CLC Shearwater 16

Hi all

Thanks for your previous thoughts on boat suggestions for me! I was goofing around on the net and went to the CLC site and saw that the Shearwater 16 was similar (in dimensions) to some of the boats that were recommended (being about 16 ft x 22 inches) I try. I am looking for a fun day boat for paddling with my Carolina 14.5 clad spouse.

Has anyone built/paddled any of the shearwaters? I have always been intrigued by building my own, but the whole lack of test paddling one is a bit daunting for me! Thanks for your responses, as always!


Check the CLC board

No matter where you live, there’s probably someone within 100 miles willing to share pros/cons of the boat – or even a test paddle. There’re quite a few stitch and glue boats out there. My personal preference – mostly just aesthetics – is to Pygmy boats. If you can’t get a test paddle on the CLC boat you like, you might try getting as close as you can with a commercially built fg or roto boat, just to see how you like hard vs. soft chine, degree of rocker, primary/secondary stability. My guess is you won’t have to paddle something else, that you’ll find a willing and happy owner who will share.

will do! I hadnt thought of that… my bad!


Should be quite nice

Should be quite nice.

The designer has a good reputation (I think it’s an Eric Shade boat).

While it’s new to CLC, the design has been around for a while. Check out

You’d be best to try it. Note that CLC has a demo weekend in Annapolis, MD in May (usually). They sometimes do demos in other places too.

Chined versus round hulls are somewhat of a personal preference but chines are fairly natural to the stitch-and-glue method (which is less work than “stripping”).

I built the Merganser 16

– Last Updated: Mar-17-06 11:36 PM EST –

That's what the Shearwater 16 appears to have been derived from. The decks look different, though. I haven't seen a Shearwater/CLC in person--just going by the ad photos.

The Merganser 16 has a 21" beam, not 22".

Matching a Merganser 16 with a Carolina 14.5 is a bad idea, unless the person in the 14.5 footer is a much faster paddler than the one in the 16 footer. The Merganser is not a slow kayak.

What specifically do you want to know?


I did not know that the shearwater was based on the merganser- CLC only describes it as new. I didnt have a specific questions about it but was more interested in people’s impressions of it in general.

I know its not going to be a perfect match to a Carolina 14.5, but then again, its probably a better match to that than my current boat, a 18 ft kevlar boat- a 16 ft one is closer to a match so improvement is good! thanks for your thoughts


Check out Eric Schade’s site!
Kudos to CLC for marketing the desings of Eric Schade (as well as Mark Rogers-Artic Hawk). All of the Shearwaters are Eric Schade’s designs.

The Shearwaters are Mergansers…with some modifications so that they more so resemble the CLC line. Eric is now putting together a version of his tandem for CLC. Perhaps they may even be wise and ask him to provide the Baidarka design as well.

I have paddled the Merganser 17 and would have built it if it had fit. Check out Eric’s site. You can also purchase the boats directly from Eric. He is a wonderfully enthusiastic and hospitable guy who you can contact via email/phone for assistance when building his designs. He also has some GREAT accessories on his site. Check out the flush deck fittings and other neat stuff.

BTW…Eric lives in CT and always has boat available to test out. Recently, there was a Merganser 17 for sale @

Building my first boat was an extraordinary experience. I am currently building an sof and have plans for my next stripper. Also check out if you have any interest in building.



something tells me
That CLC realized that the Chesapeake line of boats is getting pretty outdated and they’re losing lots of business to Pygmy, so they hired somebody to design a ‘cool’ boat for them to sell.

Eric Schade from Sheerwater kayaks is brother of Nick Schade from Guillemot,right?

Interesting that both CLC and Wilderness systems have the Artic hawk design.

A simple solution to slow vs. fast boats
Here’s a novel idea…

The person in the faster boat can paddle just a bit slower! :slight_smile:


Arctic Hawk

– Last Updated: Mar-21-06 6:38 AM EST –

Wilderness Systems has carried a composite version of both the Arctic Hawk and Sparrow Hawk for a long time now. While the design is the same, the S&G Arctic Hawk is just so lovely! I think Mark Rogers has been pretty smart about licensing the designs of the AH and SH to WS, and the AH to CLC. He still produces all the Hawk series boats himself for customers as well, in addition to his SOF boats (and building classes/workshops). There's such a great demand for his boats, be it from him directly, from WS, and now, from CLC as well. Plenty of demand for all of them!

When I was just about ready to purchase my first boat back in 1997, my short list had narrowed down to a choice between the WS Arctic Hawk and the CD Caribou. I may have just been unlucky in terms of the specific fiberglass AHs I tried, but the layups felt just a bit flimsy to me (it was too easy to press on the boat in places and cause a bit of buckling). I went with the Caribou at the time. That was a long time ago, so I don't know if WS has changed anything about the "stiffness" of the AH and SH fiberglass layups (or if, as I wondered, I just got unlucky with the two individual boats I tried back in 1997).

As soon as the AH was available as a CLC kit, I became one of the first to order the kit, and I'm extremely happy with the result! :-)


I second that!
After a lot of shopping for a S&G kit, I decided on the Merganser 17W…I was looking for a Greenland style boat, but wanted a little more volume for comfort and gear. This boat gave me every thing I was looking for in day tripping and multi-day expeditions.

And you’re right, Eric was a great help. This was my first S&G kit and I was not very confident. I made several phone calls to him, some even on a Saturday morning when I was frozen with indecision on a subject. He always talked me through it.

I believe CLC taking on some of Eric’s line is a tribute to the reputation of Shearwater Boats.


is a more user friendly design for the average beginning paddler than the regular 17/Merganser/Shearwater for that little extra stability and ease of turning. It has less volume/windage than a Chesapeake 17LT and more usable cockpit volume for ingress/egrees.

that was a lonnnnggg process.

For example the length of time it took for CLC to acknowledge the feedback of local paddlers who were building AND paddling the NBxl was a bit painful if you were a paddler and doing customer service.

The NBxl was being sold totally blind for over a year, no one had built or paddled one for about a year of production.

With the regular 20" wide Northbay a lot of it’s handling shortcomings were considered to be normal for a “enthusiasts” or reproduction of a “real Greenland sea kayak” but the NBxl had a pivot point(forward) and weathercocking that was totally outside the bell curve. A lot of production boats can get away with this by tacking on a rudder,this wasn’t meant to be a ruddered kayak and was intolerable to paddle in 15mph+winds because of the wrong pivot point and loose stern/tight bow.

When a demo NBxl was made I had the chance to paddle it over a 1/2yr period while building my own four panel design and getting familiar with the 20" wide Northbay I built the previous year.

The bow of the NBxl was tighter than the stern,this was different than the regular NB and explain the difference in weathercocking. Also that the stern freeboard on the NBxl was comparatively higher than the regular NB. Given that the regular NB weatherocked,broached easily and wasn’t that respeonsive to a lean in a similar manner as the Chesapeakes I made sure to change that on my own design and saw the difference. Paddling the boats and changing something as basic as entry angles/rocker made a difference that’s as noticable as driving a truck with a solid rear axle or a car with independent suspension.

Basically if you wanted a design that already weathercocked and wasn’t that responsive on a lean and wanted to make it worse,you’d do exactly what happened to the NorthbayXL. Not testing it ensured a flawed design went into production. Local customers would come back and say “what do I do?” and we’d say “put on a skeg!” or “here,re-cut the bow, attach a skeg!”.

The customer was building an unfinished and untested prototype and paying retail for the privelege. Even when a famous kayaker with the initials D.H. paddled it and said “look at this, it’s going the wrong way!” nothing happened for a couple years.

I’d say a light bulb went off somewhere.

Shearwater vs. Carolina
Just by chance, I rented a plastic Shearwater for a 3-day trip I recently took. I’m guessing it was a 17 footer…meant to step it off when I had it on the beach, but never did.

It was very stable and well-behaved. It’s no race boat, but I never got the sensation that I was just plodding along, like I due in the Carolina. You will be faster than your spouse in the Shearwater. Put your spouse in the Shearwater and you paddle the Carolina, that should be perfect!

Hey, LeeG, did you used to paddle a Pygmy in the Annapolis area? Like around Thomas Point Light one Labor Day a few years ago?



– Last Updated: Mar-21-06 2:40 PM EST –

but on the cover of a book by Andrea Nolan about local paddling I'm in the s&g kayak I designed with another former CLC employee.
ps. the Shearwater mentioned is a plywood design.

Wrong Shearwater (nm)

Link to picture
Here is a link to a picture of the Shearwater I was paddling. Obviously, it’s not wood. Is it the same hull shape?

The decalling on the bow spelled out Shear Water with a little logo thing between the r and the W.


totalamente different

– Last Updated: Mar-22-06 9:45 AM EST –

that looks kind of like a Dagger Majellan but it's not,,no the Shearwater/Merganser can be found on
They're four panel plywood kayaks,,rockered, strong tracking, not a lot of volume in the hulls but not especially low volume.

where's the picture taken,,looks very nice

Kenneperu Sound
That picture was taken at the Department of Conservations, paddle0-in site, “Ferndale”, on the Kenneperu Sound in the area generally labeled “Marlborough Sounds”, north end of the Southern Island of New Zealand. It was very nice. I’ll post a trip report one of these days. Getting that picture up was a step in the right direction. It was my first time using that camera (Optio 333), new software, new file server, and so forth. It’s taking me a while to wade through, downsize, and upload the pictures. Doesn’t help that I left the camera manuals on the plane.

Obviously, all previously posted comments by me about the Shearwater should be disregarded as they have no relevance to the boats under discussion.