I finished by Shearwater Hybrid 17 after 14 months sneaking time in morning, evenings and weekends. I appreciate everyone quick response on this forum to my questions. Many firsts for me with this build, my first time I steamed and bent wood, first time working with strips, planner, Brightside varnish and paint. My maiden voyage was out of Sausalito, SF Bay area, with goal to head out around Angels island, it was a windy 20-26 kts and I discovered the hard way that I was not skilled enough kayaker for the boat in the conditions. From the shearwater catalog I’ve gone out on the bay in calmer conditions in a more stable boat so I was not prepared for how tender the Shearwater felt in rough water. I got knocked over and managed to get back in and decided to come back in for the day. In more protected water the kayak performed exactly as imaged, fast, good tracking, easy to do lean turns. Even in the rough water and wind it tracked well. I just wasn’t prepared for how tippy it was in conditions and worry that I may never develop the skills for these conditions.. I wrote a write paper of lessons learned and it just about covered everything from kayak, weather, skills, equipment. So now, humbled, I am back to learning basics and hope to take a series of classes including rough water, etc at the surround kayak schools. I’m 52 yrs old, 5’10 and 170 lbs and athletic so I wanted to build a boat that I would grow into “The speed and relatively narrow beam means the Shearwaters are not beginner paddling boats, but athletic paddlers and paddlers with intermediate skills will find them an excellent fit." I admit I’m a little discourage but I’m going to look at this as an opportunity, and would appreciate anyone’s similar story of having difficulty that was eventually over come, hope would be good. I have only taken out the kayak once in windy conditions but again, in protected water the shearwater performed as dreamed. At maybe…uggg….that I might need a more stable design for use for rough conditions and I would appreciate recommendation on possible designs
If everything was easy it wouldn’t be fun, right?