Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

I need some advice on "initial stability."  I own a Shearwater 17 and find it a bit unstable;  it has a lot of lean... a bit too "twitchy" for me.  I know it gets good reviews, and is suppose to be like that... narrow, fast, sporty, surf boat.  So.... I am considering building a Chesapeake 16LT... a more classic design.  But then I noticed that it has a 23" beam...only 1" wider than the Shearwater!!  Am I going to feel unstable in the Chesapeake 16LT as well?  I am used to paddling a 25" beamed Current Design Kestrel boat and like the relaxed stability and feel.  Anybody out there have the Ches 16LT?  Rock solid stable?   Should I build the Ches 17LT instead?   Opinions please!   Thanks!

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RE: Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

I agree the shear's are not a beginners boat but using a more stable boat does nothing to prepare people for a shearwater, from my experience.

Also from experience, I can tell you that you need to give the shearwater a chance. Spend some time with it. In time (not too long), you become one with what you are paddling. You are unsure of yourself in that boat, so your muscles tense up. You need to be flexible at the waist, soon you will not be thinking about it. I have spent a lot of hours in my shearwater, 'we' are very stable on the water, unlike the first day when the boat felt tippy. Now I toss an anchor off the bow, put the paddle down and have lunch in it. I do wish I built it with a rudder though at times when the wind is really blowing off a stern quarter. On the other side though, the boat excels in a head wind.

Do give it a proper chance, after all the work hours, put in the paddling hours on the water before investing in more work hours building another boat.

http://shearwaterkayak.blogspot.com/

 

RE: Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

yakker,

The beam isn't the whole story. The shape of the hull matters, too, and the Chessies have a very stable hull shape. I built my wife a 16LT and she's very happy with the stability. It's her first kayak. so she was not all trained up in the finer points of paddling when she got into it for the first time, but she was immediately comfortable with it anyway. The only time she showed any apprehension was when trying to get into it from a dock, but she's got that maneuver down pat now.

On the other hand, if you like the Kestrel, you'd probably love a Wood Duck 12. Same general idea ("recreational" kayak), but much better execution - lighter and a more advanced, faster hull shape. Stable enough so that you can sit on the coaming. 

All that said, fishbuster makes some really good points. It may feel wobbly at first, but with practice things get better. Remember learning to ride a bike?

Good luck however you go,

Laszlo

 

RE: Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

Thanks to Laszlo and to Fishbuster.... I will give the Shearwater some more time for me to get used to it.... but maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to build another boat!!  The winters are really long up here in Wisconsin!  I did consider the Wooduck 12 - Hybrid, but was worried about it feeling like an Old Town Otter.... short and zig-zag tracking.  Sounds like it tracks okay?   Happy yakking and building!1

RE: Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

Maybe consider a cedar-strip boat next time?  The chesapeake is a fine stable boat that will help a beginner feel safe, but it will not enhance the development of paddling skills over the long haul (I have a build both the chesapeake LT and the shearwater)

RE: Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

Dear Jimwilly1,

       Which did you like better... the Chesapeak LT or the Shearwater 17?  Did you get used to the "twiitchy" feeling of the Shearwater?   Is the Chessie rock solid stable?  slow and sluggish?  Maybe I can't find both smooth, and stable?   My Shearwater has a cedar -strip deck.... lots of fun to build.  You are suggesting a full hull and deck cedar strip boat?   Which model would you suggest?   Thanks. 

RE: Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

yakker,

I acually built the shearwater 14 for my wife, not the 17.  I reach hull speed pretty quickly in a 14ft kayak!  Still I suspect it has similar characteristics in the water, though probably much easier to turn.  First, the Chessie LT 17, affectionately named the bismarck due to its resemblance to an ironclad from the civil war, has so much stability that I never felt challenged to really learn how to brace. Even in 3 foot waves and wind the bismarck trackes well and keeps on chugging.  SHe don't turn too well, unless you put her on her chine.  I learned a sloppy role a few years back, and since then I have improved my rolling and bracing both in the Chesapeake and in my wife's shearwater.  If you are properly braced in the cockpit (ie. enough hip braces and lap foam for your lower body to be connected to the boat) you will be able to roll and even balance brace either boat.  However, the Bismarck does not encourage the development of these skills.

 In the Shearwater, again with adequate lapfoam and hip braces, I feel like an otter.   Being a short boat, she turns in a sprightly manner when I put in her on her chine.  I can lay with head on the back deck (though my butt comes a bit out of the seat, with the lap foam I am still fully connected to the boat).  She is no greenland ultra-low volume rolling boat, but she encourages the development of the skills that will help you feel comfortable even in rough water. 

As fas as which boat you might want to build, it depends on your height, weight and what you want the boat to do.  I for one want to build the Petrel, which reportedly turns on a dime, has a slightly higher volume in the bow and stern, supposedly a fine yak for rougher waters.  Other nifty stripper models available as kits from CLC or as plans include the night heron (slightly longer than the petrel, somewhat less volume in the bow and stern, available as a high fore-deck for large feet, or a greenland version with low back deck and ocean kayak).  Spend some time reading about the various strippers CLC sells.  Also, consider the Outer Island by Jay Babina a greenland style boat, not available as a kit from CLC however.

Enjoy!

RE: Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

Thanks, JimWilly1;  I guess it's a philosophical question about how far I want to expand my yakking skills.  Big, fast, exciting waters... braces and rolls, etc., or..... float along on placid waters contemplating the universe?   Both are good.   Philosophy/theology/personal needs do in fact guide our actions (and the boats we build!).   Happy yakking!  

RE: Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

heres what you do.find a place to rent a surf ski , take it out paddling a few times and then get back in the shearwater

RE: Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

JimWilly makes some excellent points as far as using the boats go, but the Bismarck was WWII German battleship that had nothing to do with 

RE: Chesapeake 16LT vs Shearwater 17

Oops - need a post confirmation key. Anyway, to resume:

JimWilly makes some excellent points as far as selecting and using the boats go, but the Bismarck was WWII German battleship that had nothing to do with Civil War ironclads.

It's shape is not particularly similar to a Chessie, either. As the pictures below show, the Chessie looks more like a modern destroyer than a WWII battleship.

The Shearwater also has the destroyer prow, but in addition, it has the 19th century battleship tumblehome.

At any rate, his comments on selecting and using the boats are spot on.

Laszlo 

 

 

 

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