Chesapeake 18 on Lake Superior?

Hi everybody,

 I've built a 12' WD and am looking to get myself something for bigger water. I'm thinking of a 18' Chesapeake to set myself up for 5-day camping trips, up at the Apostles, Isle Royale, and other paddling on Superior. I'm torn between going with the kit, and just going to plastic as I could see the rocky shoreline up there doing serious damage to a wood boat. My other concern is how it would handle in nasty conditions, storage, etc. Anyone out there have experience with an 18' up in Gitche Gumee? Any advice would be appreciated.


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RE: Chesapeake 18 on Lake Superior?

All I know about Lake Superior is from Gordon Lightfoot, but I have had plastic kayaks and I have a woodstrip canoe. Here in FL we have oyster beds, which are pretty rough on a boat. I would put a well-built wood kayak against a plastic one any day.

RE: Chesapeake 18 on Lake Superior?

Sorry I can't say I have experience with an 18' Chessie.  But I do have experience in the Apostle Islands and Isle Royale.  I've been taking at least a couple of trips a year in the Apostles for the past decade (I must be close to 25 by now).  And about 5 years ago we did a week long trip around the northeast tip of Isle Royale.

On the Isle Royale trip we had plastic boats.  The outfitter didn't even want to carry fiberglass because of all the rock landings. Now, I have to say, if I owned a fiberglass boat I wouldn't have had any regrets bringing it.  I think the real reason is because it's rentals.  People beat up on the stuff, they just don't care and he didn't want to replace boats that often.  We experienced some rock landings but nothing that would have made me think twice about having a fiberglass boat.  (To me, a wooden boat is just like a "regular" fiberglass boat, it just has a wood core, is lighter, and looks better.)

In the Apostle islands we rent fiberglass.  Plenty of sandy landings, and some rocky ones.  (I know, i know.  Over the years I've spent as much on rentals as a couple of really nice fiberglass kayaks. I don't even want to think how many kits I could have bought.)

I was just up in the Apostles during the Labor Day weekend.  3 day trip out to Stockton Island.  Very nice.

To get back to you question.  If it were me, I would not even think about plastic.  I am in the process of building my kit for this exact region and type of trips.  I know I will be 100 times happier with my fiberglass kit boat over any plastic.  So much lighter, and plenty sturdy.

That's just my 2 cents.

-Jerry S

RE: Chesapeake 18 on Lake Superior?

I did some day paddles in Chequamegon Bay and out in the lake off  Meyer's Beach. Meyer's beach faces right out into the lake. Paddlers go there to see the sea caves near the Red Cliffs Indian Reservation. If the weather is in your favor the only thing that's of concern is the water temprature. It doesn't get very warm. Madelein Island is in the bay so there is some protection.

A Chesapeake is as good as anything else.

And check your map. Isle Royal is in Lake Michigan. And it's well off shore.

RE: Chesapeake 18 on Lake Superior?

Meyer's Beach is, in fact, a beach so there's no danger to your hull. Madelein Island trips take off from a sand beach in Bayfield. Same thing. I have never been out to Madelein Is. but it's such a popular destination I suspect there is a convenient place to land and launch. 

RE: Chesapeake 18 on Lake Superior?


Isle Royal in Lake Michigan?  Is that a typo or what map are you looking at.  Isle Royal remains where it has always been in Lake Superior.  

RE: Chesapeake 18 on Lake Superior?

have not started bulding my cheesie 18, but did get back from bouncing off rocks in my WD12 on the St. Laurence this summer.  Install kevlar rub strips and carbon/epoxy the underhull.  You will have no problems.  I also added a little extra material on in the bow/stern impact zones so she is good and solid.  You will end up with a boat that is tougher then a standard fiberglass.  Many manufacturers are making the plastic boats out of thinner material to reduce the weight and hance the are not as tough as they used to be.  I would go C18 myself.

RE: Chesapeake 18 on Lake Superior?

To Charlie

I did check my map and I still am 100% confident Isle Royale (it does have an e at the end) is in Lake Superior.  And yes I know it is well off shore because I took a roughly 4 hour ferry ride from Houghton Michigan to get there.

Here is a crude map, but it does show the island I visited.

RE: Chesapeake 18 on Lake Superior?


 Oops here is the map

RE: Chesapeake 18 on Lake Superior?

Ok, I will not try anymore with that pic.

Matt - To get back to the thread topic.  Please let us know what you decide to do.  I don't think you can go wrong with a CH18.

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