Submitted: 12-06-2004 by PHIJ
I had been watching the stitch & glue kayaks from the sidelines for quite some time. I liked the looks. I liked the light weight. I liked the construction techniques. But I was still hesitant because the boats looked so fragile to me. Then I went on a weekend excursion on Lake Huron with some friends who had S & G's. They got bounced around on the rocks quite a bit and held up quite well, so I decided to give it a try.
My next decision was which company and model to choose. I ended up going with the Shearwater brand because of a few construction features (predrilled holes, jigsaw style end joints, and integrated thigh braces to name a few). I chose their Merganser because of its reputation for speed, turning, and straight tracking. I chose the 23" wide version over the 22" to gain some stability and more storage volume.
The construction took around 80-90 hours and went fairly smooth. Being my first kit I was a little shy and had Eric Schrade's (the owner & designer)phone number on my speed dial. He was always available and happy to answer questions.
Once the boat was complete, I took it out on the local reservoir for its maiden voyage. It was quite tippy at first, the hard chined hull being quite different than my other kayak. The tracking and edging were awesome. The water was pretty choppy that day, but the boat tracked as well as my old kayak...and the old one has a rudder.
The water was cold, but I did a few rolls anyway and it was easy, the only problem being a slight case of "brain-freeze".
All in all, the entire experience, from construction to paddling was a very good one. See you on the water!