Grand Laker

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Spent a few days on West Grand Lake, Maine with a buddy in his new square sterned Grand Laker. They are just about the perfect boat for the big lakes. Lobster stew shore lunch over the fire, a little fly fishing, a little trolling. Hard to beat it.
 

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Nice picture, while my square stern isn’t a Grand Laker, it’s as nice looking as your friend’s on the inside. Sounds like a good time.
 
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I have always been fascinated by the big freighter canoes. They are big and deep and can handle big waves. They can take an outboard.

There is now a new class of drift boats starting to be built, that have fullness through the transom. A regular trad drift boat can handle less than 10 hp. The newer ones can take 30-40. They can go upstream. Now there are outboards with jet drive and no prop. Highly versatile and fast. The best of both worlds.
 
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This one was a 20' built by Bill Shamel in Grand Lake Stream. Amazing how fast a 4hp 4 stroke Suzuki can push it. You wouldn't want to paddle it very far though.
 
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I have always lusted after a Grand Laker, and like the hand on tiller ergonomics of the sideways stern seat on Mad River’s 21 foot Grand Laker. Not so much the weight though, even in Kevlar/Airex that was a 120lb boat.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Mad+...PD09eiljQ4VqoM

The real unicorn would be a MRC mini-Grand Laker, a Champlain square stern. Not the tubby 13’ 1” x 39” Missisquoi “sport canoe, but a 15’9” Kevlar/Airex square stern weighing 65 lbs.

How much of a unicorn? I’m told by an MRC guy that less than a half dozen were made back in ’98. It doesn’t even appear in any Mad River catalog.
 
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I'm taking my 20 footer out this weekend for a two or three night trip. My six horse suzuki moves it along pretty good, over 10 miles per hour, but yesterday I went for a ride with my buddy who has an 8 horse evinrude from the late 70s. That thing was so smooth and quiet, I had engine envy.
 
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Great looking canoe!

Freight canoes are quite popular here especially for the big waters where fuel availability is limited.
If it weren't for this Covid issue, we'd be in Yukon Territory at this time on the Eagle/Bell/Porcupine/Yukon Rivers.
About 1,000 miles depending on take out point.

It looks like my 21' Scott and 19' Grumman will stay on the rack this summer while I play the local ponds with
my 16'.
 
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Speaking of the Yukon. It is very common to see a couple of freighter canoes lashed together with a plywood deck.
 
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Yes....I've done a bit of it myself while transporting cabin material for a friend and we see same on Yukon River occasionally with folks wanting to have a tent on the platform.
 
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Basically a square stern prospector made as a one off by a couple of guys back in the 70's. The Algonquin park moose hauler. This thing is built like a tank 16.5 feet long and 5/16 thick planking. The other boat in the pictures is the beloved Huron, before and after also.
 

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A few years ago I was up in Washington at a family meeting after my Uncle Alaska Bob passed away. We stayed up all night with my brother and my cousin in the old canned ham trailer listening to Frank Sinatra. The subject of boats came up. We thought about lashing 3 large canoes together about 8 feet apart and then covering them with a plywood deck. We would add a small outboard, build a mast for down wind sailing and add deck chairs, and places to lash down some gear. My cousin called it "Floating Man." I thought of Lake Roosevelt the impoundment behind Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia R which is 186 miles long. It is one of the only things left on my bucket list. We may just take drift boats with outboards instead.

I have the 1929 Johnson 1 1/2 hp outboard that has been in the family since 1948. It runs but is not that easy to start. My cousin has a 2 hp outboard from the 1940s. Some trips just need to be done.
 
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I have lashed two canoes together on the flatter part of the Snake River in Idaho below Birds of Prey NM. They are very stable but tend to plunge into large waves like power boat traffic. A little hard to maneuver but fine on wide open rivers.
 
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Picked this one up about a year ago. Pretty rare find for South Florida.
 

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