Submitted: 09-08-2003 by TomD
This review is preliminary and based on a very short paddle. I have a Hornbeck Lost Pond canoe that my wife paddled and enjoyed very much. So much so that we decided to get one for her. But, Hornbeck Boats is 6 hours away. Dave Curtis (Hemlock Canoe works) is about 30 minutes south of us, and his Nessmuk looked very similar. We test paddled a Nessmuk on Canadice Lake.... flat water.
Hemlock Nessmuk v. Hornbeck Lost Pond: Nessmuk is 2-3" narrower than Lost Pond... most noticable while sitting in the boat. Nessmuk has less initial stability than Hornbeck, but is probably somewhat more efficient. Both boats are quick and easy-paddling. Both track surprisingly well for such a short boat. It's easy to reach hull speed limit with both boats.... start getting a lot of gurgling and bow waves without much additional increase in speed. We test paddled the Nessmuk on flat water with little wind, but have found the Lost Pond to be surprisingly seaworthy and easy to handle in rougher water and higher winds; we expect the same from the Nessmuk. Seating in Lost Pond is comfortable 3" sculpted foam with padded backrest on thwart. In comparison, Nessmuk is more spartan... simple 1" foam pad on bottom, perhaps providing more options for seating. General workmanship on Nessmuk appears superior (Lost Pond is good).... wood trim is less "blocky" and has a finer, more tapered appearance. Lost Pond has a skin coat which shows all fabric edges, layers, and overlaps; the Nessmuk uses a pigmented gel coat which conceals these, but the fabric that shows seems more uniform. Dave Curtis has a reputation for well-built canoes of high craftsmanship -- certainly visible here. No painter loops on Nessmuk; Lost Pond has these. Nessmuk is more expensive ($100). Nessmuk has floatation tanks built into bow and stern; Lost Pond relies on large foam seat to provide floatation.
I discussed my test paddle with Dave Curtis afterwards, and think he generally agreed with my impressions.
I like my Lost Pond, but we liked the performance and craftsmanship of the Nessmuk enough to buy one for my wife.