Assumptions and fixations

Discussion in 'Paddling' started by FreeMe, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    I was reminded this last weekend that the "perfect" boat is both nonexistent and unnecessary.

    A couple who accompanied me on a long class 2+ river were in what I have always assumed to be a big-water cruiser - an Easy Rider TSL-1 decked tandem canoe. That long, wide, and flat bottomed craft does not look like a whitewater boat. Not only that, but the bow paddler was using a bent shaft single blade - not what most people would call a whitewater paddle.

    These two are very experienced big whitewater paddlers. I'm sure that is a factor, but I also know they could choose another boat. Anyway, they went through long stretches of class 2+ rock gardens with no difficulty, and looked smooth doing it - even with a significant amount of rock-dodging. No, they didn't catch every eddy or surf every wave, but they got down the river in fine style with plenty of room for gear and dog (yes, the dog - who is also an experienced river runner - was riding in the center station).

    While it is nice to have "the right boat" for each situation, skill and gear selection can broaden a given craft's usefulness. As an example, that same decked canoe, with changes in configuration, has been used as a whitewater boat, a coastal cruiser, and a sailboat. Not all canoes can make that claim, but most can have a wide range of uses - beyond what might be assumed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  2. Ashbeard

    Ashbeard Tracker

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    I'm coming to terms with the fact I can't afford a lightweight Kevlar canoe so I'm going to fix up my old 14' fiberglass tri-keel I got for free for solo trips into Algonquin. Not the ideal canoe but it is what it is. I'd rather spend the money on supplies and park fees.
     
  3. Kelly W

    Kelly W Love the Axe Supporter

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    I have a lot more great experience than I do great boats. I try to use both to the best of it's ability, enjoy myself and not sweat the rest.
     
  4. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    So, I was thinking about this some more. The TSL-1 in fiberglass (like the one mentioned above) weighs 85 lbs. That's a lot for such a senior couple to lift onto a roof. Certainly not impossible, but also not fun. Their solution? A lightweight trailer with crossbars at about waist level. That little trailer can be pulled by the smallest of cars, and then unhitched to maneuver by hand to get the canoe close to the water. Theirs was an expensive factory model, but one could be made with salvaged parts and generic hardware for less than the difference between fiberglass and kevlar. When they realized they were getting to old to lift that weight, they could have upgraded to the lighter version of the same boat - for double the price of that nice trailer. They're not pulling a camp trailer, so I think they made a good choice.

    I know I have said a lot here about having multiple canoes to match various needs and uses, and seeking out lightweight versions - but a different perspective is often called for, and always worth considering.
     
  5. Bad Little Falls

    Bad Little Falls Guide

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    My biggest reason for going with a light weight carbon boat was just that light weight. But there are other factors to consider, cost, the rock factor and the scratches that come along with that is a bigger issue than I had considered. Once into a high dollar boat a $250 dollar boat that is already beat pretty well is not that expensive, so I picked one up and now I just came across another but I have to restrain my self, an Old Town Osprey, very similar to my Swift, heavier by 20 pounds. Then I think strip out the three seats and change the gunwales to spruce, that can shave a few pounds. I also am still in a stall on my 20 wooden cedar boat, to many projects......

    I'm sure skill can over come most issues with variations in boats, but it sure is nice to have options.
     
  6. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I've eyed those Easy Riders over the years, nice craft. If you are interested in boats of that style but shorter and lighter in weight an old school C-2 is the boat to look for. Appleline used to offer several models, but sadly they are out of business now and their molds scattered to the winds.
     
  7. CivilizationDropout

    CivilizationDropout -MOA #17- Supporter Bushclass I

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    I'm adamant that my Sears Aluminum most go, and be replaced by a reasonably inexpensive, moderately well cared for, 2nd to 7th hand <14' canoe that I can pick up and go with for less than $200. So, I'm pretty unspecific in my wants/needs. :D
     
  8. Red Wing

    Red Wing Supporter Supporter

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    I paddle and backpack and the longer I do it the more that point is driven home. It's the gear between the ears that makes all the difference. All.
     
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  9. Haggis

    Haggis Guide

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    The late Bill Mason rode his red 16' wood and canvas Prospector canoe on nearly every sort of water, and successfully too! He was not, and is not alone in that feat.

    I'm more in the, "Nobody ever drowned walking a portage", group,,,
     
  10. OutnBacker

    OutnBacker Guide

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    I have similar problems lifting these days. A trailer sure is a blessing if you outfit it properly. This one is my old (2000) Caulkins boat trailer for 10 to 12 foot alloy fishing boats. I converted it to a flatbed that hauls two canoes and all the gear for sailing or just staying out for however long. One of the best things i ever added to the gear bag.
    IMG_0287.JPG
     
  11. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Amphibian. Supporter Bushclass I

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    One day I will own a boat like that.
     
  12. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter

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    The first canoe I had was a 17' fiberglass canoe. I can't remember the name brand right now, but it was a rounded bottom one, and it was fast! I took that canoe down all kinds of water from big lakes to small streams. At that time, I didn't know there were different canoe styles. :) A canoe was a canoe.

    Then I traded that one off for a Coleman 15' canoe. Again, I took it everywhere. Had that one for many years.

    I didn't know until later that there were different styles for different waters. :) I used it for everything from smaller whitewater to river tripping to Bass fishing. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  13. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    There is video of him killing a Prospector in a rapid too. Heart breaking video.

    Over the years I’ve had a fiberglass Prospector and a wood and canvas knockoff of a Prospector. The glass one was made from a mold that was made from a plug pulled directly off a Prospector (not legal but very common back in the day). It was lighter than the original W&C Prospector and identical in dimensions but W&C knockoff (which was from a Royality paying maker) was head and shoulders ahead of the glass one, so I can only imagine how wonderful a paddle a real Chestnut made Prospector would be. I traded both toward my Klepper-as much as I love the Klepper I was never sure I made the right move.
     
  14. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    It's been a while since I watched that video, so I just had to watch it again. Path of the Paddle - Whitewater.....about 10:00 and 32:00 into the video. I'm guessing Bill didn't have available the one piece of outfitting that probably would have saved that boat - float bags. The addition of float bags doesn't magically turn a flatwater canoe into a whitewater canoe, neither does it give the paddler a magical boost in skill. But it does give some confidence that the canoe is much less likely to be destroyed by a simple swamp and pin or wrap, which may be the difference that allows a paddler to give mild whitewater a try in a less-than-ideal hull. Float bags have saved my bacon - or my boat, that is - a few times. Most of the time, they just reduce the risk for the boat, which means I get more whitewater practice than I normally would (having acquired a real whitewater canoe only recently). Just another means to stretch the versatility of a given canoe.

    With float bags, a canoe most would expect to do well in class 2 becomes a reasonable class 3 option. Not the best way to go, but likely to survive.

    On the other end of the spectrum, a more river-oriented canoe can get some help on open lakes with the addition of spray covers, which will reduce the difficulty in wind. Simply lowering the hull in the water with tripping gear or even just ballast (I like to use water-filed drybags) is another option.

    Edit: The copy I watched this time was actually a compilation of two videos; the second being Path of the Paddle - Doubles Whitewater. 32:00 in the compilation would be about 4 minutes into the second video. Don't know how long this link will work, since the Canada Film Board tends to defend its copyright....



    But you can always go to their website for these.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  15. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    BTW - I like Bill's line in that video immediately following the canoe smash....

    "As skill and knowledge grow, so does a healthy respect for flowing water".
     
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  16. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I had a nasty head down broach pin in a plastic kayak. After that I decided to switch to canoes for white water. I was not ever going to paddle in plastic in white water again either. I owned a couple of the Bat series of C-1 and a Blackwater C-1 of Wick Walker fame. I also owned one of Whitesell’s Piranha open C-1’s that was a heavy boat, but a blast to paddle.

    I’ve still got an Extrabat hanging in the shed and a Blackwater deck and hull that one day I’ll get to finishing. I also have the mold for the Blackwater if anyone is interested in pulling a boat off it. The Whitesell is long gone.
     
  17. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    I passed up a chance at a Piranha a couple years ago. I keep thinking that was a mistake. Had a dalliance with the MR Outrage, but currently paddling whitewater in a Probe 12 and (when it's easy) Freedom Solo. Oh yeah, the Prospector gets whitewater time too.

    I share your distaste for tight spaces in whitewater, @werewolf won. Anything I can't do in a canoe, I should probably be in a raft. ;)
     
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  18. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    LOL I did not mind the decks, just not having my legs under them, and especially under a material that would not break up in a wrap. Being trapped in a collapsing boat under water is something I do not ever want to repeat.
     
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  19. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    Another reason to add a kneeling pedestal (aka saddle) and thigh straps with quick-releases for whitewater in a canoe. Another reason for standing with a pole. ;)
     
  20. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Perception used to make a roto molded seat with thigh hooks called a "Saddle" it was great and in an open canoe with enough you could roll them.
     
  21. Boreal Boy

    Boreal Boy Guide

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    That's so true @FreeMe , people spend alot of time analyzing every last spec of a canoe to ensure it best meets their specific needs and does everything perfect. I am guilty if that. I know we have talked about all kinds of canoe's and dimensions/specs.
    But, as you mentioned skill is the most important factor when it comes to getting down the river dry.
    So, when it comes to picking a canoe, if you see something that may fit the bill, grab it, use it and start developing your skills and knowledge that will help you get down the river dry and know what to look for in your next canoe.
     
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  22. DF Bob

    DF Bob Supporter Supporter

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    Free - thanks for the Mason video, it's been too long since I watched it! Great and humbling at the same time. I'm new to this entire site and still trying to work my way through and around it. I've had to start going to lighter boats, as another post indicated, gravity is increasing and the darn boats are getting heavier. I've dropped back from 17-1/2 OT Tripper to a older Dagger 14 for rivers (light class 2), and a couple of "others" for flatwater that are easier to load and unload. Free - are you in the Clearwater area - PM me if you want - I'd be interested in knowing more about a run from the Kamiah to Orofino or even Cherry Creek stretch. Not "rural" with the adjacent highway 12 but probably do-able in my skill range. Looking forward to starting the skill sets, I've been "camping" for 60+ years and only recently discovered that now I was bushcrafting. LOL.

    Still learning all along. I've got a couple of plastic kayaks and never considered the lack of breakup and subsequent entrapment. A big thank you for the heads up and glad you survived to pass along the experience!!

    Bob
     
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  23. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    Opposite end of the state for me, Bob. But I'd like to check those out too - probably after my impending retirement. Class 3 is my limit.
     
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