Submitted: 05-14-2002 by cwest
Fiberglass reproduction of Betsie Bays' "Manitou" model built in 1996 by Sawyer Canoe for Betsie Bay Kayaks. This is a Greenland design touring kayak with a full length V-bottom hull and hard chines.
The boat is no longer manufactured by Sawyer Canoe for Betsie Bay, but it is one of the best built boats I have ever seen. It is rock solid! Although it is fiberglass (not wood/epoxy like the original, that is still in production), it is lightweight and sound. I was not accustomed to the narrow Greenland style boats when I purchased it, and has some stability and weather cocking problems early on in high winds and rough seas. After consultation with Al at Betsie Bay, I ballasted the empty boat fore and aft for better control and stability when I am not touring with equipment. The winds in South Texas during the spring and summer months constantly blow at 20-25 mph, with gusts to 30-35 mph. A slight weather cocking in heavy seas is still a minor concern (this is a 1000 year old design feature used for survival), but when the boat is properly weighted with equipment, it is managable for me. Kayak is very fast being 18 foot long and 22 inches wide. This boat has helped, and continues to help improve my kayaking skills.