I recently finished my first boat, a CH17 kit, and took it on a small overnight trip on a local river (the Huron river, for anyone from Michigan). We paddled for about 6 hours before reaching our campsite, then finished the trip the next morning. The boat handled beautifully and was able to store a remarkable amount of camping gear (see picture). What a nice design.
That being said, I have a question. As of now, I have the standard foam tractor seat installed, as well as the "rapid pulse" backband I think its called. The seat doesnt bother me so much, it is actually more comfortable than it looks, but the backband seems to sit too low on my back and is very uncomfortable. In the meantime I have been using the piece of deck that I cut out for my rear hatch opening as a backrest, and that works OK, but I would like to hear from someone who ordered a fancy seat and has done a longer trip with it. Are they worth it? are they comfortable? I am just under 6' and 225 lbs; can anyone about my size comment on a seat that supports your back better?
Lastly, as you may have seen in the picture, my girlfriend is still putzing about in a 9' plastic bathtub of a boat. In "The New Kayak Shop" is a set of plans for a boat called the Severn which would be very close to perfect for her- a smaller, flatwater boat that is extremely lightweight (26 lbs or so). Does anyone know if I can get full-scale plans for this somewhere, or recommend a similar, lightweight design for someone her size? She is 5'1" and about 118 lbs or so.