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Submitted: 05-26-2003 by sun_on_river
This is the second spring whitewater season for my Royalex Swift Dumoine. I also own a rather battered, nearly 20 year old Old Town Tripper that I have used in whitewater for years. I paddle up to class III, mostly day trips, but usually several overnight trips each year as well. Last spring our big trip was the Bonaventure in Quebec. I paddle both boats tandem and solo, although I have to admit that the Tripper is getting to be more of a challenge paddled solo on longer trips as I get older.
What prompts me to write was a trip down the Eel in southern New Brunswick after work one evening a few weeks ago. I would rate that river as a challenging class II that day due to the high, cold water and the almost continuous nature of long stretches of rapids with large waves. The water was as high as I have seen on that river. I was paddling my Dumoine, tandam, and my Tripper was also with us paddled by a skilled crew. It was interesting to compare the performance of the two boats.
Verdict - The Dumoine was more manouverable and required less bailing. This was even though the crew of the Dumoine weighed about 140 lbs more than the crew of the Tripper. The Tripper is just a bit over 17 feet, the Dumoine is about a foot shorter. The Dumoine is asymmetrical in several respects: More rocker in the bow than stern, Higher bow than stern,The widest point is closer to the stern than the bow.
Several other interesting aspects of the Dumoine: The hull has significant flare, making it shed waves well. The hull is much rounder in cross section than the Tripper. In contrast, the Tripper has quite an abrupt transition from vertical side to flat bottom. The effect of this appears to be much improved behavior in the Dumoine entering and exiting eddies compared with a certain shakiness in the Tripper when agressively entering strong eddies.
The Tripper oilcans quite a lot. The Dumoine has a very rigid hull for a plastic boat. This is due to its more rounded bottom and because it is reinforced in critical areas with an extra layer of ABS. In fairness, the Dumoine is also a lot newer. In contrast the Tripper is a classically conventional design – not surprising since it has been produced for well over 20 years.
For paddling solo whitewater, the Dumoine is a very pleasant boat to paddle. Its manouverable, very capable in big waves. Although clearly smaller than the Tripper, paddled tandem, the Dumoine successfully carried way too much stuff down the Bonaventure in the Gaspe of Quebec for 5 days last spring.
Both canoes work well on flat water. The lower bow on the Dumoine makes it easier to handle on lakes in wind. I'm very pleased with the Dumoine. It is well made and nicely finished. My only negative comment would be that I did shorten the seat spacers to raise the seats and kneeling thwart when setting up the boat for myself and my big feet.
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