Wooden Boat Ideas

Howdy - looking for suggestions on a new boat kit.

I have two Arctic Terns, a 14 and 17. The 14 is great for surf, messing around, rolling, etc., and the 17 is a stable speedster, awesome in the wind and waves. It’s my go-to, and I paddle 2-4 days / week.

I’m considering something to fit between the ATs, mainly in volume. Ideally ~16 feet, but I don’t want to give up too much length. I don’t need tracky, though, like the AT17.

I’ve paddled Pygmy’s Murrelet 2PD / V2 hull, and liked it. Nice and light - I was only able to paddle in a little slipway behind Pygmy’s shop, so I have no idea how it handles in wind / swell. Of course, Pygmy’s marketing manager told me she was in 25mph winds with following seas and had no issues.

I was lucky to paddle CLCs Petrel at the boat show in PT Townsend. What a kayak. I paddled the strip-built version – it spins on a top, literally, and with the skeg at ~50%, seemed to track well (albeit in very mellow conditions). It rolled so easily. The only negative I got was it didn’t feel fast, but I’m used to the AT17, which is zippy.

I’ve tried 2X now to get in a Redfish, but Joe is hard to track down. Too bad - his boats are beauties. If I went with one of his designs, it would probably be the Silver (16’9" / 22.25" beam).

I know there’s a big different between putting together an S&G and strip-built boat – I’ll build whatever, I want a nimble boat that I can paddle across the spectrum of conditions we get here in the PNW. Oh…I’m 5’11, 190lbs, size 12 feet.

So…with that preamble out of the way, any other suggestions and / or personal experience with the boats I mentioned?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts / comments.

something different
How about something different, Cape Falcon F1.

Great little boat, have wanted to build one for years, but I’ve already got 7.

Btw, it’s SOF, skin on frame.

Bill H.

Shearwater 17 Hybrid?
I to have built two Tern14s and the Tern17 and have lusted for a Silver, just love the looks of the Redfish boats.

I also found the Tern17 made a good camping boat but a little too tracky and went back to my CD Caribou S, despite the extra weight, but still keep my Tern14

If I still had room to build I would try the Shearwater 17 Hybrid from CLC, looks like the best of both worlds.

Pygmy’s new boats look interesting and you are fortunate to live near them.

Keep us informed, GH

Was it the standard Petrel?
Did you try the standard Petrel at 17’ X 20" or the Petrel play? They list max shoe size of 11 on the standard, which is right where I’m at, and I’m not really into cramming my feet in. The Guillemot looks interesting too. I just don’t want to build something that I can’t comfortably paddle fit-wise.

I want to play in the surf with it, but I seem to lean more towards efficiency than your average park and play person.

my thought, too
Since you’ve got two solid wood boats, why not try a wood-framed skin on frame for something a little different? There are builders in the PNW. I can vouch for the boats built by Lodru Dawa of Monkcraft in Oregon (who also offers kits and classes) – I have one of his Greenland replicas. I believe he offers test paddles in examples of his boats.


next boat
How about a Pygmy taiga?

Something Different…

– Last Updated: Dec-27-15 6:35 PM EST –

Take a look at the Black Pearl... Custom designed to fit you and Bjorn is easy to work with as well...

The wife and I each have one and I've paddled several others as well.. Awesome boat... and easily the sexiest wooden kayak out there...



CLC options

Unfortunately, I don’t think the Shearwater 17 is the best of both worlds. And I have one.

I went to a CLC Demo Day last fall, just out of curiosity… since I already have my Shearwater that I love, and a 17LT. I paddled everything they brought. I nearly attempted to steal the Petrel :wink:

It blows all the other craft out of the water, unless your only desire is to go straight, all the time. I will build one ( as soon as I find time ). Even if the Petrel wasn’t just an all-around better boat than the Shearwater, which I think it is, the Shearwater 17 seems like it’d be completely redundant with the Arctic Tern 17.

FYI, in addition to there being a difference in time and skill required for the S&G versus the strip, the hulls are also slightly different. It’s minor, and I loved both boats, but the S&G actually turns a bit sharper. The Night Heron is also a fantastic boat, but at 18’, probably not what you are looking for. I am the same size you are, with 10.5 feet and just enough foot room, but otherwise comfortable in these.

Also, you presumably know there’s a forum on CLC’s site, which will tell you anything else you need.

Size 11

is pushing it in a Petrel, and I’m almost positive your feet will be crammed. CLC is a size or two optimistic on their shoe sizes.

My Shearwater allegedly fits a 12.5. Yeah, maybe one of them, sideways.

With a strip built kayak making the deck a little taller really isn’t much of an issue to make room for bigger feet. Done it several times, easy.

Unless one gets silly, changing the deck shape slightly has very little effect on the design of the boat.

Bill H.

Stripper OC-1
I think an Ulua stripper canoe would be just the thing for the Pacific NW unless you want to build a Cape Falcon F1 SOF copy using stitch and glue techniques.

Thanks for responding. I’m reading a couple of books on boat building, and for my first go round, I just want to follow the plans and build a kayak that I fit into comfortably. One of the books is Nick Schade’s “The Strip-Built Sea Kayak”, which includes the Guillemot. The other is a boat building textbook that they use at the wood boat building school here in town at Cape Fear Community College.

I’m going to count out the Petrel based upon foot room concerns. I don’t care to even flirt with that problem.

The Guillemot Expedition Single is also tempting for me. And it’s supposed to have even more foot room. Max shoe size listed as 14 instead of 12 in the Guillemot.

The Guillemot is described as being somewhat squirrelly, which makes me think I’d have fun with it in the surf. With the Expedition Single, I’d be thinking fast open water kayak and camping kayak.

Does anyone have any experienced paddling time in either of these two birds? Should I be looking in a different direction, like the Black Pearl mentioned above, or some other, and what was it that you liked better about the other design? It looks like Nick put a lot of effort into the Guillemot design, so part of me now wants to see what he came up with. But I can be swayed at this point.

Check out the Shrike…
Free plans…


I would like to…
…build a skin-on-frame, but for this particular boat I’m going with wood. Bookmarked the F1 site - thanks.

…aware of their forum. I’ve gotten good advice there on repair / maintenance info. I’ll post there, too, but wanted to meet the gang here, too :wink:

The Shearwater – you have one, and you feel it’s a tracky boat similar to the AT17? Asking based on the Shearwater’s description on the CLC site – and because I haven’t paddled one, of course.

I had a similar reaction from my paddle in the Petrel. I was very impressed, but didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time in it. Would you paddle that boat as an all-arounder?

Standard Petrel…
…not the Play.

But I’m looking for a kayak.

Not this time
…but wow, beautiful kayaks!

…my feet were a little cramped during my test paddle. The cockpit had no outfitting, too. I’m pretty sure I could manage it, even with size 12s, after paddling the boat.

Yes, the Shrike…
…I’ve looked at this before. Another fantastic-looking boat!