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PostPosted: March 6th, 2007, 8:21 am 
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Location: Buffalo, Minnesota
Hello,
Has anyone here had experience paddling the MATTAWA solo? I have the plans and I am considering building it. I will be using it for a small tandem canoe and also for an occasional solo canoe while fishing. I understand it is very maneuverable. I am in my late fifty's so I do not want to paddle for long periods kneeling on the bottom of the canoe, so I am wondering if it would paddle well solo while seated, possibly with a load in the front.
Thank You!
Dick

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PostPosted: March 6th, 2007, 9:41 am 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
The Mattawa would probably be a fine solo canoe....but keep a couple of things in mind...it is asymetrical, so you would not be able to just flip it around and sit backward in the front seat. You would need to install a seat more toward the centre from the stern of the canoe. I have looked at this canoe for quite a while as a possible large volume solo, but unfortunately, have not been able to try one out yet. I have built several other J Winters designs....the Kipawa soloed fine for me, but I think it would have been too big for comfortable soloing for many people......

Have you looked at the Osprey? If you are looking for a dedicated solo, it's a pretty good one.


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PostPosted: March 6th, 2007, 1:37 pm 
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I paddle my Kipawa regularly solo, from a kneeling thwart. As you know, it is a similar canoe, but 16-1/2' long. I also have a dedicated solo canoe (Bell Wildfire).

If your question is "would a Mattawa be a good tandem canoe to occasionally paddle solo?", the answer is yes, but it is wider than most people would want for a solo canoe, unless it is to be used for extremely long-distance, heavily loaded solo tripping, where safety and load capacity are essential. If your primary use is solo, for normal trips and / or day-paddling, I'd want the gunwales to be no more than 30" wide at the paddling position.


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PostPosted: March 6th, 2007, 2:08 pm 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
BD, if you're going to paddle the Mattawa empty, seated and solo, and fish from it at the same time, it'll probably be a good choice. My Huron is narrower and probably less stable, and it can be a little twitchy that way, especially if the attention's on bringing a large fish in.

Others have reported Mattawas to be a versatile design, solo and tandem, and stable enough to fish from. The 36" beam will also allow more gear to be carried, especially if you're placing canoe packs in sideways and close to the midpoint.

I built a removable third center seat so that it drops down onto the gunnels and slides into a thwart... two L-shaped pieces of aluminum keep it on the gunnels up front and the thwart slides into a slot, so that the seat doesn't shift around. When going tandem, the removable seat isn't there to decrease load volume like a permanently-attached center seat would. The downside is that the seat might have to be carried separate from the canoe on the portage, unless you design it so that it stays in place.

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PostPosted: March 6th, 2007, 2:30 pm 
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Ooops... :D It's been a long day at the farm

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Last edited by Lady Di on March 6th, 2007, 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: March 6th, 2007, 4:14 pm 
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I've paddled a friend Expedition Kevlar Mattawa solo several times, it's quite fun, and can be paddled plenty fast to keep out with other solo paddlers. If you're paddling with tandems with powerful teams, you'll likely be at the back of the pack.

I like small tandems, they turn great because they create some incredible rocker with just a little heal, and track well if you leave the ends in the water, so that gives them great versitility. They carry a big load better than a dedicated solo too (Ask HOOP!!!). Given my choice, I usually opt for a solo, but on almost all the trips I do, I'd take a Mattawa as a solo if that was the last boat on the beach.

PK


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PostPosted: March 6th, 2007, 5:31 pm 
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Thanks for all the input. It sounds like the MATTAWA is not a good choice for a solo canoe except when it might be the only choice. After some further thought, I might give my 38 SPECIAL another try. I might try to heel the boat over slightly while attempting a turn. That way I will in effect be using a part of the bottom that has some rocker when heeled. So for solo I only need to continue to use the 38 SPECIAL but improve my turning technique.
And as far the MATTAWA goes, I can build it but use it as It was designed for- a small tandem.

Dick

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PostPosted: March 6th, 2007, 5:44 pm 
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May as well add my two cents worth.

The Mattawa is NOT a solo canoe although you can have fun soloing it for short periods of time.

No tandem canoe paddled solo will keep up with a well designed dedicated solo canoes.
or even be as much fun at teh end of a long day's paddling.

If you only plan to solo it on a limited basis and really need the added stabiliy and volume you will enjoy the boat but please do not buy it for dedicated solo paddling.

OK, now that I have lost a customer I should point out that Bart Hauthaway (SP?) built small canoes (about 11'' or so) for fishing and people swear (Swore - he's dead now) by them.

If you feel strongly about building one of my designs and want to fish you might want to consider the Shearwater . As an aside, I have a Mattawa and it sevres me well here in Nova Scotia where the tripping is short duration and I needed a boat for both flat an whitewater as well as an aging body.

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PostPosted: March 7th, 2007, 8:54 am 
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BuffaloDick wrote:
Thanks for all the input. It sounds like the MATTAWA is not a good choice for a solo canoe except when it might be the only choice.


Dick, I think you trying to read too much into my writing. I personally like the Mattawa as a solo. I just don't think if I were looking for a solo canoe, I'd buy a Mattawa. For solo river paddling, it's great... it's plenty fast, it turns well, and a decent paddler can move it along quickly. For paddling solo across 20 mile long lakes, I'd choose something faster. In your original posting you state that you are looking for a small tandem that will be used for occasional solo when fishing. That's what the Mattawa is good for. You can't paddle either the 38 Special or the Sheerwater tandem.

As to whether you can sit in the canoe with the gear in the front... Yes, you can pretty much do that with any canoe. I'm not a big advocate of the old adage that you turn a canoe around and paddle it from the bow seat. That'll do in a pinch. But if you are planning on paddling a canoe a little more than out to the fishing hole, this will produce poor results. Instead, buy and install a dedicated center seat. This doesn't have to be placed midships... if you want to put a big load in front of you... then by all means, install the seat slightly towards the stern. If you like to paddle from near the middle, break your gear into more evenly sized pieces.

PK


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PostPosted: March 8th, 2007, 8:25 pm 
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Thanks for your input PK. I'm happy to hear that I will probably be happy with the MATTAWA. I just wasn't sure I wanted to put all the work into another canoe and end up being somewhat dissatisfied with it in the end. As long as I already have the plans, materials and box beam on hand I will probably have a go at it. I will then own two canoes, a solo 38 SPECIAL and a tandem MATTAWA which could also be used as a solo on occasion.

Dick

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