Perception Chattooga Canoe?

I found a person selling a couple of Perception Chattooga canoes on craigslist. It says they are 17’ whitewater boats but I can’t find much of anything at all about them online. Judging by the photos I would say they are pretty old. I’m in the market to swap my old fiberglass Mohawk for something that I can take down some Class II rivers with my kids.

Perception Chattooga

– Last Updated: Aug-15-13 4:06 PM EST –

The Chattooga was one of the few Royalex canoes that Perception made along with the Nantahala (which was also a tandem) and the HD-1 which was a solo. They were made in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s I think.

The story I heard was that when Dagger Canoe got started Bill Masters of Perception agreed to stop making canoes if Joe Pulliam et. al. of Dagger would agree not to make kayaks for a certain number of years. If true, the deal worked greatly to Perception's advantage.

I only saw a Chattooga once and it was a long time ago. I thought they were around 16' in length but I could be wrong. If memory serves they had a shape not too far removed from the original Royalex "Warsaw Rocket" that led to other similar boats like the Blue Hole OCA.

If the Royalex is not severely degraded it should serve very nicely as a tandem boat for Class II whitewater. It will also be heavy as sin.

If you want to take multiple kids down river at the same time, you might want to outfit it with a pedestal near center for you to use and have a kid toward each end. The canoe is pretty wide to be paddled from center (around 35" I think) but it might work.

Thanks for the info. That’s really helpful. I’ll look closer at that one. I need something not too expensive and don’t mind paddling a beater. I just think if I take this Mohawk out much more on rivers it’s going to break in half!

This thread might interest you

I have been involved in whitewater sport quite some time, but not as long as some here. I can’t confirm that the Perception Chattooga was actually one of the original “Warsaw Rockets” molded by UniRoyal in Warsaw, Indiana and then re-branded by Perception as that thread suggests, but it certainly might have been.

That old original UniRoyal Royalex was incredibly strong and the sheet was typically much thicker than what is used in most of today’s ABS boats which made them as tough as tanks, and just about as heavy.

That’s a good thread. Any idea on how they handle? 17’ seems long to navigate smaller rivers. I wonder if they turn well.

I’m still doubtful about the 17’
I would have the seller measure it if the length is important. Make sure he uses a steel tape stretched taut from end to end.

I think the boat is close to 16’ as this would suggest:

If the boat really was one of the Warsaw Rocket hulls it was 16’. Hard to find a photo now but the appearance would be very similar to this Blue Hole OCA which was a slight modification of the Warsaw Rocket:

The Blue Hole OCA (and I believe also the Perception Chattooga) have a hull with a flatish bottom, a modest amount of rocker, a bit of tumblehome amidships, and recurved stems as seen in the photo.

Believe it or not, boats like this were paddled solo on whitewater back in the 1970s because there were no ABS solo whitewater canoes back then, and the only other options were fiberglass, aluminum, or wood and canvas. I paddled Section 3 of the Chattooga River this spring with a fellow from Highlands, NC who was paddling an OCA solo.

Boats 16 or 17 feet long are easier to maneuver in whitewater if you have an experienced paddler at each end and are confident in heeling the hull (which increases the effective rocker). With a paddle (wielded by someone who knows effective strokes) both in front of and behind the pivot point, boats like this can be spun quite effectively. They do have a lot of weight though, with 2 or more paddlers, especially if they have a bit of water in them, and they build up a lot of momentum. That can make it hard to stick smallish eddies.

If you have to provide all the control I would outfit the boat so that you can kneel just aft of center. That way you can get your paddle forward, as well as aft of the pivot point. I wouldn’t try paddling it on anything too technical right off the bat.

Speaking of Warsaw Rockets, the current manufacturer of Royalex (PolyOne I believe)is closing a few plants including the Warsaw, Ind. plant that originally made Uniroyal’s Royalex. In fact, all production of Royalex will cease when these plants close!

Some are hopeful that another company will purchase the royalex division and keep it going, but soon there could be a real royalex shortage.

I paddled a Chatooga a few times

– Last Updated: Aug-17-13 10:11 AM EST –

The CT AMC club had a black Perception Chattooga in the 80's and 90's, which had been donated by Jim Michaud, who for decades was the top hair boater in the northeast. He used to paddle it solo on class 4/5, and he is pictured in it in some whitewater guidebooks.

I paddled it occasionally tandem with students, and definitely recall one run on the Deerfield in Massachusetts. My recollection is that it was about 16' long with a flattish bottom and not terribly deep. I thought it was a poor whitewater hull (other than the Royalex) compared to an OCA, which speaks to Michaud's skills.

On edit: By "poor" I meant for serious WW. It would be a decent hull for class 2, but so are a lot of other boats.

Was indeed 16 feet long and weighed about 75lbs. Perception listed it in a 1980 buyers guide but it was not listed by 1982.