Light, sturdy and versatile; the Eagle was designed and constructed in the image of the renowned workhorse canoes of historic northern waterways. The names are legendary: "Prospector," "Voyageur," "Explorer," - world famous as the only means of transportation for tough people in harsh environments. Built to be used where no compromise is asked nor any given in canoe design and construction. Simply, a canoe to get you there and back; wherever 'there' is. The Eagle was created to fit these criteria. Recurved sides with flared ends allow two design innovations of note: First, the gunwale width at center is reduced to 32". The immediate result is increased comfort and control while lifting and carrying. Secondly, the gunwale width at the paddling stations (in front of each seat) is kept at 24". This is a marked improvement over most canoes of this type as they tend to be several inches wider, especially at the bow seat, making paddling difficult at that position for smaller people. Stability and seaworthiness have not been compromised by these design considerations. Finally, careful control over materials and workmanship allow us to build the Eagle at very acceptable weights with no compromise in strength or durability. Your wilderness may be an Artic river, or it may be an Adirondack lake; in either case the Eagle will take you there; easily, safely and quietly.
The workmanship is excellent and the wood trim makes the boat look a treat. It is an extremely comfortable and sturdy craft as well. The generous radius on the ash gunnels feel nice when you push your knee against them or your hand brushes them with the paddle. This is in stark contrast to the harsh aluminum trim found on many lightweight canoes.
The Conk double contoured seats are excellent; extremely comfortable and properly placed. Every little detail adds up to be an amazing paddle. The hull shape is very similar to the Keewaydin and features the 'bubble' sides found on the Curtis Northstar, the current Swift Keewaydin, and the Eagle. The result is a boat with superb secondary stability and narrow paddling stations. It's no surprise both my boats have these - they make for a great hull.
The Eagle seems to have a bit of a magical quality about it though. It glides and tracks fantastically, yet turns very, very nicely. My only slight complaint is it's seaworthiness. For some reason, it seems the Keewaydin is a bit drier. We tested both back to back in some moderate waves and had more splash with the Eagle. It wasn't a major concern and a little water never hurt anyone.
Overall a fantastic tandem boat that anyone could paddle with ease.
The Eagle performs well both tandem and solo on flat water. I have no problem paddling tandem or solo in the afternoon onshore winds (8 to12 mph); Alamitos Bay is not a large body of water, therefore wind waves are not a factor. The only experience I have with moving water is with the tides. Tacking against strong wind and the tides work well for me in the Eagle.
I appreciate the positioning of the bow and stern seats. In either seat, you are close to the gunwales; I find the Eagle easier to paddle than certain canoes with wider paddling stations.
Most of my friends in Southern California have never experienced the canoe. (Most folks in this area paddle sit-on-top or ocean kayaks.) All have felt at ease and comfortable in the bow seat. Any fear they may have had is quickly dispelled after a few minutes of paddling the Eagle. I highly recommend this canoe for novice and experienced paddlers.
P.S. I found a great video of Canadian Style paddling on youtube.com. If you Google “Canadian Style Paddling” you should be able to find it.
As a solo, she also shines. It has 36" of beam, but with tumblehome she is only 32" across the center yoke which allows me to settle into a very comfortable and stable Canadian style paddling. Dave has reduced the freeboard a bit to give her better handling in the wind, but did not sacrifice the dryness. For those familar with Curtis Canoes, the Eagle is essentially a longer version of his popular 13 1/2 ft. Ladybug, with all the performance and beautiful lines.
It also appears to be a very durable boat. We obtained ours from Hemlock, used, after it had spent two seasons in an outfitters fleet. It had been maintained after each season by Hemlock, but even considering its first two years, the boat shows no more indicators of wear and stress than some of our 8 year old boats.
We highly recommend this canoe. We realize that they may be hard to find because Dave only sells them from his shop, but it definitly worth the search.