CH 17 launch and next project advice

After almost 4 years and with lots of help from the forum, for which I will be eternally grateful, and with time off for a couple of medical issues and heat-filled summers, I finally launched my CH 17 about a month ago.  With help from onlookers on the beach all went well with my wife paddling - with me - not so much but I did demonstrate good technique in escaping from a capsize.  Nevertheless, the boat looks great and I’m undaunted.  For my next project I would like to build a boat, mainly for  sailing, that can be easily - preferably single-handedly, launched and retrieved on the beach.  I’m 72 and, while in good shape, weight has to be a consideration.  Suggestions would be welcome.



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RE: CH 17 launch and next project advice

How big are you looking for? One person? Two? Kids and dogs?

Trailer or car top? Or truck bed?

What kind of sailing? Open ocean? Protected bays or lakes?

If you're looking for a simple to build lightweight solution, there's always just adding the CLC Sailrig to your CH 17. Each individual component is light enough to easily carry, it launches and lands best on a beach, uses exactly the same building techniques that you thoroughly learned with the CH 17 and is on sale til the end of the month. It's also amazingly fun to sail and very stable.

Have fun,



RE: CH 17 launch and next project advice

   One boat I was always fascinated by is the passagemaker take apart.  Seems like it would be ultra easy to get it to the beach, no trailer or carrying the whole boat and it has sail rig options.  Website lists the hull weight as 94 lbs,  so cut in half I imagine you're never carrying 50 lbs at a time.  There's pictures of it rowing with three people, sailing probably wouldn't want more than two.


RE: CH 17 launch and next project advice

Well...the PMD take-apart ain't exactly halves.  It's more like 1/3 - 2/3, so taking off the bow (a better way to describe it) brings the larger part down probably under 70 pounds.  I can pick it up and move it around alone (technique matters), but wouldn't describe it as "easy".  It does mean I can transport the boat in sections a short distance to a launch point if needed, but mostly means that I can store her in a corner of the garage with the larger part standing on her transom,  Very handy, that.

She's a pretty good rowboat, though not especially fast (that's what the Chester Yawl would be good at), and a way better sailboat with the lug rig than we'd hoped.  Very burdersome, if thats what is wanted; the stated load capacity is very concervative.  All in all, a four-star hoot.


RE: CH 17 launch and next project advice

Ruach I applaud you on completion and launch of your CH17!

At 70-1/2 now - and 2-1/2 years after receiving my Waterlust kit (which I've yet to begin but I'm real close now!) - were I in your position I'd be of a mind to enjoy my CH17 at every opportunity rather than immediately begin planning for another build.

If you got as much pleasure in the four years you worked on the CH17 as I expect to get with my Waterlust project (hopefully not 4 years long!) maybe the building is as much a joy as the actual use once completed? I can be for some folks I know...

It's been 40+ years since I built my last / first boat. I've learned so much since then! I recall what it took to haul that 14' scow around, get it rigged then launched, recovered after a capsize one time... some of it not so fondly either.

I'm in Laszlo's corner with his suggestion to add the sailing bits to your CH17 if you want more adventure. (I have no idea what kind of opportunitiies you have in your area for sailing challenges!) To me the simplicity of augmenting what I've completed with a readily-available kit of necessary items adds a big plus over starting something new... from the get-go... if for no other reason than the time I'd be spending on the new project would have to come out of the time available for putting the last one to good use!

Whatever you decide, let us in on what led you to that choice please!

RE: CH 17 launch and next project advice

   What ever it is putting it on a trailer is easier. 

RE: CH 17 launch and next project advice


  Thanks for all the replies.  I realize that some additional info would have been helpful so here goes.

My local beach, which is a short (downhill) walk from my house, is pretty gravelly and any boat will take a beating launching and retreiving. the water is a salt water bay - partly reasonably protected and partly pretty open - depending pn the day it can vary from almost glass to very choppy.  I expect that the boat would most often be sailed solo but on occasion might have  2 adults and a child.  My plan is to leave the boat on the beach, appropriately covered during the season and move it to and from the water on a trailer with beach tires. I tm hoping to be able to handle launching and retreiving when i am on my own.

I built the CH 17 primarily for the pleasure and experience of the build - It  may be blasphemous to say but paddling was a secondary consideration (we have a couple of plastic kayaks we leave on the beach for quick outings). also, while I havent given up, I also found that getting in and out of the Chesapeake, without help from another person to stabilize the boat, was challenging. 

The suggestion of the sail rig for the kayak is intriguing but I'm not clear on how much time and effort is required to set up and take down the amas and then I still have the problem of storing  it on the beach.  Of the sailboat kits those that seem to best fit what I am looking for are the NE Dory, Tenderly Dinghy, Passagemaker  and the Skerry.  Only the Tenderly weighs over 100lbs.  I'm not sure why but the passagemaker (Standard) is rated as relatively more difficult to build (of those boats for which an ease of construction gauge is provided).

Any further thoughts are welcome.. I'll keep noodling but hope to have a decision before the sale ends.  Bruce

RE: CH 17 launch and next project advice

 It takes me about 20 minutes to put my WD14 and sail rig together Bruce. A bit of that time is taken getting the mast to fit snuggly in the sail sleeve as there is a fold of sail material right at the peak. A blunt knife assists. 

I also live with a shingle/rocky/very abrasive beach and for next year I'm contemplating antifouling the bottom of the kayak, putting a mooring block in 20 metres or so off shore and leaving her in the water for the summer  instead of building her every time I want some fun. 

RE: CH 17 launch and next project advice


If you're going to store it covered on the beach, both the time for setting things up and the weight become less important than if you're transporting it from a significant distance. That all becomes a beginning/end of the season thing which some beer and pizzas can take care of.

No way you're going to get 2 adults and a child into a CH17, so if you want that capability simply adding the sail rig is out. You'd have to build a whole new kayak, like the Chesapeake Triple, to go with it. But with the stability of the outriggers, it would be easy to board and exit solo.

Beach launching any boat with high sides can be a project. It's a lot easier if there's someone helping you by holding the boat. Then, once you're in, you may also need someone to push you off. It can be done solo, but it will take some practice, balance and limber muscles and joints. There's a conservation of nuisance value - the more of the boat is onshore, the easier it is to get in and out but the harder to push off.

I've personally beach-launched the NE Dory, Skerry and Tenderly at Okoumefest. Both the Dory and Skerry felt at first as if they were going to go over as I got in, but that was totally an illusion. When their secondary stability kicked in they became rock solid. So for those boats it's a matter of learning the limits so that you know not to be alarmed for no reason. The Tenderly never felt unstable.

Whatever boat you build, launching off a gravel beach will be challenging to the boat's bottom. Sacrificial rub strips (wood, glass or high density plastic) will probably be the best way to go. You may also want to consider inflatable beach rollers instead of a dolly. It could be easier to put them under the boat than to put the boat onto the dolly.

Have fun,


PS - to launch the CH17 off the shore, try putting most of it into the water bow out, straddle it from behind, walk down to just behind the cockpit, sit on the deck, put your legs in the cockpit and slide into the seat. You can hold your paddle and stick one blade into the water onto the bottom to stabilize things if it starts feeling iffy.




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