sea island sport or chesapeake 18

Hi all. I'm new to this site and new to kayaks and boatbuilding in general, so bear with me. I had been planning to purchase and build the CH18 kit this spring, but the SIS caught my eye. I'm 6-4, 230lbs, long legs(36 in inseam) and size 13 foot, so my options are pretty clear based on research into the various boats available at CLC. I do a lot of multi-day backpacking trips, so I am looking for a touring kayak that has enough capacity for 4-5 day trips and is sea worthy enough to go out on the chesapeake bay or even maybe an occasional trip along the atlantic coast. Tom's Cove Va to one of the Md back country camp sites is one such trip I have in mind. But first,  I need to decide and build the boat!  My main question is how does the SIS compare to the CH18 in terms of sea worthiness and, for normal touring speeds, how do they compare as far as paddling effort? I'm looking for a distance cruiser. I've seen drag curves for the SIS, but are there any available for the CH18? Thanks for any opinions, comments or suggestions.  -Dave


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RE: sea island sport or chesapeake 18

well, I guess no one has any opinion. I didn't mention that a few years back I rigged an old town guide for trotline crabbing. It worked out pretty good but the canoe was so rear loaded that as soon as the wind picked up, the tracking was terrible running a trotline. But, thinking about it today, the SIS might make a dandy crabber. Weight's in the center of boat, pronounced keel for tracking and a self draining cockpit. I'm thinking putting my butt on the aft deck, feet in the cockpit. Some sort of pvc rack system to fit into the cockpit, forward of my feet, with a shelf for the crab basket, and some sort of storage for the anchors, chains, floats, bait, etc. Trolling motor in the back, so lots of things there to figure out. At the end of the day, strip it all off and you got a fairly efficient sea kayak that my wife can use. I'm still going to build a freight hauler, but that will likely be the second build. Maybe this will spur some comments, unless there's no crabbers out there. 

RE: sea island sport or chesapeake 18

Hi, I'm no crabber as I'm a midwest guy. But I am your size to a 'T'. I'm finishing up a WD14 and the cockpit is huge. Tons of leg and knee room with lots of storage space as well. Not sure how it stacks up to the sea island sport. I've had it in the water but not loaded down so my experience is limited.


RE: sea island sport or chesapeake 18

I was keeping out of it since I haven't paddled a CH18, but your second post got into an area I actually know something about - the SIS self-draining cockpit and stability.I thoroughly testsed out the SIS at Okoumefest a few years ago, including GPS-measured speed runs and stability tests. Among other things, I exited over the side into water over my head and then climbed back in.

While the SIS is stable enough for that sitting position in flat water, I'm not sure that it'd be tenable with any kind of chop, especially since with your height you'd be putting a good bit of mass up in the air and raising the center of gravity.

Next, at your weight, even before all the crabbing gear, the boat would be so low in the water that it wouldn't drain. Add in the gear and you'll definitely have a permanent pool in the bottom of the cockpit, unless you plug the hole. At which point, you no longer have a self-draining cockpit.

Finally, I was only able to get the SIS up to 5 mph or so. For comparison, I was able to get the WD12 up to 6.5. Any of the Cheasapeake series is substantially faster than the WD12.

My suggestion would be that since you are close enough to be paddling the Chesapeake and camping in MD, head on over to the CLC showroom and actually look at the boats and talk with the folks about what you need. They might even be able to arrange a demo paddle if the water's currently liquid.

Good luck,




RE: sea island sport or chesapeake 18

Thanks Laszlo. I did read you're comments about the SIS in the archives. Good info. Good point about the weight. After thinking about it, with my weight, the trolling battery (50 lbs?), trolling motor, weights and chains for the ends of the trolling line, plus bait, racks, and other assorted gear, plus, a bushel of crabs(worst case weight wise, but otherwise a good thing ;-)), I'm probably overweight. I would be lighter with the kayak full of camping gear (~60 lbs), but sounds like the boat has a bit more drag which runs counter with what I really want to do with it, that being multi-day camping. Maybe CLC could get Nick Shade to do a stretched version, say, same beam but 18 ft length and do a one-off on one of their fancy CLC machines. Might improve the cruising performance? I'd probably be willing to purchase and build the first prototype just to find out. I'm only a little over an hour from Annapolis, so will be making a field trip pretty soon. Cheers

RE: sea island sport or chesapeake 18

Sometimes it takes me a while, but I'm going to stick with the canoe for crabbing, but move my position to the center and rig the trolling motor appropriately. No more work than trying to make the SIS work when all is said and done. So I'm back to doing the CH18. Thanks for the comments.

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