More on Caper
"I owned a BJX
"It also seemed to require kneeling
“So, you like the Caper for flatwater, but don’t use it on moving water, why is that?”
The BJX is definitely a kneel-only boat. Too narrow to paddle seated even for a highly skilled paddler. You can do it, but it requires constant attention. I once watched John Berry try to paddle the BJX with an Olympic high kneel and he almost dumped.
The Caper is a kneeling boat but it is stable enough in mild water conditions to be paddled seated. I do it all the time. In the thread entitled “BIG FEET!” I relate how I sometimes use three cushions. I do that in the Caper.
Galt changed his Caper seat design in 1986 at my request, but all his seats are canted for kneeling, so they are not the best for seated paddling. I do it, however. In addition, they are sliding seats that can be removed in seconds, so you can sit on something else.
I do use the Caper in moving water all the time, but only if it is flat moving water. It’s great for Southern rivers and springs. You can carve around stumps and trees easily.
Where I don’t use it is in any river that has significant gradient and rocks. It has no rocker to speak of and is not meant for whitewater maneuvering in pushy current. I also won’t take it out in any sizable wave conditions because, like most solo freestyle canoes of that era, it has little depth. For these kinds of conditions I just bought a Hemlock SRT as a crossover whitewater-flatwater boat to (sob!) possibly replace my Caper in the trinity of boats on my van roof.
The Galt boats are pretty old now and probably hard to find, and I don’t know why you want one. I keep mine for nostalgia reasons and because it is part of my personal paddling and life history. Plus, I do still like it a lot … but not as much as when I was 25 pounds lighter.
If you do want a Caper for some reason, I saw two of them (perhaps without seats) stashed away in the attic of a canoe dealer in St. Petersburg, Florida three years ago, who I also think has the Caper mold. I would guess he might be highly motivated to part with them because of the lack of demand for such a boat and the general economy. I could perhaps figure out the name of the dealer from my diary if you are interested.
PS: What a Mesozoic message forum. No quote feature. No formatting tools. No pictures.
More on Caper
The Dandy had a lot of flare amidships
But I dont recall mine being 46 lbs. It was a glass boat though. I never weighed mine but it hefted more than my glass FlashFire at 38 lbs. Whether it was eight lbs I dont know.
The Dandy was sweet for cruising lakes and straight line travel… The only FreeStyle maneuver it liked was a lazy christie. That stern did not want to skid.
It makes a neat sailing canoe which is what it is being used for these days.
Mike's Caper may be the best looking canoe, solo or otherwise, that has ever been made. Shouldered tumblehome, the bow lay-out and recurved stern, the best seat ever, sliding on tracked side pods, molded float tanks and painted scuff patch, Pirahana Pine woodwork sanded to 600 grit, and the rails tapering towards the stems. It is beautiful! Mine was blue.
That said, inside Mikes exquisite gel work, the partials were torn mat. Lotus hulls were always heavy and hardly bombproof, and adding a Kevlar inner didn't help much.
The Caper lifts it's stems when heeled near the rail, and was a wonderfully playful boat going forward. It was also, maybe the slowest 14.75 ft hull ever designed. The stern had so much cheek that the terminal transverse wave separated and lodged at the boats hips. The water thought it was ~twelve feet long!
About that time FreeStylers started doing reverse maneuvers. That flat keeled, cheeked, stern was completely unworkable in reverse; it could not be drawn or wedged to either side.
The dealer in St Pete is Canoe Country Outfitter, Mike Ceibol, Siebel? SP? phone 727.541.5819.
Another neat Galt boat was the ~ 15'X 3_" Cygnet. It started life as a tandem carefully researched and sized to the Asian market, but became a fine solo, especially for larger paddlers.
Even more on Lotus Caper
Charlie Wilson said:
“Lotus hulls were always heavy and hardly bombproof”
Haha, I remember asking Mike about that with regard to the Caper. Without blinking – he was a good salesman – he replied that a lighter canoe of that size and shape wouldn’t have optimum glide between strokes.
As I had never heard that concept before, I asked him if I could get the proper glide with a lighter hull if I just gained some weight. Don’t recall his response.
It was 1986 and I was just passing through Tampa to spend a few days with him. I had absolutely no intention of buying another canoe, as I had bought my black BJX in '84.
Mike knew his Caper was hot stuff and that I liked it. He baited me. I was going up to Tallahassee for a week or so and he told me just to take a brand new boat with me and paddle it. It was tangerine orange. Gave me a foam block roof carrier and paddles to take. No deposit. No nothing. Just trusted me.
So I dilly-dallied up and back from Tallahassee, paddling in the Suwannee, Manatee Springs, and various other rivers and springs. And I got hooked on the bait.
It just amazed me that a canoe could track straight yet spin so easily on a leaned skid turn. I literally laughed out loud with joy as I carved slalom courses though flooded forests.
When I got back, I told Mike I would only buy it if I could have the special carved, webbed wood seat he had made for his then girl friend instead of the less comfortable standard cane seat. He hemmed and hawed about that being a one-and-only special seat, very labor intensive, very expensive – but he coughed it up.
That summer, or maybe the next, I organized a canoe symposium in the Catskills with Mike and John Berry as the featured guests. Mike, on his way to the Bean symposium, arrived with a trailer full of Capers and Egrets, pulled of course by his 1938 Volkswagen bus.
Every Caper had the special hand carved seat. He admitted it added a lot of comfort and appeal to the boat.
The weight of the Caper has never bothered me, and I have never tested its bombproofness.
However, I have thought occasionally about the concept of glide over the past 23 years, and still can’t decide whether Mike was on to something, at least partially, or just selling.
I miss him … and those days.
> still can’t decide whether Mike was on to something, at least partially, or just selling.
When money talks, bepop walks?
I miss him… and those days.
Indeed – I do miss his articles in CanoeSport Journal about FreeStyle and so that I found so interesting and fun to read!
Didn’t like his designs though, as much as I would like to…
Just gotta chime in
to say I have a Caper and it is the most beautiful solo ever built. I’m too heavy to get great performance out of it these days, but haven’t been able to bring myself to sell it. Owned 4 Galt boats, still have two and curse myself for selling the other two. Mike felt that beauty was as important as function and it showed in his boats. On one visit with him he was showing me the half model of the Caper and I asked him how he designed it. Said he just started carving and when it looked right he scaled up and built. He could have been kidding depending on the mood he was in, but I could buy that explanation as he was certainly a different kind of guy. If he had just taken better care of himself we might still have him around to “stir the pot” about paddling, boats and life in general…I miss him too.
Glad to hear someone remembers Canoesport Journal. REALLY miss the View from Piety Hill and Uncle Harry.
I can’t really add anything to this thread. The only Galt canoe I’ve paddled (briefly) or even seen was a BJX.
But I had to say thanks to the all folks who have posted. I really enjoy reading the design critiques and the stories surrounding the boats and their creators. Kind of makes me wish I’d gotten into this twenty years sooner.
I had that same thought.
Only I wish I had gotten into solo canoeing 30 years ago. In 1978 I traded my Alumacraft for a Wenonah Sundowner, which I still own. But I was unaware of solo canoes until six years ago when I began checking out canoes on the internet. I now own five solos and don’t plan to sell any. I sold a Lotus Egret last October, and my regret at selling was negated by the fact that it was returning with a happy new owner to Florida–where it was constructed 30 years ago. It was beautifully crafted, but I just didn’t use it enough to justify it taking the space for another solo someday, I hope. The designers and builders of solo canoes of 30 years ago have given us some wonderful boats, and while some like Mike Galt and Phil Sigglekow have passed on, I will still say “thank you” to them and those who remain.
I bought my first canoe directly from Phil during a demo days in Ann Arbor in 1992 (a Combi 15.8 with the nicest kneeling thwart that I have ever seen). I also wish I had started earlier since I had loved canoes since first time I was in one in scout camp.
I’m not familiar with Galt boats but I’ve been in a lot of Blackhawks and in my simple mind Phil’s boats are totally underappreciated and undervalued…they really hit the mark for combining art and function and they represent an individual style that I find deeply enrichening.
I’d like to see Patrick Moore decide to get back into the sport since I think he has SO MUCH to offer.
Large collection of Galt canoes
I was in Canoe Country Outfitters in St. Petersburg, FL in October and they have at least 10 Gult hulls. Some are finished models (at least on with mast head for sailing), some are still unfinished hulls and some are the strip originals. They ended up there 6+ years ago. A private collection that has bacically been abandoned. Anybody wanting more info should call them. It’s pretty cool if you’re into Galt hulls.
steve’s caper, update
I purchased Steve’s caper in 2011, autographed by the great one himself…
Each time I paddle it, I am struck by its beauty and elegance. I am not qualified to speak about hull speed and such forth, but I can tell you it is a joy to paddle.
It never fails to attach attention from passers by. Among commonplace water craft, it stands apart like Greta Garbo!
I have a Mike galt lotus egret. Does anybody know if there is a hin number. Selling ours and the guy wants it. Any information would be appricated.
Depending on how old is it could be scratched into the gelcoat on the right stern side.
Here is a photo of my Lotus Caper, and mulitiple photos of my Lotus Dandy; which is signed by Mike Galt.
I’ve had my mom’s Egret and Dandy since 2002. She bought them in the early 80s. Their gelcoat is getting a bit cracKed, pitted and thin. I don’t remember any HIN on the right stern, but I’ll check tomorrow. I’m about to try and bring them back to water-worthy states. I’m hoping to do Texas Water Safari with my son in my mom’s Egret.
They sure are pretty boats. Here’s one for sale.
Looks like a Dandy, I used to have one but it has been a while. They were often rigged for sailing. The person I sold it to did rig it that way. Very stable boat. Not a bad price either.