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Reviews for Rapidfire Canoe by Placid Boatworks


Rated: 9.93/10 Based On: 15 Reviews


Rapidfire Canoe by Placid Boatworks

Length: 15' 0" - Width: 27.5" - Starting at: $3050.00
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08-28-2014
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     As a teenager/young adult I had no trouble hoisting the 71# heavy-weight, 17' aluminum canoes for a portage. Five decades later, retired and looking to get back into fitness paddling, I discovered the RapidFire solo canoe. WOW, what a kick!

Easy to shoulder, at 25#, to launch and talk about responsive in the water! In a short time the craft almost reads your mind as to what you want to do. In rapids as well as pretty big waves on the lakes, it just eats them up! The tumblehome configuration really works. The incredible design responds easily to edging, etc. allowing terrific maneuverability.

And it's tough! On my first paddle in rapids on the Verde river in AZ, my unplanned "river bank relocation project" left the RapidFire none-the worse for the experience. In a word, it is a GREAT solo canoe!

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08-04-2014
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've been paddling my Rapidfire for over 7 years now, averaging at least 2 week long trips per year and too many short trips to count. It is fast, stable, and easily holds enough gear for 7 to 10 day trips. The Kevlar/CarbonFiber construction make it a pleasure to portage (28 lbs).
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05-05-2014
Submitted by: LarryHSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Just picked up my new RapidFire over a week ago. Have taken it out a few times already and love how well it handles. At 25 lbs it is also a dream to get to and from the water. I find the attention to detail and the overall quality of this boat to be top notch. I am in the process of planning a solo trip to Algonquin and can't wait to get out their with my RF. Dealing with Joe and all those at Placid Boatworks is a true pleasure. I will get back with a more detailed review after my solo trip.
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09-04-2013
Submitted by: chuckSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     My opinion: simply the best lightweight pack boat or deckless kayak made....I spend six days a week in one on mountain lakes ponds and streams.... comfortable good into and with wind and easy to portage....worth the $...like a filson coat in wilderness performance..."so why not have the best"...its been said!
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01-02-2012
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Iíve had my RapidFire for a few years now. It came with non-tinted clear coat, cherry rails and cane seat. I must say it the best boat I have owned. It is a pleasure to paddle and it has great glide. There is no problem with tracking on windy days and it is very stable. I did change the cane seat to a web seat and added the new carbon seat pedestals made by Placid Boatworks.

In three seasons of use, I have only had one problem. I backed up into a sharp edge on a stump and made a very tiny crack on the side of the boat in the clear gelcoat. The repair was easily fixed with the materials and instructions supplied by Joe. I use the boat primarily for long hours of fishing. Each trip is usually around 10-15 miles and I spend around 50 days a year on the water. The boat gets a lot of use and it still looks great! The bottom scratch coat surface has very few scratches and that is amazing considering I go over logs and stumps every time I go out. This spring I will probably re-coat the gunwales for the first time. I could just do a couple of small areas where I have worn the finish down, but I figure after 3 years of use why not do it all. My paddle of choice is a 47" bent Gillespie with a powersurge blade. I can get 3-4 stokes per side and just sit and switch effortlessly.

I would definitely buy another boat from Joe. The folks at Placid Boatworks make a quality product and they are great to deal with.

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07-20-2011
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought a new Rapidfire in April of 2011. I had very high expectations of this boat and it has exceeded all of them. I had a Hornbeck canoe prior to this and you can't compare them for performance. The Placid boat is far superior.

A week after buying it I participated in the Run of the Charles. While not yet accustomed to the boat I came in 3rd in my class and 2nd in my age group and I am in average shape & weight.

Lightweight, fast, competent in all conditions and beautiful. It may be pricey but worth every penny. I paddle regularly with long sea kayaks (and I also paddle a long sea kayak myself) and very few can outpace me. At less than 24lbs it is easy to load and transport. I love it and can't say enough good things about it.

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10-30-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     We got our Rapidfire in Aug. of '09 and I used it in the Adirondack Classic 3-day "90 miler" race a month later. (#39) this was also my first "90" so I had quite a steep learning curve ahead of me. I built my own knupac portage device and finally got it fine tuned by the last day of the 90 and the whole boat and portage device worked out great. I wanted the portage device to work for both the 90 and for camping, kind of opposites really but that is what I was going to use the Rapidfire for. I've got some multi-day trips planned for next summer with the rf and feel it's going to do a great job!

But back to the 90... and there were several Rapidfires entered, along with a couple of Spitfires. Joe Moore of Placid Boatworks was in his new tandem. there was also the "red tigershark" rf... since this was my first 90 I entered the open touring divison and took off on the first wave. On the second day I was about boat #8 to make it to the bridge and in the top 25 towards the end of the lake and that's when all the multi engined boats started catching up to me, including the war canoes. I had my gps with me which really helped keep me up to speed but it's really tough for a little'ol solo pack boat to keep up with these greyhounds. when I stopped paddling for a drink, gu, etc I came to a stop while the multi engined boats would pass me up, ug. but as long as my motor has some steam in it, the rf would do a pretty fine job of moving along, especially at the end of each day where I somehow managed to fire the afterburner miles before the finish and pass quite a few other boats, much to my astonishment! at the end of day two a k2 had just nosed me out at the line but I bet they were really working for it cause I was on full afterburners and doing over 6ish mph for quite awhile! Now if I had the motor of the red tigershark, well, things would have been a whole lot different! I was able to paddle with the tiger a bit and learned about strokes but it wasn't for long.

All in all, I'm quite proud of what I did in the Rapidfire, I finished as the top solo boat in the open touring division but not nearly as fast as the other Rapidfires racing in their class. the rf can be a fast boat but it can also go the distance. I can't wait to take it for some serious camping next summer!

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08-20-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Had an opportunity to try a Rapid fire out this past week for a hour or so at our local freestyle gathering. What a rush. The Hull accelerates and will stay at top speed with ease. Fun with a single or double blade. A real speed demon. Tacks solid, heels with a firm feel at the rails when kneeling. Leaves an impressive wake. Fit and Finish was very good.
Nice Job Yost and PBW.

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07-15-2008
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     A short update after many more paddling trips.
I have now paddled the Rapidfire in some 30 mph gusts; it didn't care. I could barely keep the paddle in my hands, but the boat didn't care. I have paddled it on tidal creeks and the ICW, although that day I was very glad we didn't have to paddle upwind.

Lately , I have been using a Zaveral racing paddle more and more, but for speed and in windy conditions, the kayak paddle stays available. Because it is a narrow boat, I had the kayak paddle shortened from 240 to 230 and it works fine.

I have a chronically bad lower back and this is the most comfortable boat I have ever owned and that includes 4 kayaks and 3 canoes. I can paddle all day in the Rapidfire with no backache at all.

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01-25-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     As background information, Charlie Wilson is a friend of a number of years and Joe Moore is a newer friend. However, Iím not so flush that I would pay the cost of a Rapidfire just to support a friendís business. Therefore, while acknowledging friendship with the owners, I still state this review is honest and independent.

I picked up my Rapidfire in Nov. 06 and waited for a year of paddling experience before writing this review.
I first saw a Rapidfire in July 06 when Charlie brought one to the Adirondack Freestyle gathering. He set it on the beach at Star Lake, turned, and walked away to chat with his long time friends in the Freestyle community. I asked him if I could paddle it and he replied, "Thatís what I brought it for" and turned back to his conversation with his old friends. I paddled about 15 minutes, was extremely impressed with the canoe and then brought it back for others to try. To my surprise no one else stepped up to paddle it. Guess the Freestylers were more interested in canoes that went in circles than harder tracking ones optimized to cover distances. Could it also have been issues with canoes propelled with a double blade paddle instead of a single blade? After waiting a while and seeing no other takers, I asked Charlie if I could take it for a paddle around the lake. Charlie looked over and said, "Iíll be here for another hour or two, go ahead" and turned to resume the conversation with his old friends.

Now Charlie is quite a salesman in the best sense of the term. He can quote the specs and attributes of his canoes off the top of his head, compare them with anything that has ever been built and generally doesnít put down other makers or their craft to boost his. However, this superb salesman had nothing to do with selling me on this canoe -- as happens in the best of experiences, the canoe sold itself! I paddled around Star Lake in less than 45 minutes, unaffected by the moderate wind, small waves or boat wakes.

The canoe is very attractive, but I have owned many beautiful all wood and wood canvas canoes over the years so beauty alone wouldnít do it for me. My lust for the Rapidfire was for how it paddled! I havenít figured out how he did it, but Dave Yost appropriated my body for the designing of this canoe. At 6í1Ē and about 205 lbs this canoe fits me perfectly. I had paddled a Spitfire a year earlier and at my size and weight I thought it was nice but wasnít overcome with the same boat desire - Iím probably closer to the appropriate size and weight for the Rapidfire than the Spitfire.

I drove up to Lake Placid in Fall 06 to demo the Rapidfire another time before deciding if I wanted to order it. The canoe talked to me again. Charlie was too busy building canoes to spend time blowing smoke in my ears, so again the canoe did all the sweet-talking. After returning home and thinking it over once more the checkbook came out.

The Rapidfire has (for me) a perfect balance between very good tracking and enough maneuverability. It is very fast for a 15í canoe. I find their low (on the bottom) seat comfortable. The lowest seat does pitch me slightly back into the back band (very comfortable), which does reduce trunk rotation, making for a slightly less efficient stroke. Works for days when my back is a little tweaky and asking for support. I also ordered what is now their "mid height" seat. It slips over the attached low seat and gives a somewhat higher seat that also tilts me forward slightly. This moves me off the backbend, allowing more trunk rotation for a more efficient stroke. I use the mid seat when I want to go faster using trunk rotation. Placid is now making a third seat that is higher yet. I havenít used it enough to have a final opinion, but Iím tilted even more forward with that seat. I have feeling that it might need to be placed slightly rearward of the location of my low seat. It was developed for Joeís racing and his powerful stroke probably lifts the bow enough to balance the slightly greater forward weight shift this seat causes. Try all three bottom seat options or the hung seat with sidewall stiffening and pick the one that works best for you.

As in all open double paddle canoes, there is some paddle drip into the canoe. It can be slight, or if the wind is blowing wrong, considerable. I leave a sponge on the bottom in front of the seat and squeeze it out ever 20-30 minutes. I have purchased the Placid spray decks but havenít yet used them enough to rate them.

Joe and Charlie are easy to work with as you order your canoe. Some buyers have ordered the canoe for kneeling with a hung seat, which it wasnít designed for. For them additional strength is added to the mid section to allow a hung seat. I wanted to change the decks and thwarts using my own stripped maple and apple wood instead of their Diamond Wood. They worked with me on those substitutions. I now have a Rapidfire with the "Anniversary Special Limited Edition Trim Package". Just a pretentious way to say that I traded their unique looking rot-proof wood trim for my less rot resistant wood, all in the name of my sense of aesthetics.

If you want a very fast "sit on bottom" canoe, start your search with a Rapidfire. Itís a fine canoe, built by some fine folks.

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11-30-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought a RapidFire to replace a kayak and it is used mostly near land on the ocean and in tidal currents and races. I paddle it with the low seat (on the bottom) for stability in ocean rollers.

Pluses:
Fast, darn fast. No problem keeping up with my partners in seventeen foot sea kayaks.
Can exit from the boat onto anything. Its easier get out of the RF and climb dock ladders than it is from a sea kayak.
Rides over waves really well. The bow is quite light.
Maneuverable even with an abeam wind and sea. Can change direction in any sea.

Minuses: there is just one. The bow is so light without a load that the boat tends to pancake hard over the back of a three foot wave. I would advise always having a pack in the boat. This is after all a pack boat.

Spend a little extra and get the spray cover. It will keep you warm and cozy, which is about the only advantage I can find in a kayak.

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09-04-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     Got to Jocassee this morning and the wind was kicking up a good chop. I had never been in the boat so I was a little cautious.

From the second I was in the seat, I was comfortable with the boat. It didn't care if the wind and waves were from the front, back , or sides.It handled them all so well it was almost boring. For a 15' boat , it is very quick. We had a newby with us today and I felt like I waited more than paddled. It tracks very well and turns easily compared to my other canoes.

Placid says it is a kayak without a deck and I very much agree. It is the boat I've been looking for because I love my kayak paddle and this canoe is made for it. I hesitate to give any boat a 10 after a couple of hours, but I could find nothing wrong. The part I really liked was stepping out of the boat, picking it up and walking it up the ramp.

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07-24-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I usually kneel in my RapidFire and use a single-blade paddle, which is not the intended use (it's designed as a deckless, easy-access kayak). But I find the boat a lot of fun as a true solo canoe; I even sit-and-switch sometimes. I was a little twitchy at first, because of the narrow beam, but I soon learned to rely on the flare of the sides; now I'm completely comfortable. No unintended capsizes yet!

The wind and tidal current where I usually paddle have let me try the RapidFire in waves up to three feet (measured peak to trough). Deep-water waves haven't been a problem. In shallow water, where the waves get steeper, I often take on water. I have the canoe rigged with whitewater-style flotation, so taking on a couple gallons doesn't worry me much (and has surprisingly little effect on stability). I have practiced sea-kayak-style assisted rescues and had no problems getting back in the boat. I haven't tried the RapidFire in whitewater.

As to speed, the canoe is noticeably faster than my previous solo (a WildFire). I don't have any useful empirical measurements, since tidal currents taint the numbers.

Negatives: My boat had a minor wood-finishing problem that I fixed myself, after consulting with the helpful folks at Pb (they offered to repair it for me, but it was easier to add some polyurethane myself). The laminate on my hull isn't stiff enough for the way I use the canoe (I weigh just over 200 pounds, and much of my weight is on the rails rather than the floor, since I kneel, and that lets the floor flex a little); Placid Boatworks tell me they have fixed this problem in current kneeling hulls. I wish it turned easier (by design, the stern sits a little lower than the bow, to aid tracking, at the expense of nimbleness). I wish it had a deck to cut down wind effects and keep out the steep waves (Pb now offers a fabric deck -- haven't tried it yet). And while I'm dreaming, it would be nice to have a height-adjustable seat.

But over all, after 11 months, I'm very happy with my RapidFire. I rated it 10 out of 10 because nearly everybody gives a 10 on this site, so the ratings are content-free. Because of the negatives I mentioned above, I actually think of the RapidFire as a 7 out of 10 (tough grader), but I don't know of any production canoe out there that would be higher than a 7 for my needs, so I think I've gotten the best I can get. The RapidFire provides speed, seaworthiness, and comfort for me to do long trips with my sea-kayaking friends and usually keep up with the front of the group.

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05-01-2007
Submitted by: mdbSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I bought a Rapidfire in the spring of 05 looking for a more stable, but just-as-quick replacement for my kevlar Advantage. I had grown tired of feeling like going out in the wind and chop after work was going to be more trouble than it was worth. I have little experience with a double blade and wasn't interested in making the change so I bought it without a seat and I installed a slider from Wenona. I paddle it exclusively with a single blade.

I find this boat to be everything I want for Adirondack paddling. It has all the stability I'd hoped for with none of the uncomfortable slip in the stern I found with a straight keel boat. The Rapidfire is rapid, allowing me to easily keep up with everyone I could before and informally clocking 8 minutes faster than the Advantage over a regularly paddled one hour route. And while it holds a line without effort, exploring the meanders of the Chubb or Browns Tract is a joy; it goes where you tell it. Often the best of Adirondack paddling has something to do with carries. A piece of pipe insulation on each gunwale to pad your shoulder and thigh and even the longer hops are a snap. Lastly I have to say that while those who know me suggest I might lean a bit hard toward the utilitarian, even I like that this boat is beautiful to look at. As an on-the-water conversation starter, itís better than a puppy on Main Street.

If you are an occasional paddler the boat might be a bit expensive, but if you look forward to your time on the water and the thought of loading up the boat or wind and waves sometimes keeps you from getting out, do some math and youíll find the value added to your paddling life will far exceed the cost for the level of quality and performance youíll find in the Rapidfire.

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04-11-2007
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     First need to get a bit out of the way - I am 5'10", fluctuate around 200 pounds, almost 60 years old and have been paddling for about 55 of those 60 years. I consider myself primarily a canoe paddler, but have logged thousands of miles in a sea kayak also. I am also a friend of the folks who make this boat.

That said, I'll try to be as objective as possible. The Rapidfire is a 15 foot solo boat designed by Dave Yost. While it may look like a canoe at first glance, it is truly an open topped kayak. It was intended to be paddled from a very low seating position utilizing a double-bladed paddle. It has minimal rocker, significant tumblehome and an exceptionally long waterline for its length. The combination of light weight (comfortably under 30 pounds), large volume and an open top make it an ideal pack canoe (a kayak with enclosed storage compartments is a serious pain when pond-hopping) for the larger paddler.

The design is executed in carbon/kevlar using a vacuum bagging process. Cherry rails were standard when I bought mine, though it is possible that a graphite rail system will be available soon. End caps and thwarts are constructed of a laminated product called dymondwood - chosen for its strength and water resistance (according to the Placid Boatworks web-site). My personal opinion is that it may be an exceptional material for the purpose, but that it is ugly as sin.

It is seaworthy, tracks well and is very responsive to leaned turns. And, above all, it is flat out fast. The tumblehome allows for a pretty efficient paddle stroke - certainly much more so than the other boats in this class that I have paddled. All in all, it is a wonderful execution of a craft designed for a very specific purpose. And that is both its virtue and its vice. As long as you stay within the design parameters, it is a great boat. That's where we need to go back to the beginning of this review.

I am a canoe paddler and make no mistake - this is not a canoe. The seating position is simply not conducive to efficient paddling with a single-bladed stick. It could be modified by installing a seat with enough rise to allow an efficient paddle stroke with a single bladed paddle, but that begins to mess with the stability inherent in the design. Accept it for what it is and you won't find a better boat in the class. Try to make it something it isn't and you probably will not be happy.

Rating - 10 out of 10 if you sit and use a double-bladed paddle.

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