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Submitted: 04-19-2013 by PK
I recently picked up a newish mid-profile H14 at an estate sale. I'd been shopping for a pond tripping boat for some time. I'm an experienced paddler with thousands of solo wilderness miles under me, and am a licensed guide. I've led canoe trips and taught paddling for 30 years. So...
The Hornbeck, at 14 feet and 29 pounds, is a slight little sliver of a boat. My first trip was awkward--I don't like using a double paddle (which I feel is an excuse for not mastering the J-stroke), was wobbly. The canoe felt tippy and light (which it is), and seems to stall at a less than ideal speed, for me. I can certainly use this boat for pond fishing on quiet water, but I expected a little more speed and stability for a 14-footer.
As a light weight pond tripped and trout fishing boat, the H14 is perfect. It is THE boat for lightweight extended tripping with a single carry approach. I don't especially feel that this will be a safe ride in open, exposed water with any sort of chop, though in good hands, any boat can outperform its design limitations. But you can't have it all--and what's lost here is the pure joy of a paddling experience in a thoroughbred boat. but I got what I bargained for--a boat I can carry for miles without tiring--in search of the holy brook trout!
I'm 200 pounds, six feet tall, and this particular boat feels too small for me, in spite of the fact that the seller told me the boat was made for him and he outweighs me by thirty pounds. I wish I had held off for a 16 footer...
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