Submitted: 09-21-2004 by hspira
Have been paddling the 17LT now for three years. When I built the boat it was my first boat, but over the years I have now had a chance to build and paddle a number of other boats so I thought I could finally put a review in with some context...
>From a build perspective, the craft is a very straight-forward stitch and glue design. I have actually built three 17LTs over the year. The manual is adequate but first time builders would do well to use the CLC forum and phone support to ask questions to refine the build process and subsequent quality of the construction. One of the advantages of a well built wooden boat is how light the end result can be. However, attention is needed in order to bring the boat in at the design weight or better.
>From a paddling perspective, the boat is stable yet lively with an excellent turn of speed. I have paddled her against a CLC WR180 and coho and she will stay even for the same amount of effort in anything but the most aggressive of paddling. I routinely paddle her on a 5 mile "exercise" circuit in protected waters averaging 5.5 mph according to the GPS. I have not installed a rudder. She seem to track well enough in wind and small wave action without significant correcting strokes. I have not taken her out in any serious wave action. my height is 5'10" and i weigh about 190 lbs in paddling gear. the boat is roomy and comfortable for the feet yet low by the hips. she has been able to accomodate a wide range of guest heights and weights (from 6'2"/215 to 130 and 5'4". the deck takes a nice swoop down from its highpoint on the centerline to the sheer making it easy to paddle with an agressive style without banging your knuckles or constantly hitting the deck with the paddle.
>From an optics perspective, the boat is very pleasing. I have mine finished with bright decks and red enamel hull with the paint wrapping 1 inch over onto the decks. The LT cuts a lean and low profile to the water but she has a nice spring to her shear in the fore section that gives her a graceful yet sleek look for a modern design. The spring in the bow section also makes for a relatively dry ride when running against a chop.
This is the boat I also use as my guest boat so I am impressed at how she is handled by both beginners as well as experienced paddlers who have had the opportunity to paddle her. Her combination of looks and handling led me to building two additional boats for colleagues...who decided after a couple paddles that they just had to have one. Overall, a very well rounded, likeable design that I enjoy coming back to between explorations in other boats.