What is so good about a Malecite.

-- Last Updated: May-03-08 10:17 PM EST --

People talk about them all the time. There must be something special.

Solo, big water, big waves,

– Last Updated: May-04-08 6:36 PM EST –

... bigger than any canoe should be in, with wind .... I don't think there's a canoe that can equal it in that environment

Also, sitting from the center, a kid in the bow, a kid in the stern, fishing ... it's awsome

it’s a niche
I don’t have any experience with it but an old fellow I knew connected to canoeing and selling canoes(dealer, instructor) said it was his favorite canoe,this was 15yrs ago though.

Great old Gal
Malecite is a fine small class tandem who won a lot of downriver races in her day. Tracks, pretty quick, well made. I started solo paddling kneeling against the back of a Malecite’s bow seat.

And Mad River’s Malecite, their first bottom, was a stunner when it came out. All cloth laminate, wood trim, cane seats, she looked pretty good compared to the roving interior, aluminum trimmed, Sawyers and Moores back in 74.

That said, there are newer 16’6" designs that are better performers. Malecite is v bottomed, has virtually no rocker and minimal tumblehome. Bell’s NorthStar and Swift’s Kipiwa come to immediate mind as hulls with more modern design features.

Probably one of the best looking canoes

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ever built. And efficient, stable and can handle a good sized multi day trip solo or tandem. The high volume bow allows it to rise out of waves that you would swear are coming right in. The low shear is a nice thing on windy days and you can still paddle when its big brother the Explorer is useless. It has a minimal 2 inches of rocker that allow it to turn faster than many boats of equal length. Like any other boat it must be trimmed correctly for the conditions to be appreciated. To me it is just what a canoe should look like.




still got mine
We bought our first canoe in 1970, a Grumman 17.5 aluminum job. Not too long after we moved to a beautiful cream colored Malecite. The exact year escapes me, but it seems as though it was the first year MR produced it, circa 1973. Does anyone remember when the first Malecites were built? Thanks.

The reason I ask is that I have one.
WhenI bought it, I had no idea about performance, only that it looked so good.And still does.I’ve thought of selling it since it is rarely used, but I’m sort of attached.

Here’s one
This is the one I picked up and stored for CWDH.

Nice canoe!


Here it is again lightly loaded…



I had NO idea you could load a
canoe like that! I need to get my passport in order and come up to canoe country for some instruction. Canoes down heah are almost like hen’s teeth.

I have one too… finally
It is one canoe that I’ve always wanted to own but never got around to picking one up. It looks just like Tom’s red boat only with white lettering. I spent the day making two cherry thwarts for it. Made the portage yoke removable and I’m waiting on a bucket seat from Ed’s canoe http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/yhst-61200424364131_1993_4280184 This will be my new river and paddle-in camper for the Allegheny Forest. It will haul more firewood than the old Independence.


Me too
Its really a small tandem for lake paddling which I hardly ever do. A few years after getting the Malecite we got into WW solo canoe, Freestyle, and wilderness tripping solo. Hardly ever use the Malecite but can’t seem to part with it.

I host a canoe symposium and if a “never ever” couple shows up in the tandem clinic I bring the Malecite. It has good initial stablity, tracks straight, and looks good.

I like the Malecite very very much
but I think would prefer a PB StarFire now

if I had to choose.

The NorthStar en Kipawa are bigger than a Malecite,

so are not so easy to paddle when empty.

Debut at Pymo?
I would like to see it in person.


Probably MR’s best V-bottomed
canoe. If one were to keep the same length, width, and rocker, but convert the bottom to shallow arch, the Malecite would be a little faster, but would track a bit less well, and might feel a bit twitchy.

"Mad River Canoe was launched with the introduction of the Malecite in 1971. In honor of our 30th Anniversary, we’re producing a Special Edition Malecite executed in modern…"

from the 2001 catalog

it does appear to be thier first production boat

the Malecite is a fairly pronounced V

– Last Updated: May-05-08 11:37 AM EST –

But, because of the width and stability of the boat, it is very easy to lay it up on its side so you're not dragging that V across the water when you really want to turn. So, you get a boat that tracks very well, and turns very well too. Could it be a touch faster? Probably, but I wouldn't take the change to a shallow arch. Think about how much that large hull resists wind push running solo empty. That's the V talkin'.

Jim Henry
Won the OC1 class in the WW Nationals in a Malecite back in the early 70’s. Mad River came out with the Screamer soon after that for the OC1 class. Don’t recall (what else is new) many Malecites in the OC2 short class back then. The Sawyer Canadian was the hot boat in the short class at the time.

Also, Jim came in 3rd in a v-bottomed
13 foot Compatriot in the open canoe slalom in '73, I believe. I tried the slalom course in '74 in my Compatriot, and I was swamped before I got halfway down the course.

I think it may have been such slalom experiences that brought the Courier to the market.

and I’m working on something that only you will appreciate. While driving at work the other day I found sitting at the curb a perfectly good aluminum folding golf bag caddy (garage sale tag still attached) with very nice wide foam removable tires. I’ve found that with only slight modification it makes a perfect lightweight stowable canoe portage buggy. Much better than the politically incorrect wheelchair. I’ll bring it.

Why the Malecite
It was the malecite that got me back into canoeing. I read about the Malecite asymmetrical hull and looked at the lines (esp the tumblehome) and went out and rented one. Paddled an open lake into a small creek with heron rookeries. Good forward speed (hull shape) but less maneuverable in tight space than a boat with more rocker. No one boat can be all things to all people.

As for looks, wood gunnel with cane seats is just plain classical. Even with fiberglass. Messed up and didnt buy one, though. Years later had a chance to buy and rebuild the one I first rented.

I have paddled Mohawk glass and royalex(RX), Bell RX and kevlar, Bell Northwind RX and kevlar, plus Grumman and Alumacraft ( I own 2 well used but watertight AC now for teaching beginner classes.)

The Bell Northwind kevlar 17.5" was by far the fastest boat I ever paddled. If $ were no object I would own 2.

I rented an Old Town explorer (16’) a couple of times and truly single or double and in fast water, it is delightful - just 58# and the guy who dropped me off carried it down stairs one-legged. It has more rocker than the Malecite and is excellent backwards paddler (sit in bow facing stern)in fast water.

With all the above for background, I bought a 17’ RavenWorks R84. It paddles like the Malecite. It is assymmetrically shaped like the Malecite, but longer-I weigh 250# and every inch of boat matters. R84 floats like Royalex but has a glass outer shell for sharper entry (easier and faster. Singlehanded carry at 62#. I wanted to become their southeast rep, but they folded. So did Mohawk, just right down the road from me.

But all said, everytime I see a Malecite, I think ahhh.