Posted by: aamapes on Apr-15-12 9:06 PM (EST)
Here are a few thoughts for you from someone building a sixth kayak, 4 of them stitch&glue boats (including the current project). For performance, a wood kit boat can be every bit as good as a commercial plastic or glass boat. Every design behaves a bit differently, and we always advise people to try a number of models before making a purchase decision. This is the major hangup with a kit boat - it may be hard to find one to test paddle.
A kit boat will be lighter in weight than plastic and may be lighter than a fiberglass kayak (a kit boat is basically a fiberglass kayak that uses wood for a core, rather than more fiberglass, resin and gelcoat).
If you paddle the coast of Maine, you want a boat in the 14-16 foot range. Part of this is for safety - a long enough boat to have the floatation to do rescues.
I'd suggest checking out the Pinguino 145 models (as you have) and the Shearwater Sport 14.5' from Chesapeake Light Craft. I'm building the Shearwater right now, and should have it ready for the water in a month or so. I also have an Arctic Tern 14 that you could try (my wife's boat).
Building is a whole different ballgame. Your wooden boat will attract admiration and conversation wherever you go. Plan additional time to launch and land your kayak, because people will want to know all about it. The old saying: wooden kayaks are not for anyone in the witness protection program.
Alan (near Albany, NY)
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