First trip in the new boat!

Hi folks-

 I recently finished my first boat, a CH17 kit, and took it on a small overnight trip on a local river (the Huron river, for anyone from Michigan).  We paddled for about 6 hours before reaching our campsite, then finished the trip the next morning.  The boat handled beautifully and was able to store a remarkable amount of camping gear (see picture).  What a nice design. 

That being said, I have a question.  As of now, I have the standard foam tractor seat installed, as well as the "rapid pulse" backband I think its called.  The seat doesnt bother me so much, it is actually more comfortable than it looks, but the backband seems to sit too low on my back and is very uncomfortable.  In the meantime I have been using the piece of deck that I cut out for my rear hatch opening as a backrest, and that works OK, but I would like to hear from someone who ordered a fancy seat and has done a longer trip with it.  Are they worth it? are they comfortable?  I am just under 6' and 225 lbs; can anyone about my size comment on a seat that supports your back better?

Lastly, as you may have seen in the picture, my girlfriend is still putzing about in a 9' plastic bathtub of a boat.  In "The New Kayak Shop" is a set of plans for a boat called the Severn which would be very close to perfect for her- a smaller, flatwater boat that is extremely lightweight (26 lbs or so).  Does anyone know if I can get full-scale plans for this somewhere, or recommend a similar, lightweight design for someone her size?  She is 5'1" and about 118 lbs or so. 

Thanks all-


10 replies:

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RE: First trip in the new boat!

Trying this image thing again...

RE: First trip in the new boat!

It's amazing you put that much gear into that "little" kayak!!!

I'm building the 17, but have modified it halfway between the full-size and the "light" version, keeping the higher curved deck on back, but taking 1/2 inch off the sides.  I'm looking forward to being where you are... on the water!

As to a boat for your girlfriend, I'm thinking the same thing for my wife and her girlfriend and the Shearwater 14 looks like a good option.  I considered the Severn but I'm not crazy about the coaming... not sure they'd be either.  The 14 foot design of the Shearwater would make for less scarfs than were necessary in the 17's, and should be fairly lightweight if you keep an eye on the epoxy.

Just my thoughts, post us what you decide.  And a very nice looking boat, too!


RE: First trip in the new boat!

ive got a creature comfort seat in my shearwater17 and am very happy with both i think the seat is worth the money as for the shearwater i yhink its the perfect boat

RE: First trip in the new boat!

I use a happy bottom seat in my Shearwater Hybrid and it works well for me. My 5'5" 117 lb. daughter loves the Sheatwater 14. On the back band question, I"m your weight and 3" taller and I have a 69 year old back. All day in a boat is made MUCH easer for me with a strap sewn to the top of my backband that I can lead over my sholder to pull the backband up from time to time. I notice you don't have a PFD on in the pictures. If you use one at some time you'll find that a backband works much better than a larger stationary seat back so try to adapt to the backband if you can. By the way NICE BOAT, enjoy it. SEEYA Jack

RE: First trip in the new boat!

Built a Severn about 10 years ago as my first build. At the time all that could be purchased were plans. There were no kits. The build went well although it is truely a "tourtured Plywood" design. I gave myself a really good wack in the chest with a c-clamp secured to one panel when it slipped out of my hand as I was bringing the two halves together at the bow. It is a truely beautiful boat when complete. I really like the look with the rub-rail. I originally buit it out of 3mm okome without any glass. It weighed just a hair under a feather. My son cracked the bottom in the cockpit so I put in a layer of glass in the cockpit and a layer on the whole bottom. It is still a featherweight with the glass. If you are looking for something with a nice high coming for the back to rest against, this is the boat for you. This boat is primarily my wifes boat and she loves how high the coming is in the back. The cocpit is also large enough for her to sit with her knees up instead of down inside (loung lizard paddling style). She doesn't use a skirt on the boat and if she did the pointy front of the surround would probably punch right through it.  I paddle a chessie 14 alonside her and the Severn is always the boat that people say "WOW! nice boat".


RE: First trip in the new boat!

Trying this photo thingy for my Severn


RE: First trip in the new boat!

try again


RE: First trip in the new boat!

Thank you for the replies.  I am starting to think that a decent seat is the way to go.  I may see about getting one for next season.

In the interim, jacknlin, the idea with that "pull strap" is a good and simple one that I am probably going to use right away.  Thank you.  And I actually do have a PFD on, it is just not visible in the picture, I use an inflateable model similar to a fanny pack that activates when I pull on the handle.

Ricks, that is an absolutely beautiful boat you have there.  I love the lines and it looks like you got the finish down perfectly.  Do you know if the plans are still available somewhere? I have done quite a bit of searching online, but other than the reduced scale out of the book, I have not found them anywhere.

Thanks again,


RE: First trip in the new boat!

I'm in favor of 'investing' in the best seat that CLC offers.  I worked my way through all the options.  I struggled with just about everything below my waist falling asleep or cramping.  Now I'm 6'2", 230, but the Creature Comfort seat with the thigh support cushion has allowed me to be in be 'in the saddle' for over 6 hours straight without significant, negative repercussions.

 This is just one of those areas not to compromise on if you want an enjoyable paddling experience.

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