Rapidfire / Spitfire

I sold my Bell Magic canoe last year and have been planning on replacing it with a Hemlock Perigrine, but my wife just told me she would like a solo canoe as well. So, now I’m thinking about changing to a Placid Boatworks Rapidfire for me and RF or Spitfire for her. I am 200 lbs, 6’1” and she is 5’1 112 lbs. I have a considerable amount of kayak and canoe experience – long distance paddling, kayak rolling, and all that. She has much less canoe or kayak experience but is athletic. My thinking is that the pack canoe, double-bladed paddle style will even the playing field between us or at least make it easier for her to keep a decent paddling speed and maintain boat control. Because I love kayaking and canoeing almost equally, I think I would enjoy paddling a RF. So, a few questions for people that might know… Does this make sense and secondly would a RF or SF be a better canoe for someone 5’1” and 112 lbs. or would it be better for her to paddle the RF which might make it easier to keep a faster paddling speed.

Thanks, David

They are sized that way for a reason
shorter less skin area for smaller paddlers.

Less skin friction allows the lighter paddle to match with the heavier.

Note Dave Curtis canoes. Same principle. Kestrel is for smaller paddlers, Peregrine for bigger

She in a Spit and you in a Rapid would be a good match… We are not talking racing…

L / W
It looks like the Spitfire 13 is a little wider than the Rapidfire so while it is shorter it also is wider which I don’t think is great for my wife. Width at the beam RF = 24" SP = 25.5" That leads me to think that the RapidFire would be a better fit even though it is longer…?

If going longer, go Shadow for the wife.

Please everyone read John Winters

– Last Updated: Jan-23-15 12:17 PM EST –

Shape of the canoe. Google it
Theoretical hull speed matters not if you lack the strength to power it to that speed

Also contact Joe Moore at Placid

Johns page is at www.greenval.com. Part 1. Frictional resistance

Hull fitting
Potential Speed is a function of the square root of the length in feet.

Because our craft operate at the interface between dense water and ephemeral air, Wave Making Resistance is the ultimate determiner of “Theoretical” speed as hulls eventually drop between the bow and stern transverse waves. As the waves separate further apart with increased speed, longer hulls drop into the hole at higher speeds. Wave Making resistance doesn’t become a significant resistance factor until we’re driving out hull above ~60% of Theoretical Maximum Speed. Wave makinf resistance increases geometrically, but that is only half the story.

Skin Friction or Drag starts when the hull moves and increases arithmetically. It is determined by hull condition and wetted area.

A new gel coated hull may have a skin condition around one micro, a freshly painted W/C canoe ~ 2 microns and so on to a knarly old rotomolded hull at 40 microns. The latter being pretty difficult to move through water.

Surface area is a function of paddler and gear weight and hull shape. Minimizing surface area for any given weight leaves us with a coracle, a round, hemispherical hull that will be bog slow and track very poorly. As hull length increases, surface area, and therefore drag, increases.

Selecting hull lengths is a balancing act.

For a 5’, 120 lb lady, SpitFire is probably the ultimate hull. Unless she is in racing condition, she’ll probably be faster in the shorter hull because it has less drag. Few of us run past that 60% speed level.

A 200 lb guy wanting to paddle with his wife might select the SF 13, which was designed for larger paddlers. Rapid will tote the same weight, but wants to run at a higher speed. The paddlers will travel alone on the water, the victim of male ego reaching each portage twenty minutes before his life partner.


– Last Updated: Jan-23-15 1:22 PM EST –

The wider Spitfire 13 is for big boys like you and me, not your wife. The regular Spitfire has the same beam as the Rapidfire.

If the goal is to paddle comfortably together, maybe you should consider a Spitfire 13 for yourself and a Spitfire for your wife to keep your speed in check. I'll bet the guys at Placid have answered this question before, I'd give them a call.

PS I see CEWilson already posted this idea below, (but with a better explanation), that makes me feel quite wise...

12 vs 15 feet in bigger water
Thanks for the replies - much appreciated. I know I’ll be paddling by myself quite a bit so for me I’m going to choose the RF :slight_smile: I can slow down for the wife. If my wife were to paddle the 12 foot Spitfire would it be as seaworthy as the 15 foot RF? I’m thinking coastal paddling in Lake Superior for example. I’ve done some paddling in Superior and Lake Michigan with my Bell Magic and would want the wife’s canoe to be as seaworthy as my canoe. I try to avoid breaking waves but may have some small rollers or an occasional breaking wave.

The elephant in the house

– Last Updated: Jan-23-15 4:17 PM EST –

Overnight camping? The Spit 13 with a burden total of 200 lbs has eight inches of freeboard

Lake Superior? Get a spray skirt..they do exiat

If ahe is going on Superior for the first time paddle early and off the water at ten

Ive paddled parts of it (each trip was ten days) ten times sometimes in a Rapidfire If the Lady says no go obey

To me, a big factor would be if you and her want to sit/kneel and paddle with a single paddle or sit on the bottom and paddle with a double paddle? Very different experiences, much more than hull shape.