Vermont Canoe -- MRC redux?

I had never heard of this company until this week. Then, the name came up in the pack canoe thread, and I happened to see two of them today, the solo Indy and tandem Encore.

Here is the website:

Very interesting. The company is in Waitsfield, Vermont, the former home of Jim Henry’s Mad River Canoe. They tout that they have “enlist[ed] veteran Mad River Canoe craftsmen to oversee production.”

And their canoes? They look familiar.

The Encore looks like the MRC Explorer, right down to the shallow V hull. The Sokoki looks like the MRC Winooski. The Indy isn’t pictured on the website but, now that I think about it, the one I saw in the store today looked like, by golly, the MRC Independence. The site says they are building the mold for an 18’ tandem called the Horizon, “ANOTHER Jim Henry classic.”

Does the word “another” seem like a clue?

What was the MRC 18 footer – TW Special?

It’s good to see a new canoe company springing up. I wish them good fortune. Something’s happening in the Mad River valley.

And they’re in the old MRC retail
showroom, just down the road from the old MRC production facility! Rob, who posts here as “openboater”, has been a reliable and generous source for those seeking info/advice on vintage MRC boats. If I ever buy a new canoe again, it’ll be one of his.

Wish them all the best.

Rob (Openboater) identified himself …
… as the owner of Vermont Canoe in the current “Solo Canoes” thread when I asked him. It’s good to keep knowledge circulating, as people come and go off various boards. I only recognized the name of Vermont Canoe because I had read it on this board.

As I said in that thread, I was shocked at how few open canoes were displayed at the Wilton Sports Center in Connecticut. 20 years ago, there would have been 100 open canoes there. Now it’s dominated by kayaks and SOTs.

Interestingly, there were both a MRC Explorer and a VC Encore in the store. No wonder I thought the Encore looked nice; it seems to be an Explorer clone, or close. The Explorer was the second canoe I bought after I was married with kids, and I still have it. The Encore had nicer outfitting, by which I mean wood. Now I’m sorry I didn’t look at the comparative prices of the Explorer and Encore.

Not sure how generally known this is, but the first open canoe to run the Grand Canyon was a MRC Royalex Explorer paddled by Jim Shelander, then of Georgia, in about '79. I met him at Western Mountaineering in San Jose in 1980 when I was looking at the Explorer. He explained how the park rangers were concerned that a canoe was to flimsy to run the Colorado – that it would get torn apart. Jim said he turned the boat over and jumped up and down on the hull to demonstrate the strength.

Well, that’s enough about Royalex, which does have a place in whitewater. I assume VC is all composites.

Canoes and kayaks have always been a tough business to make money. Even Henry Rushton, whose history I have been exploring in the Pack Canoe thread, complained about the thin profit margins when he was dominating the American market in the late 19th century.

The open canoe market is now even narrower, due to the infinitely evil double blade paddle, much to the dismay of committed open canoeists such as me.

(Yes, I confess that I have flirted with Satan and still occasionally paddle one of my three devilish kayaks, but I now have the personal paddling theology to realize that I – though maybe not you – am committing a mortal sin when I do so.)

here is your monkey wrench of the day
to add to the mixer.

I agree that when people like Harry Roberts went the variety of canoes declined like the stock market in the last year.

But unlike you I do have hope especially when people realize that they often can double blade a traditional canoe. I know a lot of people who do extended trips that way. BUT they all love the single blade best. In some ways double blades are training wheels. I just find the canoe more versatile and I am seeing more people coming back from decked boats. Some people are having trouble from pack boats too…DY once said that as you get older the seat needs to be higher…we are about telephone book age now.

And remember that when you get old it is a lot easier to get out of a canoe than a kayak when you have no help around.

Perhaps we ought to look at making dock and waterside devices available to help the aging paddler in to and out of their boat…an untapped market.

Anyway.;bye I am going on three canoe trips! There is only so much satisfaction in yapping.