converting Chesapeake light 17 to a 1 1/2

HI, a

I have a Chesapeak 17 with a day hatch and extra bulkhead behind the main cockpit.

I also have a Petrel so not paddling the 17 often.  I now have a 1 year old grandaughter and am thinking of cutting off the coaming, removing the 1st bulkhead and enlarging the cockpit forea and aft to make something like WD 14 cockpit so I can take my grandaughter out when the water is quiet.  (Life jacket and other precautions of course). I could move my seat back 6 to 8 inches and fit her between my feet.  I think that would give me room to paddle without conking her on the head.  I think I may need to reinforce the deck with a couple of knees or maybe fashion a stronger coaming to give strength where I cut away more of the deck than the boat was designed for.  I do not want it to fold up in the middle.  Any comments, suggestions, engineers want to comment on the structural issues, etc.


6 replies:

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RE: converting Chesapeake light 17 to a 1 1/2

   I don't know, Ed. Seems like the perfect opportunity to build a Mill Creek or MicroBootlegger.

RE: converting Chesapeake light 17 to a 1 1/2


You really should not have any problem opening up the cockpit. The sides are mostly vertical and will keep the hull from "fold up in the middle". Also the Cheasapeakes have a shear clamp that adds a lot of strength. And the V of the hull is very strong and reistant to deforming. Three reasons to convert the current Cheasapeake Kayak into the granddaughter transporting yacht of your dreams. 

Personally, I would make a seating area for her in front of you - she will be only 1-2 for a year and at three/four will want her own paddle - better start that project too. Maybe a light weight cedar Inuit style paddle will work well. Or even a broom stick with blades.

Also for three/four year olds, a bucket of acrons/gravel/pebbles to throw adds an other  ten to twenty minutes of paddling time. Little folks have very little attention spans!


RE: converting Chesapeake light 17 to a 1 1/2

Not so sure I would take a one or two year old out in a kayak. That said, I think I would just build another boat with a larger cockpit or a Chesapeake double with a second cockpit so she can paddle with you when she is a bit older.  IMO you are going to seriously weaken the structure of the Chesapeake 17 when you cut out the deck beam out to extend the cockpit forward.  


RE: converting Chesapeake light 17 to a 1 1/2

Joel.   Sounds like you have been there.   

Dan and Rob.  If I had the finances and the shop I would build a strip canoe and take another adult along.  However, neither of those seem to be in the immediate future.  So looking to make something out of (well not nothing) but something underutilized.

Rob. Now you have me thinking about converting to something more like a double.  Would provide more strength with a deckbeam or bulkhead in the middle and for a smallish child the 17 should handle our combined weight easily.  I often paddle with a stick so making another would be easy. Not quite as long and a bit thinner.

By the time she is 4 or so I'll have to build her a little one anyway. Or it will be obvious that this is my dream, not hers.

PS. if anyone in the Westchester NY area is looking for help building a kayak and has 1/2 a garage to spare I'll happily trade expertise for work space.




RE: converting Chesapeake light 17 to a 1 1/2

   The 17LT seems to be a little cramped for a mod like this. Kids grow fast and would age out of this in a year. It might be better to beg, borrow or buy a cheap dept. store "bath tub" to introduce the sprout to the water and to see if he/she is tolerant of the environment of motion, noise and dripping paddle. It would be a shame to go through a mod like this and wind up with a "Frankenstein-yak" and a child that hates boating.

RE: converting Chesapeake light 17 to a 1 1/2

   Ed, Sounds like you have a plan! The deckbeam can always become a thwart. Post pictures a when you done some interesting changes! We all want to see.

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