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Old 11-19-2017, 01:43 PM   #1
Wooden builder
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Question PBW Spitfire or Swift ADK 13.6

I have done a search and looked for comparisons but have not turned up much.

I need some help. I have been building strip canoes and kayaks for over 30 years. Built my first in high school. I am finally giving in and looking for a light weight pack canoe that I wouldn't mind dragging around the ADK and Canada without having to refinish it when i get home.

I live in PA but have retired and really enjoy getting out on my own or with a buddy for a few days. Ive seen and paddled the Swift 13.6 and really like the seat and the responsiveness. I don't have any experience with the Spitfire
other than watching one paddle by a couple times. Does anyone have any experience with both canoes?

I really would like to hear your thoughts. My plan is to get one tis coming spring.
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:52 PM   #2
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Mr builder,
Not to try to dissuade you from buying a production boat but...
If you can build strippers, you certainly can build a composite hull that rivals those production boats. And at a fraction of the cost. Last winter I built a carbon copy of my stripped Kite (14'6" and kinda beamy) that came in at a disappointing 29 lbs, 4 lbs over my expectations and calculations. My next composite will surely be lighter.

WRT your question of Spitfire vs Swift 13.6, I'm no help at all.
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Old 11-20-2017, 02:52 PM   #3
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I can't help you compare boats but St Regis Canoe Outfitters had some used Spitfires at their end of season sale last month. Might be an option to save a little bit of money...

I bought a Rapidfire last summer and no regrets at all.
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:02 PM   #4
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If you like the Swift, don't overthink it. It's a nice boat. I tried one and it seemed very fast and seaworthy. They have excellent build quality as well.

PBW are nice, but sometimes for people out of the area it's hard to actually try them. It's one of the reasons I don't own one though I might like it. It's a real chore to get up there to demo one. Swift has a great dealer network which really helps for sales.
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:23 PM   #5
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I have a PBW Rapidfire that I use mostly for personal race training when I cannot otherwise train with my multi-seat canoe race team. I have a high rail mounted seat so that I can paddle it aggressively with a single blade (not a double blade because it is a canoe, not a kayak). I do also enjoy it very much as a responsive backcountry recreational cruiser as well, and it can easily handle all the packed gear I need for long multiple overnight trips. Not as light or as easy to carry through deep woods as my Hornbeck, but the RF handles better and is much faster in open water.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:44 PM   #6
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Where in PA are you? Are you thinking of the SpitFire 13 or 12? I have the 12 footer and would be more than happy to let you give it a try.
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:42 PM   #7
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Wooden: How much do you weigh and what are you going to use the canoe for? I weigh 200 lbs and stopped in at Racquette River Outfitters to look at the Adk 13.6 which I thought might be a good choice for me for some overnight (2 -3 day solo) trips. I was advised against it as they said by the time I loaded all my gear I would be pushing the boat's intended limits. They recommended a Keewayden Pack (15 ft) boat which seemed like a bit much to me and considerably heavier. I didn't purchase one but you might think about bringing whatever gear you will be taking when you test paddle. That will give you an idea of the freeboard you will have as well as how it will handle under a load. If I were going to purchase and expensive canoe, I'd certainly want to paddle it first.

I have build a couple of strip built boats. They are certainly beautiful boats, but you might think about declaring one a utility boat and not worry so much about the scratches. In my mind, they're designed to be used, not just look pretty. To each his/her own though.
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:24 PM   #8
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I have a Swift 13.6 kayak. I tried the canoe when I bought the kayak and really liked the way it handled. I can only speak for this boat and can tell you I am wholeheartedly satisfied with it. My wife has the Swift ADK 12lt and I use that for trout fishing. They're great boats.
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Old 11-21-2017, 06:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EagleCrag View Post
Wooden: How much do you weigh and what are you going to use the canoe for? I weigh 200 lbs and stopped in at Racquette River Outfitters to look at the Adk 13.6 which I thought might be a good choice for me for some overnight (2 -3 day solo) trips. I was advised against it as they said by the time I loaded all my gear I would be pushing the boat's intended limits.
I have the PBW Spitfire 13 and I weigh 240# and it handled me, my food, camping and fishing gear with an extra paddle etc for an extended 7 day trip pond hopping in Algonquin Park. 2-3 day solo trips would are a piece of cake. I never felt or did it look overloaded nor did it feel unstable. My trip partner had a Rapid Fire on the trip as well but we were essentially solo tripping. Here's a look at the PBW's in action on the Algonquin trip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raMT...Zpj3BbIekET3ZK
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:48 PM   #10
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Thanks for the Info

Thank you all for the information and comments. I believe I have found a home of like minded people here when it comes to getting out and enjoying what mother natures has blessed us with. Before some idiot destroys it for a $


The problem I have with not keeping my strippers in top condition is in my head. That and the fact that my kids have all laid claims to them when I'm gone. lol.

A little about me.
I live in the WB Scranton area, 5'10", weigh in at 190+, and looking to use the canoe for fishing locally and day trips to 7 day multi portage hidden gem pond hops in a float plane.

At this point I don't want to build another boat. I just want to enjoy being on the water and in the back country. Without having paddled one, My concerns for the SF 13 is the seat and with the shape if it would be as effortless to paddle as the swift. It appears to have much more tumble home which would make it more stable in the big water. Of course this is all from reading the specs and looking that the pictures.
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:16 PM   #11
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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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Old 11-22-2017, 05:31 PM   #12
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I originally had all 3 of the available drop in seats that Joe offered for my RF. But for single blade paddling I wanted to sit higher. I knew Joe had a high rail mounted seat that he used when racing. When I asked him to install one in mine, he was reluctantly cautious, because most people, including him, paddle those boats with a double blade kayak paddle. I wanted to go single blade. So I got the high seat mounted on in-line rails to allow fore and aft trim. I love the configuration and do not find the boat be "tippy" at all. Actually, the amount of tip or heel I get is helpful for maneuverability. The seat is mounted with a forward 15 degrees drop in front, the best angle for racing. Because of that, the backband is not used. For other customers, I believe that Joe has strengthened the mid-section hull enough to allow for a drop seat hanging from the gunwales, but that has to be built into the boat during construction and is not an option for me now.
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:47 PM   #13
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Yes that's part of the advantage of buying New from a semi custom and hence more expensive builder
They can tweak to your specific needs. But it has to be done before construction in lightweight boats as specific areas need more reinforcing
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Old 12-17-2017, 03:10 PM   #14
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Wooden Builder,

I am your northern neighbor in Binghamton. If you ever want to paddle shoot me a message a gjoe38@yahoo

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Old 12-23-2017, 04:18 PM   #15
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A couple of years ago when I was looking, I tried the Swift Keewaydin 14 , the Northstar ( Bell) magic and the PBW Rapidfire. I found the Radipfire to be more stable then the other 2 and I wanted the extra room in a 15 footer cause I carry a lot of extras.
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Old 12-28-2017, 12:25 PM   #16
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Thanks for the reply. I always enjoy paddling and meeting new folks. You’re not too far. Maybe you can help point me to some places closer to home that make for a good paddle and camping. I'm planning a couple trips up to the Adirondacks this spring and summer. The first I usually do alone because I can’t find anyone to go with me and that goes to Fork Lake for some spring fishing, camping and hiking. We also do a camping trip up to Middle Saranac In July/ August time frame. Since the ADK can be a hike for me I prefer to combine the trips with a couple overnight stays whenever time allows.
I’m hoping to work out a deal with one of the outfitters in the ADK to let me rent a Swift 13.5, or Keewatin 14 with the new convi seat for the trip in the spring with the agreement that if I like it I will buy it and put the rental cost toward the price.
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Old 12-29-2017, 07:08 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stripperguy View Post
Mr builder,
Not to try to dissuade you from buying a production boat but...
If you can build strippers, you certainly can build a composite hull that rivals those production boats. And at a fraction of the cost. Last winter I built a carbon copy of my stripped Kite (14'6" and kinda beamy) that came in at a disappointing 29 lbs, 4 lbs over my expectations and calculations. My next composite will surely be lighter.

WRT your question of Spitfire vs Swift 13.6, I'm no help at all.
When you build your new lighter one, I'd be happy to take that heavy, bulky, 29 lb monstrosity off your hands.
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:40 AM   #18
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Closer to home

In 2015 I did a kayak trip on the Delaware river from Narrowsburg, NY to Mill Rift (Near Port Jervis). Its 31 miles I believe and we camped over night at the Barrysville, NY campground. A super fun trip!

I'm hoping to make several kayak/canoe trips to the ADK's this year as well..

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Old 01-08-2018, 12:55 PM   #19
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Pack Canoes

All Swift and Placid hulls are David Yost designs, infused carbon/Kevlar/Innegra laminates. All Placid designs and some Swift have tumblehomed sides, allowing use of a shorter paddle, a higher cadence and thereby more forward speed with improved tracking. All feature differential rocker, significantly less at stern to improve tracking with double blade paddles.

Placid's outfitting is performance oriented, both have adjustable footpegs, and back support. Swift's seat is more comfortable but heavier. They are the two best designed and made pack boats in the market. Best include Swift's Kee 14 in your chart. With tumblehome and DY's new stepped rocker it is the most recent design. The stepped rocker, a pronounced increase in rocker towards the bow, increases forward speed and maneuverability.
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Old 01-26-2018, 12:29 PM   #20
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All,

Thank you very much for all the replies. You have been very helpful. Swift has solved the issue of which manufacturer to go with by introducing their new adjustable height seat pods in carbon fiber. This is the solution I was looking for.

No after much discussion I have a new issue. Swift pack13.6 or the Keewaydin 14 or 15 pack boat (both in Kevlar) .

As stated before I am 5'10" tall and hopefully should be between 175 and 180 come spring.

At the moment I'm leaning toward a Keewaydin 14 pack. with carbon adjustable height seat pods.
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