Help me choose first boat

Need some experienced folks to point me in the right direction.  I want to build my first boat.  If it goes well definitely won't be my last.   I am debating build a small boat (or two) for the kids for as a practice boat vs jumping right in.  Kids boats would be a duckling 8 maybe 10 or the Io from Guillemot web site.  Kids 6-12.

I like the Mill Creek 13, wood duck 12, Chesapeake 14 for me.  The wood duck series looks a little trickier, mc13 looks easier, Chesapeake in middle?  I want a relatively quick build for the first, as I am prone to taking on open ended projects which get me negative points with the admiral. 


Use:  coastal creeks and river in sc, maybe protected bays, goofing off, day cruising some fishing

Kayak experience :  none, paddled rental sit on tops and canoes etc.

Woodworking skills:  advanced hobbyist





6 replies:

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RE: Help me choose first boat

  Hi JC and welcome to the forum,

  We have Two Wood Ducks, 12' and 10' hybrids. Most of our paddling is tidal creeks and narrow tributaries and the ducks are perfect for them. We have been in open water without any issues. I can't compare them to the Chesapeake as I've never paddled one. I have built two of the 'standard' ducks also, I believe the hulls to be the same as the hybrids. The 10' duck has a bit more v in the hull and does track better than the 12' but I wouldn't say tracking is an issue in the12. Not that bad.

  The Ducks will work like mules and are a pleasure to paddle.

  Also the folks here are great, you'll have all the support you need.


RE: Help me choose first boat

Thanks for the reply.

I wouldn't have thought the 10 tracked better but good to know.  Now I'm thinking I'll start with a wd10, which everyone should be able to handle. 

I cleared out the garage, now I just need to pull the trigger!


RE: Help me choose first boat

I built a WD12 that I have used in slow water areas of the delta - up river from San Francisco, and in various lakes/reservoirs. I have also fished from it. It works well in these applications and I have had fun. It is easy to get into & out of, not a tight fit. Sometimes a little narrower would be nice - sometimes I or my kids hit the coming while paddling. But I picked it for the room & stability.

I am not sure what you mean by a "relatively quick build" I don't call any of them quick builds.

RE: Help me choose first boat

I was also thinking stability for the duck and mill creek.  Good point about the beam and hitting the coaming.  Looks like the next step down in beam - 25" is the Shearwater sport, but its a bigger 14' boat. 

By quick I just mean least complicated relative to the other boats I am considering, or -that we might be able to use that side of the garage by Xmas not Easter.

RE: Help me choose first boat

I built the Mill Creek 13 and first and have been very happy with it now for many years.   Then did a build with my son who was then around 9 or 10 and we built the sassafras 12 which can have either canoe or kayak seating layout.....we did the kayak seating option and it is a great boat for kids or lighter adults that we have also really enjoyed.   Did the kit for the sassafras so it would save some time on the father/son build and it was a pretty easy build and a great experience.   I would recommend either - but the sassafras isn't for a heavier paddler.

Have since also built the Kaholo and it is a big hit...frankly it is getting pretty much all the usage and the kayaks have been sitting idle since the Kaholo came along.

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