Help choosing design for Lake Erie

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cagreen
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:58 pm
Location: Rondeau, Ontario

Help choosing design for Lake Erie

Post by cagreen » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:13 am

Hi everyone,
I can't wait to get started on my canoe. I just hope building the canoe is easier than choosing which canoe to build! :)
Looking for:
-I'll be using it in mostly shallow waters on Lake Erie or in a sheltered bay. The lake winds can pickup fairly quickly on the lake and turn from glass like conditions to 1 foot waves quite.
-I'd like something that I can use solo but on occasion hold 2 adults and one small child.
-I'll be doing mostly day trips
-It will be used by not very experienced paddlers... and built by a not very experienced builder :)
-Due to the limited space in my garage I'd like to keep it under 16'

As for aesthetics, I really like the traditional looks of the Champlain 16, but I'm not sure how it will handle when the winds kick up. On the other hand, I'm not too fond of the Freedom's lines.

Here's what I've been thinking:
Canadien 16
Champlain 16
Cottage Cruiser 15/6
Huron Cruiser 15/9

Thoughts? Any other suggestions?
Can't wait to get started!!

-cg

Rick
Posts: 727
Joined: Thu May 27, 2004 9:23 am
Location: Bancroft, Ontario

Post by Rick » Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:31 am

The Huron looks good in cedarstrip and is a fast, lower-volume tandem... with two big guys paddling it, it's a little cramped and not as comfortable as a larger Prospector, but the greater speed makes up for it. Probably be perfect for more normal-sized paddlers and great as a solo whatever the size, since it can be paddled kneeling and leaned over with comfort.

Paddled sitting and empty, it might be a little unstable for some going solo. With gear and going tandem, it's got more stability. Kneeling is my most comfortable way of paddling solo, and I can say that when I sit back to stretch out after an hour, it does feel a little tender at times, especially if there's fatigue and attention wanders. There is good secondary stability in the design, and it firms up nicely leaned over, so I've never swamped it unintentionally.

Sooo... if greater initial stability is needed for comfort, especially if sitting will be the norm going solo, this might not be the one, and canoes with a higher stability number would be more suitable... maybe in that case the Cottage Cruiser.

I've paddled the Huron in wind and waves like you're probably going to have at times on Erie and it's great... the rounded bottom is more stable, absorbs wave energy nicely with less tossing and pitching around, compared to canoes with flatter bottoms. The increased center depth and higher speed hull also make it easier to paddle in those conditions.

cagreen
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:58 pm
Location: Rondeau, Ontario

Post by cagreen » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:17 pm

Thanks for the info Rick, your insight is much appreciated.
I'm starting to lean towards the Cottage Cruiser. I don't think the Canadien, Champlain or Huron have the stability I am looking for. I guess I'll have to build those later
:twisted evil . However, I am now also considering the Prospector. I know it will provide more stability than the CC, but can anyone comment on the merits of either of these with respect to the criteria in my first post? (oh, and if it matters, I'm about 150 lbs)

Thanks again,
-Craig

Rick
Posts: 727
Joined: Thu May 27, 2004 9:23 am
Location: Bancroft, Ontario

Post by Rick » Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:10 am

Craig,

I'm surprised nobody has commented on the Prospector since it's so popular. While I haven't built the Bear Mountain version, I've used Trailhead's Prospector which is said to be similar to the original.

IMO, you won't go far wrong with a Prospector, it's one of the most versatile canoes available... also has great traditional lines which look very good in cedarstrip.

It's a higher-volume, rockered tripping canoe, a design originally intended for carrying heavy loads for trappers and prospectors... hence the name. Because of the large amount of volume, it will float higher in the water and be blown around by winds more easily when going solo and empty... maybe something to consider on Erie. The rocker makes it turn easily on small streams but also slows it down on lakes.

A Prospector will be able to handle two adults and a child, while the more compact designs will not be as comfortable. It will be more stable than the narrower hulls, and also paddles very well going solo when kneeling and leaned over.

This is where trade-offs in canoe design appear in the choices that need to be made... a Prospector is more like a general-purpose truck, able to carry large loads when needed, and still do OK solo, while the narrower, lower volume canoes are more like sports cars and are less versatile.

If I were to only build one canoe, It could be a Prospector or some other versatile design, for the above reasons. The Huron doesn't have the volume or capacity for heavy trips going tandem, but performs more efficiently going solo and tandem on light trips, also better in wind and waves.

Maybe you could rent a Prospector for a day to see if it really is what you want, it's popular and lots of rental places have them. The Bear Mountain Prospector might be slightly different because various firms have modified the design. There are many Prospector owners out there that are happy with the general-purpose versatility and won't paddle anything else... hope this helps.

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