I just test-drove three Chesapeake Light Craft boats: a Wood Duck 12 Hybrid kayak, a Chester Yawl pulling boat, and an Annapolis Wherry. You may recall I have written about them before. I really like what they are doing.
The Wood Duck is a pretty little kayak (the hybrid refers to it being part stitch-and-glue and part strip-built). It is too small and short for my taste (I do too many longer trips and want better tracking), but for a light, easy-to-manage boat, it is a nice option. It is way, WAY nicer-looking than I lot of light recreational boats.
The Chester Yawl surprised me – pleasantly – with its rowing capability. It is attractive, but not stunning, to my eye, but I liked its performance. It also has a really clean, flexible layout that strikes me as useful across a range of purposes. The center sent and foot stretchers are designed to hook into the floor-boards, basically allowing a myriad of configurations for different preferences. Very nice touch.
And then the Wherry. It is gorgeous and it rows extremely well and I made an absolute hash of rowing it. Complete embarrassment. I know it has been a while since I skulled, but geez… If I wanted a really nice rowing boat, though, I would definitely look at this boat.
One more thing…
I got to talk to Chesapeake Light Craft’s principal and designer, John Harris. I asked him about the rig for the Skerry, which always seemed too small to me. His fascinating response: a) everyone says that and b) everyone is surprised when they actually sail it. As-is, it has the same sail area / displacement as a Laser. Huh. Apparently they are pretty peppy with this rig and any more would be dicey (though a bigger Bermuda sloop rig exists). Shows what I know.