Mill Creek Launched in NZ!

Hi everyone,

Finally got the Mill Creek in the water this last weekend after about a year of construction. It's been a great project - my first boat but definitely not the last. Have learnt a lot along the way and that's  thanks to everyone here on this forum as well as the team at Chesapeake, of course. 

There are a few photo's of the construction and launch (on Lake Te Anau, South Island, New Zealand) here:

I just tried to turn that into a link but it didn't work (the link window opened but was completely blank) so you'll have to copy and paste it into another window etc. (sigh, this is the clunkiest forum software I have ever used).



9 replies:

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RE: Mill Creek Launched in NZ!

Kia ora Hally from a fellow NZer.

 WOW stunning boat, and stunning location, congratulations.

I came sooo close to building a MC 16, was planning a sail rig too then discovered Gary Dierkings Outrigger Sailing Canoes... converted a Hartley canoe into a sailing outrigger (heresy!?) and now I'm planning to build a Wa'apa.

What kinds of materials did you use: ply, resin etc, I'm keen to get a few pointers with local flavour before I start.

  regards, Dave

RE: Mill Creek Launched in NZ!

Hey thanks Dave,

I actually built it from kit (as opposed to plans) - I ordered through the website after many questions back and forwards and one day a big cardboard box flatpack turned up at my house. There were the usual hassles when ordering such a thing from overseas, from freight companies I mean not Chesapeake - they were great - even sent another roll of fibreglass tape that got 'lost' from the box somewhere between the States and our southern shores.

Obviously had to give the NZ government a share of my hardearned for.... I don't know what for but they insisted on it before releasing my kit, and I had a very lengthy discussion with the shipping company about an extra 'handling fee' slapped onto it, but thats another story....

So to answer your question, the ply is the standard marine Okoume as supplied by Chesapeke - good stuff, laser cut etc and all pieces arrived undamged, quite surprising if you had of seen the state of the flatpack when it arrived! 

The only thing you don't get in a kit shipped overseas is the epoxy so I went for West System. Had no experience with it prior to this build but a friend recommended it. Also there wasn't a lot of choice really (you guys in the states don't know how lucky you are with the variety of gear available to you :-) Had no problems with it.... well maybe one but that was operator error and that's another story.

I used both the 205 and 206 hardener depending on the temp. I spread the build over a year so had to epoxy in all conditions (from say about 5-25 C in the garage).

I used International brightside paint and prekote undercoat and International Schooner Varnish on the deck.

It was a very satisfying project and am really glad I did it and she paddles at a quite a pace with little effort. I found that she tracks slightly right but I think that this our technique - we are both novice paddlers at this stage. Also, takes a bit of co-ordination and space to turn but we've got a BIG lake!

My next project will either have a sail or a motor. I had a look at Gary's site - those outriggers look quite cool.... could be an option.

If you decide on the MC16.5 let me know, and I'll be more than happy to share my limited experience through the build. Where abouts are you by the way?



RE: Mill Creek Launched in NZ!

She looks great Steve!...and she has a sister on this side of the planet.  Hopefully you'll get some good use before your seasons you get a hard winter there?

Bon Voyage


RE: Mill Creek Launched in NZ!

Thanks Chris,

Yes I know about the sister ship - yours was the inspiration to build mine! Cheers for that.

Depends on your perspective I suppose but we've got snow on the mountains now across the lake and we might get a couple of inches in the township once or twice a winter perhaps and temps of about 8-10 C (on a hot day) during the day and down to freezing over night.

The worst thing though is being close to the lake and inside a basin we often get fog during winter that wont lift till late afternoon (sometimes it doesn't lift at all) however, when it does we get beautiful clear blue skies and snow capped mountains and (usually) a flat lake - perfect!


RE: Mill Creek Launched in NZ!

Hi Hally

Congrats on such a fine boat!

I managed to launch my MC13 a couple of weekends ago, but only Hamilton's local lake Rotoroa. I'll get to grips with its handling before I go further afield.

Its not entirely finished yet, as winter set in early and it started to take 48 hours for the varnish to dry.

Happy winter paddling!


Hamilton NZ 

RE: Mill Creek Launched in NZ!

Hey thanks Peter,

Yes Winter has definitely arrived (we were in Dunedin for the weekend) but apparently it was still minus 3 at half past 8 this morning here in Te Anau.

Can't wait to see the photo's of your MC13 (hint hint).



RE: Mill Creek Launched in NZ!

Hi again Steve, and hi also to PeterC - another kiwi!

  thanks for the info on local materials, and the tip on winter hardner which will be essential if I want to be sailing in the coming summer. 

 I've been looking at designs for over a year now and I'm almost certainly going to do a Wa'apa. The fun I've had from my canoe / outrigger conversion has convinced me.

If you want your next boat to have sail or motor I'd suggest looking real hard at Garys designs (or CLC Mbuli?). One of the very cool things about outriggers is you can paddle, sail and add 2 hp outboard. 3 boats in one! The hulls are very long and narrow and move easily under all forms of power. And they are a wonderfully stable platform: except when flying the outrigger under sail - which is a blast!

To be honest when I first looked at Garys designs I thought they were a bit clunky and carried on searching. Over time I have learnt to fully appreciate their beauty: they are lean mean functional, simple to build rig and operate. Gary has a vey good handle on KISS - and this is true to the pacific waka spirit. The individual builder can add their own flair beyond the basic design if desired.

The Wa'apa can be built in 3 8' sections (no scarfing ply!) and bolts together to make a 2 man 16'er and a 4 man 24'er. (Actually the design has MANY  hull and rigging options...) Breaks down easily for transport and storage. The design is so simple anyone can build one. I'm gonna try!

  cheers, Dave

RE: Mill Creek Launched in NZ!

 Oh I forgot to say, I'm in Rotorua - surrounded by lakes and 1 hour north to Tauranga harbour / Mt Maunganui beach and the rest of the Bay of Plenty coastline. 1 hour south and its lake Taupo... how could I be without a boat in this part of the world? it just wouldn't be right! And I like building and tinkering with things...

  cheers, Dave

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