choosing between C17 or 17LT

Hello everyone... 

 I've decided that building a boat is what I'd like to do to get more into Kayaking...   I owned a Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 for a little while but it was a bit small for me so I sold it a couple years ago...  I'm tired of wasting my money renting so I figured it was time to buy a new boat...  happened to come across this site and I'm convinced that building is my best option considering I do a bit of woodworking as a hobby (mostly rustic log furniture).

 I really love the Idea of paddling a wooden boat that blends more naturally with it's surroundings. I can't stand the obnoxious bright colors most roto boats come in, and have doubts about durability of fiberglass and carbon boats (not to mention the huge price tag).

 So What I'm trying to decide is which boat is best for me...  I've narrowed it down to the Chesapeake 17 or 17LT.  I'm 6' tall and about 185 lbs with size 11 feet. My paddling will be split 75/25 between day trips and Multi-day overnight trips. I live in Erie PA, my paddling will be along the Lake Erie shoreline and various rivers and lakes in the area. 

 I think I could probably paddle either boat but I'd like to pick the right one... I'm leaning toward the LT because from what I've read the 17 is quite the tank and may be more than I need.

I could sure use some advice! 





11 replies:

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RE: choosing between C17 or 17LT

G'day from Oz, Joe.   I built a Ches 17LT earlier this year,from plans.   Like you, with modest woodworking skills, perhaps, but I found it an easy and enjoyable process.   I chose the LT as I thought the slightly lower hull sides looked a little more attractive, I felt they would also make it a touch easier for me to get in and out (being a less-than-limber geriatric) and because I don't need any under-deck volume as I only paddle for short daytime trips - in fact I didn't even put any hatches into it.

Your ultimate choice probably depends on just how often you intend to overnight, and how much stuff you'll be taking.   The standard Ches swallows an enormous amount of gear, but the 20% lower volume of the LT version should suffice, I'd think, for most people and their reasonable camping needs.

There's another recent thread on this subject - cannot now recall its title - have a look at that too.

Whichever choice - both fine craft - so enjoy!



RE: choosing between C17 or 17LT


Thanks for the reply...  I did a search actually before I posted and couldnt find a similar thread, but I probably just missed it, I'll take a second look.  I'm 90% decided on the LT.  I try to travel light whenever I camp so I think it's the best boat for me.

RE: choosing between C17 or 17LT

Hi Joe,

Hi from Oz (again!).  I built a Ches 17 a year or so ago, and as a first build it's perfect - not too hard and great instructions.

I was facing the same dilemma but went the higher-volume version as I thought I'd do more overnighters and we can get a fair swell/chop where I paddle so being new to kayaking I liked the idea of the higher-volume boat for riding over swells, etc.

But doing it again, I'd go the LT.  I'm just starting to build a Night Heron as a lightweight tourer, as the C17 is heavy (mainly my liberal epoxy use!) and bulky.  I'd never fill it with gear even doing a few nights away.  It's a good boat, but bulky and even though I'm around your height/size I think the LT would be a bit more nimble and light.  Shoe size may be an issue, that's probably your only consideration if the forward deck is lower.

Having said all that, I paddle with others in sleek glass and carbon boats (as well as plastic ones) and keep up fine - for its size, the C17 paddles efficiently and the bulk is less apparent on the water.

You're guaranteed to have fun whichever way you go (or, build both!).


RE: choosing between C17 or 17LT

G'day Darren...  

 Glad to get some good replies from down under! I'm actually hoping to make it to Oz in the near future and I'm pretty excited to visit your island... I know what you mean about the stability in the chop and swells, A lot of my paddling here in the States will be in the great lakes and they can get pretty rough as well.

 From the Photos on here the 17 sure looks like a hulk, so thank you for confirming that thought for me, I'm sure it's still a great boat but I think the LT will work better for my needs. Also since the info here says 13 is the max shoe size for the LT I think that my 11's will fit just fine.

 I figure that if I can carry enough gear for multiple day backcountry trips on my back in a pack, then I will certainly have plenty of room inside an LT for pretty much any paddle trip I can dream up.

 Now I just need to call CLC and get it ordered!

 Thanks Guys!

RE: choosing between C17 or 17LT

I built the Chesapeake 17, and it is a bomber, high volume touring boat. If I were to choose again, I would go with the Chesapeake 17 LT simply to shave a bit of width and a couple of pounds. I think the LT would be a bit faster and more nimble, but the sacrifice is gear space. If you are a glutton for gear, then stick with the standard model. I weigh 185, 6' 1", size 11, and have plenty of room in the 17. The LT may be a bit tighter, but not constricting.

Good Luck,



RE: choosing between C17 or 17LT

get in the boat and paddle before you buy

that is the only way to know if it is the boat you want

RE: choosing between C17 or 17LT

>>>>>I've narrowed it down to the Chesapeake 17 or 17LT.  I'm 6' tall and about 185 lbs with size 11 feet.>>>>>>>


You're too light for the big Chesapeake 17, unless your itinerary includes a lot of three-week unsupported camping trips. 

In light air the 17 would feel fine on you.  I must not have weighed more than 135lbs when I built the prototype 17 and at the time it reminded me of the old Saab 900 Turbo I was driving:  voluminous, but fast and tight.  (When the Saab was running, that is.)  

But it's got loads of "sail area" so when the wind comes up you're gonna feel it.  At my weight I'd be like a leaf in that boat.

The 17LT has the same underbody so I didn't expect much difference when I built that one, ages ago, but it has a very different feel.  The lower sides not only cut the "sail area," but the roll moment is a lot lower so it feels sportier.  Is sportier, too.  Build that one.

Chesapeake 17LT

 These profile shots are no fun to set up.

RE: choosing between C17 or 17LT

                                                  LT it is !

 Thanks for all the great advice everyone...  It's very much appreciated! 

 John, I'll be calling CLC in the very near future - Gotta get to work before I  miss all of the paddling season!                                                                  


RE: choosing between C17 or 17LT

I'm a little late to the party, especially since John weighed in on the subject, but I'd definitely say the LT.  I paddle a Northbay, which has a slightly lower volume, I believe even considering the extra length, and I have no problem carrying gear for a week or two at a time in that boat.


RE: choosing between C17 or 17LT

I like the looks of the 17LT also.  I'm 6'-3", 215#, and 11 shoe.  Will the 17LT work for me?

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