Questions about CLC Arctic Hawk

I am interested in building a kayak from a kit. After a couple of years thinking about it and researching options, I have decided on an Arctic Hawk from CLC.

I have never built a wood kayak, is the Arctic Hawk too difficult for a newbie builder with limited woodworking experience? I have read that the Hawk is fairly labor intensive and can take 300 hrs +, is this true?

I prefer to use VCP hatches, but CLC only offers the 7.5". Can I use the 7.5" for a day hatch (CLC said they would sell me an extra bulkhead,) then purchase two oval hatch kits from GRO? Has anyone ever built a Hawk with 3 VCP hatches and 3 bulkheads?

Are there other kits that would be comparable to the Arctice Hawk (i.e. West Greenland style?)

Will all of you give me a hard time if I don’t use a GP paddle at first?

Thanks in advance for all of your help!

I’ve not built a
S&G so cannot intelligently comment on the level of difficulty.

BUT… I know damn well you can build this because I have nearly zero woodworking skills and I built a cedar strip Night Heron. Took longer than a real woodworker and I made approximately 2.3 gazillion mistakes but I ended up with a great boat that performs like a champ and I adore every inch of her.

Drop in at and you’ll find a bunch of friendly builders who will be more than happy to answer your questions.

BTW, I hope you read the fine print… you know, where it says boat building is incredibly addictive and you’ll never be able to stop…

Looking forward to seeing your first boat and, until then, pleasant waters to ya.


I can’t imagine a S&G kit taking 300 hr.
I would guess tops at 150 hrs. if your a perfectionist. The constuction is spread out over many weeks as rarely can you do an eight hour day.

over the top
the A.Hawk construction process and manual is designed by a perfectionist so following all the steps layed out will take almost as long as a strip boat.

if you want it

– Last Updated: Feb-17-06 1:28 PM EST –

first start with the reviews of the Wilderness Systems composite Arctic Hawk just so you know what you're getting. Somewhere between an objective review and a review done by someone without much paddling experience who's spent nearly $3000 on a new boat or spent $1000 on a kit and 4-6months building it is useful information.
There isn't anything inherently good about four panel hulls or four panel hulls that approximate skin boats. The argument can be made that hulls made with eight or more panels will cover the ideal handling envelope better. It's just that there aren't that many multi-panel designs besides Pygmys and WatersDancing.
That said I think the OneOceankayaks Cirrus is probably a better handling hull than the A.Hawk. As a general education look at the reviews of the Current Designs Caribou,,that also started as a plywood design. The reason for mentioning the Caribou is that it isn't an approximation of a Greenland skin boat as the A.hawk and Betsy Bay. It started as plywood kayak design.
The Shearwater Merganser is a faster construction and has a larger variety of sizes.
The Guillemot s&g is more maneuverable.
The Guillemot Night Heron is wild/faster and probably more challenging to paddle,,but so is any longer/skinnier boat.
YOu should also dig up information about Cunninghams '94 SeaKayaker magazine design,,he still paddles his. It's not in kit form but it's a clue that four panels of plywood don't have to be a particular look and be "good".
If you've decided on the A.Hawk,,get it. If you really are looking at other designs I'd suggest the Cirrus and Mergansers.

Don’t forget…
…to get the addon skeg for this kit. I have owned an AH - and they weathercock bigtime…so its either incorporate it into your building process, or add it on later down the road.


PS - FWIW - I would go for the Merganser if given a choice now.