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Submitted: 06-14-1999 by Tom Johnston
You probably won't find the Old Town Canadienne listed in any recent product brochures because, from what I'm told, it's only available by special order from a couple of places, including Chicagoland Canoe Base (773-777-1489). This canoe is available in 17 and 18 foot models in either fiberglass or kevlar. The design of this canoe is outstanding. It has enough space for tripping, but it slices through the water like a knife and handles beautifully as well. In the three years that I have owned it, my wife and I have never (not a single time, I'm not exaggerating!!!) been passed by another canoe while canoing on rivers - and we are just cruising leisurely. I had to laugh one time when a couple of young guys (in much better shape that us) in another canoe yelled, "Hey, there's speed limits on this river, you know" as we glided past them. They were paddling hard while we were just cruising.
This canoe handles extremely well with it's moderate rocker. For us, it's just about the perfect compromise design for nice tracking on lakes and nice turning when needed. A great deal of thought went into it's design and the experienced eye quickly recognizes the beautiful lines of this canoe at a glance, even when on the roof of the car. In fact, it very often attracts canoe enthusiasts attention when they see it. In never fails to generate positive comments.
We chose the optional mahogany trim, which is beautifully done. However, I rounded off the square edges last year before re-varnishing them (they didn't need it though). We like this canoe so much, in fact, that we are thinking of buying the 18' kevlar version (our current 17' 2" model is fiberglass). It's an great tripper and a great cruiser. If you are interested, you can call Chicagoland Canoe Base, owned by the designer of this canoe, or you could call Old Town. But, be warned that Old Town does not publicize this canoe. In fact, when I talked to them, they pretended like they didn't make this canoe any longer, but when pressed they admitted that they are still available. They are, perhaps, one of the only hand laid up fiberglass or kevlar designs that they still make - but on special order only. They saved the mold for this canoe. After admitting that this canoe is still available, the guys at Old Town raved about this canoe. It was the all-time personalfavorite of the man that I talked to at Old Town and he said that it is one of the fastest canoes they have ever made, racing canoes excepted, of course.
It's truly a great canoe. Next year I plan to do a 1 month solo trip in Quetico with it.
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