I competed in a triathlon last weekend (3 miles 33 mins) fastest one man craft, now I want a faster boat. I have a Shearwater 17. My problem is I weigh 220 and Have size 12 feet, I already have to cut off the toes of my booties to fit, so I eliminate a lot of boats right off. I want to be able to use it as a primary boat also so not to radical. I think the(HD)Night Heron looks good but it's performance numbers are the same as what I'm paddling. Suggestions?



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RE: preformance

look at the west river 18

RE: preformance

I have a West River and it's fast and for sale.  Are you looking to build?  If you are looking for a finished boat, let me know where you are.

RE: preformance

Listing on site states speed "7" same as Shearwater ? Does anyone know for a given weight what is waterline beam and length of each boat? The West River has a smaller opening at the front of the cockpit, I now have a brace going from one foot peg to the other so I can paddle with my knees up, I don't think that would be possible with West River. I'm 600 miles away from shop so it isn't easy for me to swing by for test rides.


RE: preformance

Can anybody at CLC explain why you continue to misrepresent the Shearwater 17 as fitting size 12-1/2 shoes, when sad and expensive experience has led those of use with bigger feet to learn that size 10 is the actual maximum? -Wes

RE: preformance

I think it's important to remember that a lot of the performance gauges are... "relative" EG, it cites the shearwater, which is 22" beam and 17' long as being faster than the S&G Night Heron, a 20" wide 18' boat. While I'm no racer, I got to paddle both of these boats, and found the NH to be, for me at least, significantly easier to get up to speed, and much faster according to my seat of the pants dyno (no real numbers, was just doing a test paddle.)

In the end, gauges on the Internet are only going to be good for so much. CLC does a great job of getting a number of boats in the water and freely available to try out. It's really worth making it to a show to test both fitting and performance. 



RE: preformance

The fastest boats in CLC's fleet are the Pax's. I have a WR 18 and have been smoked by a Pax 18 and I'm pretty fast. I'll be building a Pax 18 for myself. Looks like you might just fit in the Pax 20. It's possible to make a larger cockpit opening, oval instead of keyhole, if necessary.

George K

RE: preformance

In my SW17 with my size 12 NRS kicker wet shoes my heels were over lapping, much better with front 3/4" of shoe cut off. Pax 20 would work for racing but is a little too single purpose for me. 

James, I thought the numbers for the S&G Night Heron (HD) looked like a much faster boat. And I could make it my everyday boat also. I will be "giving" my SW17 to my wife to paddle. or she will say why do I need a 4th boat. You do need to think of your spouse, the SW17 will be much easier for her to paddle.



RE: preformance

The Mystery is a good option- as long as the foot room is ok for you

RE: preformance

Phil, I have a Pax-20 and it's for sale. It's fast.  It sounds like your in shape and I believe you could reduce your 3 mile time to the low to mid 20 minutes.  It is a little tight for your size.  Paddle one.  I'm in northwest lower Michigan.  If your in the neighborhood, you're welcome to try it out.

Gene T

RE: preformance

Sounds like you might be happiest in a surf ski.  Not something you'd build, but designed for speed, with unlimited foot room.

They race them regularly in the PNW, in lakes and open water, and they are impressively fast.

Something to consider, at least. If you must build a boat, then the Mystery gets my vote, too - though that is based only on the fact that a friend built one.

Good luck!

Dave Gentry

RE: preformance

I live in Upstate NY by Canadian Border. I think I'm going to plan a trip to CLC to try out a few models. I think the Mystery is too long to compete in Triathlons. I find I can hold 5.5 mph but am limited by my current hull design. Will (NH) 18'L 20"B make that much difference? 1% 5% ? Most races involve turns around buoys, are hard chines quicker around turns? Pak 20 looks like an all out racer, not well suited for rec. paddling as main boat. I know I want it all.

Thanks for suggestions 

RE: preformance


A good measure of potential speed relative to what you are getting in the SW 17 is to look at relative speed/length ratios and displacement length ratios.

SLR:  Speed length ratio is speed (knots)/square root of waterline length.  The SW 17 has a waterline lenght of about 15 ft so at 5.5 mph (4.78 knots) you are maintaining a speed length ratio of 1.23.  You can probably count on holding that same speed length ratio with a longer boat assuming the weight is about the same (more on weight below) so you can probably hold 5.52 knots (6.35 mph) in a 20 ft WL boat.  This is a 15% improvement.

DLR:  Displacement length ratio of the displacement volume/.01 x L cubed and is a good indicator of wave making resistance.  If all the boats considered weigh about the same then total displacement (you plus the boat & gear) will be the same for all and the DLR will go down significantly as waterline length increases.  The DLR of a Mystery or Pax 20 is about 42% of the DLR of the SW 17. 

This will make keeping the SLR up as well as compensating for added frictional resistance due to an increase in wetted surface with a longer boat.

When all is said and done, a 20 Ft boat is going to be signficantly faster than a 15 ft boat.

Hope this is more help than confusion.


RE: preformance


Thanks that is just what I was looking for, some numbers I could crunch to compare how different lengths effect speed of boat. How does width come into play? 

RE: preformance

i had a pax and at 185 lb and 5'8" i felt cramped  if i were you id go with either a strip built or ahybrid that way you can easily modify the deck height and cockpit size or you can go a whole different rout and buy a surfski

RE: preformance

p.s  dont forget the tippy factor unless your in that boat ALOT and are really comforatable  with the balance you wont be able to put as much effort into moving it forward as you can a more stable boat especially in choppy conditions .i had that pax for a few years and was pretty comforatable in it and i still make better time in my shearwater

RE: preformance

I sold one of my boats,(factory made kevlar) and now have money to buy. I tried out a West River 18 ( I drove two hundred miles RT) but didn't like it as much as my SW17. I have gotten used to hard chines and prefer their sharper handing attributes. Now I have it down to two boats a  Hybrid Night Heron - High Deck or a  Merganser 18 (by Eric Schrade who also designed the SW17). I'm tending towards the Merganser as it is a little wider = more stable = slower, but the water line looks to be a tad bit longer (6") than NH  longer = faster. Plus after building a SW17, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I'm nervous about how much more skill it takes to build the striped deck?

Is their a NH or Merganser in Upstate NY? 

One more question my wife wants to know how many more boats I will build?  I want to take a poll. How many kayaks have you built? and how many have you owned at one time? 

Thanks Phil 

RE: preformance

The Merganser and the Shearwater have basically identical hulls. I've built both and love the way they handle. They track well and steer easily once you get used to the initial tippiness. The Night Heron feels more stable initially but handles differently. You should actually try both.

Don't be afraid to do a stripped deck. I stripped the deck on my Merganser and it gets admiring comments every time I take it out. Eric put a photo of it in his latest catalog.

As for how many boats you will build - one a year is a realistic number. I don't believe it's possible to build only one kayak. -Wes

RE: preformance

And for your survey, I have built three kayaks and a sailing skiff. Currently own two commercial kayaks and two that I built. I also have plans, licenses and much of the materials on hand for three more kayaks and a canoe. -Wes

RE: preformance

I never thought this would happen, but it looks like I will be finishing 2 boats in a year. i'm mulling over which one to do next, probably a full stripper.

(aside, anyone have experience with redfish boats? email me on the side if you want


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