View Full Version : Chesapeake Light Craft

12-18-2015, 04:30 PM
I don't normally spend a lot of time this high in the forum. My work does not give me time to build a boat, but I'm starting to wonder if a kit boat might be possible this winter.

Can anyone give me insight into CLC kits? How well do they go together? Do they last? I'm thinking of several of the larger rowing designs with significant carry capacity. I'd like to take my wife out with me when I go rowing, if I can talk her into it. Also, I live by the ocean, so even the river mouth is pretty choppy. I need something that can ride the waves.

Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

12-18-2015, 05:49 PM
You've come to the right place! I'm sure that others will know more, but the pick of the litter from my perspective is their Northeaster Dory -

12-18-2015, 06:26 PM
My neighbor, Eric Schade, is a fairly successful kayak designer. He farms production of his kits out to CLC, as does his brother Nick.

The key to your question is choosing the right design for your purposes. CLC kits are renowned for their precision cuts and completeness based on what you choose to order.

Personally, I'm looking at the single Micro Bootlegger simply because it is the coolest retro looking design out there, but will rip off the strips myself so any failures or shortfalls will be my own.

My sense is Eric and Nick wouldn't risk the reputation and integrity of their designs on a second rate kit cutter, thus they went with CLC. The onus is on you to make the right choices for your intended use.

12-18-2015, 06:52 PM
I built a Nor'easter from a kit. Kit was high quality and easy to follow instructions. I have zero complaints with my dory, rows great, sails great. Two peeps max. I would give serious thought to their new southwestern dory, looks very capable.

Happy to answer any questions about the nor'easter dory.

12-18-2015, 07:34 PM
My first build was a CLC Chester Yawl. Very high quality materials, great instructions.

http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w16/Reynard38/image_24.jpeg (http://s172.photobucket.com/user/Reynard38/media/image_24.jpeg.html)

12-18-2015, 10:07 PM
Yep, CLC is a class act. Sounds like you're more interested in security than performance. The dory would be a solid choice and should be a straightforward build.

12-18-2015, 11:01 PM
I had a great time building CLC's Northeaster dory. Everything was very well laid out in the plans. Not a single problem. Love the boat so far. Was an excellent choice for my first build.


12-19-2015, 02:20 PM
Yep, CLC is a class act. Sounds like you're more interested in security than performance. The dory would be a solid choice and should be a straightforward build.

I would not say security as much as robust function. Also, the carry capacity of some designs is too small.

There are several CLC designs that I like and I'm hearing nothing but good things about them, so it sounds good.

12-19-2015, 11:10 PM
I own three CLC boats. I bought an Annapolis Wherry that someone else built, and I've been happily rowing it for 10+ years. I built a kayak from a kit - again, about 10 years ago. My son and I built an Oxford shell from plans three years ago. Building from a kit for your first boat is a great idea. I have been extremely satisfied with them. Their plans and instructions are clear, their kits go together well and their customer service is excellent.

I recommend that you call them with questions about their designs and what might suit your needs - I was unsure which kayak to build and they helped me choose the right one.

One last anecdote - I made a major goof when building from plans - the error was wholly mine - and I called them to discuss possible solutions. Following their instructions, I was able to correct the error and complete the boat without any additional cost except a little epoxy. CLC is the very best kind of company, in my experience.

Tom Robb
12-22-2015, 08:17 PM
I'd second JBT... Call them. Tell them what your perceived needs are. Ask what boat(s) they'd recommend to fill your needs. It never hurts to ask.

After watching more than a few classes build kit boats at the Northwest Meratime Center, and helping an old lady in a class learn to do it herself (she did very well indeed) it seems to me that your results when finished depend on how well you follow directions and how cleanly you work - do you make a sloppy mess with epoxy all over everything or not? The boat would probably still work as advertised, but it wouldn't be pretty, and who wants to be seen in an ugly boat.
A pretty good option would be to do one of their workshops if that sort of thing appeals to you - an instructor, strength in numbers and all that.

Good luck.

12-22-2015, 08:32 PM
I've built CLC's Shearwater Double and I think I was the first one to adapt the kayak sail rig to it. Great plans, incredibly precise and the kayak has been a complete delight, both for paddling and as a sailing trimaran. All the people at CLC from John on down have been very helpful,and informative. Only problem I see is there are so many choices. Best get yourself to one of their demo days, and try as many as you can.

Clinton B Chase
12-27-2015, 10:11 AM
Don't neglect a look at the other interesting kit designs out there. There is more than just CLC. Some of us simply don't have the marketing power they do.

01-09-2016, 10:56 AM
New member here.

I have built a CLC Sport Tandem and converted it with the Mk3 sailrig trimaran conversion and made all sorts of further modifications to it including stays, trmapolines and an RS200 jib.

The plans and instructions are great and the final product always elicits lots of admiring looks and questions.

It both sails and paddles extremely well and quickly.

There are a couple of links to it on www.smalltrimarans.co.uk (http://www.smalltrimarans.co.uk) :
early testing (http://smalltrimarans.com/blog/clc-double-outrigger-kayak-with-mark-iii-sailrig/)

trampoline test (http://smalltrimarans.com/blog/clc-sport-tandem-with-sailrig-mk3-project-under-testing/)

I am UK based and the Fyneboat agents here have been fantastically helpful and I can't recommend them enough.

John hartmann
01-09-2016, 11:15 AM
I have not personally built one of CLC's kits, but a friend is one of the folks who build prototypes as designs are being prepared for kit production. I am impressed by their work, and the breadth of John Harris's portfolio of designs is impressive.
That said, I would echo Clint Chase. I have sailed in company with the amateur boat builder who built one of Clint's Deblois St. Dories:


It is a fabulous design, and was conceived as a boat for the Maine Island Trail.....very capable under sail as well as oar power. Best of luck in your search.

jim shula
01-09-2016, 11:37 AM
From what your requirements are, it looks like CLC has a couple models that fit...the Northeaster and the Southwester dories. This class of boat is a specialty for Clint Chase, and you might find more to choose from among his offerings, and he offers kits as well. Either way, you can't go wrong.

Chris Smith porter maine
01-09-2016, 05:39 PM
These guys sell a ton of kits from several different designers if you cannot find what you need or tugs your heart at CLC, they are also in Maine so you might save a bit on your shipping.


01-10-2016, 09:55 AM
though not an answer to your specific question, my experience w/ a CLC kit boat might go a long way to reassuring you about the integrity of their products

i bought a CLC pram that had been assembled by an individual w/o what i would consider adequate attention to details, details i feel were clearly lined out in the instructions

once completed, the boat was stored outside & subjected to the rigors of teaching small children to sail

add to the above, poor choices concerning paint & simple maintenance

NOW, the results i encountered were quite surprising

after manually stripping her exterior down to plumb nekkid wood/glass, i found all components to be surprisingly sound and very restorable

with all components being sound and the original fit very good, it left me with simple/minimal restorative work

the process has consumed a vast amount of time, which this retired old man has a lot of

my findings could not have been possible if any of the components had not been created from MATERIALS OF THE FINEST KIND W/ TOP NOTCH CARE TAKEN IN THEIR PREPARATION

CWS, i feel you are on a good track & all you need to do is choose which design suits your quest best



01-10-2016, 02:12 PM
There is a whole section in the back of our host's magazine devoted to makers of kits. CLC has a lot of name recognition but there are others, I was/am very happy with the kit I bought from Clint Chase.

02-01-2016, 12:54 PM
I have built four CLC boats: the Passagemaker Dinghy (lug rig), a hybrid Night Heron, hybrid Shearwater Sport and a full strip Petrel. In all of my experiences and interactions with CLC I can attest to their excellent product support and high quality product. Before choosing one of their designs I am happy to echo a previous comment of attending one of their many demos to try out the boats you are considering. Every May they have the OkoumeFest in Annapolis. Aside from a shop tour and various demonstrations, they have the best selection of their boats available to test out. Also, you'll have a chance to talk with other builders many of whom bring their own boats. Check out their web site for their listed schedule of events. - I am now ready to try my hand on a glue-lapstrake boat.