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PostPosted: July 25th, 2009, 5:05 pm 
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I have been reading these forums for probably a year now, and
I have just started to notice a trend. Even myself have posted questions about possible canoe purchases but lately I have read several responses that suggest get and or try an Alchemist canoe?
Every brand has had it's turn at the wheel but now it's Alchemist and I am curious as to why this is?

And has anyone yet purchased an Esquif Mistral? which was on the menu for a while?

What is it that draws everyone to these different companies?


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PostPosted: July 25th, 2009, 11:36 pm 
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I bought a Mistral this year.
Love it. Fast, super light, handles well.
I'm a little surprised at the ease with which scratches have appeared. I havent done too many rapids, and yet my hull seems abused. Im disappointed, as I believed that twintex was to be more resistant.

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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 7:32 am 
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I'd also like to find out why Alchemist canoes are getting more attention lately... why would an Alchemist Prospector be better than say, a Novacraft Prospector.... quality of construction, weight, price, design, trim options?

There may have been a thread on this earlier on, maybe I didn't see it (work reduced the CCR addiction).

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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 8:50 am 
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It's called a fad. Everyone wants to try what is new and be he first one with one on the river. It's no different than cars. When a cool new model comes out, there is a waiting list until the manufacturer can increase production to meet the need. How about the latest greatest restaurant... lines around the block when they first open and the doors are shuttered within 2 years, because they are forgotten.

I've never seen an Alchemist, but based on their web info they are nothing earth shattering, and they aren't made in a design that I'd be currently interested in buying. The reality is that we'ver\ really made no monumental changes in canoe design in hundreds of years. The only modification really has been materials. Yeah they use Carbon and Kevlar... but these materials aren't new to canoe manufacture either.

I'm sure Alchemist canoes are very nice boats, but I see no incredible compelling reason that their boat is better than the rest in the buying public's mind than being new.

If they become the best selling canoe brand in Canada... I'll eat my words.

PK


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 9:04 am 
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gcc_mtl 8) Twintex isn't any more scratch resistant than other composite boats like my Millbrook. The reason for Twintex is to get a boat that is more break resistant than composite (such as S-glass over Kevlar) and much lighter than Royalex.

That Twintex does scratch can eventually become a minor problem, because it is more difficult to apply anything to build up worn areas than it is to apply more cloth and epoxy to ordinary composite boats.


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 2:59 pm 
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Not a fad.

I have seen the boats and they look very well made. There are many little touches that make the boats nicer in my opinion.

The boat looks like it is made by a canoeist, not manufactured for canoeist if you know what I mean.

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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 5:28 pm 
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Where did they come from? and Why the sudden popularity I have seen lots of nice canoes around there just seems to be a sudden attraction to them, Redlake your advice to me not that long ago was to purchase a prospector and I might be wrong but I think it was Novacraft and at that time there was no mention of this Alchemist Legend...

I am leaning torwards the fad a magazine must of wrote rave review and everyone wants one now!


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 5:31 pm 
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Gcc,

If you could go back in time would you still have chose the
Mistral? I tried one I did like it a lot for the same reasons as you
but I didn't believe it was as strong as they make it out to be... Maybe I am wrong but it's great to paddle and the yoke is great for the portageing I honestly swore it was made for me!


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 5:52 pm 
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Red Lake Rob wrote:
The boat looks like it is made by a canoeist, not manufactured for canoeist if you know what I mean.


And you don't think that Jim and Kay Henry who created Mad River were canoeists? How about Bill Swift at Swift? Mike Chicanowski at Wenonah, Charlie Wilson, and Ted Bell formerly at Bell? Dave Curtis at Hemlock? Most canoe companies are originally made by and owned by canoeists. All of these companies built great canoes designed by canoeists. What makes an Alchemist better for our next trip to Hudson Bay? I've still yet to hear anyone tell me what makes a Alchemist better than what has been out there for 25 years already?

PK


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 7:52 pm 
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NewSolo wrote:
Gcc,

If you could go back in time would you still have chose the
Mistral? I tried one I did like it a lot for the same reasons as you
but I didn't believe it was as strong as they make it out to be... Maybe I am wrong but it's great to paddle and the yoke is great for the portageing I honestly swore it was made for me!


I bought the canoe from a friend of mine, who runs a canoe store in Montreal. Since it was a great deal, and after trying various canoes, and researching their +/-, I had to buy it.

As this is my first season with it, I dont feel apt to make a "back in time" comment as of yet. I have done two 5 night trips with it, so let me finish this season, and I'll let you know. Still, I will state that I am very pleased, and smacked the boat with a paddle at the request of the seller. That test convinced me, as I would never smack (ax swing motion) my fiberglass that way.

The yoke is great, but a bad yoke can be resolved via an aftermarket modification, hence not a convincing quality. Its all about the way it floats, flows and handles.

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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 8:00 pm 
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We just bought an ultra light kevlar Alchemist Legend Prospector about a month ago. This is what I learned about the Alchemist canoes:
Jay, the guy who owns the Muskoka Paddle Shack (sorry, don’t know his last name), designed the various Alchemist models, this is why they are exclusive to Paddle Shack. H2O Composites in Tavistock Ontario does the manufacturing.

I suspect that people are talking about Alchemist canoes because both the Muskoka and fomerly the Oakville Paddleshacks have prominent locations, so they are more available to test paddle if you live in the GTA. Alchemist also had a big display at the Toronto Outdoor show.

Having said that, when shopping for our new canoe, we test paddled 3 Swift canoes (Prospector, Kipiwa and Algonquin), an Evergreen Prospector, a Scott Prospector and the Alchemist Myth and Legend. We evaluated them on how well they seemed to track, how easily we could do a 180 degree turn and how comfortable we felt in the canoe. We liked the 2 Alchemist canoes the best (actually I thought the Kipiwa would have been a contender if I could have gotten it without the adjustable seat in the front. The creaking drove me crazy.) As far as quality of construction goes, Alchemist seemed fairly similar to Swift with a few extra little details. I’ve never paddled an Esquif or a Nova Craft, so I couldn’t argue if the Alchemist are better than these canoes. However, the kevlar Nova Crafts seem to be heavier canoes, which is why we didn't try one out.

I think choosing a canoe is a little like finding a mate. Once the basic requirements are covered, it's highly subjective and largely depends on who/what is available when you are looking. :wink:

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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 8:56 pm 
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4tanya wrote:
I think choosing a canoe is a little like finding a mate. Once the basic requirements are covered, it's highly subjective and largely depends on who/what is available when you are looking. :wink:


Every now and again things get posted on here that make me say, "WOW" and that was one.

No truer words have been spoken.

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PostPosted: July 26th, 2009, 9:54 pm 
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New Solo, if you throw a few numbers around its not hard to see why your hearing something about the Alchemist boats. But before I get into that I'd to make a few other comments first. The details to the boats finishing...very nice job! The boats that I paddled, handled nicely for the attributes of the designs. Construction of the hull, the layup was not rushed, and I could see not weaknesses in areas that you sometimes find them. And before anyone replies......No I do not sell these boats and the owners aren't anyone who I paddle with.
:wink:
As far as the numbers and what you may be hearing..... Quebec and Ontario account for 60% of the TOTAL North American canoe market in boats sold. Ontario..... most of the Ontario paddlers live in the Southern half. Where do many of those paddlers paddle? Algonquin. Where do many of those paddlers visit....this site. Thats why your hearing about these new boats. As far as Quebec....most of those paddlers don't visit this site. But here's something else to think about.... Out of all the professional paddling school, guiding companys and kids camps ( but not the reatailers ) what boats are most of them using? When I'm out and about talking to professional companys like Black Feather and MKC just to mention a couple, I'm looking to see what boats they're paddling, not the cars driving up the 400 with a canoe on its roof. Here's what I see in the industry.....most companys are using Nova Craft, EverGreen, Esquif and Mid Canada ( either Scott or Blue Water )

As far the Mistral..... out of the two manufactures that I carry and the 38 models that I sell. The Mistral is by far my best seller.

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PostPosted: July 27th, 2009, 6:57 am 
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Since when is Alchemist a new canoe company? They've been around for at least 3 years-4 years if my memory serves me well.

Looks and small features aside, what makes one canoe better than the other is how it performs in it's intended purpose......paddling. You could give me all the frills you want; the sculpted yokes, the artistic grab handles, but if the canoe paddles like crap, does it really matter? There's many a car company that failed by trying to sell on looks alone.

I've never paddled an Alchemist canoe, but i wouldn't be recommending one either until i had. I think i'd want to know how any canoe handled in various situations before i decided on it as my next boat.

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PostPosted: July 27th, 2009, 9:36 am 
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As I mentioned in another thread I have an Alchemist Legend Prospector 16.7. Prior to buying it I heard great things about the builder... I was fortunate enough to speak to the builder himself at the Oakville Paddleshack location last year (he was dropping off some canoes) and was impressed. I am by no means a seasoned paddler... so one of the big decision makers was price. A well-made kevlar canoe for a very reasonable price is what sold me on the Legend.

I have only taken it out a few times since purchasing it.... it seems to track well and I have no complaints so far!


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