the wrong impression and thought you had a Chesapeake Light Craft Double.


John V B