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Reviews for Chesapeake LT 18 Kayak by Chesapeake Light Craft


Rated: 8/10 Based On: 1 Reviews

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10-16-2001
Submitted by: Val
Rating: 8 of 10

     The Chesapeake LT 18 has the same hull as the standard Ches 18. The shear line (deck/hull joint) is about an inch lower, and the aft deck is flatter. This makes the boat less affected by wind, more comfortable if you lay back when doing sweep rolls, and easier to scramble up on the aft deck during re-entry. There's a bit less cargo capacity than on the full-size Ches 18, but still plenty of space for multi-day trips.

The kit went together fairly easily. Plywood panels were precision cut, and the pre-cut scarfs went together very nicely. The instructions with mine were a bit vague in spots, but CLC customer support is fantastic. A call or an email brings immediate response. They also maintain a forum on their web site were folk can ask questions of other builders & trade ideas. I understand the newer kits have revised & clarified instructions.

I would suggest most people use the optional extra fiberglass reinforcing on the deck (I think this is now included standard with the newer kits). The standard 'glass lay up makes for a light boat, but it might not take as much abuse. An extra layer or two of 'glass makes a big difference, especially to stiffen the flat aft deck.

Consider making a different cover and enlarging the front hatch. The stock design is pretty small (about 7"x9", iirc). Hatches seal really well if you get the supplied foam stripping in the right place.

The cockpit is very comfortable. I'm a big guy (6'4", 260+ lb. size 12 feet) and have more than enough room in the LT cockpit. The standard Chesapeake 18 cockpit is cavernous - too big for my tastes (and that's surprising - very few boats are too big for me!)

I did choose the optional larger keyhole coaming with my kit (19"x34"). Much easier for me to get in and out of, although the standard was comfortable as well. I really prefer the keyhole cockpit, with a comfortable place to hook my knees/thighs for boat control.

In the water, the LT18 is great. Primary stability is moderate, but there are GOBS of secondary stability. Edge it until water is coming over the side of the deck, and it's still stable. If you're moving through the water, the hull shape provides even stronger stability. This is a nice boat for big or confused water.

I do not have a rudder or skeg on mine, and have not yet found that I miss them. Yet either option is available from CLC. Like most any long boat, there is some tendency for it to try and broach in some sea conditions. Yet this is easily countered with paddle strokes and edging. There is very little tendency to weathercock if you have the boat trimmed correctly. (Play around with moving the seat forward or aft an inch or two before you glue it in place permanently. You may be surprised at the difference it makes!)

It's VERY fast, and easy to keep at a cruising speed over 4 kts.

Being a long boat with only moderate rocker, it is not as nimble in turning as some other boats I've paddled. Still, when edged over it'll turn surprisingly easily. If you're comfortable edging, the hard chine hull will reward you with good responsiveness.

The LT18 is also a reasonably comfortable boat to roll. It's a big touring boat not a skinny Greenland style, so you need to keep that in mind. I've found a nice leisurely sweep, ending up leaning back toward that low aft deck, with a gentle nudge from the hips is all that's needed. Your mileage, of course, may vary [grin].

This is probably too much boat for a small person to be comfortable in. But if you're size L to XXL and want a fast strong-tracking boat for day trips, weekend camping, and even multi-day expeditions (with an close eye on overall weight) this is a great cruiser.

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