Submitted: 09-21-2006 by chaenel
After paddling a year as a novice with my 17' plastic sea kayak with its tri-hedral hull, I decided to acquire a second kayak by building a Chesapeake 17 (C17) as a winter project (I live in interior Alaska). The kit was easier than I thought it would be to put together; I don't even consider myself "handy", but the boat turned out beautiful. I'd hoped the C17 would perform at least as well as my other "production" boat, but didn't really expect it to. Was I ever surprised. Other than a relitive deficit in secondary stability due to its flatter hull section and a slightly smaller volume available for packing, the C17 outperformed my other boat in almost every other aspect. Over the past five years I have paddled everywhere from lakes and class I to II- rivers to coastal areas (i.e., Prince William Sound) with both boats. As long as the seas stay lower than 5 feet, I choose to paddle my C17 every time. It is more comfortable, faster, and, with proper strokes and edging, can turn and respond much quicker. After five years, I finally replaced my plastic sea kayak with a "river touring kayak" so that I can explore some of the "wilder" rivers in the interior. Needless to say, I could never part with my Chesapeake 17. Being a sailor as well, I have puchased the CLC sail rig and look forward to building it this winter and sailing next spring in the coastal waters of Alaska. I rate it a 9 only because I believe there could possibly be a better boat out there for me -- but I haven't found it yet.