Early sailors thought the Storm Petrel could walk on water. Named after Saint Peter, petrels are small birds that feed at sea by fluttering just above the swell with their feet tip-toeing across the water. Like its bird namesake, the Petrel kayak is at home at sea where it can dance among the waves.
Designed as a responsive, lightweight kayak suitable for day trips in rough water, it is equally at home poking into sheltered estuaries or exploring the shores of isolated coves. This design will carry a large paddler through rough conditions yet it is small enough to be easily handled by petite kayakers. With a form inspired by the ancient Inuit inventors of kayaking, the Petrel will appeal to devoted Greenland-style paddlers without being intimidating to novice sea kayakers.
This boat is derived from Nick Schade's Night Heron designs, but it is shorter, has more rocker, and more reserve buoyancy in the ends. The moderately hard chine of the strip-planked Night Heron has been softened forward of the cockpit and transitions into a hard chine behind the cockpit. The result is a lively boat that accelerates quickly to catch waves, carves down wave faces and maneuvers easily.
The "transitioning" chine varies from a quite rounded, soft chine forward to a hard chine aft of the cockpit. The forward section provides smooth performance pushing out into waves and reduces the tendency to broach while surfing. The hard chine aft provides some shape that facilitates carving and leaned turns.
The deck shape takes its cue from Greenlandic Inuit skin-on-frame designs with a sharp chine-like feature line on either side. This provides height where you need it for knee room, while keeping the deck low overall. The side of the deck slopes in quickly so it is out of the way for close-to-the-hull strokes.
This design was developed to carry a 200-pound, 6+ foot paddler on day trips, but it is small enough in volume that it would also work well for lighter paddlers. It is meant as a day tripping boat for larger paddlers, and would not have the capacity for extended trips, but if you are a smaller paddler there is enough interior volume to carry a fair amount of gear.
Nick's new book "Building Strip Planked Boats" contains very detailed instructions on building the Petrel and it's a must-have (included with the complete kit).
Strip-planked kayak kits include 1/3 medium, 1/3 dark, and 1/3 light strips. As with all of Chesapeake Light Craft's strip-planked kayaks, builders may choose any combination of light, medium, and dark strips to create their unique strip design. Contact us to for current color options and avaibility.
Rob's Strip-Planked Kayak Build - Start to Finish (2.5 years into 13 minutes!!)
Rob says, "I built my Petrel (design by Nick Schade) over the past 3 years and ran a time lapse camera through the process. I'm proud, and the process is pretty cool if you have 13 minutes of patience (I've added some energetic music to keep you awake.)"
Nick Schade in his Petrel playing near Catumb Rock on the ridge between Watch Hill, RI and Fishers Island, NY.
Nick Schade attempts to paddle out through the surf at Napatree Point only to be rejected, and dragged back to the molars.
Nick Schade took this footage in his Petrel. He writes:
Practicing an assisted rescue in rough water with large waves and fast current.Due to the size of the waves, the kayak was not completely emptied before re-entry. Instead it was pumped out enough to get to an area of slightly smaller waves where it was pumped out more than paddled out of the rough area completely before final emptying of the kayak. The location is Catumn Rocks area between Watch Hill, RI and Fishers Island, NY. A spring tide ebb with a strong southerly wind.
I didn't actually know the camera was on as this was happening so my aim is off during much of the video.
Nick Schade in his Petrel. Not so deadly waves at Napatree Point. Long boat sea kayaks surfing left over tropical storm waves.
Nick Schade catching the flood in his Petrel at Blue Hill Falls.
Nick Schade in his Petrel, sea kayaking along the shore of Stave, Jordon, and Ironbound islands.
Nick Schade surfing in his Petrel at Napatree Point, Rhode Island.
Nick Schade in this Petrel running the flood in the Race on Long Island Sound.
You can easily compare our boat kits for stability, rowing and sailing performance, payload, and ease of construction. Additional comparisons may include cockpit room or transport options if applicable.