Finally Completed!!!

It has been quite a journey for me.  My incredible wife bought me a Chesapeke 17 kit for Christmas in 2002-yes, 2002.  The kit arrived in early 2003 and I got to work.  I was approximately 75% done in April when we had our first child-poor planning on my part.  Progress came to a halt.  After another child and a move, I was finally able to re-dedicate some time to it this year.  With encouragement and help from a great friend, the kayak was completed on July 5th, 2014.  She is not a work of art, but I have received many compliments at the lakes and rivers.  I learned a lot in the building process, mostly about me, not boat building.  I encourage everyone who is "stuck" in the building process to try and carve out 30 minutes a week to keep the ball rolling. I even found time to make a greenland style paddle.

I am curious, has it taken anyone else over a decade to build a kayak?

Below is a photo from the maiden voyage on the Willamette River in Corvallis, Oregon.  

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RE: Finally Completed!!!

Congratulations Matt!

I don't know about over a decade, but I suspect that years-long builds are the norm for amateur builders, unless they have no family, job, pets or other interests. That, BTW, is basically the situation that a boatbuilding class temporarily sets up for you, as well as giving you a trained helper, a place to build, all the materials collected for you and some head start on the prep. (Recognize any of the things that slowed your build down in that list?) That's why something like George Krewson's class at St. Michaels this fall will get you a ready-to-finish CH17 hull in less than a week.

FWIW, it took me 9 years to build a 12-ft dinghy, 2 years for my 18-ft schooner. The fastest I've built was my pirogue which took under a week. You're absolutely right about doing even something small on a regular schedule keeping the momentum going. Another suggestion I'd make is to shoot the TV, disconnect the Internet and run the smartphone over with the family car.

Well done getting it done, welcome to the CLC fleet.




RE: Finally Completed!!!

   Congratulations!  Your story sounds very familiar.  My first build was Chesapeake 18 which I started in November 1997.  Was making good progress until I moved in April 1998.  It got put to the side, new house, new baby, another baby, job change, long commute etc. next thing you know it is 2007.  With nudging from a good friend who helped me get going I finished mine in July 2007; just shy of 10 years.

I'm close to wrapping up my second build a Kaholo 14 that I started in August 2013.  I'm in the final sanding stages; getting ready to varnish; so with any luck I'll finish in well under the 10 year mark.  As you stated just carving out bits of time to keep things rolling is the key.

RE: Finally Completed!!!


Congrats on finishing. I am glad to hear I am not the only one that took a long time. I got mine, a Wood Duck 12, built and fiberglassed over one winter/spring. Then my son started using it without the coaming or any of the other finishing touches. We threw a Crazy Creek camp chair in. He used for 3 summers this way, fishing from it and getting as far away from Dad as he could. We just finished it this year. I finally sanded it down and got the type of finish I wanted, not worthy of any sort of recoginition but it gave me a sense of accomplishment none the less. 

Now I am alreadying lobbying the boss to let me build something for her or my daughter. :) Mill Creek, Shearwater Sport, SUP or another WD? Hmmmm.. Love the dreaming.


One question..You are in Corvallis and rocking Duck green on your boat?

RE: Finally Completed!!!

As a Beaver fan it was a difficult decision to go with green.  I prefer to think of it as a darker green than the Yucks south of Corvallis.  My youngest son is a Duck fan, so he really likes the color.

Go Beavs.  

RE: Finally Completed!!!

   Nice job Matt!!

Life happens. I'm about 2 years 3months into a Sheawater Sport  Hybrid. I only have a little over a week left. Going with the cedar strip deck may have been a bit ambitious on my part considering that I have never built anything from wood before. I can't wait to paddle my art. 

RE: Finally Completed!!!

   Started a OneOcean Cirrus in 2004 ( I think??) . still tinkering away, got the deck glassed and filled last weekend.

i have built a Pax20 and Kaholo in between though.

RE: Finally Completed!!!

Started a strip canoe in1997 that took 10+ years to finish after a move in 1999 from FL to MI.  About finished with a SW sport I started this May built with the epoxy from the canoe - still good 17 years later.

RE: Finally Completed!!!

My Chesapeake kit had  sat in some guy's garage for over a decade before it from him off Craigslist. All he ever did to it was open the box.  I have been working on it for a year and a half and just put the coaming on. 

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