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Submitted: 06-08-2012 by dbwesq
I just picked up my Serenade 13 and have only done a short paddle but I'm ready to give this boat a first impression review. I'm 66 and weigh in at 220 on this shrinking 5'8" frame. Been canoeing forever but did several years in kayaks till I bought my Old Towne Pack. After selling off the kayaks I found I wanted a bit more performance/speed and keep the Pack for camping.
I pestered Dave Bell at Belhaven Outfitters till he got a Serenade for me to test paddle. It only took a short run around his lake before I found myself taken by this hybrid boat. Shallow V symmetrical canoe design hull with a bit of rocker the narrower longer boat sports a very comfortable kayak style seat. The seat is easily adjustable and lifts out with almost no effort. You can paddle from you knees without the seat in place.
Weight is important to my beat up old mans shoulders (the Pack in Royalex is a mere 33 lbs.) The Serenade weighs in at 42 lbs with the seat in place. The boat has 2 thwarts and 2 wood handles (set approx. 18" in from bow and stern) giving the fiberglass form a nice rigid feel. Initial and final stability are fine. I'm a New Jersey Pine Barren flat water canoer and use double bladed paddles. I often do up river paddles of 3 to 8 miles when I can't find a shuttle. Today the Mullica was running low. The Pack is an easier up river paddle as the Serenade wanted to give in to every current and breach taking more effort to paddle up thru the twisting river. But I paddle up river for the exercise and this boat will give me more. Down river was when she showed her stuff. I use a Werner Corryvrecken with lots of grab. When I made my u-turn and started down river the kayak part of this boat took over. Fast and responsive. It perfectly suits the purpose for which I bought it. With a maximum load capacity of 300 I won't be carrying as much gear on day trips as with my Pack but that wasn't the point.
I wanted something that wouldn't require as much effort as the Pack to keep up with my kayaking friends and I found it in this boat. Now 6 miles isn't much of a basis for a review but I believe that life with this boat will only get better.
On a second paddle I moved the seat up further to a point further than I normally would paddle. The trim improved the upriver tracking quite a bit. But still not enough to better the Pack when I hit swift currents in some tight turns.
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