Buying used CLC 17

Hi, I saw a used one with ridder and paddle for 900.  I've always liked them.  It would be my first "real" kayak.

 I sat in it yesterday and looked over it and having never seen one before what I'm wondering is:

The hatches don't look watertight.  They were square holes cut in the deck with a piece of wood that strapped on top with no neoprene cover and only a foam gasket.  Are these actually watertight?

 The underside of the kayak was painted white and felt sturdy but the deck felt like cheap thin plywood with a coat of varnish on top.  Is this right?  Will it hold up?

 I am 6 foot even with size 10.5-11 feet.  I have only ever sat in a touring kayak once but it felt good and hugged me.  This CLC 17 while long enough I could lay my legs flat, felt too wide, I didn't get that hugged feeling and when the foot pedals were fully extended my knees were half out of the keyhole cockpit, kinodf uncomforbly, like they weren't bent, and weren['t straight.


THis kayak is the right length for my summer, a good price and beautiful.  Can I customise it to fit me or do I need to look elsewhere.  Thanks.

10 replies:

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RE: Buying used CLC 17

Hatches are not 100% watertight if you capsized but as close as you need to get to being waterproof. A few drops will get in but you can trust that you have 2 bulkheads that won't allow the boat to sink in short order. All your gear in ricksacks/drybags and nothing will ever get wet, nothing to worry about there.

As far as the deck, the kits are okoume, african mohogany, perfect wood and the boat, properly built will be epoxied under deck and glassed over with epoxy on top. Tough stuff. What no one can tell you here is if the boat was built right or with the right materials if someone built from plans. If the boat was built by the book and with the proper materials, that price is fantastic.

The foot pedals in the boat you are looking at could have been mounted for a shorter person, not necessarily where everyone else mounts them. The cockpit can be adjusted, padded out differently, virtually anything you want to do to dial in the boat exactly for you. That is how we build them in the first place....for the person who will be paddling it.

If the boat was built right and looks good, don't sleep on this too long. Someone is going to snatch it up. Maybe me! 


RE: Buying used CLC 17

Is there anything I should look for that a novice like myself could note that would indicate whether it was well constructed or not?  Thanks for the great reply.

RE: Buying used CLC 17

Do you know when this CH17 was built?...If it's older it may not have a 'glassed deck...only epoxy coat and varnish....I believe this was the standard up 'til a few years ago when 4oz. cloth under epoxy became the norm for decks.  If you look closely at the deck under a good light you should see the fiberglass if it's there.

Good luck


RE: Buying used CLC 17

I haven't been back today, but I really think it does not have fiberglass, just the epoxy and varnish.  I'd almost bet on it.

He claimed it is 5 years old, but who knows for sure.

 If there is no fibre does this mean to stay away?  Thanks.

RE: Buying used CLC 17

Also, how can I tell if this boat is a 17 or a 17lt.  I see they have the lt model too, all this boat was listed as was a 17 foot chesapeake.  Thanks.

RE: Buying used CLC 17

I believe the 17LT has a flatter stern section behind the cockpit than the CH17.  If it does not have a fiberglassed deck it's not a big deal.  Enjoy it as is this summer and glass the deck over the's not that big of a job...if everything else is sound, the price is right.  Next time you see it, inspect it in the bright sunshine.  You'll see the 4oz. weave under the epoxy (if it's there) and you'll also see any small cracks in the wood if it was not 'glassed.


RE: Buying used CLC 17

The 17lt has shorter side panels and so is noticably shorter and especially,  obvisously thinner in the section aft of the cockpit. Noticably, that is, if you set an LT next to a 17. Might be a little hard to tell if you didn't have them side-by-side or not were otherwise pretty familiar with the boats.

 But, I would ask that the plans, manual and any other useful miscellany from the original build (kit?)  be included with the boat. I think the manual is generic to the general Chesapeake family, but the plans should make clear exactly what type of chesapeake it is. They might come in handy if you found yourself wanting to make modifications or repairs.

RE: Buying used CLC 17

I don't spend a lot of time upside down, but I've never had water come in the hatches on my Chesapeake 18 (same type of construction as you mention).


RE: Buying used CLC 17

Northocean, if the boat was built 5 years ago, it will most likely have a glassed deck if the builder followed the kit/instructions.  It's not really that big of a deal unless you're doing a lot of T rescues and the like.  The glass definitely gives the boat a lot more strength, but people paddled boats with no glass on the deck for many years before going to the glassed decks.  As I said, the biggest noticeable reason for glassed decks comes in when doing assisted rescues.  Not a lot of people do those types of rescues and if you don't envision yourself doing them a lot, don't worry about it too much.

You didn't mention your weight, but it's likely that the boat is a standard 17 (vice the LT) if it felt really big on you.  The LT typically feels more like the "tight" fit you describe.  As example, I'm 6'1 and about 165-170 pounds and the LT felt much more "comfortably tight" on me.  I ended up buying a smaller beam boat, but the 17 felt substantially larger, to me, than the 17 LT.  The WR18 was just gigantic. 

As far as the hatches are concerned, those are the standard CLC hatches and they keep the water out well, assuming they were built correctly.  There are improvements that can be made, but likely you won't need to worry about them. 

The foot pedals can be moved if they don't fit you very well.  It's not a really difficult process to unscrew them and relocate the rails a few inches.  You may need to add a little adapter plate if the rails are mounted through the hull (so you don't have to drill new holes through the hull) but other than that it's not much work at all to move foot pedals around.

Fishbuster is right, you can pretty much completely redesign the fit of the boat with very little effort and expense.  A bit of foam padding here and there can drastically change how a boat feels to the paddler.

I'd say the big concerns you should have are any patches, weak spots, and obvious damage.  Go over the whole boat carefully and feel for any weak spots and flexible areas (more flexible than the wood around the area, not just flexible as a whole) and any obvious repairs.  Ask the owner what kind of repairs and maintenance have been done to the boat.  Was it stored inside or out?  Is the deck glassed or just epoxied and varnished? Look for any black spots on the wood surfaces that aren't painted.  (Black spots indicate water damage to the wood.)  For the rudder, check for any cable fraying, and make sure it rotates (up and down as well as sideways) easily without any hesitation or "tight" spots. Check thoroughly around the coaming riser and verify the integrity of the coaming against the deck.  (Mine separated from my deck from me sitting behind the cockpit while entering and exiting my boat--but that was due to a design mod I made in mine so shouldn't be an issue for a Chessy.)  Look at the bulkheads inside and verify the integrity of the seams against the hull and deck.

My last bit of advice would be to get an opportunity to actually paddle it in water before you buy it.  See if the owner will meet you at a local paddling area and let you take it for a spin.  If not, if it's in good shape and you think it's the boat for you, buy it anyway. It's less than you can buy the kit for now and you'll be able to paddle it immediately.



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