C-17 Building Reward

Posted by Chuck Rhodes on Jan 9, 2006

Yesterday all my Chesapeake 17 building efforts were well rewarded! After having made my first maiden voyage prior to Christmas, and another short paddle a week ago, I was very pleased initially with my 17. However, yesterday I took her out for her first long paddle and also had the chance to do some comparisome paddling with some commercial 17' glass sea kayaks that I met up with. I went out to First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach and spent the first couple hours just exploring the small inlets, back bays and the plethora of beautiful waterfront homes in the area. All the while the 17 paddled smoothly and was very comfortable for my 6'4" 200 pound frame and size 12 1/2 feet. It was such a pleasure to quietly ghost along the shore and the sea walls while peering into all the back yards and boat docks at such close range. Plus being able to do so in water sometimes only four to six inches deep due to the low tide was especially fun.

Then spotting several other kayakers way across the channel I paddled over towards them. I just kept paddling at a good constant rate, not really trying to get any max speed, but just maintaining a good steady stroking rythmn. I easily passed them, kept going awhile and finally pulled over in the shallows to read a park sign on the beach. They came up soon after and started asking all kinds of questions about the Chesapeake and saying how fast she was and how they were paddling pretty hard trying to keep up. They also wanted to know all about her, how she was built, and kept saying how beautiful she was and marveling at the look of the varnished deck. Feeling pretty good about her after that I continued my journey and finally after almost four hours decided to call it a day. Pulling up to the beach back at the launch site I had not even got out of her when bystanders began inudating me with all kinds of questions. They were commenting on how beautiful she looked compared to the glass kayaks, and wanting to know how she was built, what type of wood, how she performed etc., etc.. It ended up taking me about an hour to finally get her loaded and ready to head home due to all the conversation she generated. I felt like I should have had a bunch of CLC catalogs to hand out and maybe could have sold a couple kits right then and there. Now I am sure that many of you reading this have experienced the same sort of thing but for a newby to sea kayaking, and being the proud father of one I built myself, it was a great reward for all that time I put into her and to know she performs so well. Now I can hardly wait to get back out again and am wondering why it took me so long to get into sea kayaking in the first place! Already tired of hearing me rave about all the fun I have been having my wife wants me my wife now wants me to build her one. Can you believe that?!

Good paddling,


Chesapeake, Virginia