Curtis Vagabond, how long is it anyway?

I two references on the net today to the length of the Curtis Vagabond. One says it is 14'8" and the other says it is 15'8".

I have heard the 15'8" figure before, but a better source indicated it was closer to 15'.

I'm confused. So how long is the actual Curtis Vagabond solo canoe?


14’8" Vagabond

– Last Updated: Jul-30-05 4:18 PM EST –

but you can't really compare it to the Placid Rapidfire because they are not even close. The Vagabond was a canoe with a seat, not a sit on floor pack canoe.

While you can order a rapidfire with a seat it's only for small people. The hulls may be very similar to the rapidfire but the ends and the tumblehome are a little different. I don't think the Curtis boats had as much rocker or differential rocker like Placid and Bell canoes have.

Dave Curtis has one of each of the Vagabond (14'8"x27.5") and Nomad (15'4"x28.5") for sale used on his web site. Both are true classics and will not be there long. I know several people looking for either boat.

Comparing RapidFire and Vagabond.

– Last Updated: Jul-31-05 1:49 PM EST –

Someone posted a 15'8" Vagabond for sale in the classifieds. I did assume that Dave Curtis would have the correct length posted in his Vagabond ad, but I still wanted other input as mistakes are made even by the very person that should know. Did you take your figure of 14'8" from the Hemlock ad or another source?

As for the comparison. I do think a direct comparison can and should be made. The word from the source is that the RapidFire is David Yost's direct redesign of the Curtis Vagabond. They also said the redesign is like a three level jump from the old design.

DY redesigned it as a Pack Canoe as that is what Placid BoatWorks specializes in. The reason for a floor mounted seat instead of a seat mounted to the sides is a lot of weight savings and greater stability. Pack Canoes are an old idea and practice going back well into the 1800s. Even in the heavier expedition layup my 15' vac bagged RapidFire should be 25# or less. The glass Vagabond is 37#. I would guess the Kevlar one to be say 32#. Putting the seat on the bottom makes for a nice weight savings by reducing required side hull material. My hand laid SpitFire is 25 pounds 15 ounces with seat, large back rest, and portage pad. If it were vac formed it would be closer to 20#.

The bottom mounted carbon seat puts you 3" above the hull bottom. I was going to hang my seat in the RapidFire, but with the narrowed hull, only 24" at the waterline it needs the stability of a bottom mounted seat. I tried putting a thick 3" cushion on the seat to paddle a Spitfire and a RapidFire, sat me 6" above the hull bottom. They both got extremely tender! I quickly took the cushion back out. Will have to work into that slowly if to try it again.

Thanks N.T. for reply.



Trust me the Vagabond is 14’8"

– Last Updated: Jul-31-05 5:42 PM EST –

And I know about the Idea for the modernized pack boats. This is something DY has been thinking about for some time before he actually put the wheels in motion. DY is an expert on the history of the canoe, pack canoe and adirondack guide boat going back s far as the 16th century...amongst many other things. He now has more than 60 canoes designed that have been in production at one time or another.

There is a major difference in the Vagabond and Rapidfire and that is that one is a canoe in the traditional sence and the seat is bolted to the gunwale and one is a modernized pack boat which gains it's stability from the low center of gravity (floor seat) like a kayak. In one sense it is an "open deck kayak" designed to be used with a Kayak paddle.

I have sent for the fact sheet on the Vagabond reguarding it's specs. and I'll share it with you when I receive it.

Vagabond Specifications
From the origional spec. sheet courtesy of Dave Curtis and Tony Fig. Thanks guys for digging then out and sending them, along with some other goodies.

Length 14’8"

Hull widths

gunwales 25.5

max. 27.5

at 4" waterline 25.5


bow 15.5

center 11.5

stern 14


glass 37

Kevlar 30


max 350

efficient 125-250

Thanks N.T. for the complete specs!

Dave Curtis also e-mailed the correct length, but no the complete specs.

Thanks all.