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  Are lightweight canoes too light ...
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Mar-05-14 11:18 PM (EST)

... to handle properly?

rpg51 said this in another thread: "I had one kevlar boat in my life. It sure was nicer to carry on land and I liked that. But on the water? Ugh. Too light. It sat on top of the water instead of in the water. It got blown around something awful. I am slowly coming around around to the point of view that our modern canoes are just too darn light and it has a negative impact on the paddling performance."

This is a very interesting thought.


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Messages in this Topic


  It was probably too large a boat for him
  Posted by: Yanoer on Mar-06-14 12:06 AM (EST)
Don't paddle a boat that you can't sink enough for proper handling.

My 60 lb Wenonah Solo Plus doesn't handle properly wit just my 160 lbs in it, but my 32 lb Curtis Lady Bug is just great.
  I Agree
  Posted by: clydehedlund on Mar-06-14 3:17 AM (EST)
Size problem, not the weight. However, obtain a heavier version of the same size canoe and see, if indeed, it does handle better or the same or worse?
  Not For This Boy
  Posted by: wildernesswebb on Mar-06-14 12:48 AM (EST)
But I've always been big and tall so not a problem for me, however; I can understand how someone could feel that nothing feels as good in the water as a wooden canoe.
  I can't relate to this
  Posted by: vic on Mar-06-14 1:22 AM (EST)
Lightweight canoes are beyond the realm of my experience.

I have a red Royalex Mad River Freedom Solo. I've had it for ten years. It weighed about 55 pounds when I bought it. Somehow I think it has gained about two pounds a year since I've owned it.
  Merlin super-light
  Posted by: Celia on Mar-06-14 7:45 AM (EST)
I have one, though it hasn't seen much water the last couple of seasons due to home front distractions. It is some super-light layup - weighs maybe 21 pounds.

At the time I got it someone here who knows canoes said that this boat handled a bit differently than the Merlins in a heavier layup - it really needed to have weight added to keep the trim right for wind etc. I can't compare it side to side from paddling a different Merlin, but I can say it does noticeably better with some weight in it.

That said, the boat is so light it becomes a self-correcting problem, since its ballast is rated to the allover weight. After many sessions trying to self-rescue in this boat I concluded that the only solution for safe solo paddling would be large, and heavy, float bags. It sinks on re-entry more often than no so that the paddler is sitting chest deep in water. I haven't gotten around to it, but my guess is that the weight of the float bags (takes 57" inch ones I think) resolves some of the trim issue.
  Another thing float bags do is change
  Posted by: ezwater on Mar-06-14 8:40 PM (EST)
the aerodynamics. If the main symptom of being a bit light on the water was blowing and skittering around in wind, then float bags that fill much of the bow and stern can make quite a difference.

The open-toppedness of canoes is partly a concession to loading and unloading, and placing passengers. Decking the ends over will make the boat a bit heavier, but more resistant to wind.
  Light boat handling
  Posted by: roundsidedown1 on Mar-07-14 8:08 PM (EST)
I mostly paddle light weight canoes(Classic XL(21lbs), JD Pro(25), Susquehanna(28), Amateur racer(28)) in flat water. The trim of the boat greatly affects the handling. All my boats have sliding seats( center(solos) and Bow and Stern(Tandems). Depending on the wind, I change seat position. I have raced and toured with my children(80-100lbs difference) and need to trim very carefully when fighting a head, quartering and tailwinds. When my kids paddle together or solo my canoes, they maybe have a 2" draft. They handle the canoes great because they know how to trim the canoes.
  Trim, yes. I have been on the
  Posted by: ezwater on Mar-14-14 11:10 AM (EST)
English about how so many of them solo Prospectors with the bow light. A racing canoe will be most sensitive to trip, a Prospector less so. Whitewater solo boats are also less sensitive to trim, except that, if the paddler is properly centered, leaning forward or back exerts almost instant control over several aspects of boat behavior.
  anyone want to do some math
  Posted by: kayamedic on Mar-06-14 8:36 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-06-14 9:24 AM EST --

Find the water displacement of a light layup boat and using the SAME dimensioned boat in its heaviest layup.

I will bet the displacement difference is a tenth of an inch or so.

Is the difference in windage that important? After all isn't that what we are discussing?

BTW after capsizing three miles offshore in Long Island Sound some years ago with a 45 lb Wenonah Odyssey I thought the exact same thing.. It was too light and we should have gotten the heavier layup. On retrospect we had an unloaded 18.5 foot long boat. Undoubtedly we would have had the same result with the same boat in a ten lb heavier version.

If the fractional inch of lack of displacement bothers you bring a heavy sandwich.

I guess most people never portage a canoe. Its a historic way of tripping up North.

  Posted by: Celia on Mar-06-14 9:07 AM (EST)
The reason I was drawn to a light boat was because of proximity to the Adirondacks, and portaging.

That said, most people I know who do a lot of portaging are doing it in the context of longer, multi-day trips so are hauling camping gear. The boat itself can be plenty light being carried. But the weight of the gear in the boat once it is a put back in the boat after the portage is another matter. It takes care of any trim issues.
  Our Bluewater tandem at 50# seems
  Posted by: ezwater on Mar-06-14 8:55 PM (EST)
light enough for portaging, and is certainly more rugged that true lightweights at 40 pounds or so.

If a tandem is under 50 pounds, the real questions about portaging are:

1. How much portaging have you done in the past? Did you do enough to sort out all the lifting, balance, and pain issues?

2. How much portaging have you done recently? If you're rather out of shape (as I am at 71), then you'd better carry the canoe around the block and do some things to get back in shape.
  Very logical
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on Mar-06-14 9:59 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-06-14 10:17 AM EST --

This reminds me of some of the bicycling enthusiasts, who, getting seriously into the sport at an age that's well past their "bicycling prime years", they spend hundreds of dollars more for a bike that weighs two or three pounds less, yet their own body weighs 50 or 70 pounds more than it did when they were younger and fitter. It makes perfect sense that a canoe which weighs 30 pounds less is not floating all that much higher in the water since the guy paddling the thing probably weighs six times as much as the weight difference in question. And of course, a day pack and a day's supply of water would make up the difference too, yet that's normally not thought of as enough load to significantly alter the handling of the boat.

On the other hand, a heavier boat has more inertia, which in my experience has never been a good thing. For example, my Supernova spins far better than my other two canoes, but the effort I need to put into any quick change in heading is a lot more than I'd like it to be, on account of all the extra "swing weight".

  Light bikes
  Posted by: Celia on Mar-06-14 10:11 AM (EST)
I was shocked when I started looking for a bike again a decade ago and saw the prices compared to the 1980's. And yes, most of the people paying the Cadillac prices were not as skinny as they used to be. It was funny.

But the wireless shifters are to me a very neat idea, if they are reliable. No derailleur wires to adjust for annual maintenance.
  Light bikes are easier to put on roof
  Posted by: Yanoer on Mar-06-14 2:58 PM (EST)
racks than heavier bikes.
  light bikes make a huge difference
  Posted by: slushpaddler on May-23-14 4:39 PM (EST)
I hear what you're saying and think it applies in spades to new kayaks as well. But weight can make a pretty big difference in cycling.

OTOH materials shock absorption can also make a difference and some of those light bikes are pretty darn stiff.
  Some years back, I used to see charts
  Posted by: mickjetblue on Mar-06-14 9:24 AM (EST)
of load weight with corresponding displacement depths for different canoes.

I have not seen those for awhile, and that adds to the mystery of canoe composite to water depth displacement differences.

I have always thought that the handling characteristics of a canoe were linked to a displacement depth that would enable the design to work.

Maybe I need updated.
  Posted by: shiraz627 on Mar-06-14 9:39 AM (EST)
My PBW Spitfire handles like a dream unless you hit a big gust of wind. you can always add ballast but then that defeats the purpose.For windy conditions I tend to take the kayak.
  Some boat mfrs do give
  Posted by: kayamedic on Mar-06-14 9:40 AM (EST)
displacememt figures.

Here is for RapidFire.. the trim options do make the boat vary by some four lbs.

4" wl 320#
3" wl 210#
2" wl 130#

You can see that 90 lbs only sinks the boat from 2 inches into the water to three inches into the water. Two layups of the same boat are not ninety lbs different.

Heck do we buy a new boat after a big dinner?
  only if it blows away
  Posted by: TommyC1 on Mar-06-14 9:52 AM (EST)
I had a J-200 for a short while. That boat was difficult to load unload from the car in a breeze. It had a tendency to levitate up off the racks before I could get it tied down.

Otherwise it really is a displacement issue and has more to do with how much weight you put in it than how much it weighs.
  the lighter the better
  Posted by: pblanc on Mar-06-14 10:46 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-06-14 10:47 AM EST --

It is certainly true that some boats become more stable with a load, but adding ballast to a boat seems a simple thing to do if one deems it to be desirable.

Lighter boats accelerate significantly better than heavier ones. It stands to reason that for any given hull configuration and paddler weight, a lighter hull will have at least somewhat less wetted surface area and therefore less frictional resistance.

One boat which I have paddled in two different weight configurations is the whitewater solo boat, the Esquif L'Edge. Esquif lists a weight of 61 lbs for the original L'Edge but it is pretty well known that some of the early fully decked models were up around 70 lbs outfitted. Contrast that with the Esquif L'Edge lite which weighs in around 53 lbs outfitted.

I have paddled both. I would not have assumed that 15 or so lb difference in weight would have resulted in a significant difference in performance, but for me the lighter L'Edge was very significantly more lively and responsive than the heavier one. Others who have paddled both have had the same impression.

Of course, paddling in whitewater puts a premium on being able to quickly accelerate the boat from a standstill with a few strokes. For steady paddling on flat water I don't think the performance difference would be that significant.

  I agree
  Posted by: pdlgsltd on Mar-06-14 5:05 PM (EST)
My son and I paddle an Esquif Nitro royalex and a MIllbrook Rival composite when we head for class II or above. We fight over the composite hull. It literally jumps across fast water, and the esquif is quite a bit more work. Both our solo touring canoes are composite and we love the light weight, much easier over a long day, ferrying, eddy turns, etc. my $.02.
  Water displacement
  Posted by: wesd on Mar-06-14 12:33 PM (EST)
Several years ago a similar question was asked regarding the displacement of a canoe in fresh water vs. salt water. With the same load and due only to the different specific gravity of the water this translated to about 1/32" increase in freeboard for an assumed initial displacement.

In this case for a reference consider;

A volume of water 18" x 96" x 1/16" weighs about 46.5 lbs. (Water in general weighs about 62 lbs/cu.ft.) There are not to many (if any) canoes that have that much difference in weight between layup constructions.

The load in the canoe is much more the factor. My Magic and Shearwater both behave very differently with a load (other than me) or without.

  Let's assume an empty canoe
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Mar-06-14 1:14 PM (EST)
I'm assuming rpg51 was talking about an empty canoe, other than the paddler. Anyway, I think it's best to assume that for consistency of discussion.

Obviously tripping loads can change the handling characteristics, but a high percentage of canoeing is simply day trips in an a hull empty of anything other than paddler and a day pack.

It makes sense to me that a lighter canoe will get blown around more, and wind is one of the biggest banes of the solo, single-blading canoeist.

Mike Galt used to argue that a canoe needed a certain weight to have proper "glide". I was never sure whether he believed that or whether it was just part of a sales pitch.
  Upwind & Accelerating, Light is Faster
  Posted by: clydehedlund on Mar-06-14 2:48 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-08-14 12:35 AM EST --

Downwind there was no difference when comparing the performance of two (17 & 26 pounds) identical solo outrigger canoes with different layups. Once the heavier canoe gets going, more resistance is required to stop it than the lighter canoe.

Perhaps, that's why the record for the solo Molokai kayak race has not been beaten in 17 years. All the super light (under 22 lbs) and overly long (21 ft.+) new fangle surfskis have come close, but never beaten the record, set by a short (19'4") and heavy (30+ pounds) sea kayak hull with a surfski (SOT) deck.

Even with the race course shortened by a mile or so, the record still stands. Maybe, the fact, that during the early part of the race, the ski got speared in the tail by another ski and took in a gallon of sea water, which aided its performance?

  Cartopping outriggers in the wind
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Mar-06-14 3:04 PM (EST)
Light outriggers are particularly difficult to get on top of a high vehicle in the wind, as TC1 described for his Jensen.

My outrigger is 22' long and, though not racing light, probably doesn't weigh more than 30 pounds. Once after paddling Mono Lake in California, with afternoon winds sweeping down the east face of the Sierra Nevadas, I could only stand next to my van in impotent fear of trying to lift the OC-1 over my head.

Finally, a car of tourists came by and I screwed up the courage to ask for help holding the canoe in place as I strapped.
  Scary Thought Hoisting a $5,000 Canoe
  Posted by: clydehedlund on Mar-08-14 12:46 AM (EST)
Onto a tall van, SUV or pick-up truck. But the outrigger gals do it all time in 20+ kt. winds and gusts. Offering to help would be considered a condescending gesture.
  Turn van and canoe upwind and 'luff'
  Posted by: onnopaddle on Mar-08-14 11:24 PM (EST)
it onto racks.
  Just a guess
  Posted by: pblanc on Mar-06-14 5:07 PM (EST)
but I suspect once a heavier boat is paddled up to speed on flat water it probably requires no greater effort to keep it at that speed than it does a lighter one.

Conceivably, in a downriver race requiring little maneuvering a heavier weight could present a slight advantage.

In whitewater, heavier weight can be a real disadvantage, not only when it becomes necessary to accelerate the boat from a standstill, but also when it is necessary to exit the current with significant downstream momentum and come to a complete stop, in a smallish eddy say. A heavy boat such as a tandem may develop so much downstream momentum that although the current differential may turn it upstream, the eddy current might not be strong enough to arrest its downstream momentum, and the boat might slip backwards out of the eddy even with both members of the tandem team vigorously paddling upstream.

Same thing often happens in a solo boat that has taken on water. I don't know of many (any) whitewater open boaters who feel having water in the boat enhances its performance.
  Canoe rocker is major consideration
  Posted by: yatipope on Mar-06-14 8:13 PM (EST)
I believe that two canoes of exact same design but different weight would paddle similar if the same waterline length were submerged! The greater the rocker,..the greater the difference in submerged hull-length and the more likely the canoe would be effected by wind and have its tracking characteristics affected. SO what I mean is a Wenonah Prism would probably have less noticeable handling differences between a very lightweight composite layup and a heavier royalex layup than say,...a Mad River Guide with some rocker.
  You have to be careful about what's
  Posted by: ezwater on Mar-06-14 8:49 PM (EST)
meant by rocker, though. First, I recently saw plans by John Winters for an 18' 6" cruiser where he had trimmed away the stern, a bit, and the bow, quite a bit, leaving quite a bit more "rocker" than my old 18.5' Moore. Yet I know that, although they are otherwise similar, the Winters boat is going to be as fast on rivers and faster on lakes.

The issue is, what is that stuff added on to "reduce" rocker doing to help forward progress? Sometimes, not much.

On ww canoes, which are not usually cruised hard, the rocker may cause the bow to "push" water out of the way, rather than part it, but both of my ww canoes, with a proper load, angle up over the water very gently, and do not plow or push the water. Their rocker means that they have low wetted area, and as long as I'm not trying to keep up with the downriver boys, the ww boats accelerate very effectively and cruise easily. Not fast, but easily.

The effect of what we call rocker can only be understood in the context of each individual design. A canoe that's genuinely fast in some ways may have quite a bit of rocker in the form of lift at the ends. Even 60' 8 man rowing shells have it. And, if one avoids a bow that plows and pushes, a high rocker ww boat can be a great accelerator and an easy paddler.
  "solo single blading canoeist"
  Posted by: ret603 on Jun-01-14 6:19 PM (EST)

The problem is that you reject double blades on religious grounds, even though they are far superior to single blades on very windy days; true in any canoe.

Granted, kneeling and paddling with single blade is the best for free style playing, and slow going.

On windy days, when trying to cover distance or to beat a oncoming storm to shore, double blades work better.

  Not always easy to carry either...
  Posted by: PJC on Mar-06-14 8:41 PM (EST)
I have an 18.5' kevlar fast tripper (Bell Mystic) and I love it on the water. I does accelerate faster than a heavier boat and cruises nicely on large lakes and big rivers, though heavier boats can do that also. (Get a freight train rolling and it wants to keep rolling. Its the "stop & go" that can wear you down.)

Got it because I was anticipating repeating a trip with a lot of portages that I'd done with a Grumman when I was 20. In my mid 50s, I didn't think I was would be able to portage like I did as a kid. And I recall it WAS work then... I wanted to take it a little easier if possible.

The surprise came when I tried to carry it in a wind. Cinch to lift and load on the car. (Though, as mentioned previously, its wise to get at least one strap on it fast. It can blow off the racks if you dawdle too much on a windy day.) But if you tried to carry it in a strong crosswind it would try to wrench your head off your shoulders. On a windy day I'm not sure a heavier boat really is harder to carry. Its more bull work, for sure, but it isn't as tricky. If I have to carry any distance across sandbars on a windy day, for example, it works best to face the wind and carry it quartering "crabwise" to my destination. While this is going on I occasionally have thoughts about whether I REALLY want to go to that destination anyhow. Usually I have to admit I need to.

It makes a person feel like a weather vane afflicted with a sense of will.

  Two Canoes - Light vs. Heavy
  Posted by: vk1nf on Mar-07-14 9:06 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-08-14 11:03 AM EST --

My 16' Bluewater Prospector weighs about 45 lbs. - blows around like a bubble until you get a couple of hundred pounds aboard, and has very little glide. The old Oneida 18 is about 70 lbs., tracks like a train, and maintains its glide really well. My favourite - the Onedia, of course, UNLESS it has to be lifted or carried...

  You have to consider the same
  Posted by: kayamedic on Mar-08-14 8:29 AM (EST)

Not apples and oranges. Does your old boat have the exact same waterline profile as your new boat? Does your old boat have the exact same profile above waterline as your new boat.
  That IS apples to oranges
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on Mar-08-14 10:08 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-08-14 10:16 AM EST --

I think almost anyone would already expect a Prospector-style canoe to be harder to control in wind than a go-straight cruiser. You can't expect boats of completely different design to behave the same. I'd have no doubt that the differences in hull shape have everything to do with the observed handling differences, and that hull weight matters hardly a bit (you don't actually identify the longer boat, but at 18 feet, my guess is that the design emphasis is on efficient cruising, in which case a Prospector has comparatively less directional stability right from the start).

  Hull Designs Make the Difference
  Posted by: vk1nf on Mar-08-14 1:21 PM (EST)
The Oneida 18 (I did ID it) is a long, slender, low-freeboard boat with a pronounced forefoot and stern run that gives it exceptional tracking in wind with excellent stability. Its faults, if you want to call them that, are the weight and the fact that it's anything but nimble - turns, as a sailing friend says, are majestic. It's made to eat up the miles (or kilometers, up north here) quickly and efficiently,has real good glide, and is the most 'solid-feeling' canoe I've paddled.

The Bluewater is a prospector with the usual upswept forefoot and aft run, and a rounded bottom - spins on a dime, room enough for two paddlers and a moose, and best of all, I can lift it over my grey balding head. Paddles pretty well with a good load aboard, tends to be a bit 'cranky' when lightly loaded in a wind. It's major fault is the lack of glide - you stop, it stops. Horses for courses, I guess...
  What I thought
  Posted by: kayamedic on Mar-08-14 1:40 PM (EST)
the difference in the shear makes all the difference in the wind.

Its not the weight. It's windage.
  Yup, Partly Windage...
  Posted by: vk1nf on Mar-08-14 4:11 PM (EST)
...and partly hull design - two entirely different designs for two different purposes. Assuming identical hull designs, I would expect the heavier boat to have more 'glide' - more momentum. I'd love to have the Oneida 18 in Kevlar, tho...
  Canoe I.D.
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on Mar-08-14 10:57 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-08-14 10:59 PM EST --

I couldn't tell if "Oneida" was a brand or a model name, and thus the identification appeared incomplete. If the identification is complete as you say it is, then "Oneida" must be the brand and the model in this case must be simply "18". I wasn't expecting that.

As we surmised though, based on what you say about hull design, it wasn't appropriate to attribute any of this to hull weight.

  Yup, An Oneida III (18')
  Posted by: vk1nf on Mar-09-14 8:38 PM (EST)
My apologies for the confusion.

The Oneidas were bought into Newfoundland by a local outfitter several decades ago, when he was just starting out selling a few canoes out of his basement. I`ve seen one 16' Oneida, with the decal on the side saying Oneida II - mine is an Oneida III, to give it its proper name - I'd actually forgotten that, as the decals are ripped and torn. Friends we bought it from did some pretty heavy-duty paddling in it, both fresh and salt water.
Very plain boat - standard FG layup, AL gunwales and thwarts, plastic deck caps, molded FG tractor seats which are actually very short, an oldie but goodie...
  Interesting discussion,
  Posted by: sissy103 on Mar-08-14 6:41 AM (EST)
as I have a canoe that weighs less than 30 lbs (Vermont Tupper) and am considering one even lighter
  Super light Hornbeck would be ...
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Mar-08-14 8:38 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-08-14 8:39 PM EST --

... great for inland Florida waters. You're not normally facing big open water winds there. Plus, you're double blading, which can make wind paddling less of a fight.

  Too bad its still in the thought
  Posted by: kayamedic on Mar-08-14 11:13 PM (EST)
process. Heading south Monday...empty boat space on truck..
  That Hornbeck New Tricks Blackjack 12
  Posted by: Yanoer on Mar-09-14 12:42 AM (EST)
looks pretty interesting.

It's good to see that they're making less pudgy boats now.

I wonder now maneuverable they are.
  Have they stopped making them from
  Posted by: ezwater on Mar-09-14 12:52 AM (EST)
all Kevlar?
  The Classics are still Kevlar.
  Posted by: sissy103 on Mar-09-14 1:40 PM (EST)
I had the opportunity to demo a Classic 10 which is Kevlar. Very nice little boat, but too beamy for me.

I also tried the New Tricks 12, Kevlar/Carbon, and liked it very much. It has wood trim, and as much as I have loved my adorable Vermont canoe, I will never have wood on a boat again. So I am interested in the Black Jack New Tricks 12 which is Kevlar Matrix/Carbon and no wood; the same design as the New Tricks 12. I found it to be a very maneuverable, comfortable boat. I'm pretty sure I want one.

I'm finding it a little hard to put a 50% deposit on a boat I've never paddled, though. Wondering if I will like the material, will it be noisy, etc.

KIm, maybe next year! They don't actually have the boat I'm interested in in stock right now and won't be making any until the weather warms up.
Sure would be nice if Hornbeck would get some boats down here for people to try.

A name other than "New Tricks" would be appreciated, too---sounds a little like a creative lady of the night.
  Posted by: gnatcatcher on Mar-10-14 2:03 PM (EST)
Are you coming up north this summer to try one out?
  I doubt it,
  Posted by: sissy103 on Mar-11-14 7:46 AM (EST)
as I would hate to miss a moment of our Florida summer!
  Sinful inspiration there, madame.
  Posted by: canoeswithduckheads on Mar-10-14 2:07 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-10-14 2:10 PM EST --

New Tricks
for old salty dogs,
in Beaverbrook Harbor
they wrote up in ships' logs,
how even lit'lest of dinghies
spun to and came 'bout,
in a paddle so stirring
Long John's silver fell out.

  All Kevlar is not necessarily a bad
  Posted by: ezwater on Mar-12-14 7:12 PM (EST)
layup, but CC/KK or SS/KK is better, stiffer, more able to take a shot and retain form so you can finish a trip.

Back in the 80s, SS/KK was established as the best for taking abuse and holding together. The measured advantage was clear in all ways.

CC/KK or SC/KK are rational alternatives. Saves a bit of weight, retains stiffness.

Kevlar is not an all-purpose boat cloth. But any makers who want to pretend that it is, go ahead. Replacing outer layers with S-glass adds very little weight, but considerable stiffness and resistance to frictional wear.
  Not stopped
  Posted by: kayamedic on Mar-09-14 1:42 PM (EST)
but carbon fiber has been available from Hornbeck for the last few years.

I think it was 2009 that I was literally run over by a bunch of runners wielding Black Jacks.
  Try Swimming for One in Brisk Wind
  Posted by: clydehedlund on Mar-09-14 8:12 PM (EST)
Or in light wind with a PFD on. Wear a leash!
  Hornbeck 12 New Trick...
  Posted by: Riverdave on Mar-10-14 10:54 AM (EST)
in the carbon layup has graced my modest canoe fleet for about a year now. It has been on numerous multi day Adirondack trips and is an absolute joy. Remarkable directional stability for a tiny canoe. My seat is padded up about 4 inches and I paddle with a single blade bent shaft. Crossing Raquette Lake with 25+ mph winds and 2-3 breaking whitecaps was remarkably non threatening as the canoe bobbed like a cork.(I'm a lightweight at 150 Lbs. with about 45 in gear). It's 13 lb. weight made single portaging painless. Other than being somewhat slow, it is still a 12 foot boat, Pete's new design is one worth trying.
  Thanks for that feedback.
  Posted by: Yanoer on Mar-10-14 12:46 PM (EST)
Looks like it could be a fun boat.

How's the maneuverability when edged a bit?
  Posted by: sissy103 on Mar-11-14 7:50 AM (EST)
Thanks for the feedback---you're the first person I've found who has owned or paddled one.

Is yours the medium or high profile?

Also, is the carbon hull noisy?
  Sissy and yanoer
  Posted by: riverdave on Mar-12-14 10:43 AM (EST)
Mine is the medium profile blackjack layup which for my total load is plenty and it facilitates use of the single blade. As mentioned previously, even in the rough stuff I've not taken on water. The flared configuration works wonders in spite of the relatively low freeboard.
It's tracking is excellent especially considering it's length.(weather cocking is non existent) but that comes at the price of diminished instant turning. Even healed over to the rail, which isn't much of lean,
It is slower to turn than my placid shadow at 16 ft. It is not a freestyle craft. It is not any louder than other composite boats.
  Very helpful,
  Posted by: sissy103 on Mar-12-14 5:31 PM (EST)
thank you.

I'm pretty sure one of these is in my future fleet.

  The more one heads into the bush...
  Posted by: bigspencer on Mar-13-14 12:04 AM (EST)
towards relatively easy water, often by myself, the question "are lightweight canoes too light" answered with the other question..."Too Light For What?". Walking over some of the long since cut branches and limbs I often encounter, the tough part is 1) finding the bog/pond and 2) the lug in/out while maintaining one's balance = much easier with something light, if not the most bombproof hull... Both seem to have their place.
  Not too light weight...
  Posted by: spiritboat on Mar-13-14 9:39 AM (EST)
  Posted by: sissy103 on Mar-13-14 11:06 AM (EST)
not making my wretched back worse is worth a lot!
  Here you go, Sissy...
  Posted by: spiritboat on Mar-13-14 7:28 PM (EST)
4 lbs...$299--I carry a couple around in my wallet, for those times I come across that undiscovered puddle...Fun if you're double-blading it anyway(Not really sure if they come with a hull graphic that says GATOR DO NOT BITE ME!on the bottom, though.):
  Cute! Lightweight! Affordable!
  Posted by: sissy103 on Mar-13-14 9:13 PM (EST)
But I seem to recall a leaky inflatable on the St. Johns once....
  Go for the Blackjack, Sissy
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Mar-13-14 10:44 PM (EST)
Lighter is better for just about all things.

I'd offer to transport the boat, almost for free, when I next come to Florida, which could be as early as next month.
  That is sweet of you,
  Posted by: sissy103 on Mar-14-14 8:06 AM (EST)
but that old dawg doesn't have any New Tricks in stock yet. I'm told the weather has to warm up before they can get to work....

He'll probably send me one with a hole in it for calling him an old dawg, but I heard through the grapevine that's where the name "new tricks" came from.
  Lighter, Stronger, Better
  Posted by: CEWilson on Mar-14-14 10:18 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-14-14 12:28 PM EST --

Forgetting about gear, let's assume a 150 lb paddler with a 20 lb solo boat. Total burden 170 lbs. The difference between a 20 and 40 lb boat, total burden 190 lbs is 20 lbs, is about 10%, not a significant number to explain the horror stories above.

Conformation bias, "what seemed to happen to me will happen to you." is a frustrating part of humanity. Yeah, you'll need to tie lighter boats to a tree so they don't move in the wind, but they load on cars more easily, accelerate more quickly and portage with less pain. You still need to fit hull to burden, remembering the paddler is usually the most significant number in the calculation unless chosen to ferry ice, blender and generator to a Margarita party.

Two layer sidewall boats like GREs, Hornbecks, Northstars, Savages and Wenonahs are lightest and most fragile. Three layer sidewalls units like Coldens, Hemlocks, Placids and Swifts, are more rugged but weigh more. Four layer sidewalls like Souris River weigh even more and withstand more abuse too. All in all, free lunches are very rare. More is usually stronger and heavier.

That said, one can cheat a little through method and design. Bagged construction, GRE, Wenonah, lowers weight compared to hand lamination. Infusion manufacturing lowers weight and strengthens construction even more, currently available from Colden, Northstar, Nova Craft, Savage and Swift.

Foam cores reduce weight in tandems; don't seem to make much difference in solo hulls. Composite, integral, rail systems are the final silver bullet, saving another 20% in weight, currently available from Colden, Placid and Swift.

Hull performance on the water is another discussion that focuses on design perimeters not construction, and surely includes response to the action describes by the word "heel" a nautical term for paddler induced, momentary hull roll, not "edged" which is most often used by dessert chefs to describe something done to cakes with icing in a pastry bag.

So it goes.

  Hornbecks allow for this
  Posted by: martin on May-23-14 2:50 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-23-14 2:59 PM EST --

As an owner of a BJ New Trick 12 at 12ish pounds, I ignore the posts about speed and efficiency comparisons between the pack boat brands when 12 pound and 30 pound boats are all lumped together. The Hornbeck light weights offer an opportunity to explore backcountry waters not otherwise practical. Once there, I personally do not care how fast I go. This is a niche interest so it seems silly to compare them to faster and more rugged designs that simply cannot be easily carried into the woods. I paddled a remote Adirondack pond yesterday 3/4 mile in and watched three bear cubs on shore. That experience would not have ocurred had I owned a 20-30 pound faster pack boat since I never would have carried one in. I am fine with a more fragile and slower design than other regional boats if I get to experience places not possible otherwise. Likewise, I would choose my kayak over a Hornbeck if I were paddling 18 miles on a whitecapped Adirondack larger lake. Personal objectives determine the boat.

  Not for this paddler
  Posted by: Jackl on May-23-14 3:55 PM (EST)
We have two Kevlar Wenonah, Jensen 17's and among all our canoes they are our favorites. They weigh 39 pounds.
We constantly use them in windy conditions.
Three years ago in the Adirondack 90 miler, on Long Lake, we had horrendous winds, and had a war canoe that was beside us blow over.
Maybe it's the paddler(s) and not the canoe !

Jack L
  reminds me of my favorite saying:
  Posted by: slushpaddler on May-23-14 4:37 PM (EST)
"Has anyone seen the invisible tape?"
  Have you seen my lost button hole?
  Posted by: Yanoer on May-23-14 11:53 PM (EST)
  Unless an UL is packed a little with
  Posted by: bigspencer on May-26-14 10:22 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-26-14 10:23 PM EST --

stuff...completely agree. If a Wenonah is in the cards for a purchase, my #1 layup will be Flexcore...and with some gear to add weight.

  light boats
  Posted by: HerbG on May-30-14 5:58 PM (EST)
For those of us well past our prime, almost nothing is as important as a lack of weight. Perhaps not on the water; but always getting to it. I bought a "light" Eddyline Equinox kayak the summer before I turned 70.
For the next six years, I noticed it gaining weight each time I hefted it off and onto the roof of my car. It even gained weight over the course of a two or three hour paddle. Then last year, I replaced my beloved kayak with a 21 pound pack canoe from Placid Boat Works and a 23 ounce Werner paddle. With that into/out of struggle removed, I've already spent as much time on the quiet waters around here (west of Boston) than I did most of last summer. But I wouldn't use it in open salt water.
  RapidFire does just fine on open
  Posted by: kayamedic on May-30-14 6:08 PM (EST)
water ..salt included. I use mine all the time on the Gulfs of Maine and Mexico and Lake Superior.

The real issue with too light a boat is yes they tend to want to escape unless tied on land to something quite secure.
  Just got back from doing two five mile
  Posted by: jackL on Jun-01-14 6:59 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-02-14 5:38 AM EST --

runs down the New River in NC in my new light weight solo Wenonah Wilderness, and you can have your heavy weights.
I'll take this little gem any day.
I wasn't sure what it would be like in a few of the rapids, but I can twist and turn it like a top, and I felt as secure in it as I do in any large canoe.
As I was coming through one twisting wave train, there was a heavy weight tandem off to the side where two guys had just swam.
It seemed like the boat read my mind and went where I wanted it to go.

Jack L

  Jack, what is your size?
  Posted by: Yanoer on Jun-01-14 10:20 PM (EST)
  Been shrinking recently
  Posted by: jackL on Jun-02-14 12:43 PM (EST)
Used to be 5'-9", but now am 5'-8-1/2" and range between 153 and 162 depending on what holidays are around.

Jack L
  I thought that was about your size.
  Posted by: Yanoer on Jun-02-14 1:27 PM (EST)
I'm surprised the Wilderness doesn't feel a bit large on you.

Glad that you like it.
  Is the Wenonah Wilderness a . . .
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Jun-02-14 1:54 PM (EST)
. . . lightweight canoe for purposes of this topic?

Secondly, is JackL too light to be a canoer or canoeist?
  So, what is a light weight canoe...
  Posted by: jackL on Jun-02-14 5:34 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-02-14 5:59 PM EST --

in your estimation?
And man am I ever glad I am the weight I am at.
I wouldn't mind being four or five pounds lighter.
Back when I was a runner, I lusted for about 139.
Then as a triathelete and a century bike rider 144 was my goal
In marathon racing, naturally the lighter the load, the faster the boat will go.

Now if I were only younger !!!!!

Jack L

  I blame this whole topic on rpg51 . . .
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Jun-02-14 9:32 PM (EST)
. . . so I don't know what he meant by too light weight.

How light is your Wilderness, naked?
  Can you help me out here?
  Posted by: sissy103 on Jun-03-14 12:30 PM (EST)
I'm trying to decide between:

Hornbeck New Trick 12. It is 12 ft long, 24.5 inch beam, 15 lbs, wood trim, material is Kevlar and Carbon Fiber. $1595

Hornbeck Black Jack New Trick 12. It is 12 ft long, 24.5 inch beam, 13 lbs, no wood trim, material is matrix Kevlar/Carbon. $1895

I've paddled the former, not the latter. Same design, different material, weight and price.

Any thoughts from those familiar with ultra lightweight canoes? My main concern is the relative strength, fragility of the two materials.

Thank you.

  I have read that
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jun-03-14 12:50 PM (EST)
matrix fabrics are not as predictable as to failure as distinct layers of carbon fiber and kevlar.

I think Bell Canoes at one time experimented with unhappy results.

Hopefully Charlie Wilson would chime in. Aha here is what he posted last November

I'd go with the cheaper.
  Posted by: sissy103 on Jun-03-14 5:19 PM (EST)
for posting that link. Some of the analysis is over my head, but interesting.

If weight were less of a factor, I'd be serious about a Spitfire, but 20+ lbs compared to 13 lbs when I may be hauling it upstairs makes a difference. Really. My wretched back sucks. Trying to do as much as I can for as long as I can.

You know the places that I paddle---I'll not be banging off rocks but maybe scooching over deadfalls.

That you would choose the NT 12 rather sways me in that direction, as I value your opinion.

I was also hoping Glenn and Jack (among others) might also chime in, as they are familiar with my central Florida streams.
  Either would do for your FL
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jun-03-14 5:29 PM (EST)
loggy streams. Strength of hull may be less important than the weight of the boat where you paddle with constant car unloading and loading

You did however ask what was stronger :) . If you had to contend with rock banging the issue might be different.

The other factor is wood gunwales. I know wood gunwale maintenance drives Floridians nuts. Integrated rails on that matrix build would free you of trying to keep wood pretty.
  Sissy, my opinion
  Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Jun-03-14 7:16 PM (EST)
I don't know your height, weight or age. But if you want to go lighter than your Tupper, I'd go all the way to the lighter New Trick Blackjack if the extra money is doable.

The "matrix" fabric is a bi-weave fabric: carbon fibers going in one direction and Kevlar fibers going in the other. So, the Blackjack New Trick seems to have a layer of carbon and a layer of bi-weave, while the regular New Trick has a layer of carbon and a layer of Kevlar.

You will have to be careful with both of these light hulls, but if you are, I think either laminate is fine for your Florida waters, even the smooth logs and stumps. Paddlers use these boats all over the Adirondacks where there can be even more downed logs along with a lot more rocks than you have in Florida.

I also think the absence of wood can be easier in a hot climate, especially for people who don't want to bother with wood maintenance.

In sum, I'd go as light as possible if you are satisfied with the handling characteristics and seating comfort of the Hornbeck New Trick. The curved backrest on the Blackjack may even be more comfortable than the wooden thwart backrest on the regular New Trick.
  Thank you, Glenn,
  Posted by: sissy103 on Jun-03-14 8:05 PM (EST)
I'm an aging baby boomer, 5'3", 123.

Beginning to think it is a toss-up. The NT 12 is less money, but there is the wood to maintain and 2 extra pounds.

I will be careful with it, since I'm having to be more careful with myself these days anyway. I've never damaged my Tupper except for the usual scratches and the one time I dropped it on a tile floor and chipped the gelcoat.

Probably either choice would be a good one; Kim would take one, you would take the other, two good advisors.

Perhaps I will flip a coin and order a boat ;^)
  Posted by: wccanoe on Jun-03-14 8:26 PM (EST)


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