Submitted: 06-05-2005 by Jim C
I was bound and determined to buy a canoe this spring. I performed an extensive investigation into the variety of makes and models on the market today. I tried out several plastic, royalex, and aluminum canoes. I was certainly attracted to the sexy finishes and exotic materials used in modern canoes. While performing this investigation I also had to fully analyze what it was I was looking for in a canoe which as I understand it, is one of the key mistakes people make when buying a canoe. A fellow thinks he wants a canoe for whitewater but really the primary use is slow river and flatwater which by the way, is exactly what I needed to find.
While sorting through the many canoes, I wasn't concerned with price but rather selecting the most appropriate canoe for our uses. I kept coming back to the aluminum canoe based on its durability, design and overall outstanding performance characteristics. I visited many rental sites to find they either use aluminum or use plastic and if using plastic, they're thinking of going back to aluminum. I do know that those rental shops that use aluminum, have had their inventory for many, many years.
To make a long story short, I called the Marathon Boat company and talked to one of the managers. We talked canoes for a long time! I was very impressed with his knowledge and willingness to discuss his product and other customers’ products as well. Last week I drove 5 hours into the state of West Virginia to the only Grumman dealer in the state located in Ripley, WV. They had about five Grumman models to choose from, gave me a great price and I walked away with a sweet G1540C Lightweight 15'. It weighs in at about 59 pounds where my 15 year old son and I can easily manage it on and off my F-150 Ford with a topper/shell.
Today, we took it on its maiden voyage. What a beauty! It tracked well yet was easy to turn and we were also able to kick up some decent speed. It was quite stable with a nice blend of initial and secondary stability. Tomorrow morning we're getting up and taking it out on our favorite lake for some early morning bass fishing and some lake touring.
Based on its performance today, I would rate this canoe an 8/9 of 10. I take a point off for no portage thwart. I think this accessory should be standard issue and not an optional purchase.