Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

My Ideal Solo canoe?

There is no canoe that I know of that meets all my wants,but maybe somebody here knows of one? I'm thinking of a lightweight probible symetrical boat with significant rocker similar to that of a Curtis/Colden Dragonfly with the length and width of a Dragonfly,but with much less freeboard similar to a Hemlock Kestral. This boat would be for tripping on lakes and flat twisty flows and streams in the ADKs with no white water.I have or had or have paddled the following boats and none is ideal---dragonfly,kestrel,osprey,Merlin II, Flashfire,magic,Summersong,perigrine ect. The Osprey probible comes closest,but is too big and it is a bear in a quartering/tailwind. I probibly wouldn't be able to buy another boat,but winter dreams are fun while I watch the snow.
My Kestral is my favorite lake boat but is a drag in the twistys. My Flash is a blast on the twistys,but a little load limited and slow for lakes. I really like the Dragonfly,but it gets blown around in the wind more than I would like and I don't need the extra weight in the high sides. Before someone answers that one can "heal any boat to the rail and spin it in it's own length"-- been there,done that, not with a load on a 5 day trip in cold water on each of dozzens of hairpin turns.


  • PBW Rapidfire?
  • More info
    It must be a kneeling style boat.I know they have made kneeling Rapids,but doesn't a Rapidfire track much like my Kestrel?-I haven't tried one.
  • Start cutting wood strips
    for when you find the right plans.
  • Esquif Echo?
    Does the 14' length rule it out?

    See you on the water,
    The River Connection, Inc.
    Hyde Park, NY

    I even know of one or two that could use a good home for the winter. ;)
  • Stewart River Unity
  • Wildfire? NM
  • Rapidfire is pretty straight tracking -
    at least for me with the middle height seat. I paddled Magicpaddler's two days ago and it was pretty difficult for me to heel it much for any sort of quick turn. I wouldn't choose it for what we call twisty streams here in central IL. My Curtis Vagabond, however, is quite maneuverable for river use, but easy to keep straight tracking. BTW, I preferred my paddle set to 215cm when paddling the Rapidfire - longer just seemed too long.

    His Bell Rob Roy, which I paddled next, was much more maneuverable, but seemed less efficient when paddled straight with a kayak paddle. The Rob Roy's skin condition was a bit rougher than the Rapidfire, so maybe that accounted for the increased drag at cruising speed.

    The Rapidfire seemed much less fun to paddle with the single blade than the Rob Roy.

    Both seats were about the same height (additional foam pad on stock Rob Roy seat.

    My 48" ZRE bent shaft canoe paddle was a bit long for either of the boats at that seat height.

  • Any comments on the Breeze?
    Not enough rocker for the OP, but I'm tall enough to make it turn the way I want it to.
  • No not them
    I once owned an Echo. I loved to freestyle in it,but way too wide and heavy. A Wildfire would have more volume,but too much paddle effort and too wide. I have even thought of cutting down a Dragonfly,but that would eliminate the tumblehome and some people in PA would probibly lynch me! I guess as long as I'm dreaming I might as well be picky. Glenn, a what?
  • Langford Otter in KUL layup, solo seated
  • LOL
    This from the OP who helped build my DragonFly!

    You can put the seat a little farther back for those annoying stern quartering winds and take a Sawzall to the sides.

    I can't think of a boat that fills your current wishes. So there may be a market?

    Seems you want a Kestrel with a little more rocker especially in the stern.
  • Options
    rapidfire kneeling
    Hi Turtle, I have the sliding seat in my rapidfire, I can kneel, sit while using the foot pedals, single or double paddle the boat. I can kneel and heel it, it responds nicely. You know my skill level or lack of it. The boat is amazing in my opinion. You can try mine anytime your in my Colorado neighborhood or maybe I could bring it to a canoe symposium...jesse
  • with the list of nice boats that didn't
    -- Last Updated: Nov-06-12 1:46 PM EST --

    "cut the mustard"....imho I think I might want to ask oneself just one wants from a day of paddling. If the tripping aspect is handled well...you can't expect that same hull to move like another hull. You need to fill the void by one's paddling skills. Paddling a canoe isn't like a straight forward kayak stroke(given the obvious difference in physical aspects to a forward stroke with different types of blades and techniques). It's hull is not made the same...it's just not as efficient...efficiency isn't what the craft's design was born out of.


  • Curtis Vagabond?
    I am definitely not knowledgeable about this, but I thought the Vagabond was similar to a symetrically rockered Kestrel? Finding a used one would be difficult, and probably too heavy for Turtle's parameters.
  • Great call Tim
    That boat is just what OP asks for....still sorry I sold mine
  • I don't think you have met
    Turtle..he does have fine paddling skills. I believe he uses quite good paddles by Marc Ornstein and paddles in the Adirondacks. He is like, Matt Bowler, looking for something extremely specific in a hull.

    I would have suggested the Vagabond too, but the RapidFire is so close to the waterline shape of the Vag.

    And as I have both the RF and the DragonFly and Turtle has either had a RF too and has paddled the DF, we can attest hulls do handle quite differently. So far there is not a cut down DragonFly..nor is there apt to be.

    I don't think that taking a existing Vagabond and replacing the stern thwart with a wider one would work either to give more symmetrical rocker.

    I believe the Vagabond plug may have been destroyed.
  • Give it up, Rich
    Just buy a kayak.

    Looking for the "perfect canoe" is as futile as searching for the "perfect mate".
  • I'm selling my Curtis Vagabond.
    It weighs 40 lbs.

    I love the handling of the Vagabond - easy tracking, responsive to paddle input and very maneuverable, but it seems a little more work to move along with just me in it than my smaller (shorter) solos seem to be.

    I haven't had it on moving water, but would expect it to be great for that. The bow gunwales are quite flared, which I would expect to aid riding over waves.

    I've only spent about 30 minutes in a Hemlock Kestrel and that was at least 4 years ago, so I can't compare the two.

    It's a really tough decision for me to sell my Vagabond, but I don't do any tripping and My Curtis Lady Bug seems to require less effort for me to keep moving at a moderately fast cruising pace than my Vagabond when doing timed laps around our local small city lake. If I had unlimited space & money, the Vagabond wouldn't be going anywhere.

    I definitely prefer the squared off float tanks in the Curtis & Hemlock boats compared to the rounded off float tanks of the Bell & Placid boats. I feel that if you're going to have something in the ends of your boat taking up space, they ought to at least have a flat surface to function as a little shelf to rest your spare paddle blade on. Another advantage of the squared off float tanks is that the vertical surface directs any water that's in the boat out of the boat when you turn it over, rather than under the decks, like the rounded off float tanks do.

    The Curtis Vagabond is a great handling boat.
  • The Rapidfire and Curtis Vagabond
    behave quite differently for me. The Vagabond, with the seat high enough for kneeling is WAY, WAY EASIER TO HEEL for turning than the Rapidfire with the medium height seat is.

    I've owned a Curtis Vagabond for a couple years and paddled a Rapidfire with a medium height seat for about an hour a few days ago and the Rapidfire proved VERY DIFFICULT for me to heel enough to feel like anything that resembled maneuverable, whereas the Vagabond feels very playful and fun to me. If I hadn't already known that the hulls are reportedly very similar below the waterline, I wouldn't have guessed they had anything in common besides similar length & width. The different seat heights makes the boats feel completely unrelated to me. YMMV. I would expect the Rapidfire with the kneeling seat to seem like a completely different paddling experience than the Rapifire with the floor mounted seat.

    For double blade paddle use, I'd opt for the Rapidfire. It seemed more efficient (less effort) with the double blade paddle than my Vagabond and the gunwales are much narrower in front of the seat than in the Vagabond, which helps with double blade stroke.

    For single blade paddle use, there's no contest, I much, much prefer the Vagabond with the higher seat over the Rapidfire with a much lower seat. The Rapidfire seemed much less fun with the single blade than the Vagabond.

    The Rapidfire & Curtis Vagabond feel like completely unrelated boats to me in the configurations that I have paddled them.

    Others may have had different experiences in these two boats.

  • LOL
    One year Turtle turned up with one of these I believe


    Not many pack canoes in the Midwest eh?
  • What's funny about the Peeper?
    I think it looks like a nice little canoe.

    I'd like to check out the Rambler, also http://grbnewmandesigns.com/rambler.htm

    I wasn't sure that anyone had ever paddled either of these boats, since I don't think I've ever come upon any discussions or reviews for these boats.
  • Rapidfire turns and high seat
    -- Last Updated: Nov-07-12 3:39 PM EST --

    I paddle a Rapidfire with the highest rail mounted seat I could get Joe to install for me. I wish it were even higher - sometimes I add a gel pad that raises me up even slightly more. There is a vast difference and improvement in performance with a single blade with the high seat compared to when it had the stock medium seat. I always much prefer using a single blade in any canoe, except under the most severe wind and weather conditions when a double is arguably better for many paddlers. But with the high seat I can easily heel it over far to make it break track to turn quite nicely. However without having also paddled a Vagabond I can't really make a fair comparison, which should only be made with comparable seat heights.

    I have raced the Rapidfire in the Adirondack 90-miler for several years. Unfortunately (IMO) the class that was created for it requires use of a double blade paddle, not my favorite mode of travel, although granted it is a bit faster than with a single blade. Even so, I can repeatedly easily out maneuver most any other boat when it comes to cranking into fast sharp turns at speed, such as in Brown's Tract (my favorite section of the 90-miler). I owe a lot to the highest seat I can get.

  • LOL
    was regarding the perfect canoe.

    GRB is a niche builder. New York State is the current epicenter of fine solo canoes. Dealer networks are limited.
  • It was a
    Savage River Wee Lassie set up for kneeling. lightest kneeling boat by far-15#. Ya I know about the impossible dream. Maybe a "Transformer" canoe that can change shape and dementions? I owned a Kayak for about 3 weeks-my "friend" shows me the picture he took of in it from time to time to keep my humble.
  • Your Kestrel "is a drag in the twistys"?
    And it's set up for kneeling?

    That's a bit of a surprise for me.

    My recollection is that Dave Curtis told me over the telephone that the Kestrel and it's ancestor the Curtis Vagabond behave very similarly and most people wouldn't notice much difference between the two.

    I find my Vagabond to be very maneuverable with just a bit of heel, but I don't trip with it and usually don't have a total load over 170 lbs for day paddling and messing around.

    Maybe the Kestrel really isn't as maneuverable as the Vagabond or maybe you just want REALLY maneuverable.
  • Time for Dr. Phil for Turtle
    Let's cut through the floating bog here.

    Turtle knows more about all these canoes than just about anyone here. He doesn't need our advice. He needs Dr. Phil.

    Turtle suffers from advanced stage hypermultiboatslutism. He knows he can't find the perfect canoe. He just wants us to enable his rationalizations to buy yet another canoe he can't afford and doesn't need.

    And which he'll probably sell in six months.

    To Yanoer.
  • Uh uh
    there is room for a new boat here. Now whether a demand of one is sufficient for the cost of a new mold is up to the buyer.
  • Funny!

    A cleverly written and funny anylasis and deep down probibly has some truth. My one extravigance has been buying and selling solo boats. In general I stay close to the break even point,and have a lot of fun. Every once in a while I get a "keeper". I really don't know nearly everything about solos,and value the knowlege and experience here. I have never paddled a Vagabond or Yellowstone solo,so they are on my to try list. There is a big difference for me paddling a boat that can be forced to turn or go straight vs one that loves to.Also,my paddling priorities and phisical abilities keep changing,so it's a moving target.I actually reduced my fleet by one boat last year by finding buying one that replaced 2!.

  • If Glenn is right...................
    I need to guide you in the purchase of your next solo canoe. I need to make sure that you pick one that I like.
  • David
    -- Last Updated: Nov-08-12 1:06 PM EST --

    I think that you, I, Bob, and Rich should start a boat exchange club and circulate canoes among ourselves at semiannual intervals.

    As an added plus, Bob and I are now of an age that by the time a boat makes its way back to us we will have forgotten that we ever owned it, and it will be as if brand new.

  • That would sure save me a lot of money
    and storage space. Too bad we live so far apart.

    I you retired folk did the transporting, we might be able to make it work.
  • Options
    RapidFire, kneeling
    I also paddle a RapidFire with a bench seat mounted as high as possible. I usually kneel or "half-kneel" (one leg forward, foot on the footbrace). I like the boat, though it is not as nimble as my WildFire and the freeboard in the middle is a little low for me on the windblown Hudson.

    Turtle, I paddled the boat up and down the Oswegatchie a couple of years ago, with a backpacking-style pack and a few odds and ends. I made good time in the turns, especially on the way back down! I heeled the boat to the outside of every turn, but not nearly to the rail. It is true that I needed to secure my pack to prevent it from shifting during a heel and surprising me.

    Yanoer, when you say you paddled a RapidFire with a high seat, do you mean the highest kayak-style seat, or a bench, canoe-style seat? I don't find the RapidFire a particularly lively boat on the rare occasions I use it as a deckless kayak, but it heels nicely when I can use my knees to make my intentions clear.

    If I had my dream canoe, it would have the nimbleness of the WildFire (hence fuller and less asymmetrical than the RF), at least the forward speed of the RapidFire, and a deck. A 16-foot, 26-inch, symmetrically rockered, asymmetrically flared, decked WildFire -- that would attract my interest! For now, I settle for a RapidFire with float bags, but I continue to hope.

  • 'twas a medium height seat in the Rapid
    that I paddled a few days ago - basically a couple inches off the bottom - very low center of gravity.
  • turneyness
    I have paddled that portion of the Oss(one of my favorite paddles) either with the traverse or up and back in; 2 Flashfires,Swift Osprey,Bell Merlin II,Savage River Wee lassie,and a Stowe 16'tanden-solo. They all did it,but the Flashfires loved it and want to go back. Actually,the ADK the trip starting on windy open Little Tupper lake through to to and down the twisty Osswagochie is just the kind of trip where I wish for this dream boat. Here's a idea. What about a nice narrow turney boat with a small lite simple extendable skeg? Not a rudder, and with composites and ingenuity it could be lite and fold away discretly or even be removable for the twisty sections. It could be alongside the stern so the hull could be un modified.
  • Over/on the stern skeg?
    My new to me Easy Ryder Dolphin yak has a simple over the stern skeg and like it so far. Thin metal (yak rudder-like) blade in a simple frame, wider at the bottom than top so its counter balanced and deployed by its weight from a line to a small flat cockpit jam cleat - very simple. Down it tracks very straight on all points of wind, up very maneuverable, in between can be tuned as you like. Simple to remove too. Could bend it though if stern kisses a rock hard. Thinking about making one for my UL canoe. Just thoughts, R
  • Wouldn't work Pete
    -- Last Updated: Nov-09-12 10:49 AM EST --

    Yanoer would try to hustle us into finding & buying only canoes he wants to "test paddle" for a day or two.

    He'd want you to transport it to his house; freshly cleaned & polished. You unload it, and put it up on a rack for him.
    When he was finished with it; you'd have to go back to his place, take it off the rack, load it back on your vehicle, and take it back home. Yeah, it would be filthy from paddling in those corn field ditches & city sewer lagoons.

    Unless, of course, he thought your canoe was the "cat's meow"; in which case he would offer you about 1/3 of what you paid for it. Ask if he could finance it for 72 months? Then ask for a new paddle as "boot"; with a money back return on the paddle if he finds it 1 ounce too heavy or too light, or 1/4 inch too long or too short, to suit his taste.

    Dave's lives in a wet dream. In the dream he's a multimillionaire; owns every metal flaked, streamlined, candy coated, most lusted after solo canoes between 12 and 16 feets that were ever produced. He'd have a full time staff of on call/24 hour a day/ "gophers" to load, unload, and clean his boats. The gophers, "ex hooter girls", would also act as shuttle bunnies. He'd have a full time gear consultant/buyer, and a chef to pack his lunch. A master cabinet maker, on call to make any necessary 1/8 inch canoe seat, or thwart adjustments. A full time researcher to seek holy grails, and a full time custom made trailer truck w/crew to pick them up. He'd wear one off, custom tailored, test paddling outfits.
    Boat & paddle designers would do some major "sucking up" & "kowtowing" whenever Dave appeared.

    I don't care what everybody else says about
    Dave behind his back. Dave's ok; he just lives in a wet dream.


    P.S. Actually, having ex Hooter's girls as shuttle bunnies, might not be such bad an idea after all.
    Might have to work harder on convincing my wife about that; she ain't bought into that yet!

    Since Mitt bit the bullet; I guess the possibility of my wife & I getting a tall, nubile, 19 year old, blonde, as a "sister wife" is a mute point.

    Never hurts to dream; just ask Dave!

  • Bob, you know me so well!
    That description was way too well detailed to be only my wet dream :)
  • So Yanoer is a hustler?
    I never would have guessed it. But it takes one to know one, as they say.

    If he is as you say he is, I am surprised he has not asked us to accompany him on paddling excursions, each of us towing 3 or 4 different boats behind us, so that he could change craft as conditions and his mood dictated.
  • That is a fabulous idea!
    I'm glad you suggested it.


    Thank you!
  • I suggest...............
    -- Last Updated: Nov-09-12 1:17 PM EST --

    Alternative idea: We each choose one canoe, use whatever paddling skills we lack/posses to adapt to the positive/negative attributes of that canoe choice.

    Put in at Cedar Grove on the Current river & lollygag downstream to Doniphan, Missouri. It's a piddling 116 miles; good test paddle distance.
    We might hate our canoe choice, but would probably have a good time suffering, and "endeavouring to perservere".
    Might even recruit a couple of more masochists to tag along with us.

    Brian, Duggae, Terry, Rpd, Pat C, Rambling Jack, et al; you masochists out there somewhere lurking?

    Name suitable date; I'm good to go...........


  • Better yet, draw lots for boat selection
    and deal with whatever boat chance selects for us :)
  • I'm game
    As long as everybody who goes agrees that we put in at least 20 miles a day. Five nights in a row of sleeping on gravel bars is as much as I can do.

    We can call it the "Bob Challenge".
  • Or
    if we can get a half dozen people for a six day trip, we could stipulate that everyone has to paddle a different boat each day.

    Of course, that could degenerate into a contest to see who could inflict the most misery on their fellow paddlers by bringing the most hideous canoe.
  • Sorry I propose 55 miles a day
    and camp on a gravel bar most every night. It is quite enjoyable. I am thinking of doing the Yukon from Lake Bennett to Dawson or Circle in 2013 solo.

    We just did Johnsons Crossing to Dawson City in 2012.

    I am game..are you?
  • I have some thoughts on a drop skeg
    with a trailing wishbone frame hinged on the gunwales. I've wanted to do it for our traveling solo/tandem, our 15' highly rockered MR Synergy. It is a very cranky tandem, and when I take my spouse out on a lake below the Tetons, a drop skeg would allow the hull to proceed more efficiently.

    But even on easy whitewater, a skeg in a box similar to those in sea kayaks would leave the stern of a composite canoe very vulnerable to ledge damage. The beauty of a drop skeg is that it can be knocked up out of the way by rocks and ledges, and there's no skeg box to be damaged.

    Usually I have to think about such a thing for a year or two, and suddenly it exists and works. I hope.
  • GRB Rambler , PB Rapidfire
    Hi Turtle
    I bought a new Newman designs Rambler this April . Have not been able to paddle it yet .
    Also have a Rapidfire since we have last paddled . If you want to paddle either of these . Drop me a line .
    J White
  • No
    I'm fine with 30 mile day trips if there is at least a little current, and I'm sure I could go 40 if I had too but beyond that is not enjoyable.

    Of course, if you have a 7-8 knot current and a decent boat you can knock off 55 miles on an unobstructed river in 5 hours of steady paddling.
  • Paddle that Rambler so I can get some
    feedback on it. Looks like a neat little boat.
  • Options
    why vulnerable?
    I hadn't thought about the possibility that a skeg box would make the stern more vulnerable in whitewater than it would otherwise be. You mean because the skeg box locally stiffens the hull? Or do you mean that the hull itself would be okay but the skeg box would be damaged by impact transmitted through the hull?

Sign In or Register to comment.
Message Boards Close

Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!