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Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:14 pm
by wildwaterc2
So, I purchased a Hornet (made by Millbrook - in near new condition) and a Magnet (made by Valley Mill Boats - well used but a lot of life left) this past weekend, funnily enough each from around Chapel Hill NC. I'd been looking at each hull for a while. First, I like faster boats - I have years paddling a wildwater C1 or C2 down all sorts of rivers, and I like speed. As my brother said, I had a long monogamous relationship with my Gyramax as a cruising C1 for years (mid 80s until maybe 2010), which is fairly fast. I have 2 "modern" hulls converted to C1 - a Nirvana L and a Mullet. The Nirvana is borderline fast enough for my tastes, and the Mullet is a little slow for my liking but fun to mess around in. For reference, I'm 49 and about 180 lbs and use a 6-7" saddle depending on the hull shape.

I am having a blast playing around with these hulls. If you end up near where I am and would like to try one feel free to contact me and take them out.

So, first impressions after taking each out on a familiar I-II stretch of the Roanoke River near me. Outfitting in each needs some adjustment to be how I like it, but is viable for now.

Here are some pictures so you can see them side-by-side. The Magnet is the yellow one. ... 7ya1a?dl=0

- blazingly fast - just as fast as my Fanatic on flatwater - I did back to back comparisons - the fastest cruising C1 I've ever paddled
- no edges - forgiving on a surf wave but also not able to steer much by leaning the boat
- turns pretty well, and extremely well for an 11' long boat - not as fast as my Nirvana but not far behind
- stability - firms up well, loose on center due to rounded hull
- comfort - the rounded hull means that for a given saddle height, your knees are a bit compressed since they are higher up on the hull edge, but if you tuck your toes against the saddle like I do your feet are quite low - need to sort out better after some outfitting adjustments

- overall feels like a more modern version of the Gyramax - a very familiar, comfortable and forgiving hull - I was side surfing and doing 360s casually comfortably
- defined side edges for a cruising hull - carves into eddies nicely and responds well to leans when surfing
- speed is modest - need to benchmark more but notably slower than Hornet - feels like the bow plows some
- stable - feels very stable - maybe even moreso than a Gyramax
- turns - less rocker and the ends grab more -I think the rounded hull shape towards the ends results in catching a bit of water trying to spin the boat and it seems no more maneuverable than the longer Gyramax - it seems like if the bow was more flattened off it might do a bit better
- wide - the boat is widest at the middle and the seam line is fairly high, so it feels wide
- comfort - very good for your knees with fairly flat bottom where your knees

I am enjoying each of them and will post more as I get more experience in each.

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:43 pm
by Sir Adam
Great review - thank you for taking the time to share!

Now I'm even more curious to hear what you'd think of an Amoeba;)

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:19 pm
by wildwaterc2
Adam, just loan me your Amoeba for a while and I'd be glad to do a comparison. :-)

I paddled the Hornet again last night - the speed is a bit intoxicating. I easily made a power move onto a wave using only cross forward strokes, where normally I have to switch hands to let me power onto that wave using onside strokes. Not in the Hornet - a couple of offside strokes and surf away.

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:31 pm
by vann evans
Russell-so glad you are liking the Hornet. After talking with you, I felt like you would enjoy the speed factor.Tell everyone that we still have another one in the same condition for sale
paddle safe
Vann Evans

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:00 pm
by Bob P
"Adam, just loan me your Amoeba for a while and I'd be glad to do a comparison."
My latest race boat design is similar to the Amoeba (based on the same Estanguet race boat) except with lower stern volume and dimensioned legal for slalom. It's currently stored in Bryson City. I'll be going down there in a couple of weeks if you want to try it out.

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:18 pm
by wildwaterc2
Bob P, that is a kind offer and I would like to test paddle it sometime. I really like testing out different hulls.

I don't see myself getting down to NOC anytime soon unfortunately - I am constrained on travel for paddling with middle and high school age kids each in sports, which is why I so often paddle this little Class I-II stretch of whitewater a few miles from my house - I can fit it in narrow time slots.

Looks like you are in the Northeast. I don't know if you drive down and back or not, but I'm right the interstate between the Northeast and the southern appalachians (I-81) should you ever be passing by.

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:22 pm
by Bob P
I live in CT and take 81 when I go back and forth to Bryson City. Next time I'm traveling back from B.C., I'll give you a heads-up. I can bring the boat with me.

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:04 pm
by wildwaterc2
That would be awesome. Thanks.

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:58 pm
by vann evans
Just for the record, Bob P is the designer of the Hornet. I met him once several years ago in the Ingles parking lot in Bryson City. I started talking to him because he had several unusual cboats on his racks. I told him that we had 2 Hornets and thanked him for the design. we had a great discussion about boats.

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:32 pm
by johnd
Does anyone know what kind of paddler weight the Magnet can handle, or possibly its dimensions. I have an eye out for another boat, and I might keep an eye for a Magnet if it can float me. Thanks.

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:31 pm
by Sir Adam
Here is a little information: ... ame=Magnet

I'd forgotten I need to measure the Magnet; I have one out of the "new" mold (Class V composites has a mold now...).

Plenty of volume (more than the Hornet). The Hornet is faster though, as has been noted already:)

Re: Hornet and Magnet comparisons

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:44 am
by wildwaterc2
I think the Magnet would hold weight equal to or better than a Gyramax. It is a pretty big boat for glass.