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Submitted: 09-22-2013 by yakfisher
I had always wanted to build a stitch and glue kayak and I found an older NIB Chesapeake Light Craft Chesapeake 18 kit on Craigslist that was too good of a deal to pass up.
The kit was very easy to assemble and the instruction manual was very easy to understand. Chesapeake Light Craft also has videos on Youtube that guide you through the entire construction process of building a Chesapeake. These were a great help as well.
The only problem I had during construction was that I didn't get some of the scarf joints quite right and had to sand into the top layer of the veneer to get it smooth. Since I live in an area with a lot of power boat traffic and planned to paint the hull yellow for visibility this was not an issue. Since my kit was made CLC has gone to puzzle joints in their kits which I understand are much easier for novice boat builders to put together.
The only other issue was that the rear bulkhead didn't seem to fit right and had a 3/4" gap between it and the bottom of the hull that I had to bridge with fiberglass tape. The front bulkhead fit perfectly.
As far as the boat, it is one of the largest kayaks available. CLC specifies a paddler weight of 210-270 LBS for this boat but I seriously doubt most paddlers that size would even fit in the standard cockpit, which is the same size as the cockpit on the Chesapeake 14 for 60-135 lb paddlers.
If you are a big or tall guy and decide to build a Chesapeake 18 I would recommend ordering your kit with the optional larger cockpit opening otherwise you might find it a really tight squeeze.
Overall this kayak is a great boat for larger paddlers, or people who want to carry everything but the kitchen sink on camping trips and want to build their own boat.
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