Ha! Hogwash!! Sure they’ll all get you out on the water but will they do what you want them to do, will they be able to do what you’re capable of making them do, and will they make you happy? As the Canoe Collector, I had some knowledge and gained much over in the scant year that I’ve been doing this.
The very first thing you need to decide is what you want to do…..yourself! Do not allow any one to tell you what it is you need. Flat lake, easy peasy paddling , perhaps the occasional portage, or perhaps you’re planning on a 2 month tour across the Yukon. You’re certain not to satisfy the above with a single choice in canoes.
So with a new canoe in the crosshairs, and definitely a lighter one, we hooked up the trailer, added coffee and headed north to get together for a meeting with a canoe company we know of. A test drive on new boats is not going to be done carte blanche at this time of year as oddly enough, while everyone states they are experts and with much colder water temps, it is not something to be toyed with! Equipment checks were done and an itinerary was shared with an expected timeline and we were off.
The trailer was loaded with quality, obvious statement and affect from the looks heading through town, yet the trio offered so many different tangents for the canoeist. On board we had a 16′ Prospector, a 16’6″Kipawa, and a 16″ Keewaydin. I appreciate the fact there is nominal difference in the length but that is where the individual hulls come to life in their own capacity.
The day was heavily overcast and the breeze was strong with a smack of drizzle. Just enough to make you say under your breath, “Why didn’t I bring wipes for my glasses?” Toughen up sailor! Steve flipped the Prospector into the lake and off he went into the stiff breeze to put the boat through the paces. He rocked and rolled and actually stated, “Hey, It’s only 2 -4 feet deep here!” Oh great , and the water temp is…..? Rest assured the inside did not get washed and the boat went to shore.
Next in was the Kipawa for Steve, while Karin and I put the Keewaydin in the water. The Kipawa had been out for a bit as we turned the Keewaydin into the wind. I’d many stories from many people about the Keewaydin
and when we applied some paddle pressure, this lady fair leapt out of the water in response; the track was true and in the face of a good wind the course was easily corrected while maintaining a strong forward speed. All of the canoes were tested in a variance from bow and stern combinations and weight distributions. Please keep in mind that these three hulls are large capacity trippers and we were just empty hull testing while keeping the end result in mind.
I’ll tell you what though, there is a time and a place for a bow sliding seat. Karin found it and it was so delicately balanced that she noticed portaging the Keewaydin with the slider in two different positions…..seat forward….tail up! Meanwhile at 6’4″ I found the Kipawa could have been better suited to have the bow slider. Different strokes, right!
Stay tuned for further developments and enjoy your season because what we thought may have been over turned out to be a fun and informative day on the water while inside some of the Ontario Parks. Research and exercise your buying decision…..it’s a matter of choice!
@Swift_Canoe @OntarioParks #wegetoutside