Scott Donaldson's record breaking solo kayak limped across the Tasman "held together by duct tape".

Donaldson, 48, landed at Ngāmotu Beach in Taranaki on Monday night after leaving Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales north coast two months ago on May 2.

The carbon-layered vessel DD2 was propelled forwards with a paddle, rather than rowed backwards with oars. Donaldson paddled for up to 16 hours a day, and got to know the boat intimately.

Donaldson with DD2 the morning after landing at New Plymouth. Photo / Alexander Robertson
Donaldson with DD2 the morning after landing at New Plymouth. Photo / Alexander Robertson

"She got me over here which is the main thing but it wasn't without a fair amount of toil and carnage.

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"The top of the boat takes a pounding."

Donaldson said one of the biggest areas of damage was related to solar panels providing power to the DD2.

"The solar panels, which were state of the art and about as good as you can get, but the front of the boat takes an absolute pounding. With 6m waves, there's a few tonnes of water coming down on these things.

One solar panel was torn from its mounting, wrenching at the wires connecting into the boat and causing an alarming leak.

"I had to, on a reasonably rough day, jump out, add some more of the Sikaflex [marine sealant] and then I put some duct tape on it to try and dry the edges, give it a chance to dry and stick together.

"That actually worked which was surprising and very, very pleasing."

Setting out from Coffs Harbour, north of Sydney, on May 2. Photo / Rob Wright
Setting out from Coffs Harbour, north of Sydney, on May 2. Photo / Rob Wright

The toilet facilities were rudimentary, a bottle to pee into and a blue plate .

"It's an artform," Donaldson said. "It's very tricky.

"You've got to get it right. When you're trapped inside, in a 6m swell in a storm, that gets even trickier."

The DD2 has a ventilation system to assist breathing when inside the vessel and safety features included a leg rope and a seat belt "so even if you go upside down, you're all good".

Donaldson said he slept "uncomfortably" in the sleeping section.

"When you're in there, it's because the weather is rough.

"Whenever you lay on your back for example, you're constantly using your muscles to stop from rolling. You're wearing holes in your elbows and all sorts of stuff.

"It sounds pretty hard, it's actually, probably, harder."

Donaldson's hands were remarkably clear of blisters or callouses after 3000km of paddling. Lagging, typically used to insulate plumbing, was applied to the oars to protect his hands, once again held with duct tape.

In the mornings, it would take him about 45 minutes to dress all his wounds and "tape" himself together.

The kayak was constructed by Gordon Robinson and Colin Palmer, with Donaldson pitching in a little on the resin.

Donaldson tackled the Tasman to raise funds and awareness about asthma, a condition he and his young son Zac live with. Donations can be made here.

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