Ant’s F1, Bristol, United Kingdom

Hello, my name’s Ant and I’m a wooden boatbuilder based in Bristol (UK) who also loves kayaking. This blog follows a pair of F1’s that I built in 2017 – one was for me, the other was for a client in South Wales.


Brian’s plans were clear and made prepping the jigs really straightforward.

I used Western Red Cedar for most of the components and green English Oak for the rib stock. I get my oak freshly-cut from a mill near me in Somerset. It steamed so beautifully, I made an additional coaming for another F1 🙂

My client wanted to use his kayak with a sea-sock, so I increased the coaming lip a little and made it in 2 layers, to give him a wide enough lip to securely get the sea-sock and spray-deck on.

Building the deck

Cutting the deck beam tenons and fitting them to the mortices.

Bending the ribs, attaching the keel, stringers and stems and finishing the frames

I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to take photos of the actual bending of the ribs, but it was a quick process once you got into the rhythm. I thinned the first 2 ribs a little to help with the tight radius curve in the ‘Vee’. It also helped to form these around a bar initially and use a leather strap to avoid grain break-out on the outside of the bend.

Skinning the frame

I sewed my skins on using the ‘welting-cord’ method – mainly because I prefer the look of the seam that this method gives.

Coating and Rigging the boat

I coated the boats with Corey’s Spirit-line Urethane. Applying it with a roller is best (I’ve also tried squeegeeing it on a larger guideboat that I previously built. The roller is much easier!)

I rigged the boat with latigo straps that I buy from a very old tannery here in Bristol (Thomas Ware & Sons, Est. 1840). I’ve included a few photos of their tannery here, which is a fantastic place to visit if you’re ever in Bristol (and you can handle the smell!)

So… what did we think?

The F1 really is a fantastic boat and has fulfilled our expectations. I love paddling mine. Here’s what my client said (read the full review here)

“I purchased a Cape Falcon F1 kayak from Ant Mace. The kayak is of a traditional skin on frame construction. It was a bit of a leap of faith for me. Although interested in this ancient technique of construction, I had never paddled on or seen one in real life!

The kayak itself is amazing… Since owning the boat I have put it through its paces. Spent lots of time surfing and getting trashed by some big waves in the process. The F1 performs amazingly. It’s quick, surfs like a dream, handles more challenging conditions with ease. It doesn’t weather cock in windy conditions and is really easy to maneuver.

Weighing half the weight of a plastic boat makes it easy to car top and carry to the water. If you’ve never tried one of these kayaks I recommend that you give it a go”

Thanks for reading and for more information about me visit or find me on Facebook

Ant Mace

View posts by Ant Mace
I'm a wooden boatbuilder, who also loves kayaking! I build kayaks and other craft from my workshop at Underfall Yard, Bristol (UK)

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