Another post prompted this, but not wanting to hijack.
- While ratings shouldn’t vary, they do, especially in that 2-3 range traditional canoes tend to be concerned with. I’ve taken a Grumman successfully through a “class IV” (according to the book) on the East coast. I was rather awed in an 18’ raft by what our guide called a class III in the Rockies.
- A class IV feature, say a single steep drop over a ledge with no keeper at the bottom, is different than a continuous class IV run down a mountain. On a warm summer day, I enjoy running canoes through huge waves if the price of failure is just a short swim in the pool below.
- People lie. They lie in both directions, for similar reasons. I have a friend who was a novice paddler, took a course, and at the end of the course they “Paddled loaded OT Trippers down a continuous class IV run for several days - carrying their own drinking water”. This friend believes it, but I don’t, especially considering that in the whole class of beginners in open canoes (no decks), no-one swamped or pinned on the entire trip. I can understand how an organization might stretch the truth, but not how one would actually take a class down class IV in open traditional canoes.
- Just like their SUV’s, people want capacity they don’t necessarily need or plan to use. As such, when people say they want a boat capable of class IV and trips, that doesn’t mean that they intend to trip through class IV loaded, but could be just an ideal or goal for the design direction.
I tend to abide by the rule that if a typical open canoe can run it with a fair chance of success, it cannot be greater than class 3. Running loaded without swamping - it isn’t a IV. All this excludes playboats and of course C1s and decked canoes.