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4/10/2018 11:16 am  #1

Could a Nova Craft be in my crystal ball future?

I saved a bunch of pennies over the winter, and researched the heck out of solo canoes, but when the rubber met the road, I realized I have a solo canoe.  That's what my Old Town Lightweight canvas tandem has become.  Yeah, ok, 58 pounds isn't ideal, but dang I like that boat.  Maybe someday it won't be my solo boat, but for the foreseeable future it is. 

The boat that is in question is actually the Merrimack.  I bought her in 1993, and have logged a LOT of miles with her.  It will be very hard to part with that boat.  Still, it weighs 68 pounds, and while it actually carries better than the Old Town, how many more years can I manage that, or rather, how many more years do I WANT to manage that? 

Anyway, I've been looking at Nova Craft.  There's a dealer fairly close by, and we'll try to get there this weekend.  Looking at the Bob, Pal, and Prospector, leaning toward Pal or Bob I think, probably in "Tuff Stuff".  Those would weight 51-54 pounds or thereabouts, representing a 20-25% weight improvement.  The blue steel material would be nice and would represent about a 50% improvement, but is out of budget for sure unless he has an ugly one that nobody wanted last year.  The Aramid would also represent about that level of weight savings, but I'm a little worried about the durability of the hull in terms of maneuvering to exit and grinding the hull down on unseen sharp rocks and causing damage that would require repair as opposed the shoulder-shrugging.

So, I'm wondering if anybody has some thoughts on the Aramid, Tuff Stuff, or even the Blue Steel.  I've never been one to kill a hull, but I don't want it to be constantly on my mind either.  My wife has had some medical issues that can affect balance, so I'd rather worry about getting her in and out comfortably than whether or not somebody was willing to wet-foot it out of the boat or if the hull is dinging up on rocks.  So I don't need to throw it off a building like Nova Craft did, but that's a vote for Tuff Stuff.  Still, it would be pretty cool for my kids to be able to shoulder the boat and take it to a nearby pond about a kilometer away.  That's a vote for Aramid (or Blue Steel).

The hull shape/size (Pal, Bob, Prospector) I'll get a feel for paddling around the dealer's pond, and we'll answer that question.  I'm hoping to get a feel for those materials this weekend as well, but I'm wondering if anybody can offer their two cents on their experience with the Nova Craft hull materials - I've certainly seen a bunch of Nova Craft pictured in trip reports, etc.


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