First Paddle/First Impression

Today, I took the Mill Creek 16.5 out for a quick paddle.  It tracks nice and straight and accelerated nicely.  I was going to make my first launch from our floating boat dock, but decided to make a beach entry instead.  I may regret that decision.  First, I didn't realize it, but I got a ton of mud in the boat and caked onto the foot pegs by doing that (I was wearing river shoes).  Second, as I paddled away,  I think I drug the stern on the bottom which in addition to the mud has some rocks. It is floating in our boat slip next to our boat right now.  I'll take it out later and have a look for scratches or worse.

The one thing I may need to add is a rudder.  It tracks quite straight, but did not turn as easily as I would like.  That could be because I weigh over 190lbs and was sitting in the aft seat.  That may be the problem.  I'll paddle with my 125lb wife up front tomorrow and see how it turns with two paddlers.   

  I bought a pair of 240cm Bending Branches Whisper paddles and I have to give them very good marks.  They are light and I was able to generate good power.  For $59 each, they are excellent recreational paddles. 

After seeing the completed kayak and seeing me do something at night other than watching TV, my wife is all for me building the WD 12 that I now have my eye on.   

I'll have some pictures posted on Tues or Wed.

12 replies:

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RE: First Paddle/First Impression

You may find that you need an additional seat position near midships for paddling solo.  I primarily row my MC 16.5, but have paddled it a few times.  It trims out fine with two people, but with only one in the aft seat, the bow is well out of the water.  Try perching in a temporary position near midships and see how it does.

Enjoy paddling, Paul

RE: First Paddle/First Impression

Thanks Paul.  That is what I was hoping as far as paddling.  Both my seats attach to the floor with velcro, so I can definitly make adjustments.  I am also going to buy the rowing unit and oars.  Based on my paddle today, I can see why so many people row this boat 

RE: First Paddle/First Impression


Glad to hear you plan to row your MC.  I think that's the best application for this boat.  As I said, I have only paddled mine a few times in 2 1/2 years while I row it most weekends.  I actually have built a Sheerwater 17 H to paddle.

Anyway, the MC makes a nice rowing boat.  You can find 5 or so pictures of my boat in the MC 16.5 mani gallery on the CLC website.

Enjoy teh boat.


RE: First Paddle/First Impression


 I wouldn't worry too much about the scratches.  My second time out in my Chesapeake 16, I ran up on a rocky shoal in dark lake water, hearing and feeling the boat run up on the rocks.  I winced as the boat stopped cold.  The result was two large (3 feet long) scratches on the bottom on either side of the keel.  I was going to re-varnish now, but that's what winter is for.  You'll have plenty of time for refinishing later on... right now enjoy the boat!


RE: First Paddle/First Impression

Here are some photos.  I know it is normal to scratch the boat, but I managed to do it on the first day!

RE: First Paddle/First Impression

RE: First Paddle/First Impression

The first day, I kept the kayak tied up in our boat slip, but boat wakes and aluminum docks don't mix with wooden boats.

RE: First Paddle/First Impression

That's a pretty looking boat. Are those inlays or more of decals on the deck? And when the boat is in the water folks can't see the scratches on the bottom.

RE: First Paddle/First Impression


You are correct about the scratches!  They are invisible when the boat is in the water.  Also, thanks for the complement.  The inlays are actually Pomelle Sapelle veneer.  The pomelle figuring really looks cool.   

RE: First Paddle/First Impression

I am close to finishing my Mill Creek 16.5, and plan to primarily row it as well.  But I am planning a 90 mile canoe trip down the Wisconsin River with my daughter this Summer.  Does the Mill Creek paddle at least as good as a canoe with two people?  I have a kevlar canoe but would rather go in my new boat if it paddles well. 

Any idvice or comments would be greatly appreciated.  


RE: First Paddle/First Impression


We only paddle ours on a lake that can get pretty choppy, but the currents still are not like a river.  If we were to make this a boat for paddling only, I would get a rudder without hesitation.  But, I built it with rowing in mind and I probably won't add a rudder...unless a really good deal comes along.  I think balancing the load in the cockpit probably makes a big difference.  I'm sure it will handle a lot differently on a river, but  if you need a highly manueverable boat, you may have some issues.  On our lake, it paddled quite easily and tracked staight as an arrow...but it still did not turn easily even when my wife was in the front seat.  I recommend no less than 230cm least for lake paddling. 

RE: First Paddle/First Impression

Thanks Jeff,

Your boat looks great! I really like the inlays.   I'm sure mine will be scratched after our first trip too.

 We are going on a fairly large and slow moving river so it will probably be similar to paddling on a lake.  It averages about a 2 foot drop per mile I think.   My daughter weighs about 60 pounds less then I do so hopefully we can trim it out with our gear. 

I ordered a double rudder (I hope to sail it someday) and a pair of 240 cm paddles this weekend.  I am almost finished with fairing and sanding the deck and hope to glass it tomorrow.  I can't wait to get it in the water.  

I hope to row it too, but thats an expensive proposition.




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