-- Last Updated: Oct-09-12 6:42 PM EST --
I based that statement on my own experience, since I really don't think I'm all that strange in my level of enthusiasm for small boats. When my only boat was a 12-foot aluminum Jon boat, I thought it was a fantastic vessel for traveling on ponds and small rivers. I thought it was quite fast and efficient because going 8 feet per stroke seemed like really good progress (it's easy to mark progress in a rowboat since you can always see the swirls where the oar blades were). Further, I could easily outpace my brother in his tandem canoe when his paddling partner was a kid. If asked to rate the boat, I would have rated it really high for all the uses I put it to, including traveling several miles at a time. I DID know that it performed poorly in choppy conditions, but that was it. I noticed that it bogged down with a load of camping gear, but didn't know that this was the boat's fault. By the way, I paid nothing for the boat.
Eventually I got a 12-foot rowboat that was roughly based on a "good" design that's been around for more than a hundred years. Now I was getting 22 feet per stroke with a fast cadence (I only checked this one time, just to compare it to the old boat since the improvement was so marked, by counting strokes for an extended distance measured by GPS), and quite a bit more than that with a moderate cadence, and suddenly I realized that the old Jon boat was pretty slow AND inefficient. Not only that, the new boat made almost no sound, so it was then that I realized that the prolonged sloshing sound coming from the bow of the Jon boat with every stroke was something I didn't have to put up with. Finally, when loaded with camping gear, the new boat didn't slow down dramatically in spite of a high exertion rate on my part like the Jon boat did, so I finally figured out that having a tiny boat become a pig when loaded wasn't unavoidable. At this point, if someone had asked me to rate the Jon boat I'd have said it's fine for fishing and hunting, especially if you don't have to go far, but crappy for long-distance travel, especially with a load.
I wasn't able to accurately rate the Jon boat UNTIL I had something better to compare it to. I enjoyed it perfectly well for years. I was doing fun things I simply couldn't do without a boat, so the boat seemed great. I just didn't know what I didn't know. For a person in that situation, I really don't think that's such an unusual way to interpret things.
Full Size Sail Rig
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