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Old 06-21-2015, 04:46 PM   #61
nash.p
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Bought My First Canoe!

I decided on the Swift Keewaydin Pack 14 and picked it up a week ago. I chose the lightest layup offered, the Carbon-Innegra option. Turns out this is a popular choice, and there was a backlog of orders for Carbon-Innegra boats. I had to wait 8 weeks before my boat was ready.

The boat conforms to Swift’s stated specifications, except that it weighs 28 ½ lbs. instead of the stated 26 lbs. Presumably the seat accounts for the extra 2 ½ lbs. Since the seat is permanently attached it should be included in the specification. I’m a bit disappointed in the extra weight. (Someday I may get an ultralight pack boat for long portages. A Savage River Wee Lassie specs at 13 lbs.)

A couple of nitpicks: The floatation tanks appear to be a tad misaligned, as is the bow handle. These are merely minor aesthetic issues.

The seat is 5 inches off the bottom. It comes with a nice cushion and seat back, with an adjustable lumbar pad. I like the seat.

Thanks to all for offering your advice. I did go with my initial choice, but I learned a great deal by all the responses, and especially about paddling options, seat height, paddle lengths and paddling- associated wetness.

I really like the looks and size of the Swift 14 Pack boat, and I expect it to be a great choice for me. So how does it paddle you may ask? Well I don’t know yet because I still have to choose my paddles. Choosing paddles is complicated! Please see my new thread, “Buying my first canoe paddles” if anyone has any guidance on that decision.

Keewaydin-14-Pack-Canoe.jpg

Keewaydin-Canoe-weight.jpg

Keewaydin-14 Bow.jpg

Keewaydin-14 Handle.jpg
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Old 06-21-2015, 06:10 PM   #62
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beautiful boat, Mr dot P,
I don't think I could wait for a new paddle. I would probably go out with a snow shovel, or maybe a no parking sign, anything to propel myself...but that's just me, I always am in a rush.
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Old 06-21-2015, 08:37 PM   #63
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I see how noticeable the waves in the weave are.. that was one of the feedback points some of us gave a Swift rep.. The tanks are fully functional.. its the outer fabric that is wavy.
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Old 06-22-2015, 11:18 AM   #64
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There is another thread about locking up boats to prevent theft at hotels etc. So look at that fluid wavy weave as a unique identification feature, We've all seen your photos and can help to identify your boat if ever anything happens to it. Yours isn't a generic boat it is unique.

John M.
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Old 06-22-2015, 03:38 PM   #65
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I just use a locking rack, Yakima, and a heavy duty bike cable lock around rack bars and thwart.
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Old 06-22-2015, 04:13 PM   #66
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There is another thread about locking up boats to prevent theft at hotels etc. So look at that fluid wavy weave as a unique identification feature, We've all seen your photos and can help to identify your boat if ever anything happens to it. Yours isn't a generic boat it is unique.

John M.

Its not unique. Your HIN is. Take a picture of that. Many Swift boats now have that weave. Unfortunately it gives me vertigo.

Folks should keep in mind that canoe manufacturing is not quite exact. There is variation in weight from one boat to another even of the same model. MFrs try but 10 percent is deemed by most OK. Not by all though.
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:12 PM   #67
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I am a novice canoer and my dilemma is a little different. I will be solo most of the time but will have company on occasion. I like the rapidfire but its a solo, the keewaydin 16 looks like it might work but its asymmetrical so would the swift prospector 16 be a better option? I'm confused so any help would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:27 AM   #68
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I also have a Kee 14, but with a kneeling seat and like it. It paddles effortlessly, has decent capacity for tripping, and with slight heel turns well. Mine is the kev layup.
Turtle
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:24 AM   #69
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Ok Nash, you bought the key in June and now we are in December. How about a follow up to let us know what you think after a paddling season. Was this the right choice? Is inegra the way to go. Where have you paddled? What choice did you make paddle wise? Are you happy with boat and paddle choices? After all your research, I am sure that the many folks that had input would love to hear how it all worked out for you. Thanks, John
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Old 12-09-2015, 01:55 PM   #70
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Ok Nash, you bought the key in June and now we are in December. How about a follow up to let us know what you think after a paddling season. Was this the right choice? Is inegra the way to go. Where have you paddled? What choice did you make paddle wise? Are you happy with boat and paddle choices? After all your research, I am sure that the many folks that had input would love to hear how it all worked out for you. Thanks, John
Uhmmm, me too...
Where did you paddle it? Are you happy with your decision? Did you use it as much as you had hoped? (Does anyone?)
Anything that you didn't like about it?
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:04 PM   #71
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It is December, and there is no snow. I am attaching the link to a video my friend made from our fishing trip to Lake Huron last Saturday. I am paddling the canoe, my friends are peddling Hobies.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dD3u4k62J0E

Hope you enjoy our video from Port Sanilac, MI Lake Huron
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:27 PM   #72
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I have been remiss in relating my experiences with my new canoe. I wanted to wait until I had enough paddling in to reach some conclusions.

My first outing with my Swift Keewaydin 14 was in June last year. I had company: Two old men in recreational kayaks joined me (also an old man) for a warm afternoon paddle on Muskegon Lake. I launched from my friend’s dock, and had an immediate lesson. You can tip a canoe so fast you have no idea. One moment I was confidently stepping into my new canoe, the next thing I know I was completely submerged, and laughing underwater (at least in my mind). The last time I got dunked in a canoe was 35 years or so earlier in a tandem aluminum canoe, while fishing the Rogue River. We had been using a concrete masonry block as an anchor, when the other paddler leaned over the side to haul the anchor up. At least that time I could blame someone else.

There was a fair bit of wind on Muskegon Lake, and one of my first thoughts was being a bit envious of the kayakers; they seemed to be less affected by the wind. Another thought I had was that paddling the canoe was not as easy as I had expected it to be. Of course I hadn’t canoed in years, and never before paddled a solo canoe, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. The wind was affecting my paddling, and maintaining a straight heading was harder than I thought it would be.

I brought both my kayak paddle and my bent canoe paddle so I could test both out. I learned, that due to the wind and my inexperienced technique, that I often needed to paddle much more on one side of the boat than the other in order to maintain the desired heading. (This lesson still applies. Even in mild winds this year, I am often surprised at how often I have to have more strokes on one side of the canoe.)

My excursions last year were entirely on Muskegon Lake, due to its accessibility to me. There was always a fair bit of wind on the open water, and in retrospect that was good for learning about how much a little wind can affect a little boat.

This year I installed an anchor trolley and took my canoe on several trips to a small lake for bluegill fishing. The water was always calm, and the winds minimal, on my fishing trips. On the calm flat lake I learned a couple of things. First, it is possible to get distracted while fiddling with an anchor, and to lose a ZRE paddle overboard without noticing at first that it’s gone. I looked up and saw a paddle some distance away floating on the lake, and I wondered what kind of idiot would lose a canoe paddle? Wait a minute, where’s my paddle?! Fortunately, I was still experimenting with using both a kayak paddle and the ZRE, and I used the kayak paddle to catch up with and rescue the other paddle.

The other thing I learned, somewhat to my surprise, is that I prefer using a canoe paddle over a kayak paddle. The canoe paddle is very light and the boat responds. It feels better in my hands. I’m learning, gradually, how to use a J stroke. Overall I just feel more comfortable with the ZRE. In fact, I bought a 2nd one to keep in the canoe as a spare, and I leave the kayak paddle at home. (I used to think that carrying a spare paddle was unnecessary. But I changed my thinking about that.)

So far I have not had my canoe on a river. I have plans and notions for river trips, but the logistics have prevented me so far. Unless I paddle upstream and return to the put-in point, getting back to my car is a problem. I wonder, how often do canoeist paddle upstream?

My best experience so far was a 3-day trip in the Sylvania Wilderness Area at the end of July. The area is beautiful, the weather was perfect, and the fishing was fantastic. This trip proved to be the justification for buying my canoe. The water was flat and the winds were usually minimal. It was a joy to paddle my Swift Keewaydin 14. I learned about portaging, and I portaged a total of two miles in 48 hours. Thankfully no single portage was very long. OK, when I start to think about the portaging my memories of the trip are less delightful than the paddling memories. One dominant not so pleasant memory was just how sore and old man’s muscles could get. Man, did I ever have some sore muscles, specifically on the tops of my thighs. Still, I had a blast and am looking forward to my next trip.

I’m also wondering about getting a lighter canoe. My Swift weighs 28 pounds, and the yoke adds 2 more pounds. I see that the Savage River Wee Lassie (11’-6”) weighs 13 pounds. Also, Savage River is introducing a new model, the Illusion (13’-6”). I spoke with Ben at Savage River last week, and he indicated that the Illusion could definitely be made under 20 pounds. So I’m wondering how folks generally figure out the trade-off between performance on the water and performance on the portage. When I think about my sore muscles I start to think about getting the lightest canoe available.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:26 PM   #73
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nash,
Better late than never....I'm sure your insights and impressions will help many others except Bluefire (he's made his choice, see the avatar?).
As far as sore muscles, there's no substitute for training, even a 60 year old guy like me still hits the weights to keep some muscle on!
Whether to choose performance on water or between waters, I'll always choose on water. On the carries there are options, wheels, doubling, weight training, force your son to do it, etc...If you're stuck with a bruisewater, no matter how good your technique, you're never gonna be happy.
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Old 08-15-2016, 12:56 PM   #74
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I tend to agree with stripperguy. On the water is much more important. I am a little older than Mike, so I tend to plod along on the portages. Placid tells me my boat is 26 pounds so I go with that. Eidolon, my ever faithful sidekick tells me our day packs are about 15 pounds so I go with that. Carry yoke is light. I have portaged at least 2 miles into ponds and tend to stroll and stop and rest when necessary, but have never regretted buying my rapidfire. And I really was glad I had it paddling back up the cedar and rock when we did the chain drain. John

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Old 08-15-2016, 06:24 PM   #75
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Canoe

I have a Keewaydin 15 pack and carry it 3 miles on average with a pack on my back. I'm 60 years old and deal with the 28 lb boat. The length is more of an issue then the weight on some bush whacks and trails that are not kept up. The boat is excellent on the water very stable ,fast and has a great glide. I can pack enough stuff for a week if I want a beautiful boat all around even if it is 15 foot.
Try before you buy especially when spending a lot of money.
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:17 PM   #76
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As far as sore muscles, there's no substitute for training, even a 60 year old guy like me still hits the weights to keep some muscle on!.
You're 60?? No kidding. After meeting you I would have guessed you were between 49 and 53.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:53 AM   #77
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You're 60?? No kidding. After meeting you I would have guessed you were between 49 and 53.
Thanks, Mark...
Most of that is just the luck of a good set of genes, I've always appeared younger than I am. To some extent, we can control how we age through diet, excersize and attitudes, but it would be difficult to overcome a bad draw from the gene pool!

And what about you? Ready to build? Or are you going to buy one of those Rapid speedsters?
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Old 08-16-2016, 11:15 AM   #78
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And what about you? Ready to build? Or are you going to buy one of those Rapid speedsters?
I'd still like to do it. My dad's not in the best of health so I may have to do it in my own garage. I keep looking at those hornbecks though! This thread has pointed me to some other alternatives as well.
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Old 08-17-2016, 07:07 PM   #79
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Good Paddling vs Easy Portaging: Have both with Spitfire?

Well the consensus of Stripperguy, Bluefire, and 1bluefin is that performance on the water is more important than easy portaging. But I want both, darn it.

I have to say, I have been very happy with the responsiveness of my Keewaydin 14. It's been fun to paddle and it tracks fairly well for me. And if I never had to portage it I wouldn't yet be thinking about an upgrade. But if I am honest, there was a portage or two I would have made on my trip to the Sylvania Wilderness that I didn't make because I just didn't want to lug the boat. If my boat weighed 18 pounds instead of 28 pounds it would make a difference.

I had been looking at the new Savage River boat, the 13'-6" Illusion, but it might have more rocker and be a tad more beamy than is ideal for me.

So I am beginning to think that a 12 foot Spitfire XLT might be the best of both worlds. A boat good on the water and easy on the portage. Can it really be only 18 pounds?

At 12 feet it also addresses 1bluefin's point about length of the boat being a concern on some portages.

I'm not going to race, so the lower top hull speed of a 12 foot boat shouldn't be a concern. I'm and old man who wants: 1) a solo canoe, 2) that will carry a maximum load, with gear, of 180 pounds, and 3) be easy to portage.

Is there any better boat for me than a Spitfire XLT?
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Old 08-28-2016, 01:08 PM   #80
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Kee 14 weight discrepancy. The Kee 14 imaged is the has carbon/Innegra quad weave fabric inside and out, and is heavier than all carbon outer, or better yet, Textreme outer layer hulls by about two pounds.
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