Most Recent Reviews
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...)
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 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.
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".