Mad River TW Special

-- Last Updated: Jun-18-10 2:17 PM EST --

I'm picking one of these up next week and am pretty excited about it. But there isn't a lot of information out there on the TW Special.

Here is something intriguing I found on CBoats (I think it was attributed to Harry Roberts in an article in the CanoeSport Journal):

"Mad River T.W. Special 18'6" - The most popular of the pioneer
Supercanoes of the '70's. The T.W. Special was designed by Jim Henry from
a highsided USCA cruiser class stripper that was designed by Lynn Tuttle
and modified in the building (high sides) by Maine State racers Ray Titcomb
and George Walsh. To take it full circle, the original USCA strip boat was
basically the hull form of a Sawyer Cruiser stretched to 18'6", This 18'6"
version became the Moore Viper. However, incestuous as it sounds, the
TeeDub was a honey. - "

If anyone has any tidbits or insight, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks in advance.


I believe it was also V-d a bit, which
I would not have done.

According to the 1998 MR catalog
the TW Special was introduced in 1972, the first model after the Malecite. It was discontinued in 1984 and according to the editor of the catalog “the successor to the TW Special is the Lamoille” (asymmetrical, straight keel line, shallow V).

I owned two

– Last Updated: Jun-22-10 8:02 AM EST –

The first was glass, ~80lbs. You can bet I got one in Kev ASAP, ~65lbs. Loved the boat at the time, but after I learned to paddle, the V bottom and straight keel line became limiting issues.

The V lowers block co-efficient and aids tracking, but compromises handling. V bottom boats don't do inside heeled, skidded turns well because they present the outer flat of the V almost square to the water, which compromises the stern skidding around.

V hulls are friendlier to outside heeled turns; the stern V presented very flat to the water when heeled away from the turn. Outside heels also take advantage of the bow carving into the turn, which makes for a snappy maneuver.

TW Special
The TW Special evolved from A USCA Crusier Kit that George Walsh and Ray Titcomb brought back to Maine from a trip in 1969 for a race on the Wabash River. They worked on it over the winter tweaking it by raising the sides and blunting the ends.The next year they raced it in the New England Whitewater Season. They did very well with it that year. Of course the other thing they brought back with them was the evolving sit and switch style favored by the midwest paddlers. Jim Henry started building the boat and it along with the Sawyer Charger and Ranger 18’6’ Challenger were the boats to have for Downriver Racing. When Wenonah started coming out with a Downriver Racer in the late 70’s early 80’s the others started to fade as the Wenonah’s seemed to be faster and racers being racers Wenonah seemed to become the boat of choice. I think it was the late Harry Roberts who coined the term “Super Canoes” for these boats. George Walsh went on to race and own the short class (16’6") in a Sawyer Canadian for a good number of years. Another interesting boat George had a hand in was the “State of Maine” war canoe a 24-26’ war canoe shaped like a marathon racer. It was the fasted thing on the water.

Thanks for the replies

I appreciate the input. I also heard from Dave Curtis that the change between the TW and Lamoille had to do with the change to vacuum bagging.

As for the V … I guess I’m a bit of a sucker for gothic architecture. I’ve got 3 boats with a bit of V, a Malecite, an Independence, an ME, and I just sold a Lamoille. The Vs on those boats don’t seem to cause me any issues whatsoever. But maybe in another 20 years or so when I learn how to paddle, or lose some physical strength and stature, maybe I’ll think differently. But for now, I enjoy them immensely.

: - ) (nm)

Sent You an Email
Have one and love it. Nice bit of history of have as they’re hard to find. Think you’ll like it a lot.

I have a moore viper. its sweeeeeet and ive heard it was a rarity? I swappewd out the high hump buckets for plastic wenonah and swapped aluminum rails and thwarts for th eoriginal wood. 63 ounds. 18.5 ft. bow paddler is much further forward than convetional boats.

Thanks Doug
Sweet boat and toasting platform! The one I’m picking up is kevlar also. I’m getting it from the original owner, who can no longer really paddle due to bad knees and diabetes. But I told him I want to paddle it with him before I can take it. Actually, that’s what I was going to tell him, but he beat me to it and asked before I had the chance. It will be an honor.

Any Moore is a rarity. Ours was a Vega
Voyageur but they had to change the name to Moore because of the Chevy Vega. Then there were the Pat Moore Canoes, also rarities.

TW Special
I would be interested in hearing about your TW Special. I have one hanging in my garage and it has been there for a lot of years. Mine has seen a lot of travel but the gunnels have been replaced. Would you mind sharing what you paid for yours. I am considering disposing of mine to a good home.