1986 Clipper Scout Canoe - Good Canoe?

-- Last Updated: Oct-23-14 11:09 AM EST --

I'm a novice looking for advice from the group. I have the opportunity to purchase an old Clipper Scout in fiberglass. It appears to have been out in the weather quite a bit but shows little damage other than fading. The hull has scratches but no damage. I'm looking for a multipurpose recreational boat for flat water and slow river use. I would like to solo some but tandem use would likely be the majority. I'm 6' 186 lbs. My wife is about 140 lbs. The seats are tractor style so it would likely need a bench to use it solo. I can purchase it for $250- no paddles. Would this be a good deal? Thanks to all of you that take the time to weigh-in!

Looks like a winner
You can’t go wrong for $250 and it looks like a good boat. Even if it doesn’t work out for your intended purposes you should be able to get all your money back out of it, if not more.


Clipper Scout of old

– Last Updated: Oct-23-14 7:28 PM EST –

Thanks Alan, The only issue that concerns me is possible UV damage to the hull. Is there anyway to tell by looking at it?

Probably not
Probably no way to tell by looking at the hull. I’ve got some old fiberglass boats from the late 70’s/early 80’s and they seem to have gotten fragile with age but they still paddle fine and I don’t think anything of it. For $250 it doesn’t really matter. The boat will work fine and it’s not going to sink you. You won’t need to baby it, just don’t abuse it.

I believe you said you’re new to the canoeing game. The most important thing is just get a boat and paddle it. Until you do you won’t know what you like and what you want. This boat looks like it will serve your current needs fine. Maybe it will be all you ever want or maybe you’ll decide to upgrade next year. Either way you can’t lose for the price.


UV damage might not go that deep,
but if an old FG boat gets flexy, it is probably from repeated pounding, even relatively mild pounding.

There was a good discussion in the old Boatbuilders Guidebook of how bending causes interior delamination and gradual loss of strength.

That said, my FG boats bought in the 70s stood up quite well.

Gel-coat protects the fiberglass from UV damage, but suffers some oxidation over time. The oxidation isn’t a big deal in itself.

Push on the hull with your hand and listen for crunchy noises and feel for soft spots. If you don’t detect anything significant, it should be good to go. Even a small amount of minor damage wouldn’t scare me away from a fiberglass hull with a good shape. The Scout specs on the Clipper website appear to be a decent recreational canoe. $250 is a good price, especially if the seats are intact also. Sounds like a better than average “first canoe”.

BTW - you can add a kneeling thwart for solo paddling for little or nothing, if you are even a little bit handy.

Tractor Seat Flip
This site is the best! Thank you all for your insight and assistance! I wasn’t sure a canoe made in ‘86 would have gelcoat. I have had experience years ago in S. Texas playing on the Guadalupe in Spring in an old Sears Aluminum. Also, intermittent canoeing with friends. I’ve never had “my own” canoe tho! My wife and I have a pair of matching 11.5’ Necky Kayaks that we just got this past summer. We lived near Gooding ID for many years… raised our two sons there!

I plan to go pick up the Clipper on Sunday. I will certainly employ the inspection techniques suggested. I also plan on using the canoe solo. Has anyone rigged a bow tractor seat to be easily flipped for solo use? The Clipper website offers the Scout with a bench seat up front for this application. I’d rather just use the tractor seat. Wing nuts? Lynch pins? Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Clipper Response and Service
Lynne with Clipper cordially responded to my inquiry as follows:

That canoe…correct serial number ZWDCS015F686 was built June 24 1986. So, it’s 28 yrs old.

It is all hand laid fiberglass, with Kevlar reinforcing in the bow and stern.

It weighed 60# when it left here.

The trim is anodized aluminum…and it looks like it could use a new set of gunnel (almost impossible to ship)

Or, at the very least plastic gunnel cover…also hard to ship.

The canoe was sold to a store in Wenatchee WA, Bob Feil Boats and Motors in July of 1986.

If you would like to be recorded as the new owner, please email me your physical address, and we can hard mail you an owners manual too.

You can buy a footbrace. The kit is $28.95 Cdn, and you can purchase w/ Visa or Mastercard,

The hulls on the Scout did change…I think in 1984, but I don’t have any good notes on that.

The length and width should have stayed the same, but the chine would have gotten rounder.

Hard to tell from your photo, but I’m pretty sure you have the ‘newer’ design.

Hope that helps.