Flats Rat


Flats Rat

design by "Shorty" Routh

Mouse Kayak
This is about the simplest and smallest boat that can carry an adult. The original mouse was designed by Gavin Atkin. He has made several variations of the original mouse including a sailing version, a flat sided one for ultra simple construction, and a very stable one for fishing. This is a kayak I designed by copying his original mouse, using plain flat panels for nail and glue construction instead of stitch and tape as the original one requires.

To see the plans for this boat [click here]

Length: 8'
Beam: 34.5" (across top of gunwales)
Max Depth: 14"
Freeboard with 300 lbs load: 8"
Paddling Speed: 3.2 mph

Paddling Performance
At the "Lazy Stealth" speed where I am paddling with very little effort, I go about 2.5 mph. At the "Going Somewhere" speed where I am paddling for a long distance at a sustained effort level, I averaged 3.2 mph. The fastest I could get the kayak to go, down hill with a tail wind, huffing and puffing, was 4.0 mph.

Paddling into choppy water is a bit of a challenge, because of the blunt bow. On a trip at Lake Conroe, I started off wanting to paddle directly up with a 10 mph wind gusting 25. The wind was blowing from the long end of the lake so that the chop had some distance to develop. If I went straight into the wind (and chop), it would pound the bow splashing over and land inside. When I steered about 30 degrees off the wind, the pounding / splashing significantly dissipated. I had my OJ jug bailer with me, really handy for getting rid of the water; just stop every now and again to flip the water out. The average speed paddling into that wind over an hour was 2.5 mph.

Paddling at right angles to the wind (parallel with the chop) or down wind was much easier, almost no splashing and I gained a little surfing effect down the front of the chop. I averaged a speed of 3.6 mph on the way back.

Self Rescue
While in some shallow water, I set the kayak on it's side to see how high it would float with just the air boxes. It only sank in the water a few inches, and then when I let it down this is how much water was left inside. I waded out into some deeper water and tried to board over the stern. If I grabbed the gunwales and then pulled myself up over the stern, the aft air box was adequate, and I could self rescue.

I tried to reboard by climbing over the side. That worked as well, but there was a significant amount of water in the cockpit afterwards, with only a few inches of freeboard.

Here is the skeg. I think it is just about the right size. It does a good job of tracking, yet it is still easy to turn.