Shearwater 16 or 17?

I am 5' 8", 155 lbs, shoe size 9. The catalog fit guide seems to point to the 16' as the minimum size that would "fit" me. I'm not the world's most flexible paddler, so in my present kayak, I have the seat & footpads adjusted so that my knees are slightly bent. I usually paddle barefoot, and position the balls, not the arches, of my feet on the pads. Will the 16 have enough bow height to allow this position to be comfortable? It would seem that persons with long legs & big feet might run out of foot room in the cockpit before I did. The fit guide seems to focus on Shoe Size, but I have found that shoe size varies between shoe manufacturer.

One the one hand, I want to build the smallest & lightest 'yak I can fit in comfortably, for solo cartopping, portage, and storage considerations,but i also don't want to find that my toes or knees bang into the deck. When is a kayak "too big" for the paddler? Feedback from different-sized Shearwater 16 paddlers? Thanks.

 


13 replies:

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RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

The 16 ought to fit you just fine. You are correct that the balls of your feet go on the footpads, but you should know that the Shearwaters are a bit skittish on initial stability and you will want to have your knees snugly under the deck to control this. Once you get used to it, you will delight in the way you can carve turns by tilting the boat with your knees. -Wes

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

Jim,

Unless you plan to spend alot of time in big/rough water, you will be fine with the 16' Shearwater. I am just a little larger then you- 5'9", 165lb, 10-shoe and with 2 seasons under my belt in the Shearwater 16, very pleased with the boat & size. Wes is correct about wanting to be 'locked in'. Enjoy.

Lew

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

Side note, I did raise the deck at the front of the combing for easier entry/exit, but don't think I really needed to. I also added pads for my knees and hips for stability

Lew

 

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

Thanks for these excellent answers. I think I could add padding to the cockpit for comfort, if necessary. by the way Wes, are you the guy with that (great) RougePaddler.com website?

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

My wife and I built a 16' and 17' shearwater at CLC's class (Thanks Dave!).  They have very similar cockpits.  The 16' is a notch wider... 23" vs. 22" so your knees can open wider in the 16'.  There is plenty of room for bent braced knees in my 16' but I am 5'6".

I was concerned that the 17' might sit high in the water at my weight (140) and get blown around by the wind.  At your weight you really could paddle either boat.

We still haven't gotten much time paddling in our boats...  still waiting for final varnishing and lots of paddling this Spring. 

 Have fun. 

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

Nope. I'm the guy with the even greater www.twofootartist.com site. Check out the Merganser page toward the end for photos of how I fitted out my cockpit with hip pads, knee pads and a custom carved seat. My Merganser is a slightly larger version of the Shearwater 17, which I also built but found too tight for my size 11 feet. After a full season of use, the Merganser now feels like a custom cut suit. I love the way it performs. Compared to my commercial fiberglass kayak, it takes about half the effort to move, and tracks better and steers easier without a rudder than the stock boat does with one. -Wes

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

I am 5'8" and 180 with a shearwater 16,  I love it.  great fit for me, very comfy to paddle, It took me a while to get the seat and padding right,, but now it is great.

 

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

im 5'8" and 180 lb ive got the 17 and love  it i dont think theres that much weight differnce i would consider the type of paddling you do / fast paced get the 17 ,more lesiurly cruising go with the 16

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

I'm 5' 7", 155 lbs and recently had an opportunity to paddle both the Shearwater 16 and 17 at the CLC demo day in Folsom, CA.  I really preferred the feel (and fit) of the 17.  The 17 felt a lot faster, maybe because of the narrower beam.  If at all possible, you should paddle both to see which you prefer.

Best of luck!

Craig 

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

Allthumbs, your comment is making me lean toward the 17. I see that on CLC's comapison chart, the 17 gets one more notch on both Speed and Initial Stability over the 16. I want to build a fast-cruising kayak, and if I find that I'm too light for it (although I doubt it), I can bring some water jugs. I discovered the "weight trick" by accident. I flipped my present 'yak last summer, and had no bailer. had to paddle back with 2" of water in the cockpit. To my astonishment, the kayak went like a rocket! I originally thought that it was because I was p. oe'd, but later learned that this is because you lose less momentum between strokes with more weight in the boat. I think that I would fit the 16 all right, but fit the 17 even more comfortably, and the 17 looks like it sits well in the water anyway.

I was originally concerned about getting the boat out of the space where I HAVE to build it, but measurements confirm that I will be able to do it, and another 12" of length won't make much difference atop the car.

 

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

Jim, having had a couple kayaks and one being too big, I can say you want a snug fitting kayak before one that was too big. I was swimming in my first kayak and had to reach to clear the side of the boat to paddle. Inside I was not secure. You need to be secure and beome one, if you will, with the boat.

I am 5'6", 172 lbs and shoe size 8 1/2. My 16 foot Shearwater fits me like a glove. There is plenty of room in either direction to adjust foot braces for different heights. You can custom tailor your knee braces, as well as seat height and bakrest position.

 http://shearwaterkayak.blogspot.com/

RE: Shearwater 16 or 17?

Fishbust, thanks for the reply. I like to paddle at a high angle, close to the boat. Yet it seems like the 17 is actually an inch narrower than the 16? What I have now is a flat-bottomed, bullet-shaped,entry-level plastic yak. I hope that EITHER Shearwater would be considerably faster.  Do you find your 16 to be fast?

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