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K2 Olympic Kayak

Vessel Number: HV000467
Date: 1960
Builder: KS Struer
Previous Owner: TJ Martin ,
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 6.5 m x 0.56 m (21.33 ft x 1.85 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
The Olympic K2 class kayak was built by KS Struer in Denmark in 1959 using an Australian timber, Queensland cedar. The two-person kayak was used by the Australian K2 pair in the 1960 Rome Olympics, and paid for by the paddlers, Dennis Green and Barry Stuart from the Maroubra Surf Club. Struer built kayaks were the premier craft of the period and this craft is an excellent example of their hot-moulding technique that used a single panel of timber for the hull construction, in this case a selected piece of Queensland cedar. The use of this timber would now be difficult due to stricter worldwide quarantine regulations.
DescriptionThe wooden kayak is 6.50 m long. The hull bottom was built using Struer’s hot-moulded technique where a single sheet of steamed material was formed around moulds. A vacuum was used to apply pressure to the wood as it was pressed around the mould. Struer were possibly the only company at this time able to do this and their kayaks were used by almost everyone competing internationally at the highest level.

It was built in Australian red cedar, a flexible and ideal timber for this method of construction, which was also relatively light and strong. It also included a veneer mounted at the stem with a kangaroo profile over a map of Australia with ROME 1960 written below. Kayaks are decked in or enclosed hulls with cockpit openings, and paddled by double bladed paddles. The deck is vee shaped for stiffness. The rudder on this kayak is mounted on the transom, with wires leading forward from a yoke to a foot steering system in the forward cockpit.

Struer were the best kayak builders in the world in the 1950s and 1960s, and Australia had first entered a canoeing team at Olympic level in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. The two entrants, Maroubra Surf Club members Dennis Green and Wally Brown surprised everyone by winning a bronze medal. They used an earlier Queensland cedar planked Struer built kayak for that event and Green and Brown had paid for half the cost of the boat, the surf club had paid the other half.

Green joined with new crew member Barry Stuart for the 1960 Olympic Games to contest the 10,000 metre event, where they finished sixth. In the few years since 1956 Struer had made a much improved, narrower hull shape, so Green and Stuart knew they needed to replace the 1956 hull to remain competitive. They also each had a Struer built single kayak which they raced in at Rome as well. These three boats were paid for by Green and Stuart, and it was a significant cost for them at the time.

This craft is in original condition including rudder and steering yoke, and was gifted to the Sydney Heritage Fleet by TJ Martin.
Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
Current status:on public display
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:paddle
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder

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