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.