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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 10:24 am 
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Location: Calgary, AB or wherever life takes me
I am looking to build/buy a canoe for tripping on open water and fairly easy flowing rivers, nothing Class II or larger (I have a canoe to use for this). Here is a list below some features I am looking for. I realize that I can't have the best every feature and will have to make some compromises.
- Capacity to carry 500-600 lbs. I know many canoes will do this, but many really bog down with the added weight. Beer is heavy. ;)
- As fast as possible. I would like to do distance with the least amount of effort
- Relatively stable, though would sacrifice a bit for speed. Want something that can handle chop relatively well
-Good tracking, though would like half decent maneuverability
- Cost is really not a big issue
- As light as possible as long as the layup is fairly tough, though it would not be bashing rocks in rapids at all.

I would love to build a cedar strip canoe. I have never done it, but have no qualms with doing it either, as I am quite skilled with wood. This may, or may not happen soon as life is real busy and any spare time now is taken up with getting away. I will build a canoe for myself some day though, for sure.

Failing not building a canoe, I will purchase one to suit my needs. I insist on quality though.

Please give any comments regarding these selections and add any others I may have missed.

For cedar strip I am thinking of from Bear Mountain are
17' Freedom
17'-9" Freedom
17'-6" RedBird
Are their any other plans from other places I should consider?

For purchased canoes these are some considerations. As I am not familiar with some of these brands, I may be missing some good options.
Clipper Jensen WW II
Clipper Sea Clipper
Clipper Tripper-S
Nova Craft Haida
We-no-nah Minnesota II
Bell NorhWind

My current canoe, which I plan to keep, is a Hellman 17'6" Prospector. I is great on rivers as it is made from Duralite which can handle a beating, and is fairly fast on open water until you add much of a load.

I would like to add to the list any boats I have missed, then whittle the options down to a couple of manufactured and cedar strip boats.

Thanks,

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 11:12 am 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
H ave a look at www.greenval.com. The Winisk is a very fast tripper and will carry a good load, fairly easy to build too.


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 11:27 am 
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RHaslam wrote:
H ave a look at www.greenval.com. The Winisk is a very fast tripper and will carry a good load, fairly easy to build too.

Thanks for that, I had seen that page in my searching but forgot to bookmark it. That does look like another good option for me. Definitely under consideration. Have you built, and or paddled it?

I had forgot to add that, though not absolutely necessary, it would be nice to have a canoe that could be paddled solo the odd time too, though my Prospector is not too bad for that. I am thinking more when I am out with the wife, I will often get up early and go for a paddle, fishing and taking photos. I might do the odd trip solo too.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 11:34 am 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Dunkin' my choice would be a Freedom, in the size that will handle the load that you'll be carrying. I'd build the 17' myself, if the Freedom Solo wasn't next on the list (the Huron was first).

If not the cedarstrip, Bluewater's Freedom series were also designed by Steve Killing and are high quality construction, in part because they use epoxy instead of a cheaper resin.

http://www.bluewatercanoes.com/

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 11:40 am 
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Location: Belleville, ON
If you are considering modern (asymmetrical designs like the Freedoms) then you should also consider the John Winters designs with plans from GreenValley Boatworks also.

The Winisk, is pretty close to your stated requirements for capacity, speed, tracking (still has not bad maneuverability, but its more work to get the results). Its not really white water boat, but it'll take waves well. I consider it stable although some don't. Comes as either a (Swift) production boat in a range of weights or you can build it. Its also quite fast.

I would do as you are to get your list, and then I'd do my best to get out and at least test paddle as many of the boats as possible to see how they "feel" to you.

Winisk solo's fine as long as you're not doing fancy freestyle stuff. Its not a solo boat, but a kneeling thwart makes it work pretty well.

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Last edited by Rapt on August 2nd, 2007, 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 11:42 am 
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Location: The Gateway to Woodland Caribou
I would consider the Alchemist Legend. It is a Prospector canoe with a unique kneeling thwart for solo. Looks like a very well built canoe and think it meets most of your requirements.

http://paddleshack.ca/muskoka/canoes/alchemist.php

This will be next boat.


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 11:45 am 
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frozentripper wrote:
Dunkin' my choice would be a Freedom, in the size that will handle the load that you'll be carrying. I'd build the 17' myself, if the Freedom Solo wasn't next on the list (the Huron was first).

If not the cedarstrip, Bluewater's Freedom series were also designed by Steve Killing and are high quality construction, in part because they use epoxy instead of a cheaper resin.

http://www.bluewatercanoes.com/

Thanks for that, I have to admit to being not too familiar with Bluewater Canoes. They do look good, I will have to see it there is anyone in Alberta who carries them.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 12:17 pm 
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dunkin', now that I have the Mattawa (Swift) I'm sitting on a set of plans for the Freedom from Bear Mtn that I doubt I will ever use. If you do decide to go the stripper route at some point I'd part with the plans quite cheap.

Although I've never paddled the Swift Winisk I can say Swift's infused carbon offering is really sweet, light and stiff. I had to order from the factory but they were able to arrange delivery for me to Vancouver Island so may be able to arrange similar for you.

I also have a used Clipper Prospector 16' that's in excellent shape, all wood trim but in standard lay-up. It solo's and tandems well.

For strip plans you may want to give these folks a look.....
http://www.carryingplacecanoeworks.on.ca/
... I have a couple of sets of plans from them as well and will be building their version of the Bob's Special once I'm back home in a few more weeks.


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 12:47 pm 
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Rapt wrote:
If you are considering modern (asymmetrical designs like the Freedoms) then you should also consider the John Winters designs with plans from GreenValley Boatworks also.

The Winisk, is pretty close to your stated requirements for capacity, speed, tracking (still has not bad maneuverability, but its more work to get the results). Its not really white water boat, but it'll take waves well. I consider it stable although some don't. Comes as either a (Swift) production boat in a range of weights or you can build it. Its also quite fast.

I would do as you are to get your list, and then I'd do my best to get out and at least test paddle as many of the boats as possible to see how they "feel" to you.

Winisk solo's fine as long as you're not doing fancy freestyle stuff. Its not a solo boat, but a kneeling thwart makes it work pretty well.

More great info, Swift Canoes is another company I am not real familiar with. We seem to have limited suppliers out here for lots of the manufacturers, but I will look in to it.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 1:15 pm 
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rob in angus wrote:
I would consider the Alchemist Legend. It is a Prospector canoe with a unique kneeling thwart for solo. Looks like a very well built canoe and think it meets most of your requirements.

http://paddleshack.ca/muskoka/canoes/alchemist.php

This will be next boat.

Another new one for me. I have never even heard of Alchemist Canoes. I am thinking I would like a canoe at least 17' long to handle our loads. I often take about 40 lbs of camera gear and like to have a space dedicated to it just in front of me for easy access. Lots of this weight is in the Pelican cases I used, plus I also take a tripod and monopod along, though these need not be handy. My Hellman Prospector is 17.5' long and we use all it's length. It is narrow though at 34" which I believe has a bit to do with it bogging down with lots of weight as it has less buoyancy.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 1:33 pm 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
I've built around a dozen canoes from John Winters designs, and they have all been fine. One thing to keep in mind...if you are looking for a tandem/ solo boat, asymetrical canoes are not always the best choice. You can't just flip them around and sit in the bow seat, and personally, I'd rather sit on a pickle than use a kneeling thwart for long periods of time. Better option is to build two boats, the Winisk and the Osprey..then you will be a happy, satisfied man....until the next one.


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 1:34 pm 
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Komatiq wrote:
dunkin', now that I have the Mattawa (Swift) I'm sitting on a set of plans for the Freedom from Bear Mtn that I doubt I will ever use. If you do decide to go the stripper route at some point I'd part with the plans quite cheap.

Although I've never paddled the Swift Winisk I can say Swift's infused carbon offering is really sweet, light and stiff. I had to order from the factory but they were able to arrange delivery for me to Vancouver Island so may be able to arrange similar for you.

I also have a used Clipper Prospector 16' that's in excellent shape, all wood trim but in standard lay-up. It solo's and tandems well.

For strip plans you may want to give these folks a look.....
http://www.carryingplacecanoeworks.on.ca/
... I have a couple of sets of plans from them as well and will be building their version of the Bob's Special once I'm back home in a few more weeks.

Should I decide to build the Freedom, I will keep this in mind for sure.

There is a phone number for a Swift rep listed on their dealer page for out West. There are a bunch of dealers in Ontario, but none out hear.

I have used the Clipper Prospector a number of times, my brother owns one. It is a nice boat to, but is quite slow loaded up with 2 people and their gear.

We paddled with a couple Clipper Tripper's last week. Unloaded, we could outrun them in my Hellman Prospector by a wee bit, loaded the most definitely had a huge edge. This is one of the reasons that prompted me to look for a dedicated big water canoe.

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 1:51 pm 
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RHaslam wrote:
I've built around a dozen canoes from John Winters designs, and they have all been fine. One thing to keep in mind...if you are looking for a tandem/ solo boat, asymetrical canoes are not always the best choice. You can't just flip them around and sit in the bow seat, and personally, I'd rather sit on a pickle than use a kneeling thwart for long periods of time. Better option is to build two boats, the Winisk and the Osprey..then you will be a happy, satisfied man....until the next one.

Most of my research does point towards an asymetrical design for tandem use given my parameters, and I do realize they are not the best to double as a solo boat. I am playing with the thought of either a removable third seat or removable kneeling thwart, and I must agree that I don't like to, nor can, stay in a kneeling position for very long. I can do an hour or so on my knees and that's about it. Not sure I would rather sit on a pickle though. :o

Building something like the Osprey as a dedicated solo boat is a great idea, but one that would have to wait about 5 more years until I retire and can find more time to build, as well as get out with it. :)

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 2:47 pm 
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Heard nothing but good about the Clipper Tripper and considered it for a bit before the Mattawa but like the Freedom it was simply more boat than I needed.... I'm just a little fella !! :wink:

Clipper does a nice job with their laminates but I'm partial to the advantages of the closed molded boats especially when closed molding is what keeps my bank account in the black.

All the best with your search.


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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2007, 3:24 pm 
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Location: Belleville, ON
I can't kneel for more than about 15 minutes without a thwart and padding... But with them I'm good for hours...

Don't knock the difference outfitting can make, until you try it.

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