Arthritis in the back - which boat?

It looks like it may be time to give up my Ches 17.  I am getting to the point where I can't get out of it after a couple of hours.

I am looking for something with a very open cockpit which leads me to the Mill Creek 13 or the Sea Island Sport.  I can drop in speed as my wife uses a solo canoe so I am not going anywhere near hull speed in the 17' boat.

Our use is usually either river or one of the small finger lakes.  If there is over about 6" of chop we don't go out.  Primary stability is important so I can get in and out with my back.  I would like to keep the weight down as much as possible for ease of loading on the truck racks.

Cargo space is not all that important.


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RE: Arthritis in the back - which boat?


If you want a very open cockpit, don't forget the Wood Duck series. Here's a picture of my WD12 coaming placed onto my wife's CH16LT, which has the same size cockpit as the CH17. As you can see, the cockpit opening is almost as wide as the CH hull.There's enough room in the cockpit for me to slide forward and lay completely down. I can change from legs straight out to legs crossed under me. There's almost no end of positions I can change to to get rid of cramps.


The WD12 is also very stable. I was able to do a wet re-entry on the first try with no rigging to hang on to. I've also been caught out in a small craft advisory (28 mph winds, 3 foot breaking waves) and the boat handled it just fine. I know you look for a more sedate set of conditions, but it's good to know that if the weather sneaks up and jumps you that the boat will be there for you.

As for weight, mine is hideously overbuilt - completely glassed inside and out - and the empty hull still comes in at 39 lbs. That's 9 lbs less than the specified weight for the Sea Island Sport and 1 lb less than for the Mill Creek 13. Finally, I was able to get it up to 6.5 mph as measured by GPS, though my normal all-day speed is 3.5 mph.

All that said, the Sea Island Sport is a very nice boat, too. I was within a few days of ordering one when the WD12 was announced. It was a tough decision choosing between them. The SIS is even easier than the WD12 to get in and out of. I did a wet re-entry in that boat, too. They seemed about equally stable, but the SIS was somewhat easier to get my legs back into because I didn't have to guide them under the deck.

The main reason I went with the WD12 over the SIS is because I liked the extra protection from the environment that the covered cockpit gives. The WD12 is also lighter and a simpler build. But the SIS was a very close #2 and I still like to just look at the one in the CLC showroom when I'm there visiting. The sponsons give the boat a sculptural quality which will make it the center of attention at the launch areas.

I haven't really played as much with the Mill Creeks, so I'm not to going to say anything about them.

Hope this helps with your choice. If you want to see the details involved with building a WD12, check out my "Building a Wood Duck 12" page.



RE: Arthritis in the back - which boat?


   I have built 2 MC13's.   One of the reasons I built this boat over all of the others was the ease of getting in and out.   If there is a boat launch or a good beach you can simply get into knee deep water or less, slide your boat between your legs then sit down and bring your legs in.  Getting out simply reverse that.  Also while out paddling I can drape  my legs over the sides and can move around a bit.  Huge cockpit.  It paddles very easy and handles very will in rough water.  Great fishing boat and very easy to build either by plans or kit.  Hope that helps.


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