800 miles this spring. Rocks and rapids. Sand bars, snow, strong winds, sideways on rocks twice, (Yeah, my fault.) and survived it all and is on the truck as I write. Dinosaur had 1,500 cfs,, that is like a lawn sprinkler keeping the boulder tops wet. Or 20,000 cfs in Deso/Gray,, with plenty of water and lots of rocks to thump.
I have bragged that my McKenzie just needs a heavy dew on grass to float,, and there is some truth in that. Lightly loaded,, 700 pounds, (2,000 capacity) she floats high and easy and can get through just about anything,, and is so tough, she has survived rocks, big water, and me,, 3,000+ miles, flat water, and white water, Class I, II, III, IV, and V to date.
My absolute highest recommendation for this boat and the people that built her.
Clipper Canoe, Western Canoe and Kayak,, Abbotsford, B.C.
I think I own 5 Arrow paddles now. You always must take multiples when you go into the woods, wilderness, 'off piste'. And this past spring Bending Branches made a new pair for me,, 64 inches long. Eight weeks of paddling and 800 miles later,, Oh my, but they are lovely. To look at certainly,, but in the using? absolutely the best. The extra length is a requirement in Class III and Class IV, , the water can be a long way away.
I like a live shaft, I want to feel the pull. I also like a slender blade thickness,, I box stroke and Canadian frequently, the blade stays in the water. And I have never broken one. Never. And those paddles have stroked barely covered rocks in the tumult many times. I am not gentle with my paddles. I have broken every paddle I ever owned, except, those that have come from Bending Branches. Everyone has fancy paddles,, more expensive,, cupped, curved,, graphite, carbon, glass, aluminum, but, not any one of them is better
Arrow paddles by Bending Branches have my highest recommendation
I bought one three years ago. I travel with multiple paddles in case of loss or breakage, but the Expedition Plus has been on now,, 3,000 miles of trips? That paddle alone has been used for about one thousand miles,, and a fair bit of that white water. It looks and feels like new. The durability is astounding. I have BB Arrow paddles that have been refinished multiple times. (I love Arrow paddles), however the Expedition Plus has never needed a touch. Yes,, it has a few marks in and on it,, but I have three week old paddles that don't look as good as the three year old Expedition.
Laughing,, would I buy it again,, absolutely, no question. But I may never have to.
I liked the paddle, shaft, grip, blade,, mine was 67 inches. Air strokes in big water are not desirable.
However, 6 weeks into the trip, the shaft snapped. Black spiral wound carbon? glass? And Werner would not stand by their product. They offered no help. They would not warrant the product. I repaired the shaft finally at the side of the Colorado river with a 40 inch dowel epoxied down the center and a e-glass wrap on the exterior,, doubling the weight, Needed, but close to useless.
It was a great paddle,, but I will never buy another Werner product. I'd love to,,, because I liked the paddle I want to try the Nantahala,,, but they did not stand by their product and customer service was miss named,, it was strictly company service.
My absolute highest reccomendations.
My MacKenzie 20 was built for me and for a specific expedition. I did a 'Powell'. I began in Green River, Wyoming, and finished at Lake Havasu City, Arizona. 1,200 plus map miles,, 1300 plus gps miles. Flaming Gorge at high water, Desolation/ Gray, Cataract Canyon, the Grand Canyon until the cover failed.
This MacKenzie 20 was built extra tough to withstand the rocks and thunks along the way, seat and thwart were positioned for me.. It survived the entire way. Including my ineptitude in Big Drop 3 and quite a few in the Grand Canyon. Big Drop 3, I blew my entrance entirely and dropped straight into the big hole at the top. That hole can eat a school bus. Yes, it rolled me quite a few times, hammered body, paddle, (the paddle was snapped in my hand) and boat, but we floated out eventually and though damaged, she was bailed out and headed down the Colorado 20 minutes later. There is not another canoe that I know that could have withstood my error and paddled away. Most, or all, would have been cracked in half or wadded up like an old newspaper.,,I've paddled many, and many manufacturers, and for that hole, on that day,, the MacKenzie came through.
There were failures,, the cover finally surrendered and I could not keep the water out,, but the boat made it all the way through.
Clipper's kevlar boat, with additional layers of S-glass inside and out. It is a tank, that paddles easily and fast, I could paddle Mead and Powell at a steady easy 3+ mph, and for short stretches at up to 5mph, and I am considering using the same boat for the Yukon, or the Yellowstone.
My absolute highest regard for Clipper Canoe.
Good initial stability, excellent secondary. 33,5 at the waterline 37 max with some tumblehome to keep the gunwales close. Fast. A knot faster than a Grumman 18. 1/2 knot slower than a Minn II. If you are driving hard and flat... she tracks so well, you'd think she would not turn. A keel, but a bit of rocker too. But, heel her over a bit on a cheek and she turns in her own length. I did two 90's, left, then right to follow the current around a rock ledge, she turned like 13-foot solo canoe.
When she plunged through a series of 2+ foot tall rapids, the bow shape punched the crests to the side... as long as I held dead straight the only water to enter was that taller than the bow. 13.5 inch center depth stayed bone dry.
A good craft - 71 pounds, so not a light weight, but not horrible.
I'll keep it.