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I am 56 years old and I have been an active boater for the past 35 years. And without a doubt my best investment in outdoor equipment has been my Clipper Canoe. She is now 30 plus years old and going strong which says a lot as some may classify me as a "certified" boat abuser. Life is short and worrying about scratches and various damage to your boat just detracts from the outdoor experience. Remember, just about anything can be repaired on a fiberglass boat with minimal skills.
I have been in many canoes over the years and still prefer the Clipper over all others and here is why.
* My Clipper is made of what seems to be indestructible fiberglass. The bow and stern has sustained the most damage from beaching but that is easily reinforced with fiberglass from time to time. The boat even sustained a folding of the front 1/3 as an untied bow line on the boat was not tied to the car. The car took off and ran over the line and folded the boat over the car rack. It snapped the gunnel but the fiberglass shell was "fine".
* The plastic tractor seats may look cheap as compared to the classic cane seats but they are so much more comfortable and durable. Also the seats are set below the gunnel making for better stability.
* My clipper came with foot braces that make for better stability. With these braces you feel more at one with the boat and are able to brace with more confidence as well as paddle with more power.
* At 16' my boat seems to have the right combination of width and length to ride up and over most heavy wind whipped waves without spearing through the waves.
* The weight of the Clipper is reasonable and I have always done the carrying of my boat myself as it just seems easier and I am not a big guy...5'6" tall.
* Carrying capacity is great. Surely I have over loaded this boat many times and it always performed like a trooper.
My Clipper has gone on rivers, lakes, surfing the waves in Santa Cruz, and even open water fishing in the Pacific Ocean. Sure, it does not look as pretty as when new but I am confident that my son will some day use this boat, when I am long gone, and tell stories, to his kids, about the adventures he and Grandpa had in the now faded Clipper canoe.
Again...best outdoor equipment buy I ever made!