Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Buying My First Canoe

I love Algonquin, but it doesn't take long for the cost of having to rent a canoe for every trip to start adding up and that limits the number of times I can go. Sucks to say it like that, but like many things in all comes down to money.

That's why I'm so excited that in just a few months I will purchasing my first canoe. I have been saving for it for a while and have saved enough to have my pick of the used canoes available at the Portages Store, located on Canoe Lake in Algonquin. I posted a while ago about my intention to buy one from them, but they hadn't posted what canoes would be available. Well yesterday they posted all the canoes available for 2008 and I am pleased to tell you that I have decided what canoe will be a part of our adventures for years to come.

16 ft Langford Ultra-light Kevlar Prospector, white gel-coat kevlar/epoxy, weight 42 lbs, length 16ft. 6 inches, width 35 inches, capacity 825 lbs. $850 - $1050

I plan to spend around $950 for one that is less bumped and scratched and have been told that they will move on the price a bit if you pay in cash.... something I planned to do anyway.

I am not sure if canoes are given names the way boats are, but I want "her" to have a name anyway and have promised Lauren that she could pick it. Her first thought was "Butterfly" and although I don't hate it, bu I can just imagine the smirks and finger pointing Gerry and I would get cruising along in old "Butterfly", so I asked her if she could come up with some other options.
The canoe is an Ultralight Kevlar and is a symmetrical design. I haven't paddle this canoe myself, but I have been told by those that have that it is remarkably stable, tracks well and is the perfect tripping canoe. For me it will be perfect for my trips with Gerry or Lauren , but just as good when going solo.

Mark has a similar canoe and offered this advice for going solo in a tandem canoe...

"Paddling my Novcraft prospector solo, I sit in the bow seat facing the stern seat. Some would describe this as paddling backwards. Since the bow seat is placed closer to the centre of the canoe(than the stern seat), your weight is better balanced with respects to the load placed in the canoe, adding your gear in between the stern seat and thwart/yoke should give you excellent balance. Experiment till you find the sweet spot with respects to proper weight distribution."


"The Langford 16.6 Prospector is the ultimate symmetrical canoe. The performance of this modernized traditional design is the envy of all. This canoe is the choice to make when one has to paddle with dogs, children and heavy gear aboard. The efficiency, exceptional maneuverability, and tracking provided by an industry leading 7th Generation Hydro-dynamically Sound Hull is simply unsurpassed. The safety and responsiveness afforded by this model is unrivaled due to the specific curvatures and shapes found in her hull. There is a literal list of unique qualities that separate this Langford from other "prospectors". The modified shallow arch design, depth, volume, moderate to high rocker, which is coupled with extreme sweep in the gunwale and a very pronounced spray rail all contribute to the Langford Prospector 16.6 being the most trust worthy vessel to deliver the paddler through the roughest of conditions. Solo, Tandem, or Loaded, there is not a dryer hull on the market."

Having my own canoe means I will be able to go to the park more often and not be limited by having to go to access points that have an outfitter at or near them. I am so excited and can't wait to go exploring....with "butterfly".

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Jim ....

I think you will be VERY happy with your new baby (although I'm not sure about "Butterfly.")

I too just bought my first canoe this past fall from Langford, but chose the 15" Prospector Ultra Lite. I was originally going for the 16 as I have two boys (7 &9) but decided that the Prospector was going to be for me, and I found the shorter length to work best for me as I’m a bit of a novice. Last fall on my way back from a 3 night stay at Canisbay (my 4th trip in 6 weeks) I decided it was time to stop in at Langford and try a few out. They were really helpful, and gave me all the time in the world to test out their boats. After three hours and 4 different models tested both solo and with my kids, the decision was made. My family has a Swift and Langford canoe at the family cottage that I have been using for years, so my choice of a Langford came easy. The hardest choice was the colour, which took three people and another 2 visits to Dwight to finally make my selection; “the red one.”

I get my baby the first week in April, and needles to say am planning my first spring visit to Algonquin shortly there after. The Langford guys teased me a bit by telling me that at the Spring Cottage Show in Toronto they will likely be using my canoe at their booth, so I might have to go just to see my baby before then. In the end I got a great price and they gave me free paddles, foam padding for the kids and hood blocks and straps for the car as well as fall pricing for this years canoes, that they say is being custom ordered and built for me in Quebec (I’ve never had anything custom ordered before so I’ve gotten a kick out of that). Now all I need is this snow to be gone!

On another note, I’m planning my first solo Trip this spring, and came across your Rock Lake-Pen Lake solo log. I was thinking of this route for my trip, as I scouted it out last year. If it wasn’t for the tornado, would you have continued to Night Lake-Echo Bay-Rock? Or did you have another route in mind?

Again, enjoy your baby; and know that I too wondered if canoes got named like other boats.