Thoughts on a solo boat

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vin
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Thoughts on a solo boat

Post by vin » Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:57 am

I am looking to buy my first solo whitewater boat and would like some opinions from the masses. I currently paddle a Dagger Caption with a triple pedestal. It's does just fine tandem but is sluggish as a solo boat. I'm 5'5, 145 lbs., and a solid class II solo paddler looking to advance my skills, and as you can guess the Caption is way too big for me. I've paddled the Probe 12 and liked it ok, and paddled an Outrage and found the harder chine to be more to my liking. Never paddled an Esquif or a Bell - people tell me to try a Mohawk Shaman but never had the opportunity. I wish I had the chance to demo more of these boats, but I don't see that happening. I'd like to stay in the 11'-12'range, and would like something I can keep for a while and grow into. I know there's lots of opinions out there...can I have some?
-youngbo

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Mr.DeadLegs
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Post by Mr.DeadLegs » Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:23 am

Get an Ocoee. Great boat, will handle anything, and you won't outgrow it. (skillwise that is) At your size there are many options.
Esquif Zephyr, Esquif nitro, Mohawk Viper, MR outrage. But time and time again I see more Ocoees than anything else. There has to be a reason.
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Post by NateOC » Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:36 am

The Shaman is a great boat. It wouldn't be too hard for you to get adjusted to coming from a Caption, because it's not super short, and it's stable. It is also a boat that you won't outgrow skill-wise. The design is that of a slalom/downriver combined race boat, but manufactured with plastic and about a foot cut off of the ends--so it is really fast. Harder chines than the Outrage. Personally though, I would go for a Shaman most days over the Outrage. I like the hull speed of the boat, and the harder chines.

Also check out the Esquif boats. I paddle a Spark, which is awesome, but might be hard to get used to due to it's lack of secondary stability. But it is a slalom design and really fun. But definitely check out the other Esquifs, like the Nitro and Zephyr.

But most importantly, it's pretty important to try the boat out before buying it ( I know you said you don't see that happening, but it's possible that once you narrow down your choices you could find someone with that/those boats). Because no matter what other people say about boats, everyone needs to form their own opinions. A boat one person says is stable, might be quite tippy to another person etc.
Look at the esquif website: www.esquif.com
and the mohawk website: http://mohawkcanoes.com/


Nate

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Post by philcanoe » Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:39 am

What part of the country do you live? Maybe someone can put you on to a resource, club,
gathering, etc. that's in your area.

At your weight and size a 12 foot boat is still going to be pretty big. But that's not all bad.
Like NateOC said try'em out and form your own opinion. I really don't care for many of the
boats pushed by many, but that's just my opinion.

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Post by Detonator Function » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:12 pm

I stand by the Ocoee for your situation. It's a dry baot and has good edges. Perfect for your size (I'm 5'4" 150 and I liked my experience in the ocoee). Good rocker and just right length-wise for pretty much any application.
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By all means try before you buy

Post by boatbuster » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:28 pm

A lot of people love Ocoee's but they are edgy and difficult to roll. I have not paddled the Shaman but it sounds like a fun one. Outrage will feel short compared to your Caption and would still be super dry with your light weight. Probe may also be worth a try. Best of luck. :wink:

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Post by tom m » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:55 pm

I agree that the Shaman is a great boat, fast and fun. In Royalex it is heavy, though, which is a disadvantage sometimes on the river and it can wear you out over the course of a day, especially if you're carrying back to the top of a run. I paddled a Zephyr last year, and really liked it -- very light and durable and forgiving. It's a boat that will grow with you -- in other words, it's a good intermediate boat, but you won't get bored with it as you improve.

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Post by yarnellboat » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:35 am

Along the lines of an Ocoee or Vipper 11, at your weight you could consider an Evergreen Solito. But try the edges before you buy.

Lots of the traditional boats like Probes or an Outrage are probably more volume than you need.

A Zephyr would at least be lighter.

The kind of boats you see around will probably depend on where you live.

PY.

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Post by Paddle Power » Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:09 am

Demo what you can, the more the better.

What can you pick up locally? That's a good place to start. Once you get lots of canoes, then you will be looking for something very specific, and may have to consider shipping, etc.
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Mr.DeadLegs
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Post by Mr.DeadLegs » Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:52 am

I have found that the Ocoee is the easiest boat to roll. That and the Whitesells roll beautifully. I am just tooooooooo Fatttttttt to paddle an Ocoee. Big Boat Fun.
"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways totally worn out, shouting "Holy large steaming pile of dog doo what a Ride" " Nolan Whitesell

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Post by milkman » Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:53 am

"I've paddled the Probe 12 and liked it ok, and paddled an Outrage and found the harder chine to be more to my liking. "
Are you sure it was an Outrage you paddled? That's not known as a boat with much of a chine. Could it have been an Ocoee?

The thing is, like many others have implied here, you should use your lack of size to your advantage. You can paddle a small, more nimble canoe and take advantage of smaller eddies. There will be a learning curve though for any boat that does have a sharp chine: Ocoee, Solito, Zoom (don't get a Zoom yet!).

Another consideration is acceleration. Bigger dudes have more strength in general and can make the slower boats move. I would not recommend for you any of the following: Ovation, Detonator, or Nitro. These are slow boats.

You should mention where you live and perhaps one or more people on this list with multiple craft can let you try a few boats.

If I had to recommend one boat for you, considering your size and experience, it would be a Dagger Phantom. But good luck finding one. The Solito might be a good second choice, but the chine on that boat is really sharp and it might take some getting used to. A Phantom is more forgiving. The Outrage is not a bad boat for you. It's big, but accelerates well. You might also look at a Bell Prodigy or the new Esquif Paradigm and the Zephyr. I can't speak for any of the Mohawk boats ... though I've always wanted to try a Rodeo.

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Post by Detonator Function » Fri Mar 09, 2007 3:23 am

A good advantage of the Mohawk Rodeo is that it's lightweight... However, a Zephyr would be an excellent boat as well - well worth the $1600 price tag in the end; it's extremely hard to damage the Twin-Tex material (they let you hit a piece with a sledge hammer and it WON'T break).

The interesting thing about the Ocoee and the Outrage is that they both that have pretty much the same rocker (5.5"). However, the Outrage is 10" longer than the Ocoee, and the Ocoee has sharper edges, giving it excellent carving/turning. I think either boat is an easily acquired taste.

The only thing I can advise you to do is NOT get a boat over 12', and don't go with anything under 9-10'. You probably want a medium-edged boat. If you think you'd like an Ocoee but there are only Outrages around, it's probably not worth a large battle to get an Ocoee shipped or whatever - the Outrage will work for you.
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Post by Detonator Function » Fri Mar 09, 2007 3:25 am

BTW, the Detonator rolls like a greased-up alligator in a death roll. (I hope that imagery doesn't give anyone nightmares).
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Post by vin » Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:26 am

Thank you one and all for the advice. I will tell you that I live in central NJ and paddle with a club. These folks are mostly cruisers, however, there is a small group that enjoys whitewater. So I've paddled an ME, a Probe 12, and an Outrage. This is what I've been able to demo so far. The few places around that sell boats will only let you demo them on the local pond. Kind of like test driving a Porsche in a driveway. I'm still not sure on 11' vs 12' for a guy my size (5'5"). Some of the advice I get is more stability in a bigger boat. I know when I paddle my Caption I feel almost invincible because of the size. So what's a guy to do? And all you Ocoee fans out there... Are you talking Dagger or Bell, or are they pretty much the same?
-youngbo

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Post by milkman » Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:49 am

People who have paddled the Dagger Ocoee tell me that the Bell Ocoee is different. It's a little edgier because it's narrower. It's also got a lighter layup. Myself, I like it (the Bell Ocoee) ... except for that lighter layup. I think it handles great.

As for the big boat, little boat thing. It's true that you can bomb your way through a lot of things in a bigger boat, but with a smaller boat you have a nimbler craft and can use finesse for the same effect. Plus, it's a lot easier to move and maneuver a smaller boat than an aircraft carrier. I'm 5"11, 165 pounds and usually paddle a Phantom, a 9'9" canoe or a Solito, which is just under 10'.

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