Considering a light weight Mill Creek 15

I have plans for a Mill Creek 15 but have not yet started building.  The MC 15 plans call for a 6 mm bottom and 4 mm sides and deck, but I'm thinking of using 4 mm for the bottom and sides, and 3 mm for the deck.  I have built from plans an LT-17 and a Chesapeake 14.  The Ches. 14 combines 4 mm for the bottom with 3 mm for the sides and deck, so I've some familiarity with the lighter materials.  Other than the obvious problem that the lighter weight construction will not be as robust (don't ground it on gravel!), does anybody on the forum see a fatal or otherwise serious weakness to this idea?

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RE: Considering a light weight Mill Creek 15


Unlike the Chessies, which have some curvature and the bottom seam to help provide the longitudinal stiffness, the MC's bottom looks to be mostly flat with just a bit of rocker. In that case, the thickness of the wood is providing most of the bottom stiffness. 4 mm is only 44% as stiff as 6 mm.

So besides punctures, you need to be aware of the potential for greater flexing. On still water this shouldn't be a problem (since the water will support the bottom), but it could get interesting in waves. I have a 14-ft pirogue which has amostly flat 6mm bottom, and in certain wind/wave combinations I already can feel the boat flex when I give the paddle a good strong push. 4 would really be wobbly.


RE: Considering a light weight Mill Creek 15

I agree with Jim, the 6mm plywood is a better choice. I own a Mill Creek 15 and that 6mm bottom makes a difference. The boat is not all that heavy anyway, so why scrimp? Build it right the first time!

RE: Considering a light weight Mill Creek 15

Thanks -- That's precisely the sort of insight I was hoping for.  Guess I'll go with the somewhat heavier but stiffer hull.

  -- Jim C

RE: Considering a light weight Mill Creek 15

I built a Mill Creek 16.5 with an extra layer of glass cloth on the inside bottom for extra strength.

It's tough but heavy. It came in at 70 lbs with the seats.


Wood Turner 

RE: Considering a light weight Mill Creek 15

Hi Vermont Paddler,

I have an opportunity to obtain a pre-built MC 15 with the sail rig components.  This would be my first kayak. 

I was wondering if you can comment on the performance and stability of the MC 15 with and without the sail rigging.  Since I am am a sailor, this confiuration was of nterest to me.  If it works then I will probably build my own conventional kayak.



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