Can anybody ID this canoe?

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I really am "asking for a friend." Seriously.

My friend is a late 60s female, avid gardener, healthy but not athletic. She has gotten interested in paddling and has been canoe shopping. She says she just wants to paddle on flat water ponds. Those are in short supply in this area, and I am encouraging her to find a canoe that would be suitable for mild rivers. I have warned her that there is no 12 step program for canoe addiction.

I found this ad:

https://richmond.craigslist.org/boa/d/lightfoot-kevlar-mad-river-solo-canoe/7404882762.html

The seller doesn't know what model it is. Might be a Freedom, but not at all sure. He acquired it as a "fixer-upper" with rotten gunwales and no seats. He replaced the original gunwales with pressure-treated lumber (ugh!). The tractor seat and stadium seat are not original, apparently just some he thought would work well. A nice bent shaft Bending Branches paddle comes with it, as well as a wooden double bladed paddle. He has another similar canoe that is 13 feet. I'm guessing the 13 footer might be a Serenade?

Your thoughts?
 
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Thanks, yellowcanoe. I have asked the seller to provide the serial number, which may help. He seems to think it was made in 1984.
 
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The seller sent a photo of the HIN: MADJ2579M84F-K.

I am horrified at the workmanship of anyone who would put pressure treated decking lumber on a canoe. I recommended that my friend not purchase this boat. Nevertheless, I am still curious about the model. Any clues?

kevlar mad river serial no.jpg

 
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Trying to deduce clues from the photos and a 1984 HIN I’m going to guess it is a Ladyslipper, which was actually 14’ 8” long.

It doesn’t look tubby enough to be a Winooski, which was 14’, but tandem “sport boat” 39” wide. It doesn’t appear to have enough sheerline stem rise to be a Courier, which was 14’ 10”. If it is actually 13’ long it could be a Compatriot.

I am always confounded by boats for sale on which the seller couldn’t be bothered to run a tape measure for actual length.
 
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Had a Slipper many years ago and it just doesn't look like one to me....unless the new gunnels reshaped it?? Hope someone can positively ID it as it is a puzzle.
 
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Mike, I'm confounded by a number of the seller's statements. He claimed that ash lumber for gunwales was hard to obtain. He will drive hundreds of miles to pick up canoes -- no doubt driving past hundreds of trees killed by the Emerald Ash Borer -- yet he won't drive an hour to a major retail supplier of boatbuilding lumber. He also doubts the wisdom of Mad River's engineers and makes new gunwales wider and thicker than the originals, and out of inferior material. He lives in a gated community, so he must have money. But he does not have an indoor workshop, and refurbishes canoes out in his yard. He claimed to have 30 or 40 canoes on hand. I can't imagine the homeowners' association of a gated community allowing that many boats to sit around.

My impression was that he was a fast talker out to make a quick buck at the expense of unsuspecting purchasers. That's why I warned my friend away from this canoe.

Steve, you are correct. There is no way to know if this hull retained its original shape.
 
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While pressure treated pine and not knowing what model the canoe is are not ideal, a litely used Kevlar solo hull with no major repairs or patches, two seats and two decent paddles for $850.00 asking price doesn’t seem so bad to me.
I don’t know the market in her area, but solo’s are not easy to find near me for under 1k.
The only thing that makes me leary is pictures of a wet canoe, easy to hide a faded hull that way.
I would tell her to go look at it, maybe test it, make an offer. If she finds canoes are not for her she has little to loose, if she likes canoes, she can upgrade down the road.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Looking at the Mad River Canoe history PDF linked by YC, there is no MRC model called the Serenade and there is none made of Kevlar-Airex listed as being manufactured 1984 in the 13'-14' length. However, someone could have special ordered a canoe made in that material.

I have a 1986 Canoe Magazine Buyer's Guide, and the only two canoes that would seem to fit the length and width approximately are the 14'-8" Ladyslipper and the 13' Compatriot. The width of the mystery canoe fits the Compatriot exactly at 30", the Ladyslipper being 28.5". The Compatriot also had less rocker than the Ladyslipper, having just a slight rise at each end.

This looks like a short canoe to me, almost like a pack canoe, which it's sort of set up to be. My guess is the seller has measured the length wrong, and it's a Compatriot that was special ordered in Kevlar-Airex.

I also wouldn't reject a canoe with pressure treated wood gunwales if it was otherwise in good shape, I liked the way it paddles, and the price was right.
 
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I don’t remember the Serenade from the Vermont era. MRC may have reintroduced the name with a more recently Carolina’s made composite 13 footer. They did that with “Synergy” name; good WW canoe in the late ‘90’s, weird SOT canoe design from 2007 – 2010. Good concept, but to get out the hull once seated required serious acrobatics.

(I may have ill feelings for the SOT Synergy due to a strainer festooned swamp creek trip that necessitated getting in and out of the boat dozens of times. I have never been so thoroughly pissed off at a hull design)

If it has been regunwaled, who knows. But now I am curious MRC; for UCanoe’s friend’s purposes a lightweight kevlar airex solo might be just the ticket.

Be nice to know the actual measured length. Gunwale width and center depth too, but if it has been regunwaled or cut down, those may not be much ID help.

If she lives close enough maybe you can go take a good look at it with her so she doesn’t get taken. Unidentified and uninspected, it could be a pass, or a decent buy.
 
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Not sure a boat like that is the best idea for a mature brand new paddler. I would start with something more sedate. I little more initial stability.
 
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I found a similar discussion on another board......someone who seemed to know what they were talking about stated that Mad River used the code "JX" for the slipper (or at least "a" slipper). Your serial number just has a "J" so maybe its a variant or maybe the "X" part of the boat they were discussing was some type of variant.

In any event, the one or two characters after the "MAD" designate the model.

Most of the Mad River serial numbers I've seen only have a single letter after "MAD", perhaps the "x" is significant or maybe not.
 
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If it is in fact a Slipper perhaps the JX designated the model name change from Ladyslipper to just Slipper. The HIN date is around the time of the name change.

I don’t think the hull dimensions changed, just the name.
 
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Thanks, guys. The canoe is a 3 hour drive for me, 4 hours for my friend. I will pass this discussion on to her and perhaps reconsider. She has been interested in pack canoes with hefty price tags.
 
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