Strip-built vs S&G Petrel Performance Differences

Last September, I had a chance to paddle a strip-built Petrel and was very impressed by its handling characteristics. I have a Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 and 17 -- the 17 is an excellent touring boat that I paddle it 2-4 days/week, and the 14 is fun in surf. Neither have anything near the maneuverability of the Petrel, though, and I'm very close to moving forward with this new project.

Based on the amount of time I have to put towards a new build, and my building experience (which is limited to the two S&G Pygmys), I'm leaning towards the S&G Petrel. It's a tough decision -- the strip version is beautiful...

But my question now is about performance differences between the two versions. Anybody have experience in both (ideally), or the S&G version? I guess I seek assurance that its performance is very close to the strip-built version...spins on a dime, practically rolls for you, etc. etc.

Any thoughts or feedback you have to share on this is greatly appreciated! 


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RE: Strip-built vs S&G Petrel Performance Differences


Although you are asking for specifics I’ll offer a general observation on Strippers vs. plywood. We have built numerous CLC and Pygmy S&Gs and one Stripper, the Redfish King. In gross terms, the hull form is remarkably similar to Pygmy Coho, (Joe Greenley would scream bloody murder if he read that.) and gross performance is remarkably similar as well.
But - on every point of paddle the Stripper is just much more refined. Everything you need to do is smoother. The difference in the fine points of handling is kind of remarkable. The ability to build complex compound curves with little strips allows a more refined hull shape. With S&G we find ourselves ticking into place - kind of like a detent - as the boat settles onto another facet of flat plywood. However, this might not be as evident in a hard chined boat like the Petrel. Plus, a Stripper is a dead sexy boat. When we’re paddling together her boat gets all the attention. Or is it her?
If you’ve built a couple of S&Gs you won’t have any trouble with strip building. We had about 600 person hours in J’s Kinglet. We stapled the hull and built the deck without staples which took longer.
Building time can be shortened a fair amount by stapling hull and deck. If you are careful, consistent placement of staples makes a pleasing patern, to my eye at least.
My guess is with your extensive paddling and good building experience you’ll be happier with a strip built boat but it comes down to time. Hope this helps a bit, I’m sure folks with experience in the Petrel will chime in.



RE: Strip-built vs S&G Petrel Performance Differences

i would highlight the differences as follows:  1) tracking, 2) looks and 3) build time/complexity.

tracking - i have paddled them both and also paddled the similar but slightly larger night-herons.  the stitch and glue's track better than the strip builts.  the reason is pretty straight forward.  on the stitch and glue, you have relatively sharp chines compared to the result you will have on the strip built hull...and these help you track.   while they are both very maneuvarable ...i would say that that tracking strikes me as the biggest easy-to-discern 'performance' difference if you put them head-to-head.  the other differences are much more subtle.  but i think if you like one,,,,,the other is is close.  i would not avoid one vs the other becuase of 'handling'.

looks:   well, its hard not to fall in love with a well executed strip built.  there is simply so much more you can do.  the shape is so much more complex and curvy and interesting.    and while i think the petrel stitch and glue is a really good looking boat, it is outdone, imho, by the strip built if well done.  a good example is my night-heron strip which i patterned after a petrel design i liked.   it just turns heads in a way that my best stitch and glue doesn't.  there is a reason nick's books have the strip built night heron on the cover....its a georgeous boat.


build time:  this is the difficult factor and is so much related to your skills and patience and what you are trying to accomplish.  all i can say is, for me,  it was substantially more work to do a strip built.  my night heron above - a little over a year (it was my first strip build) a lot of hours....easily 4 to 5 times more work than my stitch and glues. but i was also building to a very high standard with some modifications that were expensive from a time perspective (boat only weighs 39 lbs including a retractable skeg).  while i consider myself very accomplished at stitch and glue....i found it was a really new thing to build this.   fwiw, all my stitch and glues were from kit....  there is practically nothing in a strip built that is done for you compared to a stitch and glue.  you work for everything. but if you are up for the regets.

as an interesting aside...i said i wouldn't do it again....and now what's in my garage?...a petrel strip built in progress....i just finished the strongback and forms.   i am budgeting a year.   just had to have it.

RE: Strip-built vs S&G Petrel Performance Differences

   My comment comes from having built a couple of CLC Chesapeaks. and  strip petrel.  The Chessies track.  the stripper has so much more rocker, a bit of a hard chine in the stern and a much more rounded profile in the front and a lot of rocker.  It is a very "squirrily" boat.  I find I do better in the petrel with a greenland paddle. I think because I do not over do it on the stroke and then have less to correct. If you stop paddling it turns.  If I just want to go in cross winds etc I prefer a boat that has less rocker and a sharper bow and stern.   

I suspect the Sand G and the strip petrel have pretty similar performance.  

Considering  the type of paddling you want to do you might consider the petrel play.

I have seen and heard a lot of very positive comments about it.  It is a relatively complicated S and G but people seem to think it does almost everything well including or especially heavy surf. 

You could also go to Guillmont Kayaks and ask Nick directly.




RE: Strip-built vs S&G Petrel Performance Differences

Thanks everyone for your helpful responses. All the feedback is great and appreciated.

Agree about the positive points of stability of an S&G design -- in my current boats it is second nature to slap over to one chine or the other...awesomely reliably that way, but sometimes I think I'm paddling a bobber.  

Couldn't agree more with comments about aesthetics -- they're all fantastic-looking boats -- their made of wood! -- but the beauty of a strip-built boat is impossible to deny.

I also agree with the comment about the boat I'd be happiest in -- the strip version, without a doubt. It's logical that with its more refined lines comes more refined handling, and ultimately I seek a boat that gives a lot of feedback. 

I did connect with Nick, and also John at CLC. Nick, not surprisingly, provided good ideas on how to moderate the stern keel of the S&G version to bring its rocker closer to the strip version. Both he and John agreed with the idea that the S&G, with its firmer lines, is a bit 'trackier' and more responsive to an edge than the strip boat.

I think my real issue is I want one of all these boats!

Thanks again. 


RE: Strip-built vs S&G Petrel Performance Differences

   As far as looks go a well built strip boat wins  out

But I've seen quite a few that just didn't come out right so if your bit on the artistic side great but the s&g kits are pretty foolproof and a lot faster to build.

RE: Strip-built vs S&G Petrel Performance Differences

   Hi again.

I read your coments again and I really think you should go for the strip built.

It is not realy that hard.  You will get a lot of pleasure building it.  Even if it is not perfect (mine sure wasn't) it still gets compliments all the time.  It is a great boat that is managable with intermediate skills and will respond to all the skill you can develope as well as helping you build those skill.

I probably spent about 100 hours on mine in small bits.  Should have spent another 30 sanding and finishing but wanted to get it on the water.  It still looks great from 5 feet.  Some ripples, drips etc in the epoxy but that doesn't effect the performance at all. 



RE: Strip-built vs S&G Petrel Performance Differences

i probably am slow.....but ed....a 100 hours to build a strip built?  not impossible....but pretty agressive.

guillemot site has a nice link:

not trying to discourage you....actually just the opposite.  but might be better to think in terms of these estimates (200 to 250 hours) to just manage your expectations.  if you are faster....then that's great.  

in hind sight....while i spent a lot more time than the 200 to 250 hours (at least double that), most of that was related to things like skeg, a custom designed deck and blind rigging (no screws), staining and a polished finish.   but you can have a beautiful boat without all these extra features or add them after a season or two.   That's one of the the coolest part of these boats....the ability to modify,  re-build and recondition them.





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