Got an Older Malecite....

I had made some posts in the last couple of weeks about downriver canoes and fiberglass boats, etc.

I decided to modify my criteria for the tandem canoe I was searching for and look for one only suitable for up to Class II water, since it would be rare that I would run a Class III with my wife. Flat water and slower rivers are probably more realistic for our paddling.

I found a used fiberglass Malecite for sale that I bought. After the feedback I got, it seemed that fiberglass may be a good option since it is cheap and apparently pretty strong (can take some hits in mild rapids) yet still provides good stiffness and fine entry lines.

I have not gotten the boat out yet, but hope to do so this weekend.

I have to say though…holy cow does this boat have REALLY LOW freeboard. The specs I found online say 13 inch depth at the center, but the one I got measures at 12 inches deep at the center, and that is to the bottom of the highly pronounced V.

I had read that they changed the dimensions in later versions of the boat…guess that is an accurate statement. This one is a 1984 build.

Well that should certainly be good for providing low windage, but I am a little leary about that kind of depth for a loaded boat in any kind of waves. Guess we will have to see.

I think it is going to be a very sweet handling boat from all that I read.


My old Mad River Compatriot, more
deeply V-bottomed than the Malecite, also had low freeboard. I used it a lot in class 1-2 whitewater, and occasionally ran a class 3. For some reason, the low freeboard didn’t matter. Maybe it was the overall design of the boat, which Jim Henry raced a bit on easy slalom courses. When I took water was when the overall turbulence was so great that it tipped an entire gunwale under the water, and more freeboard would not help that much.

That said, if you tandem the Malecite on a “class 2” run like the Nantahala, bring a bailer for both paddlers. A fatter, blunter bow and stern are needed to run dry on those supposedly class 2 rapids.

Glad to hear you got the Malecite. Hope it will prove to fit your needs. It would be great to hear your thoughts once you’ve had the chance to use it some.

I purchased an Independence recently that also has markedly low freeboard. So far its done great but I haven’t had it in over class I rapids nor more than choppy whitecaps on a small lake. It will be interesting to get it into bigger waves. I really got it for flatwater use and it looks like it is going to be great for that.

on getting a Malecite. I have two, one in Fiberglass and the other in Kevlar (which I need to finish fixing). I have run some lower class II with it and not had a problem with the low freeboard. Where I did have some doubts was crossing Lake Umbagog a couple of years ago into some building waves. I did have quite a load. I found that if I quartered into the waves I did well with only an occasional wave breaking over the gunwales but this took some getting used to. As mentioned a sponge and bailer are always handy to have along!

What I really love about mine is when I get it up to speed it takes very little effort to keep it there, a very fast canoe IMO and I solo it. Good luck with your new purchase and hope you enjoy it!


Malecites are fun but
their whitewater cred is based on solo downriver use. Suggest you get a large center air bag in their and approach with gradually if you are going tandem. The Malecite goes fast and only turns a little.