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Name: baldpaddler

Most Recent Reviews

I recently built two Passages from the plans available from the Northwest canoe shop. We added an extra section 7 to lengthen the canoe out to 16 foot from its design length of 15 foot. The Passage has a differential rocker somewhere between the Bell Magic and Bell Merlin2. The waterline on our two boats is fairly soft so they allow you to lean the boat close to the rail and accomplish many free style moves. The extra water line has made for quick boat but to maintain speed you have to shift sides more frequently due to not tracking because of the rocker. I noticed that heavier paddlers do not have this tracking problem that I do(I am 180 lbs). I know with a load of gear it would firm up nicely.

Speed wise empty I can kick it up over 6 MPH in a sprint and on a fast cruise I can keep it up over 5.2-4 for about a mile before I tire out. at a steady cruise she will stay at 4.9 -5.0 for as long as I want. I have raced the Passage (XL)many times and have successfully beaten Advantages and some older Jensen designed white water boats.

The Passage is not a hard canoe to build and is fun to paddle. It is not a race boat though. You are not going to be competitive against a dedicated race cruiser so if that is your intention don't consider it. On the other hand for tripping, or if you are heavy it is a good option.

If I was over 220 pounds, I would give the boat a 8.5 or 9 but at my weight it doesn't sit in the water for adequate tracking. (of course the flip side of that is in the last race I went over the rocks with just a little scuffing to my varnish...)

The Columbia Bora Bora is a broad rimmed hat with a UV rated top, and mesh under it connecting to the brim.
As with all my hats they must be ready for immersion, and have ease of maintenance. I have found with the Bora Bora that the brim gets soft and floppy after several swims or a few races when it gets soaked with sweat. So in order to keep the brim fairly stiff, I put 3+ feet of 12 gauge wire through the outer band of the brim (1 footx2pii). The wire allows me to shape the brim and is easy to pull out to put in washing machine. The wire also is useful to tie up a seat if its mounting bracket breaks..

I love the hat, and have bought three, two which I have offered up to the river gods...
Good value for a summer hat.

I was given my Jensen Eighteen for one of my many twentyninth birthdays. I walked into the Great outdoors Provision Company with my wife and saw a beautiful Alaskan Ivory Jensen in kevlar Cross ribs. My wife bought it and I have had it ever since.

I have raced the Jensen in Two 70 miler Clintons, one Ninety miler Fall Classic in NY, Many 40 miler LumberRiver Challenges here in NC. It is a great boat. I have had it loaded down with gear on boy scout trips and still ran circles (Literally) around the other boats, even though I only had a scout up front. Last year I took a non canoe racer who only knew pig boats out and convinced her to paddle the 70 miler. Even though she was middle aged and less then limber she found the Jensen stable, as do I.

As with all long boats the Jensen is succectable to winds and wanting to weathercock when riding high. When I had a load of gear in the boat I did not noticed it. Rear Quarting waves are and issue, but it is less of an issue in this boat then in many other 18 footers I have paddled. Many people run these boats in the standard traditional Class(Stock) as a dedicated racer. I think they are missing out by not throwing in a few packs and seeing how well the canoe runs loaded.

As I said my boat is kevlar/crossrib/gelcoat which puts it at about 60 pounds. It carries well with a sculpted yolk that I had bought in Canada.

I would rate this boat 9 1/2 if I had it in skin coat ultralight lay up. Since it is heavier then I want at my advance age of twentynine(plus)i only rate it an eight. Gene Jensen and WeNoNah have done a great job on this boat and I recommend it to any body who wants to enjoy Paddling a fine canoe.

The Merlin is a solo canoe built from plans. It is a nicely designed boat. The specs are similar to the Merlin 2 except the Merlin has no Rocker and is 6 inches longer. Originally designed by a Mr. Bruce Kunz out in the Minnesota area. I have raced it several times and find it does very well in wind and Chop. I made mine out of western red Cedar for the hull with 4 Oz glass over it. The gunwales are Ash that I had to Scarf together to give me the required length. I got impatient by the time came for the seat so I bought a pedestal seat and Foot brace from Wenonah. MR Al Gustavson from the Northwest canoe shop advised me at every step of the building, and would be disappointed I bought a sliding seat instead of just throwing a wet sponge in the bow or stern to trim it out.

I was at a race and watched the J-boats pull inexorably away from me with their 18'6" water line. I noticed that they were having a much more difficult time going against the current and into the wind. At the Buoy turn the wind shifted and now we had a head wind with a tail current. The Comp Cruisers stayed in the shallows and went for the wind breaks. My Merlin just kept chugging along with no problem.

This was the first boat I built by myself although the canunut helped me in person as did Red Cross Randy. It is an excellent solo tripping style boat as it is light and handles confused waves well, with good storage space. It heals well and turns if you work at it. It does not track as well as Jensen designed J-boat but then I can not stand up in one of those. I would like to make another one and get some of the wood working faults out then I would rate the boat as an eight for my purposes, which are citizens racing and touring. I also want to thank Kurt Loupe who had built one before me and sent me a CD of his progress and finishing. If you have any questions about this boat feel free to contact me. I really like the boat but having built it I know every flaw so it only gets a "7".

Refers to 2001 model: Savage Rivers new cruiser is a nice boat. The model I paddle in is a carbon/kevlar hybrid. She wieghs in at 28 pounds. She tracks as well as any boat I have ever paddled. She is several percent faster then the we-no-nah cruiser we were using(1995 model) The thing that I love is the comfort up front. I don't have the sharp gunnels cutting into the knees. The gunnels are all inwales, with only a slight lip at that. This boat is set up for a regular team so I can have my feet side by side instead of on top of each other, which further adds to the comfort. The rear seat has a foot rest that is set up with the seat so if you slide your seat the foot rest slides. As with most competition hulls you give up some stability for speed. It does take some getting use to, especially when you are in intermediate water and get waves from two directions. The boat has two bailers that are very effective and needed when you paddle in a trafficed area. The lines of the boat are clean and the hangers are well thought out. If you want to race in the 4x32 class I would recommend this boat. However I only give it a 9 because I am still looking for the canoe that paddles itself.

The first canoe I bought was an eighteen foot Sundowner In tuff weave. I used it in races on the local lake. I won the races on the local lake in my class. I took the sundowner up to the Aderondacks in new York for a two week trip with the scouts. We hit big waves on Saranac lake. The scouts who were in the cedar strip canoes and the ones in the royalex boats had a real tough time. I was in the sundowner with my 12yearold and felt comfortable. We didn't have the strength to help any one but we were not in any trouble in that boat. The gel coat showed a lot of wear but we could hop out of the boat and pull it over logs and jump back in with little scratching. The only really negative thing about the boat was the wieght. It was about 68#. When I was up in new york it really didn't have a good portage system and hurt alot to carry. I sold the sundowner, to get a lighter boat, but wouldn't heasitate to get a lighter model of the sundowner. Great glide, stability, and handling for a novice crew .