Am looking for a light, very stable canoe for my very young family to go fishing in. Would this canoe be a good choice? Which size would be best? Pointed are square stern? Does an electric motor work well? Any info would be appreciated. We have never owned a canoe before but have access to many water ways. Maybe a small boat would be better, but I don’t think I could load one myself. Thanks. Young Dad needs help…
Sportpal and/or Sportspal name used by
at least four lines: Meyer, Radisson, Castlecraft, and Pa... something. What one are you asking about?
Telling where you have seen it or are buying it from might help as well.
Are extremely popular around here in NE Ohio and NW PA with hunters and fisherman. They are some of the most stable canoes on the market and come with sponsons on the sides. I always say "you could stand up and dance around in a Sportspal/Radison" and it's true. I consider them strictly flat water boats because of the keel and the very thin aluminum used to make them (also very easy to patch) They are utility platforms for fishing and hunting and have very poor handling characeristics because of their wide flat profile. The larger models even come with ore locks. I have seen them on both the Allegheny and Susquehanna Rivers and they work fine as long as the water is up. Again they are easy to maintain..all you need in thin aluminum patch material (window trim coil), pop rivets, caulk and spray paint.
Better choices for learning canoeing would be prospector style boats. Which are in my book are real canoes that handle well even loaded.
Also Old Town is famous for good reasonably priced family canoes.
As Mick states there are multiple versions of the Sportspal canoe. The original version is still sold as the Raddison Sportspal and it is made from one sheet of thin aluminum that is cut and folded into the hull shape. The seams are joined with sheet metal screws and covered with a joint sealer that make the canoe look very much like a birchbark canoe.
The Meyers version of the Sportspal is made the conventional aluminum canoe way, from two identical half hulls joined by rivets along a keel and two stem pieces.
For your usage, either 14’ version will work. The Radison is lighter, but much thinner and vulnerable to puncture. Their shapes are so close there is no noticeable difference in paddling. The Meyers version is built with bench seats or the original foam chairs that sit on the canoe bottom.
The 12 foot Sportspals will float two adults or an adult and a couple children, but 12 feet of canoe does not put 12 feet between the fishing rods at each end of the canoe. It is a short wide canoe that is a chore to paddle any distance unless you are floating with the current. And having a small child in front does not help your paddling. The 14 foot Sportspals are much better for fishing and paddling. The 12 footers place is for carrying into remote small ponds or cottage usage.
All the versions of the Sportspal are stable lightweight canoes that are comfortable fishing platforms. The floatation is in the form of ethafoam sheets that are fastened to the canoe interior over the aluminum hull and on top of the bench seats. This quiets them compared to bare aluminum hulls, and keeps the sun from reflecting off the hull interior.
While i would never swap my Wenonah Spirit for a Sportspal, I have spent many afternoons fishing from Sportspals; and they will fit your intended usage very well.
True, true, true
I cannot add anything to the above three responses. All factual, IMHO.
motors on Sportspal
To finish answering the original questions. The double ended Sportspals come with a motormount and paddles with mounted oar locks. The motor mount attaches to the stern deck with stainless steel machine screws and wing nuts, all supplied.
The square stern is slightly better with a gas motor. With an electric motor the double ended models work fine, not much weight on the mount to unbalance the canoe.
The square stern versions of any canoe are noticeably harder to paddle. It always feels like you left the anchor out.
Meyers boats in Ohio bought the American Sportspal years ago and that is why the different names used here on the same canoes. The Radisson models are Canadian made, the Robertson square recess sheet metal screws were the first clue. Meyers owns several other small boat lines, that may be how the Castlecraft name gets on a version.
Thank you all for your knowledgable input. I think I’ll look for a used, pointed, 14 foot. Thanks.