Read reviews for the Wood Duck 12 / Hybrid Kit by Chesapeake Light Craft as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
It is now in the water and I could not be more pleased with the handling of the Wood Duck and the attention it draws in the water. While kayaking was not the main reason for the project, it should have been the next item on my bucket list!
The build for my boat, the 12' model was interrupted by my work schedule. Whenever we would go to the water I would rent a boat. This was tough, several different boats and styles and I couldn't keep up with her, I'd be paddling hard and watching her from behind just casually working that beautiful thing through the water. Sometimes she'd rest her legs on top of the cockpit and look so comfortable...
Well this weekend we attached the deck and hull of mine and it's almost there. No more renting and my back is ready for that huge cockpit with ample room, I've even read about folks laying down in them and napping.
I will update this if I have any negative experiences but seeing how hers performs I doubt you'll hear from me.
Wooden boats always have had a certain appeal to me, but to be honest, I was a bit intimidated by the building process. My father-in-law was gracious in building the boat for me, and it was very exciting seeing flat sheets of plywood become a beautiful work of art. All in all, I would say the entire construction process took about 60 hours of work.
In fitting out the kayak, I decided to use a VCP oval hatch instead of the flush-mounted hatch, and I am very glad. I have had VCP hatches before, and they are probably as close to watertight as can be expected from a hatch system. I also opted not to put deck rigging on the boat. The cockpit of this boat is huge – a small child can sit in front of an adult with no problems whatsoever, so it would be a long reach to the front deck rigging. Besides, I don’t see this boat being used like the typical sea kayak, so it is unlikely that a chart, compass and other navigational aides will need to be on deck. I simply place any items that I need in the cavernous cockpit. Another option added to the boat was a footbrace mounting kit to avoid drilling through the hull to mount the footbraces. The braces are fiberglassed to the inside of the hull and provide a much cleaner looking installation. I also added a Therm-a-rest seat pad to the standard foam seat.
How does it paddle? One word – a dream. A 12-foot boat is much more maneuverable in tight conditions than a longer sea kayak, making this boat ideal for creeks and slow-moving rivers. This boat is fairly wide (30”) but using a 240-cm paddle makes for easy work, and since the sheer panels are “tumbled home” clearance is greatly improved. As stated before, the cockpit is huge. I am fairly tall (6’1”) with long legs, and I can sit with my legs crossed, or knees up, which makes for very comfortable photography and bird watching. This would be an ideal boat for fishing as well – its stability is remarkable.
I give this boat a 10. It is the perfect boat for me, and the paddling I anticipate doing. If you ever have the chance to attend a get-together or demos by Chesapeake Light Craft, by all means do so – you will be able to test paddle their different designs and talk to other builders.