Shearwater Double Launch

After a six month build, we launched our Shearwater Double yesterday.  The kayak, which took 153 man-hours (67 work periods) to complete, came in fully rigged at 78#.  As usual, both the kit and build manual were exceptional.  From a technical perspective, there is nothing difficult about this build, the only real issue is size.  The long panels are fragile during assembly and a second set of hands really helps.  With 400+ (I lost count) wire stitches, it takes a while get everything lined up and tight.  There are nine full length (18.5’) filets, filets around both sides of the four bulkheads and the two cockpit recesses.  Glassing, sanding and varnishing are all marathons.  This is a build that takes some patience, and probably not the best first build.

As expected, we found the Shearwater Double to be very roomy, stable and comfortable on the water.  It is so stable in fact, that my wife was able to raise up and lay on top of the deck behind the forward cockpit with no fear of capsize.  What really impressed me with the design is just how fast and maneuverable this boat is.  I installed a Smart Track rudder system but I am not convinced that this boat needs it.  I had the rudder up for about half of our first outing.  We did not do a lot of speed work, but I was able to move the boat at 5+ mph at an exercise effort with my wife resting.  (The boat was lightly loaded: my wife weighs 118#, I weigh 155#, and we had maybe 10# of gear and water.)  When my flea-weight wife joined in paddling, we saw 6+ mph.  I am excited to get the boat out with another strong paddler so I can see what the boat can really do.  Another huge positive with this design is that the cockpits are far enough apart (6’+) that the two paddlers can uncouple their stroke without fear of hitting paddles.  My wife and I own a short SOT tandem, and I know why they are called divorce boats.

Really, the only negative with the boat is the weight.  While much lighter than a plastic kayak with similar payload, it is definitely a two person job to load on the overhead rack on my pickup.  If it were any heavier, it would be too heavy for my small wife to help. 

When we decided on the Shearwater Double, we were looking for a boat that the two of us could use to cover more distance than my wife could in her single.  We are also hoping to use it for kayak camping.  I have no doubt that this will be an excellent boat for both of those purposes.

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RE: Shearwater Double Launch

Wow!   Beautiful Build. We have been enjoying ours for 2 years now and have taken it all over the midwest!  Enjoy!


RE: Shearwater Double Launch


can you tell us a little bit about how you used stains on this build?  i was looking at the hull on your build and was curious how you approached it.  

it looks like you stained some of the panels or parts of panels.  it looks very clean.




RE: Shearwater Double Launch

Following the directions in the "Tips for Boatbuilders" section, I used Behlin Cherry on the bottom hull panels before any stitching or glueing.  I had used stain on my Petrel Play and liked the look, plus we thought that it would break up the acres of Okoume on the SD hull.  Pictures of the build here:

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