Grasse River Boatworks Classic vs Magic

Not much easily searchable info on how these two boats compare. Not much info on the Adirondack Classic at all.

I’m 5’6" and 160 lbs and just acquired a kevlar Magic a few weeks ago and haven’t installed foot braces yet, so haven’t been able to fully evaluate whether I’ll keep it or not. It feels like kind of a large boat for me, like it has a lot of skin friction for the medium sized day paddler.

Whenever I see a GRB Newman Adirondack Classic for sale or any mention of a GRB boat, I think about the Classic and wonder if it would work for me better than what I have. Never one close enough for me to try out.

The little info I’ve been able to glean from the internet is that it’s likely faster than the Magic, but at the expense of initial stability. I get the impression that the Magic is a bit more nimble when heeled, but that both boats have good secondary stability. The Magic is rock solid for me when heeled. I’ve never even seen an Adirondack Classic in person, let alone paddled one.

Any insights are welcome and appreciated.

I’d also like to try out a Peeper and Rambler sometime.

GRB Classic vs Bell Magic
The Classic wins the speed contest hands down. Its the boat that unseated the Wenonah Advantage as the canoe to paddle in the C-1 Stock class in all the races around here and especially in the 90 Miler. I paddled a Classic XL for the first time in the Round-the-Mountain race in Saranac Lake several springs ago and got a second place. The water was rough, very rough, and the boat saved my butt with its design. I did not get second cause i was fast. I got second because i finished without swimming. I beat guys who could outpaddle me, but couldn’t swim faster than i could paddle a totally strange canoe. The Magic is a nice canoe and may be better suite for different paddling, like downriver work. But it is not a canoe that i see making the podium in C-1 stock. Yost’s older designs for Sawyer still show up, the Shockwave and DY Special, but the Merlin II and Magic don’t do so well in racing. Canoes seem to do best on home water and the Newman brothers both live and paddle in the Adirondacks. And they don’t have to modify their designs to suit a marketing dept or partners.


Magic V Classic XL
At 235 lbs I paddle the Magic, and Classic xl. Classic is faster, Magic is more comfortable. I don’t care enough about winning, I like the Magic more.

At ~180 I found the Magic a straight

– Last Updated: Jun-30-15 10:56 AM EST –

forward solo tripper. Heeled "did the job" but hardly "nimble". A tripper, of any kind, is hardly "nimble" in my book. Think I was and still am a little light(without xtra weighting) for it.
It's a bigger-handling(type of) boat, making for comfortable, straight-on traveling. Have no knowledge of the GR boat. I bought the Magic back in ~95?..and enjoyed it immensely. Wenonah's ADK was/is? lighter, but its somewhat wider beam seemed to be a Wenonah "stability fix into a "tripper"". $.01..

Thanks for the info.
The Magic may just be too much skin friction for me and my load too light at less than 170 lbs total.

Now, If I could find a Classic to try.

compare, drag

– Last Updated: Jul-02-15 10:03 AM EST –

GRE's Classic was lofted by skilled race boat designers to dominate the stock solo class. Magic was designed by the most experienced canoe shaper of all time to be a recreational cruiser. It has the more rocker than race boats, a shorter waterline due to curved rather than plumb stems and the bench cane seat inhibits bio-mechanics.

Magic is more maneuverable due to rocker and cross sectional shaping. The volume carried high into the sides to the sloped tumblehome allows paddlers to heel the boat, lifting the stems to shorten the in-wayter length and increase heeled rocker for snappy turns. Classic's USCA Cruiser type sides sink when the boat is heeled.

GRE's 15'8" Classic has a longer waterline length than Magic, which means a little more drag but increased speed at a two wave wash race pace. I suspect OP's dissatisfaction with Magic's glide/speed is a function of co-efficient of friction: drag. Ignoring the issues of Bell's Kevlar laminates, skewed shape from core rebound and hull flex from flexible laminate, please refer to chapter 4 of John Winter's Shape of the Canoe. Skin friction is a huge resistance factor.

Any 16 ft solo may have more skin than a given paddler can overcome. Smaller paddlers are often faster in smaller boats but I suspect the issue here is skin condition of the used Magic acquired. New gel coated hulls have a skin roughness of 1 mil, painted hulls 2 mill and a badly scratched hulls ~40 mil; any roughness above 3.2 mil increasing frictional resistance. Moderately scratched hulls have about half again the skin friction of new hulls.

A multi time FreeStyle champ jumped into a new FlashFire at a Houston Canoe Club Rendezvous in the late 90's and was adamant that we'd changed the hull. There has only been the one mold, now at Colden Canoe, constructed at Blaine Fiberglass in 1993. The difference is that the owned hull had acquired enough scratches to increase skin friction. That we add gouges one at a time over years means we never notice the slow increase in drag.

The solution on gel coated hulls is wet sand paper. Sand the waterline out with 220, 320, 400 then 600 grit every couple of years to reduce skin friction/drag. This won't work on skin coated hulls. If one has a boat with an off-white bottom patch the repair will never show. Other clear and colored gels need be wet sanded out through 2000 grit and buffed to retain original sheen, or scribe a 3" waterline with a magic marker and leave the bottom scuffed to 600 grit. You'll be faster through the water.

Skin condition on this Magic - excellent
It may be just too much skin friction for me to overcome easily. I certainly don’t need the volume, since I don’t trip and only weigh 160 lbs. I’ll try to have patience and wait until I get a foot brace installed before deciding to sell it.

Maybe the Placid Shadow is a better solution for a smallish paddler like me with a need for speed. I’ll get out east to try one out, some day.

I tried a Rapidfire with a medium height seat a few years ago and wasn’t inspired - it was too much work for me to heel it up to turn. Might be better with the high seat.

I don’t want a hard-tracking boat.

My current favorite single blade butt boat is my Epic 16X kayak, but it weighs about 40 lbs and this seems to be my weakest year ever when picking up and carrying boats. Surprising to me, I’m as fast in the 16X with a single blade as with a double blade, and the single is more fun when messing around with hard turns.