American Traders ...

I saw the American Traders “Sliver” this past weekend. It as set up as a solo. I was thinking it would be a neat solo boat for the boundary waters, or Quitico, and with the leather “add a seat” I could day trip with my 12 year old daughter. I am interested in the wood/canvas model. Does anyone have any comments on this boat relative to speed, manoverability, handling etc? I am quiet intrigued with this little boat.


I would test paddle it
I haven’t been impressed with the quality of their boats. Seems better furniture than function. As a matter I have seen more as furniture than on the water. Up close the wood is not fit together well.

I have only paddled the Twister, which nobody can do well with… It bobbles very badly. Its not me either…its cost people FS comps.

I appreciate the reply. I have only seen a few of these boats up close, adn never paddled one. The boats I have seen up close have not impressed me with the fit and finish. They have also seemed heavier that advertised in my opinion. That said, the Sliver I saw this weekend was a good looking boat. I can not find many reveiws for this company either.

The Sliver looks intriguing to me too.

If I were you I’d call American Traders and also their dealers until you find a few paddlers that have paddled one. I find that real paddlers like to give honest advice.

The boats that I have seen at Rutabaga and Chicagoland Canoe Base look quite nice…maybe just a touch crude in the details.

If you want a wood/canvas solo/tandem you may want to consider a LoonWorks boat made by Tom MacKenzie. His boats are amazing in both quality and performance. His Duet is same hull as Bell - now Placid Starfire and his MY PAL is smaller and even hotter than the Duet. Both are delightful both tandem and solo.

Duet is not the same as the Starfire
They heel with a different ease and have different secondary stability characteristics, mostly because the shouldered tumblehome will not come off a wooden plug.<br />

Duet is a larger volume boat used in FreeStyle. MYPal is rarely used that way; its the same length 15’ and two inches narrower…more of a small touring tandem. The Pal does not maneuver as well as the Duet Canadian style solo…The Duet is a sweet boat for that.

Soloists who like a touring canoe often go for the Mistral…15 foot

but back to American Traders…

I agree that the Duet is not identical to the Starfire, just as my Aria is not identical to a Wildfire…but I thought the molds (forms?) were Dave Yost designs based on Star and Wildfire specs. To my tastes the MacKenzie boats are smoother/friendlier than their Bell counterparts when heeled over. I was just trying to give insight into the Duet characteristics and in general they are very similar to a Starfire. Agree that Duel rules for true Freestyle yet My Pal also spins on a dime and is a blast for messin around, and is noticeably more efficient and faster than Duet for tandem or solo cruising with a light load. Two fabulous boats!

They are kissing cousins
but a very different feel…

The Duet is our old people boat when we dont feel particularly athletic. Spins so lovely even when our technique is awful. I cant tell you how many times I have heeled the Nakoma and not realized it was over heeled.until the wet entered…just a smooth constant resistance, compared to the increase due to the shouldered tumblehome in the FlashFire…till you get past the shoulder, then you better be careful.

Same for the Aria and Nakoma…we have all three.

Have daily access to a StarFire, WildFire and own a FlashFire so well aquainted with all six.

Our friends have a Pal and now it does not get used nearly as much as the Duet…Howver it makes a neat sailing canoe. Of course its faster; the L/W ratio is different for one.

The waterline shape is similar(they are all DY designs of course) but when you translate from mold to form some differences appear. Most of it is above waterline, but wood characteristics are different from glass or carbon or fiber.

I have had the pleasure of “helping” Tom make several boats. Not sure if I am more help than PITA

Fireboats vs. Loonworks
One very noticeable difference, among some others, in the Fire series vs Loonworks is that the Loonworks hulls have a more dropped sheerline. At midships the top of a Loonworks sheerline is about where the curve of the shoulder begins on the Fire hulls. This makes a big differnece in heeling and secondary stability.

nice fleet!
I fully agree that the LoonWorks boats feel totally different than the Bells but most people already think I’m a bit eccentric/extreme and need too many boats and paddles for no logical reason. My Aria also sneaks in water over (through) the rail constantly whereas my Wildfire and even Flashfire felt like you could stand on the rail without pushing it down to the water. I no longer own the Fire boats but they were great boats.

I know that my black lab paddling partner also prefers the gentle and roomy contour of the Aria to some boat with harsh shouldered tumblehome. The Aria’s rails are also a comfortable width and height for resting one’s dog chin. The Aria really spins with a lab nestled in front of you…and it cruises better too.

A Duet certainly sounds like a perfect lazy day boat! Congrats on having access to both a Duet and Pal…I’m deeply jealous. With your fleet it sounds like you may spend a lot of time changing direction!

American Traders
Am Traders will have there demo fleet on the beach at Paddlefest in Old Forge 16-18 May 08. They make great boats

We’ll have all three/five Fire boats there too, now nicely infused, some with CobraSox rails.