Thank you for your responses re: choosing a kit

Thanks everyone for your input regarding which kit to build.  So far it looks like the volume and the length of the boat is important as it relates to paddler size (5'4" 150-155lbs.)?  I want a boat that I can use on open water (large lakes) that are at the mercy of the weather.  Lake Texoma mainly (on the TX, OK state line).  Moderate winds (10-15 mph) are pretty normal.  But I'd like the boat to be somewhat lively, something I won't get bored with. 

Someone suggested the Petrel, a shorter boat, but I'm afraid I would have a hard time with tracking.  The Greenland Night Heron is I think a low-vol.(?) 10 cubic something-or-others, and knowing that I can change the cockpit size is awesome, but it is 18' long.  Am I totally off track thinking this would be a good boat for my size, paddling ability (beginner) and conditions I'll be using it?  The Shearwater 16 Hybrid is a shorter boat but with greater volume.  Both of these boats on the web pages suggest that they would be good for smaller paddlers (defined as <160 lbs.).  I also read a post from someone who said they paddles the Night Heron and found it too big for 170#/6'+ paddler.  I guess I'm a little confused.  I am going to try taking another paddling class and trying out a few more boats before I buy.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling.  I'm hoping to buy my kit in the next few months.

4 replies:

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RE: Thank you for your responses re: choosing a kit

I didn't follow your original posting, but am concerned about this one. If you are a beginning paddler you should not be thinking about a Petrel or Night Heron. They are both designed for experienced kayakers. You should also not try a strip built boat as your first build, lest you become discouraged by the time and skill required and not finish it. I would strongly recommend the Shearwater, as it is lively, fast, tracks well and steers easily, but is also quite stable and forgiving. The stitch and glue version is easy to build and looks almost as nice as the strip versions.

RE: Thank you for your responses re: choosing a kit

Oh Wes,

I must argue this with you.  Strippers are not any harder to build, in fact they are quite easy.  They just take longer.  I have built 3 and am on my 4th Stripper with no problems, where tourturing plywood can be very challenaging.

As far as the yaks being for more experienced paddlers I somewhat disagree.  Most of it has to do with sense of balance, and body porportions.

I will agree that it is easier for a newbie to learn with a hard chine than a soft, so that they can catch the secondary rather than drift it.  So with that I agree that S&Gs and Hybrids are better for a newbie to learn on.

And last... the beauty of ones yak is in the eye of the maker.  Some like the smooth wood grain of ply, and others like the strip look.


RE: Thank you for your responses re: choosing a kit

You're right Kev. I should have been more specific. The two boats that aquafem is considering, however, are known to be especially challenging strip builds. Keep in mind that you are a professional woodworker; she is a novice. -Wes

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