My local canoe builder

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MikeK

My local canoe builder

Post by MikeK » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:02 am

https://www.youtube.com/user/hemlockcanoeworks

Just out from my local canoe builder. I own two of these boats, an Eagle and a Peregrine.

Just my quick perspective of what they have if you are ever in the market for a quality boat:

SRT - Solo River Tripper - A whitewater/flatwater solo combo boat for tripping. This is a turny boat, it's got huge sides and heels over like it's nobodies business. It takes some attention on flat water or in wind/waves, but it's really meant to be running rapids on rivers and creeks. It's built extra tough for a lightweight kevlar or carbon/kevlar boat so it can take some slight rock punishment.

Kestrel - Small solo wilderness tripper. My favorite boat, but I'm a bit too big for it. It's quick to get going, turns awesome and bobs over waves and through chop like nothing else. It's a tight squeeze for someone up and over 5'10".

Peregrine - Larger wilderness solo tripper. Similar to the Kestrel but longer, wider and can carry more weight. Not nearly as nimble but an ultra fast glider. Super low freeboard means you have to be wary when heeling it, especially loaded up or in waves. Not really a boat I'd take through much more than a riffle - more of a big lake/pond boat.

Eagle - General purpose tandem. Wife and I use ours and an Adirondack tripper. Anything from week long trips to overnights. Can do pretty much anything well - light rapids, wind/waves, flatwater speed... it's a good all around boat. It's symmetric but still fast. It's symmetry makes it handle well in tight situations (or be backpaddled with ease on creeks).

Eaglet - Compact solo/tandem combi boat. I have less experience with this boat. I've paddled it solo, and it's kind of a big solo, but not bad. Likes to go Canadian style with a big lean - good for calm waters. As a tandem it's kind of small except for light couples or just day tripping. Not really what I'd want for a multi-day tripper. If you are big and carry a lot of gear, it's a great solo. If you are a tiny couple, and go light, it's a good tandem.

Dave's been building boats since the dawn of Kevlar canoes. I don't think anyone in the industry has more experience making light weight boats than him. He's really good about making your boat what you want. He doesn't compromise strength and durability for weight. His boats are light, but are made to be beat to shit in the wild. He uses his own boats and the guy who does his trim does too - they test everything in real world conditions.

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lowangle al
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Re: My local canoe builder

Post by lowangle al » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:11 pm

They look like nice boats, pretty spendy i'll bet. I am looking to buy an old wood and canvas boat within the next few years. My current tripping boats are a Mad River kevlar Malacite for portaging and an Old Town Tripper for river trips.





MikeK

Re: My local canoe builder

Post by MikeK » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:26 pm

Yeah - pricey. But really no worse than most other Kevlar boats you buy these days.

I have a fiberglass Eagle that I paid about $1100 for, that is going to my sister this spring. I bought a Carbon/Kevlar premium+ version specially trimmed the way I wanted it (non-standard seats and such)... I haven't picked that up yet as last I knew it wasn't finished yet, but it ran me about $3500 + tax.

My solo boat is Kevlar - it's not the lightest layup, but I'm young enough to handle it - there isn't a huge weight difference in the carbon/kevs in the solos. Anyway mine was a NOS barn boat - Dave built it for someone and they never came through so he put it in his barn and forgot about it for a year or so. I bought that one for around $2100-2200 or so + tax. Wasn't a bad deal. I mostly just cruise that one for exercise.

I haven't got into wood canvas myself - but lots of people really love them. Say they are much nicer than the composites except when you have to carry them.

I had a Swift Keewaydin 16 before the new Eagle. That was my light boat. I liked it but not as much as an Eagle (they are very similar boats though). I decided Dave might not be building much longer and life is too short so I got exactly what I wanted. For the time I spend in a boat during the summer it better be exactly what I want.

We really want to get a big water boat next to add to the fleet - Minn II or the like. Something to crank on the big lakes.

I also would really like a SRT for mild whitewater, but I don't do that enough to justify the price. Maybe someday I'll buy a plastic boat to play around with and if I get serious buy a SRT if Dave is still building boats.

If you ever get down this way, give one a try. Dave's shop is 5 min from Hemlock or Canadice lakes (both owned by the state i.e. no camps and have motor limits of 10hp), so go give one a try. His trim and the like is similar to a Mad River - in fact I think he used to trip with the founder or use Mad Rivers, not sure? I've heard a lot of stories about Moose hunts and Mad River boats. Anyway, his line is more solo orientated. If you haven't tried a dedicated solo boat, you must! It's like a bike for the water. Tandems are fun and all, but even paddled solo they feel like barges. A true solo boat feels like you're connected to the water. They are hard to paddle at first, but once you get the technique down it's very addicting... kind of like BC Nordic skiing ;)





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lowangle al
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Re: My local canoe builder

Post by lowangle al » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:08 pm

Yeh, that solo river boat is the one I'd like. Solo boats are great to paddle, I have a 13 foot Mohawk solo boat that I got used, if I had a choice I would have gotten the 14 footer. I've used it on a couple of trips but I prefer the Malacite even when solo because I like to paddle standing up with a 6' 6" paddle. I've never gotten down to a comfortable one trip carry over the portage with the solo boat so I didn't get that much savings in energy or time. The solo boat is better for fishing though.





MikeK

Re: My local canoe builder

Post by MikeK » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:29 am

Sheesh I single port/carry even with my tandem... that usually means carrying 80-90lbs total load (45-50lbs boat, 35-40lbs gear). With my solo boat that's probably more like 65-70lb (30-35lbs boat, 35-40lbs gear). It's not a huge difference in the grand scheme of things, but what tends to get me with the tandem is the weight on my shoulders - it obviously worse with a heavy fiberglass boat in the 70lb+ range. The glass boat I used when there wasn't much portage.





MikeK

Portages

Post by MikeK » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:12 am

Glass boat:

Image

Kevlar:

Image





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lowangle al
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Re: My local canoe builder

Post by lowangle al » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:36 pm

A single carry with a tandom boat, thats pretty good. Howw long are your average portages and how hilly? When I single carried with the solo boat I never got it comfortable. My pack rode too high and it hit the seat and prevented me from lifting the bow enough to see and for good balance, very frustrating. When I bring a shotgun that doesn't help either. The pain in the shoulders is hard to avoid, but I think a tumpline on the yoke would solve the problem. I'll let you know if I try it out.

I came up with the "rule of 100' to determine the heaviest boat you should carry. you take your age and subtract it from 100 and there it is.





MikeK

Re: My local canoe builder

Post by MikeK » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:59 pm

Longest carry I've done is about 1.5 miles. It was pretty hilly too and about a million degrees out. There was some blowdown to get around too on the edge of a ravine - that was a bitch... I almost dropped the boat down the ravine - I managed to catch it by the painter :lol: I said a few choice words and that got me through.

I'm usually good for like a half mile, then I need break. I'm actually getting better figuring out my yoke and my pack setup though so I get less fatigued. A lot what hurts is the boat bouncing on the shoulders, or having use a hand to steady the boat. If the boat stays put, doesn't get caught on my pack, and I can keep my hands down and on the painter I'm good.

I do doubles once in a while if it's a nice walk - usually I prefer just to grunt through. It really depends on how I'm trying to go that day - I've averaged over 4mph with ports when I'm motivated. I feel a lot better keeping it to like 2mph average though. When we are pond hopping it's a lot about being organized, grabbing the gear from the boat, onto the trail, a short portage, and then back in the water. First time doing this was horribly inefficient, now we work like a well oiled machine. The better we get the more time we spend enjoying time out in the boat and less time fumbling with gear in between.

That first picture is going down the other side of a steep ass esker - I had to drag the boat up that part, I couldn't carry it overhead without skidding back down!

Shoot - I don't agree with the age thing... that means I should be able to carry a 66lb boat! By itself not bad, with a pack, no thanks!





MikeK

Re: My local canoe builder

Post by MikeK » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:46 pm

Oh back to more sensible stuff - I see Mowhawk 13's for sale quite often, and have thought about getting one as a play boat for creeks and rivers. I'd like something more like a Bell Yellowstone, but hard to find and pricey.

If I do I'll let you know how the SRT stacks up. I really liked it when I paddled it - I had avoided it for a while because I thought it wouldn't interest me, but I see the appeal. It's absolutely rock solid when leaned, although on center it feels tippy (round bottom + straight sides). Harold, the designer and guy in the video makes it look easy, but I had to really focus and use my best form going straight - he's doing cross strokes and looking flawless, but that's not easy... that boat is like a shaped ski... it wants to lean and carve... nice for rivers and creeks, challenging on open water. I think the reason it does happen to be a good big water boat is the high sides keep it dry.





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lowangle al
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Re: My local canoe builder

Post by lowangle al » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:30 am

I have a cedar strip 16' white water boat that has a ton of rocker but because it was 20 lbs. lighter than the tripper i was using I took it on lake trips. I liked paddling it but as soon as you take your paddle out of the water you turn, sucks for fishing.

I think you need more canoes than skis. :lol:





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