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Meyers Sportspal... is it a good deal?

Discussion in 'Paddling' started by Bullhed78, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Bullhed78

    Bullhed78 Scout

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    I have an opportunity to buy a 14’ Meyers Sportspal Canoe for $150. Here’s the deal, it has hung on the side of a garage for years. The paint is oxidized very badly, the sponsons are all but rotted off and the liner is extremely deteriorated. I took it out for a float yesterday and it does not leak. I called Meyers and talked to the guy that does the repairs. The price list for repairs is as follows.

    Sponsons and liner - $300
    Ribs - 24 @ $10 each -$240
    (They may not all need replaced 24 is worst case scenario)
    New paint job - $125
    (They pressure test the boat and fix any possible leaks before painting)

    With all these repairs and the price of the canoe I’d have $815 wrapped up into it. It would basically be like new when done. To buy the same canoe brand new is $1200 so I’m basically saving $400.

    Is it worth the effort or am I better off buying something else?
     
  2. TentMonkey

    TentMonkey Scout

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    If it'd get you on the water for $800 (worst case scenario with the ribs all needing replaced) in a boat that'd cost ~$1200 new, it doesn't sound bad.

    I didn't realize the bargains that were to be had on aluminum canoes until I bought my 17' grumman a couple years back. $150 for a $1000+ (new) canoe in my area is the norm.
     
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  3. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    What's wrong with the ribs?

    Personally, I wouldn't sink $800 into a used aluminum 14' canoe. I've bought some really nice used fiberglass canoes for less. And they didn't need any work. If the ribs are okay or fixable, I'd buy it for $150, strip the foam residue off, line it with some carpet remnants, forget about sponsons or paint, and paddle it.

    Unless you really have a "thing" for that particular canoe, I don't think it's worth all that. I know some people rave about the Sportspal, but there are better used canoes for the money. And you can likely find another just like it but not needing repair for less than $800.
     
  4. Gramp Camp

    Gramp Camp Supporter Supporter

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    68E2FEE2-7E48-4355-B78E-D81A963C4EB0.jpeg I just replaced the sponsons on mine (I love the Sportpal) for I think $60.00 online for a Raddison 14’. They were like 6 inches shorter than the Sportspal but look fine. You can paint it yourself, I did mine years ago for duck hunting. If you don’t care about noise the inside foam won’t need to be replaced. Buy only the ribs you need and you will save from the projected $800.
     
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  5. Gramp Camp

    Gramp Camp Supporter Supporter

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    F1AF2738-25C3-4965-B745-33881206D73B.jpeg I got this for $125 from a canoe livery. Has some character marks but is water right and tracks well. A 17 footer.
     
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  6. Bullhed78

    Bullhed78 Scout

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    I’m not dead set on the Sportspal. The ribs all look good but I was told that it is not uncommon to have some that don’t want to tighten up with a new liner. Those are the ones that need replaced. The ribs are there to hold the liner in place and add structure to the boat. Here is what I like about the Sportspal. It is fairly light @ 58 lbs., felt extremely stable in the 20 minuets I was in it, I feel like aluminum should be pretty durable and since it’s lined it is quite. Any unlined aluminum canoe I have ever rented sounded like you were kicking a tin can down the road every time you move in it. I do have a 16’ Pelican that is made of ramX. I have not used it much but it seems kinda flimsy, not undurable, just not real ridged and it doesn’t feel stable to me in the water. Maybe I just need to get used to it. It is also on the heavy side.
     
  7. Bullhed78

    Bullhed78 Scout

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    @Gramp Camp how is the rattle can paint job holding up? Did you prep the boat at all or just spray it?
     
  8. grandpa p

    grandpa p Tracker

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    What will be the primary use? If it's fishing or duck hunting it will be OK. If it's primarily for paddling, look for something else as I don't think they paddle well (like a floating brick:(). IMHO even investing a total of $600 is too much when there are better options available for that amount. The biggest advantage to a Sportspal/Raddison is the weight. Several years ago on an Algonquin trip, one guy bought a brand new one because it was half the weight of the Grummans the rest of as had. Two hours into the trip, he regretted his choice. With the sponsons it was too wide to paddle easily, was tough to handle in the wind, and portages weren't as easy as anticipated because of the width. Unless I was an avid duck hunter, I wouldn't give one rack space. My wife thinks I have too many canoes now. Best of luck with your decision.
     
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  9. Bullhed78

    Bullhed78 Scout

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    Primary use will be fishing some local mill ponds with a buddy and floating some slower moving, shallow rivers with the wife and kids. I also want to be able to use it and enjoy it by myself. I don’t see myself hunting out of it although I love waterfowl hunting so who knows.
     
  10. grandpa p

    grandpa p Tracker

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    Might be difficult using as a solo. Because of the sponsons, I would think that even paddling canadian might be a PITA.
     
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  11. OutnBacker

    OutnBacker Scout

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    What FreeMe says.

    The best thing about the Sportspal is that it is light weight, but most canoes in that size range are going to be pretty light, unless they are Tri-Link Poly, or hand laid glass roving, which tends to be heavy but strong. There chopper gun glass canoes that are both heavy and weak. Personally, if I wanted an aluminum canoe (I have two), I'd shop around for a decent Grumman, MichiCraft, or other quality canoe that doesn't need repairs. There should be plenty out there. It's hard to imagine one costing more than what the repair quote is.

    Or, just use it as is. Alloy canoes are no noisier than alloy fishing boats, which I am certain out number and catch more fish than any other craft combined - despite the racket when you do something clumsy. The fish really don't care that much. As has been suggested: throw in some old indoor/outdoor carpet and you're good to go.

    Grumman 15, after a successful day fishing...
    IMG_0638.JPG
     
  12. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    Really - a $150 canoe that doesn't leak and tracks straight is nothing to sneeze at. I have one such boat, that I've done a few inexpensive tweaks to, but a full restoration is out of the question. If you buy it, that Sportspal will probably please you more in the shape that it's in than that Pelican ever could. Only thing is that a 14' canoe is kind of limited in capacity. Unless you are all small, two adults and a couple kids may be a bit much for it.
     
  13. RickS

    RickS Supporter Supporter

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    They have replacement parts on their website, maybe you could buy the stuff and paint it yourself. I have an 11 ft square back, kind of checked it out before I bought mine used. Good luck
     
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  14. Bullhed78

    Bullhed78 Scout

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    Thanks for all the info. I think I’ll probably buy it and use it the way it is for awhile. If I love it, I invest in redoing it. If not, I can sell it or keep it as a beater. Canoeing is something completely new to me with the exception of renting a canoe and doing a 2 - 3 hour float down a river for recreation. I’m kind of a buy once cry once guy. I like high quality stuff that tends to be expensive. Hence me feeling like I “need” to restore an old canoe to new before I paddle it. I also know that sometimes if you cheap out on something you don’t get the whole picture because what you bought was substandard. Stability is probably my number one concern. When I had the Pelican out I felt on edge the whole time. It didn’t feel stable and the last thing I wanted to do was go swimming the hard way and lose all our poles and tackle. I don’t know if that was the canoe or just me since I’m a newbie. With that being said, that I gotta have the best mentality has cost me a lot of money on gear that I thought I had to have and never really used. It’s hard to change a zebra’s stripes but I’m gonna try this time. LoL
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  15. OutnBacker

    OutnBacker Scout

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    As for stability, the longer the hull, the more stable it will be. Also, a bit faster. In a 14 ft canoe, anything over one person is going to twitch some, but not necessarily roll, unless adult beverages are in play. As far as I know, all alloy canoes are flat bottom hulls which have a bit less secondary stability than shallow arch types. That just means that a rounder bottom section has a better chance of holding stable in a sudden lean than a flattie, but I have never actually experienced a dunking in any alloy canoe. I have seen it done, though. Ironically, my swim sessions have been in the more stable types because I was pushing things.

    Personally, my tandem break point is 15 feet. Anything under that is a solo boat. But, that's just me. I do go tandem occasionally in my Grumman 15, but it wears an outrigger on one side so I, or we, can stand and fish, stretch out, pee over the side, etc...

    If you do end up really liking it, you will still be better off for the time and money getting another alloy canoe, rather than going through the exercise of trying a resto on this one.
     
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  16. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    Were you solo in that canoe? On a river or a lake?

    First two times I rolled a canoe were in a Grumman and a Coleman (same thing as your Pelican). :D Both times on rivers with unstable current. Actually, in the Grumman, we were caught in a strainer because we didn't know what we were doing. As OutnBacker alluded to, the flat bottoms on those canoes feel stable on flat water, but they lose that feeling when going over waves, boils, and eddies. That's where rounder bottoms do better. They are less effected by the action of the water, but more effected by actions of the paddler. And that is why they feel twitchy at first on flat water. As you progress in your paddling skill and learn to keep your hips loose, your torso vertical, and your head between the gun'ls, you will likely be more comfortable in a canoe with a rounder or shallow vee bottom, and you will realize better performance from the same.

    So, since the Pelican is also a flat bottom boat (inferior to aluminum canoes, at that), I wonder if you were on rougher water than you tried the Sportspal on, or if you didn't have the boat trimmed level. If you were solo and sitting in the stern seat with no ballast up front, it would be quite unstable even on flat water. But if you were trimmed good but using it on a river with tricky current, you should know that the Sportspal will be subject to similar limitation - although the extra width will mitigate that somewhat.

    What OutnBacker said about longer canoes being more stable is true - everything else being equal. But between these two boats, width and seat height cloud the issue, as does rigidity of the build (which is lacking in the Pelican). His last line in the above post is spot on, IMO.

    First canoe I owned was 13' and 38" wide and flat bottomed fiberglass. Wife and I did okay on flat water (although it was slow and lacked glide), but I soon realized that it lacked capacity and wasn't suited to any river use. Next, I had a 14' - 39" canoe that had more capacity and a slightly rounder bottom. It actually did pretty good on rivers - but still didn't really have capacity for really good stability on rivers with two average adults and camping or hunting gear - although, by that time, we were more stable paddlers. And that boat was considerably deeper than a Sportspal. As OutnBacker mentioned, 15' seems to be a practical minimum for all-around tandems, at least, when moving water is involved. IME, 13 or 14 feet in a low profile tandem is do-able, but quite limited in seaworthiness.

    But $150 to get you on the water, I consider a bargain. Paddle it 'til you yearn for better performance, and look to CL for an upgrade in size and shape. But keep in mind that bigger (longer) boats of good design will be more stable in more conditions than what you are starting with.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  17. Bullhed78

    Bullhed78 Scout

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    @FreeMe
    Water conditions were similar in both instances. Two separate mill ponds on the same rive. Very smooth water with no wind and negligible current, basically a lake. With the Sportspal I was solo and on my knees in front of the rear thwart. With the pelican I was with Killer who is quite a bit lighter than me. He in the front, I in the rear both sitting on the gunnel seats.
     
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  18. FreeMe

    FreeMe Guide

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    Well, a couple things. If the weight differential is very much, that puts your end (which is the narrowest part of the canoe) deeper in the water, and possibly raises some the bow out of the water. That will reduce stability. I don't know for sure (because neither brand lists depth or seat height), but it looks like the Pelican seats are higher. That also can make it feel less stable. Also - just the addition of another paddler can make things feel more unstable if either paddler is stiff or lacking in finesse. Then there is the whole issue of the lack of rigidity in the Pelican. So, I guess what I'm saying is the Sportspal may or may not be more stable in the same situation. But it certainly can be stable enough on flat water, if it is trimmed even and not overloaded.

    Here's a suggestion. If you find yourself in the boat with the same paddling partner, try having both of you kneeling on some padding with your butts against the seats, rather than on the seats. This spreads the weight of your bodies out in thirds, and gives you better control of the boat with three widely spaced contact points. You can get a cheap yoga mat from wallyworld and cut enough pieces from it for both paddlers' knees and also to pad the front edges of the seats.

    edit: Also, with the two of you kneeling against the seats, your weight will be a little forward of sitting, which will help trim the canoe.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  19. Gramp Camp

    Gramp Camp Supporter Supporter

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    I primed it with a roller and dead grass color duck boat paint. Then I painted it with quarts of duck boat paint (green, black, gray and brown) with a brush. I will guess that paint job is 20 years old and the canoe has been stored outside except for the last two months when I brought it up to our new cottage where I have a pole barn to store it in. It was just cheap paint from a local hardware store.
     
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  20. Bullhed78

    Bullhed78 Scout

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    I appreciate all the info everyone. I came to an agreement to purchase the Sportspal for $125. I am going to paddle it the way it is this fall. If I love it I will probably restore it. If I only kinda like it I will probably just paddle it the way it is until it’s dead.
     
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  21. OutnBacker

    OutnBacker Scout

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    Hahahaha!! It is aluminum. It will never die. It will only get uglier.
     
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  22. gohammergo

    gohammergo Bada Bing, Bada Boom ! Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That's a killer deal on a Sportspal. I've wanted one for quite some time. My uncle had one that he used for trapping and it was the first canoe I ever rode in. Someday I may find one. :) That's affordable. :)

    So, for the interior, what about the spray in bedliner? That would tighten things up and quiet them down maybe? And you can get it in colors too. :)
     
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  23. Fishrarr

    Fishrarr Tracker

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    That's a good score. I am a bit of a sportspal guy my self, I've had 5 or 6 over the years. The older I get, I'm 72, the more I like them, a lot easier to get on top of my truck than the 90 pound coleman and other fiberglass canoes that I had.I mostly use mine to fish small lakes, but have done a few canoe trips with lakes and rivers. I mostly go solo, so I find rowing is the way to go, a bit slower, but easier for me in general. You can also fix it up as you go - you can paint it yourself - I used marine paint on mine - I've seen swim noddles used for sponsons don't last that long but will keep you afloat - the foam inside you can buy and install it yourself - the ribs you can reuse with a bit of shaping.
     
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  24. Bullhed78

    Bullhed78 Scout

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    This made me laugh. On one hand I’m delighted to hear it will never die. On the other hand it scares the hell out of me that it will only get uglier.

    Spray in bedliner did come to mind but I think it would make the boat heavy and being light one of the benefits of this boat.

    I’m kind of thinking about making it a winter project and plugging away at it through the snow months. It’ll give me something to do and save me some money.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 6:59 AM
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