Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

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mtpocket
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Location: Indiana

Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by mtpocket » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:02 pm

Very nice Randy. Beautiful work, as usual. I'd be scared of putting a ding on it by carrying it down all those steps.

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Patricks Dad
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Patricks Dad » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:06 pm

well, I did put a ding in the stern deck on my way down the stairs. I'll get over it.
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618
Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

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Patricks Dad
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Patricks Dad » Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:17 pm

I got my Freedom Solo out on the water today. It was kind of cloudy and cold but anything over 45F is awesome these days. Migrating loons were out calling (we only see them here in WI when they go through in the Spring). I saw an immature bald eagle take a crack at one! A great day to be out on the lake (all alone).

The canoe first struck me as really tippy. But after paddling for awhile, it didn't seem so bad. I only paddled for about 30 minutes before I had to head back. The lake is still mostly iced over but there was enough open water for a short paddle.

Here's a few pictures:

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I paddled it with both a bent shaft paddle and a kayak paddle. It's of course eaiser to keep moving straight with the kayak paddle but J-stroking it seemed to work OK too. I didn't load it down with anything other than my own fat butt but would like to see how it handles with some more weight (next time).

The Backrest: I was afraid that the backrest would be too high (ref Uni-wale? thread). It wasn't. I don't think I'll lower it at all. I was also a bit concerned that my elbows would hit the outrigger tubes while paddling but that wasn't a problem at all either.

I did notice that as I paddled, I was glad that I had rounded over the shoulder chine with a 3/8" strip to soften the sharp point in the design. My concern about it being a "point" for taking dings and scuffing knuckles was well placed. I noticed that my hand frequently grazed that chine when I paddled.

So far I'm happy with it. I'm looking forward to a solo trip in the US BWCA this June!

Thanks for all the support and advice I received from this forum during the build. It's much appreciated.
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618
Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

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Glen Smith
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Glen Smith » Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:56 pm

It looks super Randy! Keep us posted on future outings regarding handling.

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mtpocket
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by mtpocket » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:29 pm

Sweet! I'm glad it wasn't tippy out in the middle of that icy water. I've been getting the bug to get out on the water. You beat me to it. We don't have any ice though.

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Bryan Hansel
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Bryan Hansel » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:30 pm

I'm just a little curious about the tippy feeling. Is that in relation to other solo canoes?

Rick
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Rick » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:17 am

Beautiful combination of wood tones, Randy. My solution to the tippy feeling would be to paddle kneeling Canadian style and callus up those knee caps. Sitting only, maybe a lower seat.

The back rest might be adding to the tippy feel if it is preventing hip rotation from damping out any rolling action on the water... just a thought.

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Patricks Dad
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Patricks Dad » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:50 am

Bryan, I'm pretty new to solo canoeing so can't comment on this boat vs other solo canoes (sorry). All of my prior solo experience has been in a kayak where you're much lower to the water.

Rick, your comment about the back rest is very good. I did notice this past weekend that it might be contributing to the feeling.

But overall, the more I paddle it, the less concerned I feel about it. My initial impression was from the first time in that craft as well as the first time on the water all season. I still need to get some more hours in it to get ready for a trip this summer.
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618
Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

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Patricks Dad
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Patricks Dad » Sun May 08, 2011 1:44 pm

I got this boat back out on the water this weekend. This time with come cargo.

I put a #3 Duluth pack in it loaded with 3 boxes of ceramic tiles. It weighed 69 pounds (31Kg). I paddled 3 or 4 miles in some decent winds but no big waves. She handled much better than empty. I think she was a bit bow-heavy as it tended to pivot a bit around the bow when blown from the side. With the bow lower in the water, it tracked better than when empty and was generally easy to control. I realized about 200 yards into the paddle that I had forgotten to move the seat back (it was set at the design point).

This morning, moved the seat back 3" and went out for another couple hours. The improvement in handling from moving the seat back 3" was quite noticable. The winds weren't as strong today but I could tell that it was more well balanced than yesterday.

Now if I can just get myself in decent physical condition, I'll be ready for that solo trip this summer!
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618
Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

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Patricks Dad
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Patricks Dad » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:09 pm

I just got back this evening from 6 days of paddling in the BWCA. It rained and/or blew out of the East for nearly 5 of those days. I spent an extra night at the same campsite due to the weather. The Freedom Solo handled great. I was carrying a pack that weighed about 45 pounds. Adding a couple liters of water and the canoe itself, my portages were just under 100 pounds. The backrest/yoke worked perfectly. I paddled most of the time with a kayak paddle but also used a bent shaft paddle at times. It's got a few scrapes but a new coat of varnish will make it look like new again. It was very rewarding to have people comment on the craft as I paddled down the lake.

I've got 2 more permits for the BWCA this summer and can't wait to go back!
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618
Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

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Glen Smith
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Glen Smith » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:23 pm

Hi Randy, glad you made it back in one piece. Did you take any pics during this trip?

Snowman
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Snowman » Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:41 am

Randy,
Great job on the canoe!

My question is actually about your paddle - is it a commercial paddle or your own custom creation?



Snowman
Snowman back East

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Patricks Dad
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Patricks Dad » Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:59 am

The paddle is a commercial paddle I've had for years. It was made by Bell Canoe Works. The carbon fiber blade is very thin. Overall, it's pretty light. I used it for part of my recent trip but paddled most of the time with a carbon fiber kayak paddle (also commercial). I found it was easier to control the boat in high winds using the kayak paddle than a single blade.

Glen, I didn't take a camera along on this trip (first time ever). But I did take my wife along (first time ever). It was her first visit to the wilderness in a canoe (she took her own 12' Native Watercraft Ultimate). She is an avid photographer and took over 2700 pictures (no wonder we didn't make very many miles...). I'll post some of her pics somewhere once she's done sorting through them (most of them are of plants in the area)...
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618
Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

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Jim Dodd
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Jim Dodd » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:09 am

Randy, that's about as good as it gets !! I've been away from the site for awhile, but you made my return a nice one !
Also love your shop !

Well done on the Freedom Solo ! How does she handle ?

Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

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Jim Dodd
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Re: Freedom Solo 15' 3" or 16' 2"

Post by Jim Dodd » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:15 am

Sorry Randy, I read back on your posts, and found my answers. Really just started looking at your building pics, when I posted
Again great build !
Thanks !
Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

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