Submitted: 05-04-2010 by bhaskell
The Trailblazer was a special edition canoe, produced by Mad River for Chevy/GMC for the model year 1999/2000 Trailblazer SUV. The canoe length is 14', not 15 as indicated by the listing. The width is 37.25" and the hull material is Royalex.
I purchased this canoe second hand, although it had only seen the water twice in 10 years. I was looking for a lighter weight canoe, which I could paddle either tandem or solo. At first glance, the Trailblazer was what I was looking for.
First impressions... The bottom is very flat and wide and the length is rather short. The first time out was on a local lake on a windy day. I was not happy with the performance of the canoe. It had zero tracking and was slow...slow....slow!
When I got home, I studied the canoe. It has two cane seats and a single center twart/yoke. I decided I was going to modify the canoe and see if by bringing the sides in, I could improve the performance. I first unbolted all seats and center support to see the natural shape of the canoe. I then decided I was going to reduce the twart/yoke by 3" by cutting 1.5" from each side. I then bolted in back in place, fist one side, then turning the canoe on its side, I pulled the other side into place and secured the twart/yoke. The new center beam measurement went from 37.25 to 34.5". By pulling in the side, the bottom shape of the canoe changed from flat to a more pronounced rounded bottom. I then removed 2" from each seat width and bolted the seats back in.
My second impression of the canoe is way better than the first. Much better tracking....slightly better glide. Stability doesn't seem to have changed much, although I'm very comfortable in any type of canoe. I took this canoe solo on a 12 mile trip and with the proper weight distribution, the thing performed very well. Not as fast as my kayaks, but very comfortable.
From Mad River, I'd give the kayak a 5... but with the changes I made, I give it a solid 8.