Hi Kent, I’m the “smaller woman” with the Arctic Tern 14 that Rival51 mentioned in his earlier post. Just to muddy the (non-paddling) waters a little, I, too, love my Arctic Tern 14, having built mine in 2003. For outfitting, I mini-celled the dickens out of it because I’m extremely small framed and it was pre-Pinguino days, but you would have no problem with the cockpit as is. As Rival51 mentioned, the foredeck is a bit high, but that has never been a problem for me. The rear deck on mine is slightly recessed which makes layback rolls and paddle float re-entries (when you’re ready to learn!) pretty easy. As to woodworking, the only thing I ever built before the Tern was a bluebird house, so that should give an indication that the directions are quite good! Being a complete rookie, it took me 120 hours (excluding varnish/sanding time) to complete, and I’m certain that someone with even a little woodworking experience could shorten that time. Mine has the optional hatches and thigh braces, and I HIGHLY recommend both. The Tern 14 does just fine on rivers that are fairly straight and it tracks as straight as an arrow, but as others wrote, you’d probably be happier with a shorter, more maneuverable boat if you plan to paddle it on twisty rivers with a fair bit of current, such as the Pine you are NOT on! I’ve had it on the Great Lakes in some pretty good chop and she does just fine - no skeg or rudder are needed.
Good luck in your search!