Submitted: 10-27-2010 by beaullieu
I recently built a Cirrus SLT Stitch & Glue kayak from a kit for my 9 yr old son. This was my first stitch & glue boat project having build 2 strip boats previously. The panels included in the kit were pre-drilled for stitches, were very precisely cut and fit together perfectly. The forms supplied also fit great and the process of assembling and epoxying the panels was straight forward. The build took an estimated 150 hours from start to finish including 5 coats of varnish and full outfitting.
I chose this boat as I wanted a "real" kayak for my 9 year old that would perform like my sea kayaks and allow my son to develop his skills. The boat is designed for a paddler from 80-140 lbs. My son is 70lbs, a little on the lite side but will quickly grow into it. He's paddled it a few times now on slow moving rivers and several lakes and we went on a weekend camping trip to an island on Lake Hartwell (North GA) recently. The size is a good fit for my young paddler and the stability is excellent. He is able to keep up with adults when we are paddling at a moderate pace. The boat turns fine and seaworthiness is excellent for my son. We've encountered large boat wakes and windy conditions a couple of times and my son has been able to manage the boat without incident.
On our recent camping trip, I loaded about 50lbs of gear in the Cirrus SLT and the balance in my Redfish Spring Run. The Cirrus SLT seemed to handle even better with the additional weight and my son had no issues managing the boat with the gear in the hatches.
I'm extremely pleased with this boat as the kit was well made and assembly was straight forward. The size of the boat suits my 9yr old well at 70lbs and should serve him well for a number of years before he outgrows it. The Okume plywood is also very attractive and we get lots of compliments everywhere we go. I think this is a great boat for a young kayaker who wants a boat that will actually perform like a sea kayak....