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Submitted: 04-03-2000 by CDH
I built this kayak because I was looking for a winter project, the Chesapeake folks had a very good website, and the boat was simply good-looking. Being a cheapskate, I was also attracted to their 15% winter discount. I had never been in a kayak and really didn't care if I would like it or not....the building process drove me. Now I feel I have rooted up an acorn. Not only do I have a neat-looking boat, but it is a delight to cruise the local lakes and river. Kayaking is as addictive as aviation!
I talked a friend into building the Chessy 17 LT version, and it is virtually identical in handling to mine. With both being hard chine boats and relatively light, they accelerate quickly, but have an initial tippy feel that "goes away" during the first hour of operation. They track very well, and for that reason must be leaned quite far on the chine to turn quickly. I'd give mine a 10 for fun, but since I'm 5'-10" and 160 lbs, the 17 rides high with no additional load and I occasionally hit the coaming with my paddle when trying to go fast. The LT is better in this regard.
The Chesapeake folks furnish a first-rate kit , reasonably priced, and are very responsive to questions. The rank beginner should turn out an excellent kayak from their kits by following directions and taking care in the process. Although I am not partial to construction materials, the wood boat has an indescribable "feel" as compared to a plastic kayak of the same size, but you'll be committed to scratch removal and repaint during winters if you want it to look nice over the years.
I'm 60 and feared the legs-out kayak sitting position as being bad for my aging back, but the boat is more comfortable than I thought it would be. 2-hour paddling periods thus far are no problem.
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