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PostPosted: March 21st, 2020, 5:08 pm 
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Hi, I usually rent canoes but was thinking of buying one as someone nearby is selling one for $300 CAD ($200 USD). It's a Grand-Mère brand canoe, 16', 36" wide, with a keel. Normally we rent either a Quessy 16' canoe when we paddle in Quebec, or a Penobscot Royalex 16' canoe when we go to St. Regis in northern NY. I'm just looking for a stable canoe that I can take my wife and kids out on for 3-4 day trips. We don't do any rapids, all flatwater, we like winding creeks whenever we can find a loop that has them.

How can I tell if the canoe I'm looking at buying will be as stable as the canoe's I've rented? Stability is important with kids. It also has a keel and I don't think the ones I rented had a keel, is that a disadvantage for my needs? Below are some photos of the canoe in question. Any advice would be great!

Thanks!

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2020, 7:33 am 
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Keels are often built into poorer-quality canoes as a hull stiffening structure... at $300 the quality canoes will probably not be available.

It doesn't look like a very stable canoe, at least in terms of primary stability which is probably what you're looking for, since the bottom doesn't look flat. Secondary stability, which resists tipping when the canoe is tilted over might be better. Might be wrong, best thing would be to test paddle if possible.

There should be plenty of stable aluminum canoes available near that price on kijiji... just a thought.

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2020, 8:50 am 
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frozentripper wrote:
Keels are often built into poorer-quality canoes as a hull stiffening structure... at $300 the quality canoes will probably not be available.

It doesn't look like a very stable canoe, at least in terms of primary stability which is probably what you're looking for, since the bottom doesn't look flat. Secondary stability, which resists tipping when the canoe is tilted over might be better. Might be wrong, best thing would be to test paddle if possible.

There should be plenty of stable aluminum canoes available near that price on kijiji... just a thought.


so what should i be looking for, for a stable canoe? completely flat bottom? i thought flat bottoms were only for river canoes? i asked the company i rented the penobscot from what the bottom profile was like, i found that canoe stable, and they replied "very shallow V bottom –also termed a shallow arch bottom"


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2020, 9:02 am 
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At 36" wide, my guess is that this boat is quite stable. It looks like a low-end, blown glass "chopper" which will make it heavy and probably low capacity. I would be more concerned with how much freeboard there will be when fully loaded. With four passengers and gear you are already pushing it for a 16' boat, even if two people are small.

Still at $300 it's not much of a risk. You should be able to sell it on again if you don't like it.


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2020, 10:01 am 
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It might indeed turn out to be stable enough... a test paddle will confirm. Stablity will increase when loaded heavily.

It appears to be a vee bottom or round-bottomed hull, can't be sure from the photos. But compare against a flat-bottomed Grumman, almost guaranteed stable wrt primary stability.

This one's 15 feet so too small, esp for four... seventeen might be more like it. And asking price is too high, you'll find others < $1000.

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-garage-sale-yar ... 1446785520

Again, not sure what your needs and abilities are or how you will react to stable vs tippy... and a photo is not equal to actually test paddling.

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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2020, 11:57 am 
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Peter K. wrote:
At 36" wide, my guess is that this boat is quite stable. It looks like a low-end, blown glass "chopper" which will make it heavy and probably low capacity. I would be more concerned with how much freeboard there will be when fully loaded. With four passengers and gear you are already pushing it for a 16' boat, even if two people are small.

Still at $300 it's not much of a risk. You should be able to sell it on again if you don't like it.


What Peter said. Can’t really tell from the photos what it is made of; there is a suggestion of chopper glass in the float tank. I know nothing of Grand-Mere canoes or what it might weigh. If your back is strong and you are not portaging the canoe the weight become less of an issue.

The brightwork (seats, thwart, yoke) look to be in decent condition, and that stuff is easy to spruce up. At $300 it is reasonably priced whatever it is.

It appears to have a bit of shallow vee bottom, which with any load becomes pretty stable. About the keel, eh, a keel isn’t great on winding creeks, but a lot of folks happily paddled aluminum canoes with keels on everything from WW runs to slow twisty river to lake tripping.

As Peter points out “wife and kids out for 3 – 4 day trips” is another story. Two adults, two kids (who mysteriously get bigger every year) and a multi-day gear load quickly becomes crowded in a 16 foot canoe.

When our sons were very young we used a beamy 17 foot canoe. With our foursome and gear that canoe got tight fast, both on people/gear space and freeboard.

We moved into to two symmetrical tandems that could be paddled bow backwards; wife and one son in a 15 footer (not to be sexist; less wetted surface and easier for her to paddle. Sometimes it was hard to keep up), me and the other son in a 16 footer. When the boys grew large enough we switched those canoes to bow forward, and those two boats worked for 10 years.

Those canoes would probably still work, but at early teen years (a bit before), the boys went into their own smaller solo canoes. Oh happy day for everyone. The “bit before” was certainly helped by them having been active paddling bowmen for some years, not just damp sack of flour passengers, bored stiffless in the wide middle of the canoe.

For $300, as a first family boat, I’d take a shot. And keep my eyes out for another 15 – 16 foot symmetrical tandem to fill a family pair.


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2020, 7:52 pm 
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Mike McCrea wrote:
Peter K. wrote:
At 36" wide, my guess is that this boat is quite stable. It looks like a low-end, blown glass "chopper" which will make it heavy and probably low capacity. I would be more concerned with how much freeboard there will be when fully loaded. With four passengers and gear you are already pushing it for a 16' boat, even if two people are small.

Still at $300 it's not much of a risk. You should be able to sell it on again if you don't like it.


What Peter said. Can’t really tell from the photos what it is made of; there is a suggestion of chopper glass in the float tank. I know nothing of Grand-Mere canoes or what it might weigh. If your back is strong and you are not portaging the canoe the weight become less of an issue.

The brightwork (seats, thwart, yoke) look to be in decent condition, and that stuff is easy to spruce up. At $300 it is reasonably priced whatever it is.

It appears to have a bit of shallow vee bottom, which with any load becomes pretty stable. About the keel, eh, a keel isn’t great on winding creeks, but a lot of folks happily paddled aluminum canoes with keels on everything from WW runs to slow twisty river to lake tripping.

As Peter points out “wife and kids out for 3 – 4 day trips” is another story. Two adults, two kids (who mysteriously get bigger every year) and a multi-day gear load quickly becomes crowded in a 16 foot canoe.

When our sons were very young we used a beamy 17 foot canoe. With our foursome and gear that canoe got tight fast, both on people/gear space and freeboard.

We moved into to two symmetrical tandems that could be paddled bow backwards; wife and one son in a 15 footer (not to be sexist; less wetted surface and easier for her to paddle. Sometimes it was hard to keep up), me and the other son in a 16 footer. When the boys grew large enough we switched those canoes to bow forward, and those two boats worked for 10 years.

Those canoes would probably still work, but at early teen years (a bit before), the boys went into their own smaller solo canoes. Oh happy day for everyone. The “bit before” was certainly helped by them having been active paddling bowmen for some years, not just damp sack of flour passengers, bored stiffless in the wide middle of the canoe.

For $300, as a first family boat, I’d take a shot. And keep my eyes out for another 15 – 16 foot symmetrical tandem to fill a family pair.


Thanks! We have a small 14' canoe but it's really tippy. Kids are 4 and 6, so they're not at an age where they can contribute any meaningful paddling. I figure when they're 8 and 10 we could split up into two canoes. Regarding freeboard, we're pretty minimalist packers, we use a very lightweight backpacking tent and lightweight sleeping pads, we don't bring chairs, or coolers filled with beer, or any of that.. my goal is to fit everything other than food in one 115L drybag pack (mec slogg), have the youngest between my legs in the back, then the pack, then the older child, and then my wife in the bow. and food behind me in the stern. so space wise i think we'll be fine

but i never really thought about the weight. we're 450lbs all together + gear. if we go for a test run fully loaded, how many inches of freeboard should we have, ideally?

regarding portaging weight, not a concern at the moment, the loops we'll be doing have minimal portages, usually 1-3 that are 250m at most.

thanks!


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2020, 7:48 am 
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Interesting question re freeboard and not one many people ask. When you see capacity touted in the ads it is the weight you can add to a canoe that sinks it so that there is six inches of freeboard. 15cm. Get a ruler out and see how little that is.

Most of us would rather have 20 cm.


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2020, 8:16 am 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
Interesting question re freeboard and not one many people ask. When you see capacity touted in the ads it is the weight you can add to a canoe that sinks it so that there is six inches of freeboard. 15cm. Get a ruler out and see how little that is.

Most of us would rather have 20 cm.


Ok so 20cm, perfect, I'll bring the tape measure. I'm hoping we're ok because at 450lbs + gear our family is essentially two large men with a big cooler of beer + gear, which I see a lot on the water :)


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2020, 8:41 am 
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I don't think that the 36" width guarantees acceptable stability for all individuals... a 16' Prospector is the same width, yet at least one poster here in the past has written that it's too tippy to be comfortable in. Individual Prospector designs will vary from brand to brand.

I keep a wide flat-bottomed Abitibi for visitors that won't paddle anything even remotely tippy since they won't feel comfortable in those. It's not for me, but they do enjoy being on the water in it.

Anyway, looking forward to reading about the results from the test paddle.. to me, from the photo it just looks like it'd feel tippy from others at cottages that I've tried, but that's not much to go on.

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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2020, 11:02 am 
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qwimjim wrote:
We have a small 14' canoe but it's really tippy. Kids are 4 and 6, so they're not at an age where they can contribute any meaningful paddling. I figure when they're 8 and 10 we could split up into two canoes. Regarding freeboard, we're pretty minimalist packers, we use lightweight backpack tent and sleeping pads, we don't bring chairs, or coolers filled with beer, or any of that.. my goal is to fit everything other than food in one 115L monster drybag, have the youngest between my legs in the back, then the pack, then the older child, and then my wife in the bow. and food behind me in the stern. so space wise i think we'll be fine


You are lighter packers than we were, or are today, so good there. I have no idea how that gear and kid weight positioning will translate in trim. I usually prefer to be a touch bow light; bow heavy is rarely advantageous.

My sons were disinterested bored as mid-canoe passengers. They loved actually being in camp, but getting there was dull, and at 5 and 6 went up front in bow backwards guise, leaving plenty of space for below-gunwales gear trim. We got them lightweight paddles and, while they didn’t paddle all the time they were happier up front, on a real seat with a decent view.

When we rounded a point into the wind we would ask them to hit it for a bit and their propulsive efforts helped and, as important, helped them feel that they were contributing. It is surprising how much water even a 6 or 7 year old can move when they are into it.

Within a few years they were active, competent bowmen with some water reading skills*. A few years later we turned the canoes around bow forward. And a few years after that they transitioned into solo boats on most day trips and some started soloing some easy water multi-day outings (10’ OT “Rushton” canoe, 10’ 6”’ Dagger Tupelo, Dagger Piccolo mini-sea kayak, all wonderful old kid-sized craft).

*Audibly pointing out barely submerged rocks ahead took some time; I would hear “mmumbum” from my bowman, ask “What?”, hear “MMUMBUMM!” and immediately hit a rock.

In fact the simple ability to talk to each other without shouting was another distinct advantage of four people in two canoes; we could paddle the boats side-by-side, the boys could talk to one another (to this day, at 29 and 30, they still paddle side and side and talk to one another) and I could hear what my wife was saying. Even better when we went into four solo boats; I could finally hear what my sons were saying, or not if I wanted to keep some quiet distance.

At 14’ a canoe might feel tippy with four people of any size. If that is one you consider keeping to fill out a family two-fer it might feel less “tippy” with just two people. If it still feels tippy with two lowering the seats by as little as an inch can make a huge stability difference.

Out of curiosity, what 14 footer?

qwimjim wrote:
but i never really thought about the weight. we're 450lbs all together + gear. if we go for a test run fully loaded, how many inches of freeboard should we have, ideally?


Some modern canoe manufacturers list freeboard at different weights, or suggest an “Optimum Load Range”. 450lbs should be fine in a 16’ x 36” canoe unless it is very shallow at center.

Ideally? It really depends on the conditions, and to some extent the hull design. Six or seven inches of freeboard is generally ok unless it is windy wavey. With a 14” deep hull that would mean 8” of hull depth in the water, and would require a fairly weighty load to sink that deep.

20cm is nearly 8 inches, plenty of freeboard. And, conversely - everything is a trade off in hull design - maybe a bit more “sail” than you want/need, with the exposed hull area catching the wind. One certainty is that the kids will get bigger, taller and heavier every year.

Not just the exposed sheerline height above water. Anything that stands above gunwale height impacts performance, and stability. Four people, even with a couple small ones, presents considerable sail windage above the gunwales. Gear storage height matters there as well, not just in catching wind, but in the overall stability of the canoe; gear packed sticking up above the gunwale line does not help in any way.

I don’t mean push the two canoe solution, but family tripping is highly recommended, and if your family enjoys canoe tripping two symmetrical tandems that can be paddled bow backwards (at first) was a better solution for us than a single 17 or 18 foot freighter. And easier to find on the used market.


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2020, 11:12 am 
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thanks! so forgive me but i've never paddled a canoe solo or backwards, what's the advantage doing so when a child is in the bow?

i'm not sure what the 14 footer is, i just picked it up cheap for puttering around, but it's definitely tippy. even with my wife and i have to fight the urge to kneel on the bottom instead of sitting up.


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PostPosted: March 23rd, 2020, 12:44 pm 
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qwimjim wrote:
thanks! so forgive me but i've never paddled a canoe solo or backwards, what's the advantage doing so when a child is in the bow?

i'm not sure what the 14 footer is, i just picked it up cheap for puttering around, but it's definitely tippy. even with my wife and i have to fight the urge to kneel on the bottom instead of sitting up.



Better trim. Remember the scales in high school science? The ones with the two little arms whose length could be adjusted. You could put one big weight in the tray hanging below the short arm and a little weight in the tray under the long arm and the arms would be level
Put the little weight in the tray under the short arm and the big one in the tray under the long arm and you have the arms pointing to the sky and the ground

You want your canoe to look like the first in level. Not the second. The arms in a canoe are the distances from the center of rotation and the stern is further back than the bow. Therefore it helps to sit in a seat further forward as you are the heavy weight.

Small boats tend to be tippy as both of you are at narrow points of the canoe and exerting a downward force there and any sideways movement of even of your head throws the boat out of balance. There is a cardinal rule to keep your head inside the gunwales. Unless you want to take a bath. Later on sans kids you can figure out how to break this rule but not now.


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PostPosted: March 25th, 2020, 9:58 am 
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qwimjim wrote:
thanks! so forgive me but i've never paddled a canoe solo or backwards, what's the advantage doing so when a child is in the bow?


Better trim, as LRC points out, although that is more critical when day paddling, without gear load weight to adjust and help trim the canoe.

More importantly having the adult in the “bow backwards” seat puts them closer to center hull. Not as close to center as the seat would be located in a solo canoe, but better than solo paddling from far back in the stern seat. An adult in a tandem with a child bowman is essentially paddling solo.

It also puts a young child at a more suitable paddling station for their stature; that narrower seat location provides them easier paddle reach (and kinda restricts them from squirming around too much).

Accent on the “young”; going bow backwards there isn’t a lot of leg room behind the stern seat in some canoes, and when it gets too tight for their growing legs it is time to turn the canoe around and switch to paddling bow forwards.

The “ideal” canoe for bow backwards kid-up-front use would be something like a symmetrical 15 or 16 foot tandem. Symmetrical and asymmetrical as a description is used in different ways and means different things.

Asymmetrical can mean the hull shape as seen from above. Swede Form (widest part of the hull aft of center) or Fish Form (widest part forward of center) can present some issues paddled reversed. I paddled a slightly swede form tandem bow backwards with kid on one trip; it was not horrible, but the hull seemed slower and more sluggish to respond than our symmetrically shaped tandems. I’ve never paddled a fish form canoe in any guise.

Symmetry can also refer to the amount of rocker bow and stern. A lot of modern rec canoe designs have a bit less rocker in the stern to help skeg that end and help the boat track straighter. Same rocker symmetrical at either end helps, but a half inch difference is mostly unnoticeable. (I write that with some trepidation, hence “mostly”).

Symmetry usually does not include a difference in bow and stern heights. A lot of canoes are an inch (or two) deeper in the bow, to better handle waves. Bow backwards that makes very little difference.

Most importantly a bow backwards canoe can not have a thwart too close behind the actual bow seat, or in bow backwards guise the adult in the “stern” will have insufficient legroom.

Hard to tell much about the symmetry of the Grand Mere from the photos but it appears to be symmetrical, and the thwart/yoke locations leaves adult legroom from either seat.

It could be a beastly heavy chopper gun canoe, could be a decent glass boat. It appears to have a small chip out of the stern deck plate; easily patched/filled with epoxy putty or just covered with some duct tape.


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PostPosted: March 27th, 2020, 8:24 pm 
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thanks!


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