Width (in)
Weight (lb)

RapidFire Options

  • XLT Ultra

    22 lb
    Carbon Composite
  • Cobra XLT

    26 lb
    Carbon Composite

    RapidFire Description

    RapidFire is a pack canoe with stunning speed in a portable, 27-30 pound package. A new fast and fun Adirondack classic.

    RapidFire is David Yost’s transformation of the Adirondack pack canoe into a wicked fast tripper that runs with sea kayaks. Asymmetrical hull shape, shear and rocker, and shouldered tumblehome with an elliptical bottom make RapidFire one of the more sophisticated hulls afloat. The shouldered tumblehome allows more efficient, more vertical, double paddle strokes. That, combined with the wildly efficient (beyond racing spec) 7.5 Length to Width ratio, RapidFire flies like a scram-jet and tracks like a train.

    RapidFire is available in expedition laminate with kneeling cane seat for smaller paddlers desiring a hot solo, single blade paddle, tripping canoe with unmatched forward efficiency.

    RapidFire Specs and Features

    • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
    • Seating Configuration: Solo
    • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
    • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
    • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
    • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

    Learn More

    Placid Boatworks
    RapidFire Reviews

    Read reviews for the RapidFire by Placid Boatworks as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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    I was excited to acquire a 2…

    Submitted by: Out_of_Line on 11/16/2020
    I was excited to acquire a 2 year-old Rapidfire within 12 miles of home, after reading and hearing so many great things about them. The boat was in as-new condition and the workmanship and finish was among the best I’ve ever seen. I prefer to single-blade pack canoes and with the medium seat the Rapidfire was a good fit. The effort required to propel the craft was minimal, and primary and secondary stability was exceptional. My issues surrounding the boat were as follows: (a) when you stop paddling the boat (single or double blade) she would invariably veer off to one side or the other, with no perceivable wind or current. This was very annoying when approaching a good photo opportunity. Many boats are guilty of this, but the Rapidfire seemed to have a greater propensity. (b) As I prefer to paddle with a single blade, my hand tends to run along the gunnel with each stroke. The Placid carbonsox gunnels have a very rough texture (much more so than Swift’s) which would irritate my hand in short order. (c) There was a crease or ridge visible on the bottom of the hull where the seat had been bonded to the floor (similar to the deflection visible when float tanks are epoxied in place, only much more pronounced). Either the radius of the seat bottom did not match the hull or the flange on the seat base was not wide enough; in either case it was not indicative of the high quality workmanship on the rest of the boat. As such the boat was passed on to another owner after three months. However, it is still a great boat; a review should offer a perspective to new buyers that a short test paddle may not reveal and that is all this review is intended to provide.

    After paddling a Mad River…

    Submitted by: ratamacue on 7/30/2020

    After paddling a Mad River Malecite with a third [middle] seat solo for some time, I decided to buy a dedicated solo canoe. After researching the field, I ordered my PBW_Rapidfire late autumn/early winter 2012. Due to a very serious illness, I was forced to delay taking possession until sometime in the summer of 2013.

    Strangely enough, the boat gave me something to look forward to and has subsequently been a fundamental part of my life since it arrived [Joe Moore was incredibly gracious about my need to delay accepting the canoe]. I have traveled rather extensively with it and paddlers often remark on how great it looks --- It IS a thing of beauty: reptilian green [my term!] with no maintenance, carbon fiber gunnels with a nice 'checkerboaard' pattern... ...all of which is fine. >>>HOWEVER<<< Of far greater significance is the seaworthiness, responsiveness and agility of the canoe - absolutely out of this world! The creator of the boat, places a pedestal seat [with clever height options] resulting in a really stable paddling sensation. There is no doubt in my mind that, on more than one occasion, upon finding myself in some rather awkward situation the Rapidfire was THE difference between avoiding a bad outcome and experiencing a learning opportunity. I trust the boat a great deal.

    Some time after my illness, a family reunion took me to New York state, not far from the operation -- I stopped in with a few questions and he could not have been more gracious about answering questions, giving me a tour of his shop and even demonstrating the touching up of a ding. After seven years of regular use, I am so happy I bought the Rapidfire from him -- I simply cannot imagine another canoe I would prefer.


    Excellent solo canoe. It…

    Submitted by: paddler835653 on 7/26/2020
    Excellent solo canoe. It handles everything well from the Adirondack Canoe Classic to a week long canoe camping trip. Portages are a breeze. And speaking of breezes it handles wind and rough water extremely well. Takes me many places and always with a smile.

    High quality canoe that is a…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/7/2020
    High quality canoe that is a dream to paddle for a short trip and a week long back country adventure. Tracks wonderfully and yet has great maneuverability. Very efficient and fast boat.

    I've been extremely happy…

    Submitted by: Johnny2Bagels on 5/4/2020
    I've been extremely happy with my Rapidfire. I find I'm paddling faster, and with less effort, than my old, royalex boat. I find it tracks well, and provides good stability for such a light, fast boat. And carrying it is a dream. There are other good lightweight packboats out there, but I found PBW's the best. Especially the seat design!

    I’ve been canoeing my entire…

    Submitted by: paddler770295 on 5/3/2020
    I’ve been canoeing my entire life, and purchasing a placid boat works was the best decision I’ve ever made. The versatility, light weight, and design is far superior than the rival canoes of which I also own. My rapid fire is my #1 choice in my canoe cache. On top of all this; I receive endless compliments from the custom paint job done by the owner of Placid Boatworks himself!

    I have used many plastic…

    Submitted by: CDeVries on 4/2/2020
    I have used many plastic boats canoes etc. The Rapid Fire is a revelation, incredibly light, fast, and possessing ample cargo capacity. Because the boat is so light I use it more often, as compared to a plastic boat, and it is great on a portage. I paddle almost every day and I appreciate the stability and speed of the Rapid Fire.

    Long time flatwater kayaker,…

    Submitted by: paddler237113 on 9/4/2019

    Long time flatwater kayaker, I've owned 20+ sea and touring kayaks. Knee and back issues have left me struggling with getting in and out of a standard kayak cockpit, as well as being unable to move my legs much while seated. While I was vaguely aware of the pack/solo canoes, in all honesty I had largely dismissed them as I thought they would be slow and track poorly. Boy, was I wrong! The Rapidfire is just a joy to paddle! Fast, very stable, comfortable, easy to get in and out of, tracks great, and handles flat calm and wind and waves with equal ability. I usually paddle with a double-bladed paddle, and the Rapidfire responds quite well. Quick acceleration, very nimble, and I even enjoy taking her out on rougher days and surfing on the waves. Super light (mine is 26lbs with the gorgeous cherry wood gunwales) and has a 450lb load capacity which is more than I'd ever need. (and I'm a big guy t 6'3", 265lbs) I love the seat and backband combination, as well, very comfortable. Stretching out and changing leg/knee positions is fantastic--something I literally can't do in a closed deck kayak. It's true that it does not track as well as my favorite 17-18' touring kayaks, but, it is FAR more nimble and easy to turn, and it's tracks 90% as well as my longer kayaks--which can sometimes be a chore to turn in tight quarters or high winds--unlike the Rapidfire. I also owned a Wenonah Prism solo canoe, but found that I really like sitting in the bottom of the boat instead of higher up on a tractor seat and rails like the Prism. I also found the Prism to more squirrely in wind and waves, and really need to be trimmed more often by sliding the seat back or forward, and/or adding a couple gallons of water in the bow or stern. When I load the Rapidfire I usually put most of my gear right behind me, and I do carry an empty one gallon jug in case in need the extra weight up in the bow to trim her out, but I rarely need that.

    All in all a GREAT boat that I really enjoy paddling, and at the end of the day I get I big smile on my face when I pick her up on load her onto the car racks when she's so light and easy to manage. :)


    My first time in a RapidFire…

    Submitted by: paddler518524 on 6/19/2019

    My first time in a RapidFire canoe was at a town fair. They were having canoe races and many people either brought their own or borrowed from someone else. I ended up borrowing a canoe from an Uncle. I got second place in the race and the canoe I used was very comfortable and moved smoothly in the water. After the race I asked what type of canoe it was and it was a RapidFire. This canoe was great for a fun recreational race.


    I picked up my Rapidfire at…

    Submitted by: SteveMcD on 5/9/2016
    I picked up my Rapidfire at Placid Boatworks about 2 weeks ago, just before they had more snow a few days later. I have about 7 hours in the Rapidfire so far, and it is fantastic.

    When you visit Placid Boatworks, Joe makes you feel like family. I was able to see one of the boats being made, and had a tour of the new shop. I had the opportunity to test paddle a Rapidfire to pick out the seat and paddle combination that was best for me in the adjoining pond.

    My previous boat weighed in at over 60 lbs, and wasn't so fun to put on the top of my Yukon by myself at the end of a long day of paddling. With the Rapidfire, I know I will spend more time on the water because it is just so easy to manage. That is worth a lot to me.

    I love the speed and feel of the Rapidfire. Joe was more than willing to answer a few of my questions during my visit since is my 3rd season paddling (I'm 51). My friend who grew up in the Adirondacks and is an experienced paddler absolutely loved the R apidfire when he paddled mine last week.

    I am also happy that I was able to support a small business that actually makes a superior product right here in the USA! The workmanship and design is great, and I could not be more pleased with my purchase.


    I purchased the Rapidfire in…

    Submitted by: nikkim on 4/27/2016
    I purchased the Rapidfire in 2015 from Frisky Otter tours in Inlet, NY. I wanted an alternative to my kayak that would enable us to take our dog on outings. Both Connie at Frisky Otter and Joe at Placid Boatworks were a pleasure to work with during the research and purchase process.

    The Rapidfire is light, well constructed and fun to paddle on both the small and larger bodies of water we explored in the ADKS during the first paddling season.. The glide and handling are surprisingly kayak-like while the open deck and stability accommodate the dog and lots of gear. I opted for the medium kayak seating option and use a 230 cm kayak paddle. I highly recommend the optional dog pad.

    I expect to add a deck cover for the upcoming paddling season for rainy and windy conditions. Overall I look forward to another summer in the ADKS with the Placid Rapidfire.


    I've owned my RapidFire for a…

    Submitted by: DannyGee on 9/21/2015
    I've owned my RapidFire for a month now, and everything about this boat is great! Recently on a canoe camping trip in the Adirondacks, I easily packed everything I needed to camp for three days, including 15 firewood logs, with no loss of stability and room to spare. It's so fast that I could speed from shore to shore in the fairly large lakes in seconds, and it easily outpaced my friend who was paddling another brand of solo canoe (I'd stop to fish while he was paddling hard, then race up and pass him with ease). This boat does not require a lot of energy to power it forward - it slides through the water gracefully, with little effort. And at 26 pounds it is also super easy to lift - I can move it anywhere by myself! Many thanks to Joe at Placid Boatworks - he cares about his boats and his customers. Great boat!

    This craft is elegant and…

    Submitted by: divermike on 9/5/2015
    This craft is elegant and fast. If I buy another canoe, this will be it. I have admired the way these boats are built, and the fantastic customer service, I have to wear out my Spitfire 13 first, which the way it is going will outlast me! Oh heck, I may just get one anyway!!

    Great canoe, specs are close…

    Submitted by: Wyatt on 8/12/2015
    Great canoe, specs are close to a bell magic but its a little shorter, maybe a little wider. Tracks very well, turns pretty well, good in open water like a big lake, pretty fast. Doesn't look as good as a bell but overall a nice boat. Between this canoe and a Bell Magic I'd take the Bell but its close, I'd get the Carbon fiber composite though.

    In a word: "Fabulous". This…

    Submitted by: creeze on 7/1/2015
    In a word: "Fabulous". This lightweight canoe makes it easy to get from the garage to the water without breaking your shoulder. The best part? Once you get there, the canoe is spacious, easy to maneuver, and balanced well. A fabulous choice!

    As a teenager/young adult I…

    Submitted by: Rutts on 8/28/2014
    As a teenager/young adult I had no trouble hoisting the 71# heavy-weight, 17' aluminum canoes for a portage. Five decades later, retired and looking to get back into fitness paddling, I discovered the RapidFire solo canoe. WOW, what a kick!

    Easy to shoulder, at 25#, to launch and talk about responsive in the water! In a short time the craft almost reads your mind as to what you want to do. In rapids as well as pretty big waves on the lakes, it just eats them up! The tumblehome configuration really works. The incredible design responds easily to edging, etc. allowing terrific maneuverability.

    And it's tough! On my first paddle in rapids on the Verde river in AZ, my unplanned "river bank relocation project" left the RapidFire none-the worse for the experience. In a word, it is a GREAT solo canoe!


    I've been paddling my…

    Submitted by: tripper2_1 on 8/4/2014
    I've been paddling my Rapidfire for over 7 years now, averaging at least 2 week long trips per year and too many short trips to count. It is fast, stable, and easily holds enough gear for 7 to 10 day trips. The Kevlar/CarbonFiber construction make it a pleasure to portage (28 lbs).

    Just picked up my new…

    Submitted by: paddler235528 on 5/5/2014
    Just picked up my new RapidFire over a week ago. Have taken it out a few times already and love how well it handles. At 25 lbs it is also a dream to get to and from the water. I find the attention to detail and the overall quality of this boat to be top notch. I am in the process of planning a solo trip to Algonquin and can't wait to get out their with my RF. Dealing with Joe and all those at Placid Boatworks is a true pleasure. I will get back with a more detailed review after my solo trip.

    My opinion: simply the best…

    Submitted by: paddler235326 on 9/4/2013
    My opinion: simply the best lightweight pack boat or deckless kayak made....I spend six days a week in one on mountain lakes ponds and streams.... comfortable good into and with wind and easy to portage....worth the $...like a filson coat in wilderness performance..."so why not have the best"...its been said!

    I’ve had my RapidFire for a…

    Submitted by: Chethro on 1/2/2012
    I’ve had my RapidFire for a few years now. It came with non-tinted clear coat, cherry rails and cane seat. I must say it the best boat I have owned. It is a pleasure to paddle and it has great glide. There is no problem with tracking on windy days and it is very stable. I did change the cane seat to a web seat and added the new carbon seat pedestals made by Placid Boatworks.

    In three seasons of use, I have only had one problem. I backed up into a sharp edge on a stump and made a very tiny crack on the side of the boat in the clear gelcoat. The repair was easily fixed with the materials and instructions supplied by Joe. I use the boat primarily for long hours of fishing. Each trip is usually around 10-15 miles and I spend around 50 days a year on the water. The boat gets a lot of use and it still looks great! The bottom scratch coat surface has very few scratches and that is amazing considering I go over logs and stumps every time I go out. This spring I will probably re-coat the gunwales for the first time. I could just do a couple of small areas where I have worn the finish down, but I figure after 3 years of use why not do it all. My paddle of choice is a 47" bent Gillespie with a powersurge blade. I can get 3-4 stokes per side and just sit and switch effortlessly.

    I would definitely buy another boat from Joe. The folks at Placid Boatworks make a quality product and they are great to deal with.


    I bought a new Rapidfire in…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/20/2011
    I bought a new Rapidfire in April of 2011. I had very high expectations of this boat and it has exceeded all of them. I had a Hornbeck canoe prior to this and you can't compare them for performance. The Placid boat is far superior.

    A week after buying it I participated in the Run of the Charles. While not yet accustomed to the boat I came in 3rd in my class and 2nd in my age group and I am in average shape & weight.

    Lightweight, fast, competent in all conditions and beautiful. It may be pricey but worth every penny. I paddle regularly with long sea kayaks (and I also paddle a long sea kayak myself) and very few can outpace me. At less than 24lbs it is easy to load and transport. I love it and can't say enough good things about it.


    We got our Rapidfire in Aug.…

    Submitted by: spidennis on 10/30/2009
    We got our Rapidfire in Aug. of '09 and I used it in the Adirondack Classic 3-day "90 miler" race a month later. (#39) this was also my first "90" so I had quite a steep learning curve ahead of me. I built my own knupac portage device and finally got it fine tuned by the last day of the 90 and the whole boat and portage device worked out great. I wanted the portage device to work for both the 90 and for camping, kind of opposites really but that is what I was going to use the Rapidfire for. I've got some multi-day trips planned for next summer with the rf and feel it's going to do a great job!

    But back to the 90... and there were several Rapidfires entered, along with a couple of Spitfires. Joe Moore of Placid Boatworks was in his new tandem. there was also the "red tigershark" rf... since this was my first 90 I entered the open touring divison and took off on the first wave. On the second day I was about boat #8 to make it to the bridge and in the top 25 towards the end of the lake and that's when all the multi engined boats started catching up to me, including the war canoes. I had my gps with me which really helped keep me up to speed but it's really tough for a little'ol solo pack boat to keep up with these greyhounds. when I stopped paddling for a drink, gu, etc I came to a stop while the multi engined boats would pass me up, ug. but as long as my motor has some steam in it, the rf would do a pretty fine job of moving along, especially at the end of each day where I somehow managed to fire the afterburner miles before the finish and pass quite a few other boats, much to my astonishment! at the end of day two a k2 had just nosed me out at the line but I bet they were really working for it cause I was on full afterburners and doing over 6ish mph for quite awhile! Now if I had the motor of the red tigershark, well, things would have been a whole lot different! I was able to paddle with the tiger a bit and learned about strokes but it wasn't for long.

    All in all, I'm quite proud of what I did in the Rapidfire, I finished as the top solo boat in the open touring division but not nearly as fast as the other Rapidfires racing in their class. the rf can be a fast boat but it can also go the distance. I can't wait to take it for some serious camping next summer!


    Had an opportunity to try a…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/20/2008
    Had an opportunity to try a Rapid fire out this past week for a hour or so at our local freestyle gathering. What a rush. The Hull accelerates and will stay at top speed with ease. Fun with a single or double blade. A real speed demon. Tacks solid, heels with a firm feel at the rails when kneeling. Leaves an impressive wake. Fit and Finish was very good.
    Nice Job Yost and PBW.

    A short update after many more paddling trips. I have now paddled…

    Submitted by: string on 7/15/2008
    A short update after many more paddling trips.
    I have now paddled the Rapidfire in some 30 mph gusts; it didn't care. I could barely keep the paddle in my hands, but the boat didn't care. I have paddled it on tidal creeks and the ICW, although that day I was very glad we didn't have to paddle upwind.

    Lately , I have been using a Zaveral racing paddle more and more, but for speed and in windy conditions, the kayak paddle stays available. Because it is a narrow boat, I had the kayak paddle shortened from 240 to 230 and it works fine.

    I have a chronically bad lower back and this is the most comfortable boat I have ever owned and that includes 4 kayaks and 3 canoes. I can paddle all day in the Rapidfire with no backache at all.


    As background information,…

    Submitted by: ret603 on 1/25/2008
    As background information, Charlie Wilson is a friend of a number of years and Joe Moore is a newer friend. However, I’m not so flush that I would pay the cost of a Rapidfire just to support a friend’s business. Therefore, while acknowledging friendship with the owners, I still state this review is honest and independent.

    I picked up my Rapidfire in Nov. 06 and waited for a year of paddling experience before writing this review.
    I first saw a Rapidfire in July 06 when Charlie brought one to the Adirondack Freestyle gathering. He set it on the beach at Star Lake, turned, and walked away to chat with his long time friends in the Freestyle community. I asked him if I could paddle it and he replied, "That’s what I brought it for" and turned back to his conversation with his old friends. I paddled about 15 minutes, was extremely impressed with the canoe and then brought it back for others to try. To my surprise no one else stepped up to paddle it. Guess the Freestylers were more interested in canoes that went in circles than harder tracking ones optimized to cover distances. Could it also have been issues with canoes propelled with a double blade paddle instead of a single blade? After waiting a while and seeing no other takers, I asked Charlie if I could take it for a paddle around the lake. Charlie looked over and said, "I’ll be here for another hour or two, go ahead" and turned to resume the conversation with his old friends.

    Now Charlie is quite a salesman in the best sense of the term. He can quote the specs and attributes of his canoes off the top of his head, compare them with anything that has ever been built and generally doesn’t put down other makers or their craft to boost his. However, this superb salesman had nothing to do with selling me on this canoe -- as happens in the best of experiences, the canoe sold itself! I paddled around Star Lake in less than 45 minutes, unaffected by the moderate wind, small waves or boat wakes.

    The canoe is very attractive, but I have owned many beautiful all wood and wood canvas canoes over the years so beauty alone wouldn’t do it for me. My lust for the Rapidfire was for how it paddled! I haven’t figured out how he did it, but Dave Yost appropriated my body for the designing of this canoe. At 6’1” and about 205 lbs this canoe fits me perfectly. I had paddled a Spitfire a year earlier and at my size and weight I thought it was nice but wasn’t overcome with the same boat desire - I’m probably closer to the appropriate size and weight for the Rapidfire than the Spitfire.

    I drove up to Lake Placid in Fall 06 to demo the Rapidfire another time before deciding if I wanted to order it. The canoe talked to me again. Charlie was too busy building canoes to spend time blowing smoke in my ears, so again the canoe did all the sweet-talking. After returning home and thinking it over once more the checkbook came out.

    The Rapidfire has (for me) a perfect balance between very good tracking and enough maneuverability. It is very fast for a 15’ canoe. I find their low (on the bottom) seat comfortable. The lowest seat does pitch me slightly back into the back band (very comfortable), which does reduce trunk rotation, making for a slightly less efficient stroke. Works for days when my back is a little tweaky and asking for support. I also ordered what is now their "mid height" seat. It slips over the attached low seat and gives a somewhat higher seat that also tilts me forward slightly. This moves me off the backbend, allowing more trunk rotation for a more efficient stroke. I use the mid seat when I want to go faster using trunk rotation. Placid is now making a third seat that is higher yet. I haven’t used it enough to have a final opinion, but I’m tilted even more forward with that seat. I have feeling that it might need to be placed slightly rearward of the location of my low seat. It was developed for Joe’s racing and his powerful stroke probably lifts the bow enough to balance the slightly greater forward weight shift this seat causes. Try all three bottom seat options or the hung seat with sidewall stiffening and pick the one that works best for you.

    As in all open double paddle canoes, there is some paddle drip into the canoe. It can be slight, or if the wind is blowing wrong, considerable. I leave a sponge on the bottom in front of the seat and squeeze it out ever 20-30 minutes. I have purchased the Placid spray decks but haven’t yet used them enough to rate them.

    Joe and Charlie are easy to work with as you order your canoe. Some buyers have ordered the canoe for kneeling with a hung seat, which it wasn’t designed for. For them additional strength is added to the mid section to allow a hung seat. I wanted to change the decks and thwarts using my own stripped maple and apple wood instead of their Diamond Wood. They worked with me on those substitutions. I now have a Rapidfire with the "Anniversary Special Limited Edition Trim Package". Just a pretentious way to say that I traded their unique looking rot-proof wood trim for my less rot resistant wood, all in the name of my sense of aesthetics.

    If you want a very fast "sit on bottom" canoe, start your search with a Rapidfire. It’s a fine canoe, built by some fine folks.


    I bought a RapidFire to…

    Submitted by: kayamedic on 11/30/2007
    I bought a RapidFire to replace a kayak and it is used mostly near land on the ocean and in tidal currents and races. I paddle it with the low seat (on the bottom) for stability in ocean rollers.

    Fast, darn fast. No problem keeping up with my partners in seventeen foot sea kayaks.
    Can exit from the boat onto anything. Its easier get out of the RF and climb dock ladders than it is from a sea kayak.
    Rides over waves really well. The bow is quite light.
    Maneuverable even with an abeam wind and sea. Can change direction in any sea.

    Minuses: there is just one. The bow is so light without a load that the boat tends to pancake hard over the back of a three foot wave. I would advise always having a pack in the boat. This is after all a pack boat.

    Spend a little extra and get the spray cover. It will keep you warm and cozy, which is about the only advantage I can find in a kayak.


    Got to Jocassee this morning…

    Submitted by: string on 9/4/2007
    Got to Jocassee this morning and the wind was kicking up a good chop. I had never been in the boat so I was a little cautious.

    From the second I was in the seat, I was comfortable with the boat. It didn't care if the wind and waves were from the front, back , or sides.It handled them all so well it was almost boring. For a 15' boat , it is very quick. We had a newby with us today and I felt like I waited more than paddled. It tracks very well and turns easily compared to my other canoes.

    Placid says it is a kayak without a deck and I very much agree. It is the boat I've been looking for because I love my kayak paddle and this canoe is made for it. I hesitate to give any boat a 10 after a couple of hours, but I could find nothing wrong. The part I really liked was stepping out of the boat, picking it up and walking it up the ramp.


    I usually kneel in my…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/24/2007
    I usually kneel in my RapidFire and use a single-blade paddle, which is not the intended use (it's designed as a deckless, easy-access kayak). But I find the boat a lot of fun as a true solo canoe; I even sit-and-switch sometimes. I was a little twitchy at first, because of the narrow beam, but I soon learned to rely on the flare of the sides; now I'm completely comfortable. No unintended capsizes yet!

    The wind and tidal current where I usually paddle have let me try the RapidFire in waves up to three feet (measured peak to trough). Deep-water waves haven't been a problem. In shallow water, where the waves get steeper, I often take on water. I have the canoe rigged with whitewater-style flotation, so taking on a couple gallons doesn't worry me much (and has surprisingly little effect on stability). I have practiced sea-kayak-style assisted rescues and had no problems getting back in the boat. I haven't tried the RapidFire in whitewater.

    As to speed, the canoe is noticeably faster than my previous solo (a WildFire). I don't have any useful empirical measurements, since tidal currents taint the numbers.

    Negatives: My boat had a minor wood-finishing problem that I fixed myself, after consulting with the helpful folks at Pb (they offered to repair it for me, but it was easier to add some polyurethane myself). The laminate on my hull isn't stiff enough for the way I use the canoe (I weigh just over 200 pounds, and much of my weight is on the rails rather than the floor, since I kneel, and that lets the floor flex a little); Placid Boatworks tell me they have fixed this problem in current kneeling hulls. I wish it turned easier (by design, the stern sits a little lower than the bow, to aid tracking, at the expense of nimbleness). I wish it had a deck to cut down wind effects and keep out the steep waves (Pb now offers a fabric deck -- haven't tried it yet). And while I'm dreaming, it would be nice to have a height-adjustable seat.

    But over all, after 11 months, I'm very happy with my RapidFire. I rated it 10 out of 10 because nearly everybody gives a 10 on this site, so the ratings are content-free. Because of the negatives I mentioned above, I actually think of the RapidFire as a 7 out of 10 (tough grader), but I don't know of any production canoe out there that would be higher than a 7 for my needs, so I think I've gotten the best I can get. The RapidFire provides speed, seaworthiness, and comfort for me to do long trips with my sea-kayaking friends and usually keep up with the front of the group.


    I bought a Rapidfire in the…

    Submitted by: paddler232004 on 5/1/2007
    I bought a Rapidfire in the spring of 05 looking for a more stable, but just-as-quick replacement for my kevlar Advantage. I had grown tired of feeling like going out in the wind and chop after work was going to be more trouble than it was worth. I have little experience with a double blade and wasn't interested in making the change so I bought it without a seat and I installed a slider from Wenona. I paddle it exclusively with a single blade.

    I find this boat to be everything I want for Adirondack paddling. It has all the stability I'd hoped for with none of the uncomfortable slip in the stern I found with a straight keel boat. The Rapidfire is rapid, allowing me to easily keep up with everyone I could before and informally clocking 8 minutes faster than the Advantage over a regularly paddled one hour route. And while it holds a line without effort, exploring the meanders of the Chubb or Browns Tract is a joy; it goes where you tell it. Often the best of Adirondack paddling has something to do with carries. A piece of pipe insulation on each gunwale to pad your shoulder and thigh and even the longer hops are a snap. Lastly I have to say that while those who know me suggest I might lean a bit hard toward the utilitarian, even I like that this boat is beautiful to look at. As an on-the-water conversation starter, it’s better than a puppy on Main Street.

    If you are an occasional paddler the boat might be a bit expensive, but if you look forward to your time on the water and the thought of loading up the boat or wind and waves sometimes keeps you from getting out, do some math and you’ll find the value added to your paddling life will far exceed the cost for the level of quality and performance you’ll find in the Rapidfire.


    First need to get a bit out…

    Submitted by: casjdcksn on 4/11/2007
    First need to get a bit out of the way - I am 5'10", fluctuate around 200 pounds, almost 60 years old and have been paddling for about 55 of those 60 years. I consider myself primarily a canoe paddler, but have logged thousands of miles in a sea kayak also. I am also a friend of the folks who make this boat.

    That said, I'll try to be as objective as possible. The Rapidfire is a 15 foot solo boat designed by Dave Yost. While it may look like a canoe at first glance, it is truly an open topped kayak. It was intended to be paddled from a very low seating position utilizing a double-bladed paddle. It has minimal rocker, significant tumblehome and an exceptionally long waterline for its length. The combination of light weight (comfortably under 30 pounds), large volume and an open top make it an ideal pack canoe (a kayak with enclosed storage compartments is a serious pain when pond-hopping) for the larger paddler.

    The design is executed in carbon/kevlar using a vacuum bagging process. Cherry rails were standard when I bought mine, though it is possible that a graphite rail system will be available soon. End caps and thwarts are constructed of a laminated product called dymondwood - chosen for its strength and water resistance (according to the Placid Boatworks web-site). My personal opinion is that it may be an exceptional material for the purpose, but that it is ugly as sin.

    It is seaworthy, tracks well and is very responsive to leaned turns. And, above all, it is flat out fast. The tumblehome allows for a pretty efficient paddle stroke - certainly much more so than the other boats in this class that I have paddled. All in all, it is a wonderful execution of a craft designed for a very specific purpose. And that is both its virtue and its vice. As long as you stay within the design parameters, it is a great boat. That's where we need to go back to the beginning of this review.

    I am a canoe paddler and make no mistake - this is not a canoe. The seating position is simply not conducive to efficient paddling with a single-bladed stick. It could be modified by installing a seat with enough rise to allow an efficient paddle stroke with a single bladed paddle, but that begins to mess with the stability inherent in the design. Accept it for what it is and you won't find a better boat in the class. Try to make it something it isn't and you probably will not be happy.

    Rating - 10 out of 10 if you sit and use a double-bladed paddle.