Submitted: 03-03-2008 by Gary W. Fogg
My wife and I bought the Tripper in 1978. It was our first purchase as a married couple and one of the best.
We have rated it a ten because it performs so well for what it was designed to do. It is superb for carrying two or more people and heavy loads safely through rough conditions. On the other hand, it is not an ideal boat for fast day cruising on large open bodies of water, where speed, lightness and the ability to make headway against strong winds are the primary needs.
We have used the Tripper primarily for day cruising on the Maine coast and we are generally paddling with a light load. The typical conditions in summer are calm with small seas until about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, then there are usually winds up to about 15 mph and seas 1-2 feet until sundown. In the spring and fall, the winds tend to blow all day and night, although there are periods of calm.
The Tripper can handle waves of almost any size so long as they are not actually breaking and the paddlers understand proper bracing and leaning techniques. We have paddled forwards, backwards and in circles in wind driven waves and standing waves without trouble, even with the waves broadside. If broadside to a wave, just brace and lean into the wave if it looks big and steep.
We have thirty years of data that show that our average cruising speed in the Tripper is about 2.3 mph. This is the ground speed, which takes into account the average reduction in overall forward progress due to tidal currents, wave action and the wind. Someone considering the Tripper for use on open bodies of water should know that my wife and I have found that we cannot paddle the Tripper forward against headwinds once whitecaps form, which is about 12-15 mph. Remember, however, that our boat is lightly loaded and that we are not very big people or especially strong.
Some special characteristics of the Tripper are that it is comfortable, stable and dry. We have paddled it all day without getting out of the boat, since it is spacious and stable enough for napping, eating lunch and adjusting clothing when it is anchored in an area of calm water.
We don't recommend the Tripper for open water cruising unless the winds are light, because it makes much more sense to use a faster canoe for this purpose; nor do we recommend the Tripper when there is portaging to be done, since it weighs a hefty 80 pounds. For most other uses, however, it is excellent.