Build Your Own Shearwater Sport Kayak
A versatile, durable, easy-to-build kayak designed for both the recreational and serious kayaker.
- ERIC Schade —July 14–20
Tuition: $800 (partner: $400)
Note: This is a six-day course ending Saturday afternoon.
Is there a perfect kayak? You can’t have it all in one kayak. For speed, you want a hull that is long and narrow. For comfort, you want broad beam and a big cockpit. For maneuverability and ease of handling, a short kayak is desirable. Artful compromise is the mark of good design, and Eric Schade’s 14′6′ Shearwater Sport is a great combination of kayak virtues.
For paddlers with longer legs (or stiff knees) who want an easy entry and egress, Eric specified a 34″-long cockpit. Standard spray skirts will fit, and the Shearwater Sport is outfitted with all of the features expected in a high-performance kayak: knee braces, hip braces, and a low aft deck for those who might want to roll the boat.
The compact Shearwater Sport gives up nothing in cruising speeds to longer, skinnier traditional kayaks, and it’s still more than fast enough to accelerate onto waves for surfing. Indeed, many paddlers will build the Shearwater Sport just for surfing.
For less adventurous paddlers, the Shearwater Sport offers the perfect compromise of light weight, sharp West Greenland handling, effortless cruising speed, and an extra-large cockpit for comfort. The shorter length means easier construction, storage, and cartopping. It might just be the “one kayak” that does almost everything well. Watertight bulkheads and flush-mounted deck hatches are standard; so many builders will camp-cruise in the boat.
Built from a Chesapeake Light Craft kit, the Shearwater Sport uses all of the most advanced wood-composite techniques. Stitch-and-glue plywood construction has come a long way! Computer-cut hull panels are cut from marine-grade okoume for the hull and dark red sapele for the deck. The class begins with the assembly of a “puzzle” of pieces into an elegant kayak shape. The structure is carefully and neatly reinforced with epoxy and fiberglass for rugged use on rocky beaches. Eric will help students bring up a smooth finish, ready for varnish, and install flush hatches in the decks. Only light sanding followed by varnishing remains to be done at home.