view Kayak Comparison Chart
Chesapeake Light Craft is pleased to announce two new easy-to-build sea kayak kits from award-winning kayak designer Nick Schade, the 17-foot Petrel SG and its little sister, the 14-foot Petrel Play SG.
Schade’s line of strip-planked Greenland-style sea kayaks are renowned for sophisticated performance on the water, beautiful lines, and sculptural hull details. But strip-planked boatbuilding is not for everyone. Novice woodworkers and weekend hobbyists with limited free time may be reluctant to take on the complex original Petrel kayak design. The solution is a plywood version of the Petrel, designed with great deliberation to retain the strip-planked original's point-and-shoot handling.
The original Nick Schade Petrel design, a slippery 17-foot by 20-inch sea kayak equally at home as a fast cruiser or surfing in the break zone, is not a project for the timid boatbuilder. In that design, cedar strips enclose an undulating shape with functional "chines" that allow carved turns like a classic West Greenland kayak. "Great looks and handling, but requires an advanced builder," Nick Schade says.
The new stitch-and-glue version of the Petrel eliminates the fussy strip-planking procedure, which involves cutting and fitting scores of individual cedar strips over a mold. Instead, computer-cut plywood panels for the hull and deck are stitched together with wire, then reinforced with epoxy and fiberglass. The simplified plywood hull has its own sculptural qualities, and gives up none of the performance of the original.
While easier to build than a strip-planked kayak, we don't recommend the Petrel SG as a first-time boatbuilding project. A simpler stitch-and-glue boat or two or a solid foundation in fiberglassing is suggested before taking this on.
Recessed SeaLect hatches fore and aft are standard in the Petrel Play SG kits, absolutely unique in the small world of kayak kits. The cockpit is also recessed to make rolling easier.
“I’m excited at how it came out,” Schade says. “The Stitch-and-Glue Petrel is as faithful a reproduction of the original Petrel as I could manage in plywood.” Schade maintained the same profile and plan shape and reproduced the transitioning chine of the strip-planked Petrel with multiple chines forward tapering to a single hard chine behind. He also incorporated a retractable skeg and recessed hatches in the deck, including a day hatch behind the cockpit. "Puzzle joints"---one of Schade's signature design motifs---give the Petrel SG great artistic flair. "It is absolutely unique in the kayak kit world," Schade says.
Acknowledging the market demand for stable recreational kayaks but unable to resist the urge to play in big water, Schade came up with a second new design, the Petrel Play. The shorter, wider kayak will suit a beginner for exploring lakes, or an expert surfing big waves.
“The Petrel ‘Play’ is a great play boat out in big waves and rock gardens,” he says. With a little extra width and quite a bit of flare to the hull, he adds, “It will keep up fine at moderate pace cruising and has good stability in waves, with the ability to lean comfortably.” The Petrel Play will appeal to paddlers of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels.
Build this boat if:
- You're looking for a comfortable, versatile, compact kayak that isn't a beamy tub.
- You're looking for a sport-oriented kayak for surfing
- You want a sleek, West Greenland-style kayak without the gawky 17- or 18-foot length
- You prefer advanced handling qualities in all conditions, especially waves
Builders also looked at:
Shearwater Sport | Shearwater 16 | Petrel SG | Petrel