Canoes of your past, what have you owned?

Joined
Sep 13, 2013
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Long Island, NY
What canoes have you owned? How and why did you part ways?

I'll start ;)

Mad River Tahoe 14 - Super Duper wide and stable 14' tandem in Royalex. Used it for day trips and duck hunting. Got a dog and a duck boat and wished for a canoe with better glide so on Craigslist it went. I'm guessing this was around 1998.

Homebuilt 15' - Super Duper wide stitch and glue homebuilt something. Not quite a canoe but too narrow to be a skiff. I completely overbuilt it and it weighed around 100#s. It was a bear to car top and I didn't want to trailer it. Lucky for me it caught someone's eye and I sold it. Took a loss but I learned an awful lot. I'll have to find the photos and scan them into digital format someday. I modified the plans of the six hour canoe, it was strange looking. About 1998, sold this and bought the Mad River Tahoe 14'

Wenonah Vagabond 14'6" in graphite. Bought this used, it was a 2006 IIRC, and it hardly showed signs of use. It was under 30#s with a foot brace in it. I made great strides in learning to paddle properly with this canoe. Fantastic to grab and go. After a friend commented on how small I made the canoe look and my own doubts about loading it up and taking to the Adirondacks for a canoe camping trip I decided to get a bigger boat. Sold it in August of this year. Only owned it for a little over a month.

So, what have you owned and no longer do?
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Schenectady, NY
I've built, paddled, and sold or given away a couple dozen strippers through the years...through it all was one constant: A 17 ft tandem that weighed 38 lbs when built. I have photos of my daughter straddling the just sanded hull when she was 2 years old. Flash forward to 2012, that 17 footer had performed selflessly and faithfully through punctures, ruptures, abrasions, and miles and miles of fun with the kids and others. My S-I-L (he and my daughter had been married for 8 years by then) was paddling stern, his buddy bow, and we were all paddling Round lake Stream. We pulled to the river bank to carry around some rapids, they missed their intended pull out, headed for another one a bit farther downstream. Well, as these things go, they got hung on a rock, swung sideways, tilted their upstream gunnel and the rest is history. The guys were not injured, but the boat was crushed and temporarily pinned. When they hauled it out, it barely held together. We were 6 miles from our put in and 6 miles from our pre spotted shuttle cars, on day 2 of a 3 day weekend. The guys carried the hull along the carry path, to the next put in. They luckily found some driftwood, and an old shovel. These found treasures and our collective painters made for an on site repair of sorts, they had to pull out and dump the boat every 20 minutes, but at least the hull didn't finish breaking apart! We got to the cars, put the poor thing on the roof racks and that's where it stayed until we got home. Much later, I cut the hull into scrap, saving key sections, some with the gunnels still attached. Those saved pieces later became picture frames for each of those of us that were on that fateful trip. No regrets, it served us well, and passed in a fitting fashion, with a splash of adventure.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
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3,457
Wow, not sure I could complete that list, there's been quite a few.....first one was a sportspal, those thin skinned aluminum canoes painted to look like birch bark and lined with styrofoam. Served my 14 year old self well till me and two buddies wrapped it around a tree in high water. Second one was some generic aluminum tub, about 14 feet long and four feet wide....someone actually stole it, and I got insurance money, bless their sole. Third one was the Devil's Craft, a little white water kayak that almost killed me several times....traded it for a motorcycle. Has a 17 foot square stern grumman after that, left it at my dad's camp while I was busy with life, have no idea where it is now. Didn't have a canoe for about ten years till I ventured up into the north, then got an 18 foot freighter canoe, loved that thing, but not ideal to port.

Since then I have built around 19 canoes, kept 6 of them. I also have an Old Town poly boat, bought it when I had a canoe trail maintenance business, great canoe for taking a beating, in fact, taking it moose hunting for four days tonight. Also have a tremblay Huron in mint condition. Probably some more I can't hink of at the moment. Gonna build a new solo this year, a J. Winter's raven. I already built one, but overbuilt it to take abuse, so I'm going to get this one around 40 pounds.
 
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Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
1969 Grumman. 15 feet. Got heavier and smaller as years went on. After paddling this bathtub in the Q in 1989 we bought a Sawyer 190. A little lighter, a whole lot faster.
By 1991 it was clear even that was not light enough or big enough for a Wabakimi two week trip. Glad we got our Odyssey.

Still have the latter two boats. A friend has the Grumman.

Things come hot and fast in the 90's.. We buy a rec kayak, two sea kayaks that had some turnover and became some five sea kayaks two whitewater kayaks and a Dagger Ovation. We still have a CD Caribou and a Wilderness System Shenai. Got rid of the Ovation in 2002 or something as I became less interested in ww playboating. Got a Raven in 2000 because the shop in CT had no market for the one sitting there since 1996. I paid five hundred for it new.

O dear, then there are the FreeStyle boats. First I tried using my Heron but that is a tripping boat. Quickly I found a deal on a FlashFire. Then I befriended a canoe builder and not long later the wood version of the FlashFire was born. It seemed unfair that I had a wooden boat and husband did not so eventually the next side up wooden version of a WildFire came up for sale. Then we decided it would be fun to help build a wood dacron tandem so we have a Duet( its reminiscent of a small Prospector). Then a few years later I sold the Flash as it wasn't getting use as needed.

Yellow Heron was getting too well used and found a used Peregrine that is ten lbs lighter for Algonquin portages. Got a similar boat in Florida the Curtis Nomad about four years ago but three hundred dollars for a mint boat was too good to pass up.

Our Odyssey started to wear so in Thunder Bay one year we struck a deal for a Wilderness 18 (Souris River ) for half price.

Needed a rubber boat.. found Argosy used once of twice.. about half price on that too.

Gor a RapidFire about six years ago. I was tired of loading the Bou and it was killing my back.

Got a Monarch this year since RF is a bit small for Lake Superior and the Atlantic except on good days.

In the middle a Bell Prospector came and went. We find in moving water we prefer solo.

So the list of bought new boats is : the Grumman($100), the Sawyer($800), the Odyssey ($1100), the Prospector ($1100), the FlashFire (Bell delivered the wrong color and I got a twenty percent discount), Others were bought used or made. I probably forgot one or two. Oops I bought a new Curtis Dragonfly for twisty moving water and tripping.

We still have the rest. When we find we haven't used a boat in two years..it goes. Not much leaves. These days I rarely look at canoes in stores. I have a wish list and used boats are fine when they float by. Not much on the list. Just a Yellowstone Solo.

And we did buy a gently used boat last month. Its some 120 years old and in need of TLC.
 
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first one was a sportspal, those thin skinned aluminum canoes painted to look like birch bark and lined with styrofoam.
My first was the exact same... except it was a Radisson (the American version) and not a Sportspal. Ours was a sleek 14' pointed model weighing in at a feathery 41lbs.I bought it shortly after my future wife and I started going out. It was our first summer together and I started to take her to the Adirondacks. I made some mention of thinking of buying a boat and she got all excited... next thing I knew I had a faux birch bark canoe strapped to the roof of my car. That was in the summer of 2007 I believe.I basically gave it away when I bought my Keewaydin last year. I've never looked back and now I have two extra boats over the Kee, one other tandem and one solo. I hope to make it one tandem total and two solo boats in the spring... fingers crossed!
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2013
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Colrain MA
In the beginning my father brought home an 18' Old Town W/C canoe. I don't know anything about the year or serial # but we spent the winter sanding and refinishing it. When it came time to paint it my mother INSISTED that the canoe be painted YELLOW. When I asked why yellow, she said there is nothing more beautiful then a yellow canoe sitting on a lake.

My father bought these two from a Summer camp that went under.



Other then that We bought a 16' Kevlar Ranger at a manufacturers sale in Ashland, NH
A canoe with no name, salvaged from the dump and traded for welding done on my tractor snow plow.



A cheap used White that I used and sold immediately.



Another unknown canoe 20'r W/C that I started restoring but was too far gone. It had been a working canoe in Northern Maine



Which lead me to spend some real money on a new 17' We no nah Spirit II. The Coleman Ram is one I bought for my son. He and his friend spent their teenage years paddling Colemans and he loves them, he got his genes from his mother.



Since then I bought an old Stowe 15' and an 18' Chestnut W/C Guide as near as I can figure an '87



And somewhere in there was a 12' F/G again from the dump that I put new oak gunwales on and traded for a microwave oven.



And finally I bought 2 Old Town 16' Cayugas kayks

 
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Joined
Sep 27, 2013
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Colrain MA
Yes, I'm a member over there also.

The OT was sold back in the late '70s by my father.
 
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I started in Grummans with my father in the mid-60’s. Grummans and Montgomery Wards Sea King’s; he was partial to Ward’s aluminum build. He, or sometimes we, would wrap, wreck or pin on every few years, so we always had several in various states.

I took one of the oldest and most battered Sea Kings with me when I left home, and that canoe went everydamwhere, both solo and tandem.

The first canoe I ever bought was – don’t snigger - an Old Town Pack. I needed something short, light and inexpensive. That boat was around for 20 years; it went up the Grand Canyon and down the Big Bend Canyons and everywhere inbetween, finding its last use as a camo covered duckhunting hull. Well, actually an old friend owns and paddles it today.

Then a cheap molded poly tandem that was beat to hell for $60. That canoe was from an Iowa company, “Whitewater Canoe” – the boat was anything but; it had a flat bottom, a large keel, hugely recurved stems and an S curve at the molded gunwales that pre-dated Yostian shouldered tumblehome by a decade.

At $60 I overpaid; it needed much repair, and much subsequent repair, but it got me started on resurrecting old crapped out canoes.

When the kids came along we needed new and different boats for family paddling and were on a tight budget. We bought blem demo Old Town Campers and Pathfinders from the OT rep at the end of a paddlesport show. We had another young couple along with similar age kids, and between us bought two of each. And tripped with that family for a decade (and eventually sold the canoes for nearly when we had paid).

The boys grew up in those canoes, in more ways than one. Bow-backwards at first, then later flipped around bow-forward as accomplished bowmen.

Later still – blessed event – the boys went into kid-appropriate solos of their own. A refurbished early 70’s Old Town Rushton. A rebuilt Dagger Tupelo. There was a dalliance with a Wilderness Systems Piccolo in there somewhere.

And then a boatload (no pun intended) of shop rebuilds, most of which I eventually sold, traded or gave away. An ‘89 Dagger Caper, a ’92 OT Northern Lights 15 (wish I’d kept it), a ’93 Hydra Horizon, a 91 MR Independence, a ’91 glass Explorer, another Pathfinder, a couple of ancient OT Chipewyan’s (the early OT white vinyl gunwales did not fare well under UV), an ’88 Discovery 174, an ’87 Mohawk Challenger, an ‘84 “Dreamboat” (yes, that was the manufacturer name), two old Shenandoahs, a ’97 Mohawk Probe 12, a Blue Hole Starburst in kevlar, an ’89 MR Explorer in RX, and an ’87 Blue Hole Sunburst in RX.

Most of those were dumpster ready freebies, or a few hundred dollars at most.

The ’87 Sunburst was so far gone that I beefed it up to be used as a victim/pin boat in safety classes, but other than that hull I think all of the other shop rebuilds are still in use.

Geeze, what else. A Dimension surf SOT (the most fun I’ve had in a used $100 boat). A Sawyer Saber (24’ long x 24” wide) $126; I paid the seller every bill I had in my wallet. A $200 RX Explorer, the cane on one seat was busted, so the canoe was a goner. While I was loading it the seller kept bring out freebie accessories; four paddles, a portage cart, and an outboard motor mount.

Other stuff come and gone I am sure. At one point my wife, grown tired of canoes on sawhorses scattered about the back yard, said “You need to build an extension on the canoe rack”. Never in the history of married man has a honey-do project been completed as quickly; I had the materials on site and was digging post holes the next morning.

Eventually the family settled into their preferred solo boats, and each of us has a favorite open solo for river travel, another favorite lightweight canoe for lakes and a decked & ruddered canoe for open water touring and sailing. Add a couple of loaner tandems, a kayak or three, a 20’ freighter and we’re nearly set.

Of course there is a new rebuild in the shop, and I’d like to find another inexpensive Explorer with rotted gunwales for a rebuild project I have in mind.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
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2,290
Location
Warren, Manitoba
First canoe was a Scott "Tripper" I bought when I was 18, weighed 65 pounds, fiberglass, paid $500 and sold it 25 years later for $300.

Went canoeless for 5 years or so, then bought my Swift Mattawa in Kevlar Fusion for $2600 as a demo. Ouch.

Built a Bear Mountain Cottage Cruiser two winters ago which is Christine's boat and she solo's it. It needs repairs now.

Have a 14 foot Chestnut w/c as my solo boat, almost finished a 1938'ish CCC 16 footer, have presently, one Tremblay 16 footer, one Peternut 18 foot Y stern, one Bastien Bros 14 foot Huron and soon, another Tremblay in the queue for refinishing. If we ever get the shop finished and heated it could be a busy winter.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
Nice canoes and stories, Sweeper's 18' Chestnut Guide and Mihun's 14' Chestnut are my favorites so far, but there are so many nice canoes mentioned. Good reading.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Schenectady, NY
Here's that 17 footer when I was building it...
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And here it is the first time I got it wet at Forked Lake, 1985

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Here's the same boat, in 2007, paddling home after a minor puncture

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Trail side emergency repair

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And finally, the Christmas present picture frames...

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I did save the portage thwart and a full section of the bow, thwart to be used in another build, so that original boat lives on forever in my memories and in spirit
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
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427
Location
Long Island, NY
That's a great story stripperguy. The photos tie it all together very nicely. The photo frames were a fantastic idea. What a fitting way to let the canoe live on.

You inspired me to find and scan a couple of photos of the only boat I've made. Not as nice as yours, or as sophisticated as a canoe but it taught me a lot.

HomeBuild.jpg
 
G

Guest

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My wife and my first "luxury" purchase was a 17 foot yellow Sears fiberglass canoe. Not much of a canoe, but we had a great time with the kids paddling, swimming and exploring for years. Someone stole the old thing, I wish I still had just for nostalgia's sake.

Next we bought an Old Town Penobscot 16 that we still have and paddle often after 14 years. It has been repainted and bears the marks of thousands of miles, but a great canoe that I'll never get rid of.

I had a Mohawk Odyssey 14 that was a great solo boat for the tight, twisty streams of North Carolina. I have no explanation for why I don't still own it. I should have never sold it.

Wenonah Voyager, one very go fast boat, but terrible for day trips, and not really what I want when I'm tripping. Sold it, and bought a Grasse River Classic XL which is just as fast, and not nearly as in need of a load or susceptable to winds. Still have the GRB Classic XL.

Bell Merlin II for a short time. I just didn't use it, and never quite felt comfortable in it.

Also own a couple of wood and canvas canoes, a 1954 Old Town HW (restored) and a 1965 Aquacraft Camper in need of restoration.

Clipper Tripper which I bought off of Craigslist at a price that was too good to pass up. My wife and I did a 3 day beach camping trip. Great boat in the wind, waves and boat wakes. Huge canoe, us and the gear didn't come near its capacity. Trying to think of a way to row it.

Finally, recently bought a Bell Composites Magic which I used on a 5 day trip in the BWCA.

I have also owned a few kayaks and presently own some paddleboards and a homemade rowboat.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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Location
Appleton, Maine
Here's a picture of my wife of 1 year and our new Grumman 17' canoe at the Peconic River in eastern Long Island, NY, circa 1972.


Here's the same canoe in the early 80's with my gal Molly heading out for some geese...


Here I am in the bow of a "Plycraft" canoe in 1955 at Muskrat Lake, Cobden, Ontario. My two brothers are with me.
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I traded that aluminum Grumman for the Plycraft and a FG 13'6" canoe which I first paddled in 1960'ish on Muskrat Lake....
Here's the 13'6" with my twin boys on Cedar River Flow, NY's ADK's back about 85, after I restored it with cherry trim and seats.

Here's my Old Town Camper I bought in the early 80's from Bert Decker Canoes in Schenectady, NY. A great all round family canoe, best $750 I ever spent. My son has it now.

I then started buying, restoring and selling canoes, everyone here except the green canoe on top have been sold (I gave my other son the yellow Explorer).

I really liked this Argosy, but I could never get used to a true "solo" canoe where half of it is behind you. So I sold it too, and went all wood canvas, tandem canoes.



Here are my 3 favorite canoes I now have and plan to keep, for the time being...(l-r)a wood canvas Chestnut Bob's Special, a wood canvas Chestnut Chum (a great solo canoe imo) and my old wc Chestnut Pal, we have been on many trips together,



I also have a 17' Morris, a early Chestnut Bob's, a 16' Old Town OTCA, a Penobscott, a Kenebec and that old Plycraft, all in need of restoration. No more non wood canoes though.
And I still have the wife.;)
Forgot the 17' Chestnut Prospector, Great canoe.
 
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Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
427
Location
Long Island, NY
Thanks guys. I have to admit I didn't realize what I was asking when I created this thread. Looks like I gave some of you a pretty big assignment. Thank you for stepping up and sharing. Photos are always appreciated.

It's amazing just how many memories a canoe can hold. I guess that just adds to their versatility.

Great stuff.

Many of you have much to be proud of. Nice memories and great canoes.
 
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