Top Ten Boat Kits of 2014

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With nearly a hundred boats in our catalog, selecting the top ten risks leaving important and interesting designs out of the news. For example, the Peeler Skiff and PocketShip designs both hit the 50-unit mark this year, which is commendable given the scale of those projects from the home-builder's perspective. But here are the kits with really big numbers in 2014:

1. Kaholo Stand-Up Paddleboards - 12'6" and 14'Kaholo 14 Hybrids by Trevor & Warren Olson

With 225 out the door in 2014, paddleboards continue to be a Big Thing. Line up all the Kaholos built from CLC kits and plans over the years and you'd have over five miles of end-to-end paddleboards, enough to span the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis. New in 2015 will be standard fin boxes so that you can install any paddleboard fin you like, and an official cedar-strip deck option.

Northeaster Dory by Harry Mayer2. Wood Duck Kayaks

These recreational kayaks with genial handling qualities and elegant proportions have been perennial favorites since they first appeared in 2007. Anyone who's had the opportunity to paddle a Wood Duck at one of our demos around the country discovers that "comfortable" and "stable" and "big cockpit" don't have to mean "heavy" and "slow." A pip to paddle, the Wood Ducks have found fans among every species of paddler, from the serious sportsman to the unwashed beginner. We shipped the 1200th Wood Duck back in the summer.

Wood Duck 12 Kayak Kit

Shearwater Sport by Rick Damon3. Shearwater Kayaks 

Like the Wood Ducks, the Shearwater kayaks were designed by Eric Schade. The sleek and sporty Shearwaters had the best one-year run since their catalog debut ten years ago. We shipped more than 150 of the various Shearwater kayak kits in 2014, with the total now north of 1000. Lord only knows how many have been completed by scratch-builders from the full-sized plans.

Shearwater 17 Kayak Kit

Northeaster Dory by Rick Loftus4. Northeaster Dory 
The Northeaster Dory is also on a roll, with the 500th kit going out last spring. Dories have always been a lot of boat for the money. In the 19th century they were mass-produced for fishing and general utility, the Boston Whalers of the pre-internal-combustion age. In this century the formula still makes sense:  you get a lot of payload, sea-keeping ability, and performance under oar and sail for not a lot of money. Several stock Northeaster Dories have racked up podium finishes in major adventure races, but most are used for casual rowing and sailing.

Northeaster dory by David Abbott
Annapolis Wherry Tandem by Bob Richardson
5. Annapolis Wherry Single and Tandem Wherry 

Never off the Top Ten list since the Annapolis Wherry was launched in 17 years ago, these elegant lapstrake pulling boats beguile sliding-seat rowers with speed and beauty. While the Annapolis Wherry and Annapolis Wherry Tandem are slicing up rivers and bays on every continent except Antarctica, the rugged back-country Expedition Wherry is steadily gaining in popularity.
Chesapeake 16LT by Mark Nye6. Chesapeake Series Kayaks
Our bread-and-butter touring kayaks since 1996. We know we ship hundreds of kits and plans every year but numbers fail us when it comes to a historical total.  Our educated guess is between 8,000 and 10,000 of the Chesapeakes actually complete and afloat.

7. Sassafras Canoes

Easy construction and versatility have always guaranteed the Sassafras canoes a spot on the best-of lists. After a few years of discreet beta-testing, in 2014 we rolled out all-new versions of the Sassafras 12 and 16, making them at once easier to build, better-looking, and more capable. An entirely new 115-page instruction manual, and plans with full-sized patterns, holds your hand whether you're building from scratch or from a kit.

Eastport Pram Dinghy Kit8. Eastport Pram 

Adorable, and universally adored. A great, all-around yacht tender and sail trainer. As nice an end to a couple of sheets of marine plywood as you can think of. The introduction, in 2010, of a nesting version has only expanded the Eastport Pram's appeal.

9. Passagemaker
Passagemaker Dinghy KitConceived as a big sister to the Eastport Pram, with nearly double the payload, the Passagemaker makes an excellent tender to a larger yacht. But most of them are built as family sailboats. Rigged as a sloop or a lugger, the Passagemakers are stiff, fast, and dry and will carry up to 650 pounds of people and gear.

Mill Creek 16.5 by Jeff Jones10. Mill Creek Kayaks 

It's hard to imagine that these designs will be 20 years old in 2015, and yet they still claw their way into the Top Ten year after year. The Mill Creek designs are based on 1930's "double-paddle canoes," thefancy decked canoes that popularized paddling at a time when the word"kayak" was mostly unknown. (The real thing, at that time, was still used almost exclusively for hunting big game above the Arctic circle.) A big cockpit and plenty of stability compliment the timeless good looks of the Mill Creeks.Mill Creek 13 Kayak Kit

Almost made the Top Ten:

11. CLC Cradle Boat

12. Skerry

13. Petrel

14. Chester Yawl

15. Peeler Skiff

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