Boat Building Forum

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S&G: Any opinions of the Arctic Tern or Merganser?

Am thinking about either of these two boats as my first kit. I'm a relatively new paddler (upper level beginner) and would like to build a boat this winter. Both of these boat look good on paper and all the reviews I've read are positive but I can't find any comparison between the two models.

I'm 5'10" 220# shoe size 11 and will mostly be kayaking on lakes and slower moving large rivers (Ohio River and smaller). I want the boat mainly for exploration and play so I'd prefer a boat that has moderate to decent speed and good maneuverability (the play aspect). I will be using the boat for camping so cargo is also a factor.

My wood working skills are good (used to build furniture) and I have epoxy and glass experience and a controlled environment.

I'm liking the Merganser because I can build it from plans and have the option of a strip built deck (I'd like to build a full strip built boat as a second project) and you can't get plans for the Tern (Kit only). I could start the Merganser right away but would have to wait for fund for the Tern.

My question is fairly subjective I know but I'm looking to find out what would be a better boat for me based on the above criteria. Both boats are good looking but if one performs significantly better than the other that would weigh heavily on my decision.

Thanks