looking to try a ch17 in Cali. Also, building Ches vs Hybrid NH?


I feel bad for asking this after being on the forum for so long, but...

I'm trying to decide which boat to get.

I've faced this dilemma before, (in the past year I've ALMOST saved enough to buy a kit a few times :\) but now I have (some) funds in hand, and the dilemma looms large.

Backstory: I went to the LA show, tried the Chesapeake, Shearwater, and S&G Night Heron. The Chesapeake seemed like a nice boat, but I fell in love with the handling of the Night Heron. It just felt like it was a part of me; Like roller blading, or riding a motorcycle.

I'm looking to paddle in the pacific, out around the islands, for some light kayak camping as well as day paddling. I'd love to hook a sail up to it, and I'd love to be able to carry some gear. Further, I'm a new builder with VERY little woodworking experience. To me, these all seem to point to the Chesapeake as a better choice.

But when I paddled them both, I really liked the Night Heron. but to make things worse, I don't like the looks of the night herons deck. I dislike it so severely that despite promising myself I would NOT get a strip built kit due to time, difficulty, and frankly just the fact that it scares the piss out of me, if I do get a night heron, I think I'll need to get the hybrid kit, thus meaning my "time to water" will be exponentially longer than doing a "simple" Chesapeake kit.

Now, here's the crux of the bisquit. When I tried these boats I was a relatively novice paddler. I'm still no expert, but I'm better. I know that a number of the things I didn't like about the Chese were caused by my own poor technique. I liked the narrower Night Heron in large part because I wouldn't bash my knuckles paddling. Now that I know proper blade angle, I don't think this is an issue. I liked the way the Night Heron hugged me and moved when I moved. I know some of this is hull design, but I'm sure that a lot of it was just that the way the cockpit was padded out on those particular boats.

Also, if I'm to be honest, a big part of the timing of this question is financial. I just hit $800 in the kayak fund, but at the same time found out that I've got $800 of dental work coming up and $400 of car work; so I don't see myself "finishing" this fund to $1300 any time soon. Still, if I did decide to do the Chese, I could order it today. (pulling a little from checking, but that's ok) Further, money aside, I'm not honestly sure how confident I am in my own ability to complete a hybrid boat for my first build.

What I was thinking of doing, now that I know a bit more about myself as a paddler, is to see if anyone in the Southern California area has a Chese 16 or 17 they'd be willing to let me try out for a very short paddle, to see if with proper technique, it really is a boat I will fall in love with, or if I should just keep saving and pick up the Hybrid Night Heron, and just expect that my build is going to be a much slower process, and the boat isn't going to see the water any time soon.

Any advice from more experienced paddlers or builders?

Anyone in Southern California have a Chese they'd be willing to let someone try out for a very brief paddle?


-- James

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RE: looking to try a ch17 in Cali. Also, building Ches vs Hybrid NH?


I am surprised that you are not also considering the Shearwater which I believe falls between the Chese and the Night Heron in terms of performance as well as cost.  I have a Shearwater 17 Hybrid that I completed the end of March and would be willing to let you try it if you are close to Palm Desert (Lake Cahuilla is just 20 minutes from my house)  I know that there are some Cheses around, but don't know anyone personally nor do I know if they follow this forum.  If you find one and it's not to far from here I might be able to join you there and you could try more than one.  The other alternative is to hang on until the end of August and hit the demo in Newport Beach.


RE: looking to try a ch17 in Cali. Also, building Ches vs Hybrid NH?


Thank you. 

I went to the show in Newport Beach last year, but as it wasn't on the calendar, and asking about it had gotten no replies, I wasn't entirely sure if it was an annual event or just a one time deal. 

At the show, when I tried the shearwater, I had a hard time finding the handling difference between that and the Chesapeake I paddled, but that as well might be due to my lack of paddling experience. 

I would love to play around with a shearwater, but if they're coming back in August again, I'm a-ok just waiting till then. 


Thanks. :) 


-- James







RE: looking to try a ch17 in Cali. Also, building Ches vs Hybrid NH?


I corresponded with John Harris several weeks ago and he indicated that CLC would be in Newport Beach again this year.  It is generally an annual affair.

 I believe you and I talked there last year, discussing the difference in handling between the various kayaks.  I was the guy with the Mill Creek 16.5 with the rowing rig.  I plan to be there again this year with both of my boats.  I look forward to seeing you there.


RE: looking to try a ch17 in Cali. Also, building Ches vs Hybrid NH?

Newport beach, ca?

I'm in San Diego CA and looking to build a first boat this fall.  I thought i was the only one not from the northeast.  When is this Newport show?  I hope I haven't missed it.  I can't find it on the net.




RE: looking to try a ch17 in Cali. Also, building Ches vs Hybrid NH?


You have not missed it.  Actually, CLC has not posted that event on their calendar yet, but John Harris did tell me some time ago that they are planning to come again this year.  they usually are at Newport Beach the Saturday before the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, WA.  That would put them here on Sept 4.  The demo is on the beach at the Newport Beach Aquatic Center.  Generally they bring almost 20 boats.  In addition, a few folks bring their own boats.  I will plan to be there with my MC 16.5 and my Shearwater 17 H.  Keep watching the "Events Calendar" on this website.  At some point CLC will post the list of boats they will be bringing.  Hope to see you there.


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