Placid Boatworks

While traveling north on I-87 yesterday a vehicle passed with two Spitfires on the roof rack and towing a trailer.

A couple of sweet boats for sure. My thoughts eventually turned to and how many here immediately dis small recreational boats.

Who disses Spitfires?
Nor are they small recreational boats in the family of Swifties or Otters. They are beautifully made pack canoes, multiple times the price of an Otter, that show up in the Adirondack 90 miler etc and perform well.

I can’t say they are great at on-water rescues of much bigger kayaks - we’ve had a local person try and she becomes a submarine somewhere in the process of emptying water out of a NDK Explorer - but trying is a good way to spend a hot afternoon.

rec boats
Small rec boats are great for their intended use, but there are valid reasons to “dis” them if the paddler wants to do big open water or class III whitewater.

The Placid boats are beautifully made. I’d be happy to have one in my fleet.

I have one
And love it. A nice high performance ultra light pack canoe.

I had one and ‘rec boat’ used in
reference to it were fighting words.

As someone else said: unless you’re getting paid to paddle, they’re ALL recreational boats.

Product demand
I’ve heard from what I would consider a reliable source that Placid has excess capacity and is using part of it to make rowing shells for Alden.

String, you fit in a Spitfire?

Excess capacity?
They should be making infused versions of the Curtis Vagabond and Lady Bug, then.

Excess capacity is usually caused …
… by insufficient product demand.

Where is the demand for the 30 year old Curtis Ladybug and Vagabond hulls?

The hulls would be new, the design is

Does old design necessarily mean obsolete or undesirable?

I like my Curtis Vagabond and Lady Bug and think they’d be greatly improved by infusion construction in integral gunwales (stiffer and lower maintenance). I have no qualms with the design.

What contemporary boat fills the same niche as the Lady Bug for smaller paddlers? I can’t think of any. The Flashfire is a bit turnier, but may be considered close enough to the Lady Bug to be in the same niche. Of course, many on these boards perceive the Flasfire to be a superior hull to the Lady Bug, because it’s a newer Yost design, and everyone knows that newer is always better :slight_smile: The shouldered tumblehome of the Flashfire and later Yost designs does yield more stable heeling at higher angles, but the bubble sides of the Lady Bug yield greater hand clearance.

Of course, the Vagabond is very similar to, but not the same as the Hemlock Kestrel. I prefer the handling of the Vagabond, but I only test paddled a Kestrel for about 30 minutes and it wasn’t back to back with the Vagabond. I would gladly welcome a light weight Kestrel into my fleet, if one came along at an irresistible price.

"irresistible price"
Your final two words get to a key issue for product demand: price.

Demand is an inverse function of price.

A kneeling hull with PBW technology and finish would cost in the $3000 range. I really don’t think there would be a significant demand for 30 year old kneeling open canoe hulls at that price point, regardless of how nice their hulls may seem to some aficionados. Would you buy a $3000 Ladybug or Vagabond, Yanoer? I have always gotten the impression that you are a very informed connoisseur of the used hull market because of price concerns.

From talking to Joe Moore a few years ago, I got the impression that he wanted to focus on producing new hulls for the high performance pack boat market, and that he wasn’t too keen on keeping up production of the older, kneeling seat Fire canoes brought from Bell by Charlie Wilson. I even got the impression that that issue may have been the subject of some disagreement between Joe and Charlie. All said, I’d be surprised if Placid was interested in producing old Curtis hulls.

Hemlock recently made a custom Ladybug for Paul Conklin with Dave Yost’s permission, but I’d be surprised if Dave Curtis sees a significant demand for these older hulls. Perhaps Colden or Swift would be interested in one or two of the hulls, depending on the condition of the molds. I understand they can be expensive to rebuild.

Personally, after suffering seriously in 85-90 degree temperatures on a six day solo trip this month in the Adirondacks with 8 miles of portaging, I wish someone would make a 25 pound solo kneeling canoe for tripping on lakes and rivers.

Mine was a Rapidfire.

Is 27 lbs close enough?

– Last Updated: Aug-15-12 12:18 AM EST –

"Personally, after suffering seriously in 85-90 degree temperatures on a six day solo trip this month in the Adirondacks with 8 miles of portaging, I wish someone would make a 25 pound solo kneeling canoe for tripping on lakes and rivers."

Yes (or Shearwater) but only for $800

Old Curtis Molds
The Vagabond and LadyBug molds reside in Colden NY. Glenn is smack on with pricing, a 25-26 lb LadyBug, infused with SharkSkin rails would be in the $3K range, and would remain vastly inferior to FlashFire, which shares equal waterline length. It would take a couple decades to arrive on the used market at Yanoer’s “irresistible” pricing.

Paul Conklin has a new MayFly, not LadyBug. DY and I tested MF against other very small hulls, both kneeling and with low seats before doing SpitFire, which is faster, better tracking, better turning and more stable. DY used more Gothic arch in the Curtis days and like everyone else, used less rocker, particularly bow rocker too. It is ignorant/insulting to assume that the old professor hasn’t learned anything re hull design, of which he is a serious student, in over two decades.

X Lite/Strong trippers? Colden has the Nomad Mold, should infuse with synthetic rails at ~29 or so, as will WIldFire. And Swift has DY’s latest variant on his 78 Solo Tripper concept, the Kee 15 under 30 as well. Kee is a little wider to fit today’ solo paddler profile, which is somewhat wider.

Conk’s Mayfly - thanks for correction
I misspoke on that.

The Mayfly was sort of a smaller versions of the Ladybug. Conk wanted a canoe lighter than his Hemlock Kestrel - but one specifically designed for kneel paddlers - for his Adirondack pond hopping. At his 19th century height and weight he fits the Mayfly.

I’d like to try a new infused Swift 15’ Keewaydin against an infused Osprey and Shearwater, but it’s hard to find a dealer that has all three. I prefer the 15’ length range for solo tripping canoes and also like lots of freeboard for wave conditions.

No offense was intended.
And I profess my ignorance about all solo canoes out there that I haven’t paddled.

You’re right about me not likely buying a brand new hull in the next couple years, but it’s not out of the question if I perceive the hull as superior to a few others in the fleet. The challenge is to actually paddle one of the newer designs or constructions, since I live here in IL where none of the new boats discussed above are available to be test paddled.

Someday, I’ll journey out east to one of the gatherings where most of the newer infused smaller-paddler hulls are available and be able to paddle them head to head with the older iterations as you, and several others who frequent those gatherings, have done. Until then I’ll live in relative ignorance with the used hulls available in my neighborhood.

The Placid hull that strikes my fancy the most is the Shadow. I suspect that I’d much prefer it over my ultra light Advantage for single blading. It may even replace one of my sea kayaks, as well.

Is Ohio too far?
The Midwest Canoe Symposium is coming up in September. While there will be less touring canoes in favor of symetrically rockered canoes at the event, there will be a good selection of boats to drool over. (Might even be a Spitfire.) And as I have learned from these events, it is a myth to think that a symetrically rockered boat is slow.

The MayFly started life as the SoapBox, which was a downsized LadyBug made up for Dana Grover’s Emily Brown. Sue Stoltz talked DY into a second copy. When the soapbox was re-envisioned as a lady’s touring boat, more arch was introduced into the bow and V into the stern to “improve” tracking. And, MF has significantly less rocker than the SoapBox, so while SoapBox was a downsized LadyBug, MayFly is no such thing.