Flashfire Canoe

Does any current or discontinued model of canoe CLOSELY match the hull design and specs of the Bell/Placid Boats ‘Flashfire’? In either composite or royalex?

yes and no
The waterline shape of the Loon Works Nakoma is exactly the same shape as the Flashfire.

But its in wood and dacron. It does not have tumblehome so as to get the canoe off the form.

Same designer same plans.

Charlie ought to be inputting soon!

Bell Flashfire composites
were from the same mold that pb uses. Charlie owned the design when he was with Bell.

Flashfire and Nakoma
The forms for both of these hulls were by Yost and they are very similar. If I remember correctly, the rocker is a bit different and the Nakoma has a lower sheerline. Side by side, the sheerline of the Nakoma hits the Flashfire right below the concave shoulder of the Flashfire. So, it’s a bit more curved that the Flashfire. As a result, the Nakoma heels faster.

An experienced paddler can feel a difference between these two.

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what equals FlashFire
The Curtis LadyBug is the closest living, but no longer produced, relative. Bubble sided with a little less rocker, Ladybuig isn’t as stable at the rail. It catalogs longer, but most of that is greater laytout at the stems.

ya I know
I have both and the Nakoma is what I call my old ladys boat. Gotta tromp on the Flash to get the rail to the water and the Nakoma doesnt have as far to go. It works well with my walker.

Now where is the Hoyer Lift?

to be so anal retentative. Guess that just comes with being a paddler of solo canoes for so long.

I’d be using my walker, if I could just remember where I left it.


laid out stems
I notice that Curtis really likes laid out stems. I’ve not paddled one under battlefield conditions. Other than touting a longer O.L. and maybe handling waves a bit differently, are there other advantages to laid out stems?

A Student of Solo Canoe

Difference between original
Curtis boats and the Hemlock Canoe series (ie the Falcon series?)

I know they arent the same and Tom told me the difference but I forgot…there was alot of talking of different stuff at AFS and whatever comparisons I might think are going to be muddied.


Curtis and Hemlock, Bell and Placid

– Last Updated: Jul-31-07 8:03 AM EST –

David Yost designed two series of hulls for Curtis Canoe, pretty much through the 80's; 78-92? The Sport series included 12.5'X26.6" MayFly, 13.8'X29" LadyBug, a ~14'X30" BlueGill, a 15'X 33" combi Companion and a 16'X 35" tandem NorthStar.

The Touring series included 14.8X 27.5 Vagabond, 15.3X 28.5 Nomad and 14.5X 28.5 Dragonfly, with a 17 ft tandem that was plugged but never molded

DY also designed for Sawyer through the same time period and started designing for Swift and Loon Works in the mi-late 80's. He came to Bell in 1993, and Placid in 2004.

Dave Curtis started Hemlock Canoe in the late nineties. He, rather naturally, re detailed several of the hulls he had speced for DY to design earlier.

So, DY's Curtis Solo Tripper was the first in the Curtis Tripper, Sawyer Autumn Mist/StarLite, Curtis Vagabond/Nomad, Loon Works Mistral, Swift Loon/Heron, Bell Merlin II and now RapidFire series by DY.

Hemlocks Kestral and Peregrine are Dave Curtis's reworks, the heritage to DY designs is there, but details are changing as LDC sees fit. His Eagle and Eaglet deswcend from the Curtis NorthStar and Companion.

Flash and Wild are a sized series combining traits of the Older Curtis LadyBug and DragonFly.

Layout? Layout comes out of a one piece mold more easily. Supposedly lifts stems better in big seas, but real seaworthyness benefits are marginal. It comes down to what one thinks a canoe looks like.

All the folks DY designed for built righteous boats. Sawyers were the most price pointed, Swift and Bell make fine production shop hulls, Curtis and Hemlock were and are great semi custom builders. Placid? Too soon to tell, but they seem about right.

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phew…gotta print that out and digest

– Last Updated: Jul-28-07 10:58 PM EST –

thanks Charlie..that must have been some good feed tonight!

Thats great information in spite of it being free!

I always wondered where my favorite boat came from. I need another Heron. Mine is getting pretty beat from Northwest Ontario solo trips.

how does my SRT fit into all that design work, if at all? Thanks.

Ya’ll are talking Greek to me.

Thank you
Charlie, thanks for the reply.

Hemlock SRT
SRT is a Harold Deal design. As Harold says “a whitewater solo tripper capable of flatwater”. Harold is the finest solo paddler I know and an excellant tripping companion. We talked about the SRT type boat for years on trips and outings before he finally finished the design and built the stripper in 1997.

The Curtis Dragonfly was Harold’s verbal design ideas passed on to DY during a Boundry Waters trip in 1982. I still have all of Harold’s follow up ideas written down and sent to me after the trip. DY put all the ideas together and built the strip hull. Harold always said the Dragonfly “was a flatwater solo canoe capable of whitewater”.

Laid out stems have a slight advantage in that the hull flare is carried a bit farther forward. However longer rails are required to trim the hull. Mostly I just like their appearance.


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very interesting
Thanks LDC and CEWilson both.

I meet Harold D. about 6 years ago near Parsippiny, N.J. He’s a fine guy and as you say great paddler.

A flatwater canoe capable of some WW would of course have laid-out stems rather than plumb. I appreciate your comments on this.