The Darkness Duet C2 is a two person manifestation of the The Darkness C1. It is positioned as a British alternative to the Wenonah ICF C2, which has pretty much been the only show in town up until now.
It is developed, designed and manufactured in Great Britain from Carbon fibre and Kevlar, making it very strong, light and incredibly good looking. The slim hull design delivers exceptional speed and a zero rocker along the keel line enables outstanding directional stability in a straight line.
The Darkness Duet offers kayakers a transition boat to the dark side which does not compromise on speed, but without the complications of a rudder or enclosed cockpits.
For canoeists who have paddled touring or wilderness vessels, here is an opportunity to stay with a single blade but move to a faster boat.
The boat was designed with the Devizes to Westminsiter International canoe race in mind. It was race tested in 2016 and finished in 21 hours 20 minutes in twelve place out of 140 boats.
The Darkness has been designed as a racing boat and manufactured from a paddlers point of view. It has many features which contribute to the whole canoeing experience.
The Darkness Duet costs £2,200 to buy fully fitted out with seats, footrests, bouyancy bags and thwarts. However, some paddlers like to customise their craft to specific and personal requirements. As such, the boat is available at a cost of £1,800 for the boat, name stickers (mandatory) and central thwart. There are no “club rates”, discounts for bulk, charity concessions or “mate’s rates”, just one price for a clear finish, top spec carbon fibre racing boat.
The Darkness Duet is fully compliant with specifications for international racing laid down by the ICF International Canoe Federation:
INTERNATIONAL CANOE FEDERATION - CANOE MARATHON - COMPETITION RULES - 2013
Taking effect from 1 January, 2013
Maximum length = 650 cms. Minimum weight - 14 kgs
Section 7 - Construction b) Canoes
All kind of building materials are permitted. Sections and longitudinal lines of the hull shall not be concave (only horizontally and vertically). The canoe must be built symmetrically upon the axis of its length.
Steering rudders or any guiding apparatus directing the course of the canoe are not allowed. A keel, if any, must be straight, shall extend over the whole length of the canoe and shall not project more than 30 mm, below the hull.
The C1 and C2 may be entirely open. The minimum length of the opening shall be 280cm and the edge of the side of the craft (gunwale) can extend maximum 5cm into the craft along the whole defined opening. The boat can have maximum three strengthening bars with a width of maximum 7 cm each. Removable spray decks may be used.
The Darkness Duet C2 has been designed and manufactured from first principles. We didn't just make modifications to an existing concept and we didn't just scale-up The Darkness C1, rather we started from scratch and tested different ideas using a K2 racing boat converted to a C2. Once satisfied, the concepts were submitted to a Naval Architect who designed a boat in CAD. This also allowed the designed to be tested against marine industry standard performance algorithms.
The CAD data was used by a massive CNC machine to cut a full size model from polysterene. This was encased in fibreglass and refined to form the plug. From the plug, a mold was constructed.
As with the C1, the join runs through the keel line rather than along the sides. The join has been strengthened and helps improve the longitudinal rigidity of the canoe.
Particular attention has been paid to the seating. A lot of traditional canoes use a simple bench seat often made from wicker. Other paddler’s prefer to kneel in the boat. Canoes from the USA use a “tractor” seat and marathon kayakers opt for what can only be described as an egg cup!
All these options are fine if you have a tractor or egg shaped bottom. These and are easily incorporated within the boat if required.
The seat solution for the darkness is based on whatever platform can be fitted between the two flanges which run along the entire length of the cockpit. The flanges also provide additional strength and rigidity. A carbon fibre seat can be secured using aluminium cross members. It can be moved forward and backwards, up and down to allow for paddlers of different height and weight. It enables the boat to be trimmed in the water for optimum performance. The seat platform secured between the runners also strengthens the boat across its width.
Notice also, the grip tape positioned where each paddler gets in and out. This helps avoid slipping in wet conditions.
The two parallel flanges also allow any sort of footrest configuration to be secured anywhere in the boat. This enables any combination of paddler size,shape and weight as the boat can be trimmed to accomodate them.
Footrests can be a simple bar, a platform, or have additional pull bars. Pull bars are adjustable for different size feet and foot wear.
The footrest also contribute to additional cross bracing and rigidity.
The Darkness Duet has a large open cockpit which is not strengthened and braced by a full length deck. As such canoes have thwarts to add the rigidity normally provided by a deck.
The Darkness Duet has three carbon fibre tubular thwarts.
The rear one is used to help the rear paddler to embark and disembark. It is positioned to enable the paddler to pull themselves forward from sitting position to standing. It is also used for the paddler to lower themselves from standing to sitting. It can be covered with padded handlebar tape for better grip and comfort.
The centre thwart simply enhances rigidity.
The front thwart is used to aid the front paddler to embark and disembark. It is positioned to enable the paddler to pull themselves forward from sitting position to standing. It is also used for the paddler to lower themselves from standing to sitting. It can be covered with padded handlebar tape for better grip and comfort.
All thwarts can be positioned any where.
Portage handles are mounted on the front and rear decks. These massively improve portaging, allowing the crew to put the boat upside down on the shoulders for running longer stretches, or just used for carrying at a low port.
Buoyancy is important in the (unlikely!) event of a capsize. It helps keeps the boat afloat whilst upside down. Buoyancy is provided by a two 30 litre Palm Infinity heavy duty floatation airbag in the bow and stern.
Spray decks are normally associated with kayaks. However, The Darkness Duet has a lip around the gunwales which enables spray decks to be employed.
These examples show a small covering in the centre to help prevent the drip from the paddle as it crosses the cockpit as it is switched from one side to the other. It also helps prevent spray and rain entering the boat.
A full cover spray deck is available from Marsport. A prototype was made to test the concept.
The Darkness Duet is easily transported on a conventional vehicle roof rack. It doesn't need the special "V" rack as it can be supported by the gunwhale, upside down on padded rails.
It can be secured by straps, and a bungy on the rear thwart to prevent it slipping forward or back. A standard bicycle cable and lock can secure it if necessary.
On smaller cars such as this Renault Clio, it is advisable to secure the bow to the front towing eye is similar.