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Old 11-22-2017, 05:16 PM   #11
yellowcanoe's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,177
I'll have to contain my remarks to the PBW boats as I don't have a Swift pack canoe nor have paddled one. I have seen them but do not recall the hull shape.

I have the big bro to the Spitfire 13. The RapidFire. Its two feet longer and for me it is perfect. I occasionally push the limits of pack canoe to the ocean and Lake Superior and wanted additional buoyancy and the ability to occasionally overload it. At the start of some 10 day Everglades trips the total burden is over 400 lbs including some 140 lbs of fresh water. Lake Superior has the rep of throwing big waves at you even as you seek to escape. And at home on the Gulf Of Maine once we paddled to shore safety while the outfitter whose dock we used said "you stayed dry in that?"Seakindliness is top of my priorities. More on that later
That shouldered tumblehome on the Placid boats deflects waves downward that come in from the side. With a burden in the boat you really do not want water in your lap. That design is a way to incorporate flare into the hull ( flare sheds waves well) while narrowing width just below the paddling station to allow the use of shorter double blades.

I have two seats for it. Standard and permanently installed is a low seat. Its glued to the floor. Over it I have the option to attach a high seat for single blading. It has a different seat angle that changes the boat dynamics.
The seats on Placid boats use backbands that in theory hinder torso rotation way less than high back seats while still allowing supports..

I do like the inclusion of carry thwarts on both ends of the Swifts. I have had my PBW for 11 years and had to plead for carry thwarts on both ends. With these light boats you really have to secure them at both ends as they make good sails.

Now both boats under consideration are designed by David Yost. Seakindliness is top of his considerations. He wants the user to feel safe if conditions deteriorate. This doesn't mean that all his boats are big water boats but that for their intended use they make the experience as pleasurable as possible.

And now my complaint is that manufacturers never give you hull cross sections which gives you a better view of the boat and you can guess how it will handle.

I agree that you should never buy a boat that you cannot test paddle and if you can't find a Spitfire convenient to you so be it. I don't think differences will be that much. There isn't a perfect boat!

Since you are in Scranton there are more possibilities for you in terms of pack canoes but at this time of the year test paddling requires a wet or drysuit.

You should be safe in your intended waters; bigger water requires a bigger boat.

Tumblehome makes paddling easier. I can't ever envision paddling a high backed seat craft for serious paddling trips; I try to use torso rotation. However I think the shape differences ( if there are any) are minor compared to acquire good paddling form. IE you are as important as the boat.

Good thread . I 'm looking forward to paddling Rapid Fire in Florida for a month soon. Mostly big Gulf water but also twisty mangrove tunnels ( the high seat and single stick comes in handy when the waterway is three feet wide and six feet tall. And the low seat in choppy two foot Gulf waves.)

You are correct in that not having a dealer network has disadvantages. Fortunately Joe is building some relationships in Florida because of the plethora of paddling geezers tired of dragging SOT's
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