Herreshoff double-paddle canoe

I just purchased a vintage L. Francis Herreshoff “double-paddle canoe” (what would now be “kayak”) built by the Graves Yacht Yard, Marblehead, Ma., and would greatly appreciate any information available on this boat.

I would particularly appreciate advice on rigging boat with seat, braces, spray skirt, suggested paddle length, etc. as this is a “bare hull” with no wood parts. There is no information available online (that I can find…) so please help if you can. Thank you!

Mystic Seaport
is one good place to look and ask.

Try the Library
You might go to old L. Francis himself, and check out his thoughts on the double-paddle canoe in either his book The Compleat Cruiser, or in his Sensible Cruising Designs. The latter book, as I recall, shows Herreshoff’s own plans/drawings for the seats, back rests, paddles, etc. for at least 2 or 3 of his canoes. If not the library, then Amazon, new or used.

The man himself

– Last Updated: Jan-09-15 2:49 PM EST –

This picture is great, not sure it's relevant to your canoe:


This photo came from the following thread at Wooden Boat, which some more photos and info:


Info on the seat back is given in posts 26 & 27, as c-runner already posted. Sounds like the Mystic Seaport Museum has a couple of the LFH canoes in their collection, as well as plans.

Herreshoff double-paddle canoe
Thank you both, gentle-paddlers! I had seen the Mystic museum photo of L.Francis, and have owned “Sensible Cruising Designs” for a long time–probably almost 40 years—and had looked at the chapter on the “double-paddle canoe” for seat arrangement, etc. While of the same general “type” as the boat described in the book, this one is fiberglass and the deck, combing, etc. are different than the prototype. Hoping to use the brace “brackets” and seat supports, I’m searching for an owner with a sister-ship who could give me some “pointers” on replacing these critical parts of the boat. Naturally, I won’t be able to wait long enough before I “have” to try her out, so plan to “cobble up” something that will serve in the interim. Thanks again…I appreciate the pointers.

Maybe Not…
Out of curiosity, I did a little internet crawling and came across a 2005 boat lovers’ message board where a Graves/Herreshoff fiberglass kayak (maroon) had been seen on a lawn for sale. In the discussion, it was stressed that L. Francis would not have been the designer of such a craft, but it was likely the work of his nephew, Halsey C. Herreshoff. Another, more remote, possibility was that Halsey’s father, Sidney DeW. Herreshoff, may have designed it. Seems that boat design was in the family blood, starting with old Nathanael himself.

ask at WCHA
they are paddlers and I am pretty sure I have seen one at the Assembly


Cruising World


I read a very readable novel biography… may find later.

Herreshoff double-paddle canoe
Point taken (about LFH probably NOT being the designer of the Graves Yacht Yard’s “plastic” double-paddle decked canoe…) The Man was, after all, a staunch opponent of building materials “heavier than water” and an out-spoken critic of FRP construction, which he termed “frozen snot!”