Newbie needs help

I purchased a cheasapeake 17LT about a year ago. It sat in the garage most of the time while my wife and I moved. I had glued the side and bottom panels before the move. My friend and I started putting it together about a week ago, and everything was going fine. We have been attaching the bottom to the side panels and I have some questions. One, how much of a "V" should be in the keel under the cockpit area? My boat looks great at the font aand how I would expect but then it looks flat across the cockpit. It goes back to a "V" toward the stern. Is there a stitch technique I may be missing? Also, and this is my biggie, I started stitching at the bow, and things have been lining up great, but as I've gotten closer to the stern I've noticed about 2" differential between the length of the bottom and side panels. The bottom is sticking out more than the sides. Do I just trim this up, or could I have made an error previously? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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RE: Newbie needs help

There's not much "V" at the center of the hull (also building the 17LT).  Mine's got about a 1" difference from the center to the edge of the bottom, looking into the cockpit where the seat would sit.

I also noticed a difference in length (apparant) as I stitched the sides to the bottom, and I had to use tape to hold the sides to the bottom.  I think it's just the geometry of the angles coming together, but when I made it from the bow to the stern there was only about an inch or so difference overall and I just trimmed off the excess.  Worked great.

Good luck.  If possible, take pictures as you go and post them when able.  They also help us determine what problems (if any) you're posting about.


RE: Newbie needs help

Thanks Larry. I was going to trim the stern but I was nervous about doing that. I'll try to get some pics together.

RE: Newbie needs help

Hi "gamecoc443".  How much "V" in the cockpit area can be a little bit tricky to establish.  My Ch17LT kit also wanted to be too flat there when I first stitched it together.  I put the bulkheads in temporarily to establish the "V" at those locations, and then sighted the keel line from bow to stern.  It needed more "V" in the cockpit to give an almost flat "curve" to the long keel line.

The first thing I did was shorten my spreader stick by about 1.5"!  That was the recommendation offered by "John, CLC", who also reassured me that the decrease in beam at deck level would not affect stability.  Doing that reduced some of the flare in the hull sides, which allowed more "V" between the bottom panels. 

But more "V" was still needed.  I then opened up the keel seam for a few feet by inserting wooden match sticks in the wire ties, in the gap between the bottom panels.  Finally the bow to stern keel line looked like I thought that it should.  Some masking tape on the outside of the seam prevented thickened epoxy from leaking through the gap (up to almost 1/4" wide) while the fillet was setting up.

It's worth being a little fussy getting the hull seams all fair (and not twisted) before making it permanent.  If you're unsure and don't know someone who could take a look in person, I'm sure there are plenty of folks here who could offer comments on clear photos taken from strategic viewing angles.  Bring 'em on!


RE: Newbie needs help


I was actually thinking along the same lines as you. I figured if I inserted the bulkheads it would help me get the keel line a little more "V" shaped and straight. Thanks for the tip. I'll be trying it later this weekend. If this boat floats or sinks, I can say I have had a great time in the garage drinking beers with my neighbors!

RE: Newbie needs help

First, your kayak won't sink, even if you cut a big hole in the cockpit.

Second, Grant has given you good advice.  I would go a little further.  I would loosen all the stitches along the keel and chines, more so on the keel in the cockpit area.  (How much is loose?  Not floppy loose and not snug.  Don't be afraid to adjust either way as necessary.)  Stitching and alignment are easier when there is a slight bevel or roundover on the mating edges (sharp edges slip and pop past each other - one of Murphy's Laws).  Be prepared to replace a few stitches as you retighten.  Then play with three things:  bulkheads, spreaders and your hull supports (how far apart, upside down or rightside up, hanging from the sheerclamps, etc.).  Gently move things around and watch what happens.  You want the V of the bulkheads to match the V of the bottom panels when the bulkheads are close to their designed fore-n-aft locations.  Use the spreader stick to vary the V of the bottom, but don't make the spreader be the controlling factor.  Make a template from the plans that is the same angle as the side panel makes with a horizontal line from sheer to sheer.  The plans should show a hull cross-section near the middle of the hull.  Use the template as a guide when you are fiddling with the spreader - you don't want the spreader dimension to wander far away from the plans value except as John told you.  And move the sawhorses/supports closer together or farther apart.  Watch to see if the bottom sags as the distance changes.  Don't be in a hurry and don't get flustered, it'll come around.  Where the hull looks fair, tighten a stitch a little - watch what happens.  Then slightly tighten the two other stitches near it at the other two seams.  Watch and keep the hull fair.  Move 2-3 stitches away and tighten some more across the hull.  Tighten the stitches in a line that is perpendicular to the length of the hull.  Check for fair.  Move to the other side of the first round of stitches, skip2-3 and tighten (if you first moved to the bow, skip toward the stern next).  Alternate back and forth.  When you have a large section retightened with skipped stitches, go back and retighten some of the wires you skipped.  Go over the whole hull, slowly, watching for the shape you want and one that is fair.  If tightening some stitches puts a dink in the hull's shape, loosen them up, put in some toothpicks or wood slivers and tighten the wires on those.  It's a pain, but you'll get a fair hull out of it.  Good luck.

RE: Newbie needs help

PS: while the hull is open is a good time to slip in an extra bulkhead behind the rear one, line the compartment you create with foam and leave a hole in the top to put the ice and beer in.  As the beer comes out fill the remaining space with fish.  Happy paddling.

RE: Newbie needs help

Can't help you with the v in the hull, but I do know that the stern panels not being the same length is common.  I wired up my MC 16.5 kit and the bilge and and sheer panels were not quite the same length.  I was told that is common and to simply trim them.  I made a template from the plan sheet and traced it on the the panel.  After that I cut it to match.  Here is a before picture.

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