Hemlock & Placid solos

Here I thought I had my heart set on a Hemlock Kestrel, but I just got a look at the RapidFire on the Placid site. Has anyone here had an opportuity to paddle one?

I’m thinking about a VT/NY road trip this summer – demo canoes at the builders, plus there’s the Adirondack museum, the Lake Champlain maritime museum, and the Shelburne museum to enjoy. Also the Adirondack guideboat factory, and …

Only About 20 Minutes…
…but, those 20 minutes were wonderfull! Paddled the Spitfire & Rapidfire and want 'em both. It’s fast and, it’s FAST, and did I mention it’s FAST! I paddled Mcwood’s so you might ask him, he can tell you more about the hulls. For me, it was love at first paddle. The seat was comfortable, and not too low to inhibit using a single blade paddle. It was responsive, plenty of secondary stability, and FAST. It weighs a little more than a feather, fit and finish was beautiful, it was comfortable to sit in with the seat back, and it was FAST. The only thing I could complain about would be the price tag, and if I had the cash right now both boats would be in my barn. WW

What WW said, but he really should have

– Last Updated: Jan-13-06 1:01 PM EST –

explained better that it is F-A-S-T ! ! !

I just hate it when people leave out or under stress the important parts !!! Don't you? ;^)

Mine is an extra heavy one at about 35 pounds. Which is about 5 pounds over standard. I had a complete extra layer of kevlar installed (expedition weight). Also they are vacuuming bagging now as well. I think that takes off another 4 pounds(?). 26 pounds , plus or minus? Not bad for a 15 foot boat. Oh yeah, remember when comparing that most all Placid BoatWorks boats are Pack Canoes.

Any more questions? Want lots more info and more detailed answers? Just call me. Check your e-mail for fon number.

Oh yeah again, I probably did forget to mention that it is kinda fast. ;^)



How much faster is the Rapidfire than
the Summersong?

Don’t know. Never paddled them off.

– Last Updated: Jan-14-06 6:04 AM EST –

They are also very, very different boats! Weight, WIDTH, design age, seating, paddle designed for, materials, etc ... are all different. Since these boats respond so differently it is real hard to get a handle on their realitive speed without a paddle off.

RapidFire is a Pack Canoe designed to have the paddler sit on the bottom on a short (3-4")pedestal type seat and use a double blade paddle. The side walls are so thin they will not support the weight of most paddlers in a hung seat, BUT that also equals light and stable. I tried sitting 4" higher in the more traditional canoe position where the paddler gains power and control in the stroke. That was scarry! Felt like I was going to tip over constantly.

RapidFire paddled by a first time racer, but experienced bicycle racer did beat every solo and tandem canoe and kayak in the last Adirondack 90 miler race. The closest boat was over 26 minutes behind.

So Yanoer, when are we getting together and having a paddle off? ;^)



Thanks for the compare/contrast of the
Rapidfire and Summersong. I guess I’d have to padle a Rapidfire to know how different it is than a Summersong as far as speed and handling characteristics are concerned. Sounds like the Rapidfire is quited fast. The Summersong also moves along quite well with a double blade paddle.

What length DBCP do you like using in the Rapidfire and why? What make and model?

As far as a paddle off, you would probably kick my butt even if I was paddling the Summersong and you were paddling an Old Town Pack canoe, because you are a much more skilled and experienced paddler than I am :slight_smile:

I tried one of the Hornbeck 12 canoes about 7 years ago and wasn’t too excited about sitting on the bottom of the boat. I’d have to try a Rapidfire for a while to determine whether I’d like the lower seating position any better in it.

Happy paddling

Does the Placid…
have a web site? If so, can you let me know what it is?

Placid’s URL

Kick your butt? Nah, I’m old, fat, and

– Last Updated: Jan-14-06 9:08 PM EST –

been hanging around floaters far to much these many years to kick someones butt in a paddle off. I had planned to put a sea anchor on which ever boat you were paddling to make it an even contest! Either that or hire c2g as my "jockey". ;^)



seems like
a fairer test would be the same paddler with a GPS to mark speed, but I’m just an old science teacher trying to control variables. Then again, it’s not as fun to have to buy yourself a beer when you lose to yourself!

Too impersonal for my liking. I prefer
a direct paddle off with switching boats involved. GPF may be more scientific but way too dull and boring for me. It is not really about the actual speed anyway, but the sensation and drama of the contest isn’t it. If not, wouldn’t we run all of our tests in the lab against just the clock? Wanta watch the next Indy 500 run one car at a time against the clock?



Oh, I’d get to paddle the Rapidfire!
I like that approach to comparing the two. It may require several trials :slight_smile:

Well, of course!!!


90 miler reults ???
Hardly a fair comparison as Bruce Lee used single blade paddle

Still a very fast hull, however.

One of the soundly beaten

Don’t quite understand.
Have to talk about it later though. Late. Will most likely be off puter for a week. You can fill me in then.



RapidFire in 2005 Adirondack Classic
The Rapidfire, boat#56 in the results, entered by Joe Moore had a time of 15hours 14minutes and 10 seconds. It was paddled in the Open Touring Division, a NON-competitive class where NO places are awarded, it is for those paddlers who only paddle to finish and collect a 90 mile pin. It was NOT paddled in a competitive class against other solo canoes, and was paddled using a double bladed paddle. Its time would not have beaten the fastest C-1 Stock canoe or even the fastest half dozen C-2 stock tandems as claimed.

These claims for the RapidFire “winning” the 90 Miler are falsehoods, even though they appeared in print in the current issue of Paddler Magazine. It was not entered and paddled fairly against other canoes, in fact it is not yet on the NYMCRA list of approved stock canoes, so its dimensions are not yet certified as meeting the specs for any class, stock, amateur or pro.

The claims are an injustice to all who participated and competed fairly in this fine event.

If a manufacturer would falsely claim such a win, what else might he claim falsely about his product to sell it?


Hey Mick
get your facts straight about the rapid fire. Time wise he might have come in first in open touring, but that class was for those of us who just were going for the mileage pin, not the speed. Sort of like saying you won the race when no one else was racing. What are you doing, impressing yourself? There were other boats that were faster in racing classes so think through the times. He had double blades which meant he was either a kayak solo or a tandem canoe. His legnth/wideth was not certified so he was really closer to the Ametuer class. look at the times. He was fast, and a nice guy but not the fastes out there.

47 other boats thst came in ahead of the Rapid fire.

Yes it is fast( faster then me :wink: But if you enter in a non competitive open touring class you prove nothing by saying you won. In all the other classes and a few from open touring there were a BUNCH of faster paddlers/boats.

Hey fella I’d say it’s clear that you may need to get one of each. I’ve got a Kestrel and love it, and I’d also love to try a Rapidfire. I’d also love to try a Rapidfire set up as a kneeling boat; Charlie Wilson said he’d like to build one that way, but I also don’t want to be the guinea pig to find out if it’s too tippy to be comfy. I’d guess that the Rapidfire would be faster than the Kestrel either double paddle or single…it’s just a damn Flashfire with less rocker and an inch narrower and two feet longer…the frickin Flashfire’s already pretty hot.

The Kestrel is a lovely boat. It does exactly what Dave says on his website…cruises at same speed as bigger boats with less effort. I’ve had back problems and this solo is easy on the back. Fits like a glove. Tight as a drum. 33 pounds in the heavy lay-up. Takes an overload with me plus dog happily…maybe 275 pounds total. And with this boat the fourth stroke feels like first stroke on Flashfire…it feels like the boat has not found any resistance yet. The acceleration and speed are satisfying. The Kestrel gives up nothing to a Merlin II except a touch of maneuverability and capacity and it gives up nothing to the Peregrine except capacity and maybe elegance and excess comfort/room, and it has them both covered for acceleration and speed…by a touch.

I’d guess that Charlie is building good quality boats too…now that he’s gotten away from Bell.

Just my two cents.

He should be ashamed
to claim he won the “Adirondack Classic”. Not only was this stated in print advertisement, but it’s still on the home page of their web site, check it out.


I agree this is insulting to those who train hard and compete in the competitive classes.

How sad that a small boat shop has to stoop to this type of misrepresentation to promote their product. Even stranger is that they are located in the Adirondacks, you would think they would have more respect for the race and it’s competitors!

p.s. if you want the fastest solo boat, go buy a Grass River XL.