I promise I've read through many posts regarding this question before I considered posting my own. I've read Schade's book cover-to-cover many times over since I bought it some years ago, and I can't wait anymore; I want to build my own boat.
So here's my conundrum. I can't try out any of these boats without taking a very expensive week-long vacation some thousand miles to where there are actually boats like this around. I'm in Texas, and though there are places that rent, there are usually only one or two makes of boats, the only difference the length, and they're mostly rec boats. I own a Necky Manitou (12'10") that I don't take out in winds above 15 miles per hour because I get so frustrated (and exhausted) just trying to get from point A to B that I don't enjoy it.
I'm a beginner paddler, one basics class taken, 155 lbs and 5'4". I tend to get blown wherever the wind takes me (at least in my current boat) on the large lakes near me. I was considering the Guillemot Kayaks Greenland Night Heron because (1) I just thought it was beautiful, (2) I thought it might be a good sea kayak for a smaller paddler, (3) I think the low profile might help me out in the winds we get and (4) I would like to learn rolls eventually, somehow.
Questions: (1) Am I naive to think my paddling skills can handle a boat like the Greenland NH and (2) will I be in over my head as a first-time builder?
I am also considering the Hybrid NH, and CLC Hybrid Shearwater 16 or 17
As an aside, I also worry that I might not be able to get my size 12/14 butt in a 16X20 cockpit. :(
Any help would be appreciated, especially from ladies out there with a similar build.
Thanks so much.