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Submitted: 04-26-2010 by paddlergrl
I have used the Ally 811 on several long river trips--10-15 days in length. I love the way the boat handles in flat and whitewater. It's really the only choice if you want a boat that handles like a hardshell canoe, but even better, because it flexes and moves with the rhythm of the water.
My main criticism is that if you hit a rock, you're probably going to get some damage to the poles. I haven't yet done any damage, but I do worry about hitting 'the big rock' sometime. Still, it doesn't keep me from taking to the water. I capsized the boat on a northern river by loading it up too heavy and taking a wave over the side, but even upside down, the boat was easy to hold onto, and nothing fell out of the boat--all stayed tied in.
Yes, the boat takes a little time to put together, but it's not an inflatable, so of course, you use the rubber mallet and carefully review the instructions and take your time, and soon you have a beautiful boat. The hull is rugged--no damage after 60 days on the water. With all boats, you want to wash and dry thoroughly before packing it away for the season.
My main frustration with the boat is that the Ally waterproof boat bag purchased separately for the boat is almost impossible to fit the boat parts inside. Takes a lot of planning and mostly, I just can't get it all inside so I put part of it into another bag. I feel that the aluminum parts are fairly fragile for traveling, so when going on an airline, I usually pack the boat into 2 bags, with lots of padding around the bundles of rods.
I love the Trapper seats, and I think the design is functional. Wonder if the boat is still made in Norway. If not, I will be disappointed to learn that it's made somewhere else.
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