Please tell me about the Swift Raven

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Sep 13, 2013
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I noticed in the "What do you paddle?" thread that there were a few Swift Raven owners on board. I'd like to hear your impressions of the canoe.

I'm 6'02" and 225#s and currently paddle sitting, single blade, single side in a Swift Keewaydin 15. I've started experimenting with paddling kneeling, single blade, single side. I'm very happy with the Keewaydin 15 but I'd like to keep it as a flat water canoe. I love it too much to bounce it down a river. So that starts me looking for a Royalex canoe.

Please tell me about your Raven. What do you like, what don't you like?
 
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Feb 1, 2013
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I have a Raven, although I built mine as a cedarstrip. Some people have speculated that it probably acts somewhat different from the royalex version, but I have no way to verify this; I have never paddled the royalex version. I am around your weight, but quite a bit shorter.

What I like: It's a big solo, and can carry quite a load. There's lots of room to move around. I can stand in it if I want to. I have found mine to be relatively fast on the flats, usually able to keep up with most tandems, or pass them on long paddles. Perhaps this is different for the royalex version. It has got me through all rapids I have run, probably some in the C3 category. I don't play in whitewater, and I wouldn't call this the canoe you would play with...it is more of a compromise big tripper which will get you safely through big stuff with a good feeling at the bottom of the rapid.

What I don't like:
It is trim sensitive when running fast water and white water. Mine doesn't have a sliding seat, but that could be an easy fix. It's an asymmetrical canoe, and I found the stern had a habit of being sticky if I didn't load the canoe to a neutral buoyancy. On the other hand, when I do get the load right, it responds quite nicely. This is a heavy canoe...I think the royalex version is 60 pounds, and I overbuilt my stripper to come in around that weight too. It's not fun to portage. It kind of sits there on your shoulders like a big fat duck.

However, I would say it is the solo canoe for me. If I could get it in a composite layup under 40 pounds I would buy it. I'm thinking of building a new one this winter and shooting for around 45. For big guys, I think it's a great canoe.
 
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I don't find mine trim sensitive when running moving water. It's our dog solo as she ( Golden Retrieiver, 65 lbs )can be forward and yet trim is easily adjusted with the sliding seat. I actually sometimes have a hard time keeping the stern from slueing around on a particular river. The downdrafts from the headwaters on Mt Washington accelerate down the Upper Saco and its a direct tailwind..

Mine DOES have the slider. Its a bit heavy and fiddly. It sets with a screw and clamp and sometimes slides.

Its not a playboat for sure.. the guys in the little Nitros do wheelies in micro eddies and I need a truck stop eddy.

Its HEAVY. One of our ilk here got to play squashed bug with the Raven on top.

It is not terribly speedy. I took mine to the Everglades and found it was tough to overcome a three knot tidal current. OTOH in big Gulf waves of three feet it just rode over them with amazing confidence. It does the same in whitewater.

Yes it can carry a load. On the Glades trip I took it on, 400 lbs of burden did not affect its performance other than being a large mass in motion, it tended to stay in motion. Lost a little ease of turning there.

I would rather portage something far less weighty, but that is a personal decision. Now if I could only get the dog to portage the thing.

 
Joined
Oct 27, 2012
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Ottawa, Canada
I love my Raven - it's saved my butt more than a few times.
Yes, it doesn't like micro-eddies but it usually carries a load of around 270 pounds with lots of room left over.
ted-CIII.jpg
 
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Sep 13, 2013
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Long Island, NY
Thank you

Thank you

Thanks guys. I appreciate the descriptions and the photos.

That's some sweet looking canoe you have there, Memaquay. I love the red colored interior.

My dog would never sit still, YellowCanoe. He'd drown me.

That looks like tougher water than I'd immediately like Shearwater. But, the thought of portaging 60#s might lend me some courage, LOL.

I'm not worried about playing it in white water. My current concern is getting me and a decent amount of gear down river safely. I assume I'd be paddling CI & CII. I have no interest in airbags and saddles.

Collinsville Canoe and Kayak in CT have arranged to have a Raven there for me to test paddle on Saturday. If any other CanoeTripping members are curious like me, it's a way to check one out.
 
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Sep 2, 2011
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I got the CC&K flyer today. Jon and Sue have gotten a little older but the kids are looking like they love paddling. I bought so many boats from them! Including, in 2000, my Raven, from them. It had sat on the rack for four years unloved.

. Its a wonderful Buffalo River and closer to home Allagash boat. Not to mention the Pine Barrens. You can stand up and do the Pine Barrens dance well in a Raven. Here are my friends Bruce and Marc ( who made the video). Bruce is in the DragonFly doing the limbo jump thing. This is not easy in a DragonFly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOp8X-YnwmM

boatocross!

Hanz my dog does not sit still either in most canoes. She heels the canoe one way and then the other. It could be worth a shot. Never has she been as relaxed as in the Raven

 
Joined
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Long Island, NY
I made the 2.5 hour drive to CC&K thinking about Royalex and if it really is going away or not. Even if it's not, Royalex is proven and a safe bet. I could do worse.

I took it for a quick test paddle and decided to buy it. It doesn't have the sliding seat, I may do some mods to it. The test paddle was funny, I kept slipping and sliding inside of the canoe. I didn't have a kneeling pad and my rear end kept slipping off the seat. I then switched to sitting and that was better but my stroke needs refinement. I could paddle in some nice circles and perhaps paddle around a small oxbow. I have much to learn about my new canoe. I hope it teaches me to be a better paddler and carries me down some nice river trips.

Thanks for the help and descriptions. I appreciate it.

If anyone finds themselves on Long Island and would like to try it, drop me a PM, it shouldn't be difficult to arrange.
 
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Oct 13, 2015
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Bump. Have you been enjoying your Raven? I picked up one last fall & am planning to use it for a 500km trip down the Missinaibi next summer. However, I'm used to lighter boats & the prospect of trying to portage a 60# boat (more, once I'm done with the outfitting) is a bit scary. -Steve
 
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The shop teacher just got in a new CNC that is big enough to make stations for a canoe. Thinking about building a new, lighter Raven with CNC stations. Oh boy, was hoping to forgo the fever this year........
 
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The shop teacher just got in a new CNC that is big enough to make stations for a canoe. Thinking about building a new, lighter Raven with CNC stations. Oh boy, was hoping to forgo the fever this year........

Go for it !
You only live once ! Bides that new knife is begging for a new canoe ! :D

By the way I like the pic of the canoe tied by the rapids ! Cool shot !

Jim
 
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Jun 12, 2014
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The shop teacher just got in a new CNC that is big enough to make stations for a canoe. Thinking about building a new, lighter Raven with CNC stations. Oh boy, was hoping to forgo the fever this year........

Oh man would I ever love to have a CNC machine to play with! Tell him I'll trade him a couple canoes for it.

Alan
 
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