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Old 12-26-2020, 07:56 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Creek
Posts: 28
RIP Pete Hornbeck

Copying this from the Hornbeck Boats Facebook page.
It is with immeasurable heartbreak we must share the news our founder, Peter Hornbeck, died today. His family is in shock. Pete enjoyed Christmas with Ann, Leigh, Josh and his grandsons Rushton and Devlin. He died of a heart attack after a walk in the woods with his family. There was no warning; Pete had a clean bill of health from the cardiologist just this month. We take solace from knowing he went quickly, in the place he loved, with the people he loved most. No services are planned for now, we will host a memorial service in the spring.
I only met Pete once, when I purchased my canoe in 2006. He took me to lunch and talked to me about backcountry canoeing and how he came to be a boat designer/builder. He was a fine man and he will be missed.
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Old 12-26-2020, 09:08 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
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I have three models of Hornbeck as part of my fleet hanging in my garage. I'll never forget the day I first met him. I was planning on a making a diagonal across-Adirondacks canoe trip back in 2005. I settled on getting a Hornbeck for light weight on the many planned carries. One spring day I went to Pete's with a friend who already had a Hornbeck and knew Pete. On the floor of Pete's "office" was a shiny black beauty. i said 'what's that?". He said it was an experiment, a hybrid carbon/kevlar layup. The very first one ever made. It weighed only a single pound lighter than the standard all kevlar. He said he did not know how it would perform or last. Then we went upstairs into the loft where he kept all the boats he had built that winter. Dozens of yellow kevlar boats hung vertically like so many sides of beef. Pete said, see why I want to try something different? So how much is the hybrid downstairs? "It will be $100 more than the standard". I'd like to try it out on your pond. I knew right away that I would take it home with me, and so I did.

After my trek from Boonville to Lake Champlain beyond Plattsburgh one hot dry July week, my boat had suffered a number of scratches and crushed cheeks. 185 total miles with overall 62 miles of carries including a very rocky lower Saranac River will do that. I took it to show Pete and he reinforced the crushed fabric. How much do I owe you, Pete? Nothing he said, "I would do the same for any customer."

So that's the kind of guy Pete was. I am sorry I had not visited him recently. I shall miss him. I'll strap my Hornbeck on my back and head on down the road to remember you as I easily get to the water. See ya later, Peter my friend.
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File Type: jpg Hornbeck on the way TAT.jpg (34.9 KB, 289 views)
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

Last edited by Wldrns; 12-27-2020 at 02:43 PM..
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Old 12-27-2020, 12:22 AM   #3
nutmeg creeker
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Location: New Haven Ct & North Creek
Posts: 425
I drove my Forester into his driveway one day in 2010 and Pete came out and said "This car needs a boat on the top." I said "That's why I'm here." I ran into him at various times throughout the years and really regret that those days are now over. Condolences to his family and friends. This is very sad news.
"Days in the woods are days beyond time"--Paul Jamieson
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Old 12-27-2020, 09:13 AM   #4
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 163
Very sad news. My parents bought two of Pete's early boats, and they (and additional ones) are a huge part of our family's outdoor adventures. I just paddled one of those originals Dec. 23 on a stream in the southern ADK, and have taken it to Henderson and Avalanche Lakes, as well as to Boreas Ponds before the road opened. Priceless memories, thanks to the vision of a true Adirondack original.
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Old 12-27-2020, 03:12 PM   #5
Cold River Bob
Bob in the Sewards
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Here is a Article wrote about Pete
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Old 12-27-2020, 03:13 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: central NYS
Posts: 327
Pete worked with me when I wanted to purchase a boat for my Mom's 70th birthday. To help me save money he offered to make the boat on his new mold. He told me that the first boat made on a new mold was always done in fiberglass because if there ended up being a problem, it was cheaper than having to toss a kevlar boat; no carbon fiber at that time. It was a very generous offer and allowed me to get the canoe for my Mom; who paddled it until just after her 90th birthday. Even though the boat was still under 20 pounds, I remember him apologizing for it being "so heavy." Quite the guy...

That's all for now. Take care and until next well.

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Old 01-08-2021, 09:28 AM   #7
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The North Forest Trail Record

In 2007 my son and I ran into a paddler on the Allagash...on Chesuncook. We spotted his Hornbeck making the crossing to Gero Island towards the end of a very windy day. Anyone who has paddled that stretch knows how dangerous it can be in a wind. We helped him to shore after his crossing, shared a bit of bourbon with him around the fire and talked about his adventure. He raved about his canoe, a "beck". He planned to take it back for repairs after his epic trip. Chip was hammering! The next morning my son and I hit the water early. The upcoming carry is a PITA. Based upon previous experience I wanted to get it over with early. We were paddling a 17 1/2 foot W/C Traveler that neither of us looked forward to carrying. We weren't a third of the way to the carry when Ckip pulled up next to us in his beck. We weren't exactly coasting but he had closed on us in a flash and was not having any trouble keeping up. Apparently he was no slouch and his canoe was well up to the task. We helped him over a few beaver dams and over the carry. He hit Mud Pond with determination and once his canoe pulled free of the mud (really) he was gone in a flash. Here's a link to an article about that. We were in touch with him after that...Peter sorted out the cracks, breaks and damage FOC.
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Old 01-26-2021, 01:05 PM   #8
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 33
Got my Classic 12 several years ago. When I got there in May of that year to test out various models, Pete was there and treated my wife and me very well. He took us out to lunch along with another couple that was there from Buffalo to pick up their canoe, as well as the editor of one of the ADK monthly magazines. Something that I still remember (along with the swarm of mosquitos around the testing pond) was how he made everyone feel so comfortable and how nice he was. He offered to let us stay in a guest room overnight, as it was getting late and we had a long trip back home; however, we declined his generous offer.
When I picked up my order a few months later, he sold me a kayak paddle that was much better than the cheap one I had, and the price was less than I could have purchased online. He also sketched a little picture on one of his posters and put a little note on it , which I have rolled up somewhere in storage.
I have been out on my Classic 12 hundreds of times in those years and I'm thankful to have it as well as thankful for all the people that I have met out and about on the water, thanks to that and thanks to Pete for making such a great boat.
Pete Hornbeck truly left a huge mark on the outdoors community and will be remembered fondly.
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Old 06-27-2021, 01:05 PM   #9
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Location: VT
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Pete was a friend to me, and I mourn his loss. Because of his generosity many years ago when I could not afford one of his boats I have paddled much of the Adirondacks, Maine, the Boundary Waters, and all over Ontario and Quebec. I have had many incredible adventures and it really all started with a long conversation by the pond at his shop.
Pete used to say, "I don't like many people, but I like you." and we would all laugh.
We had an open invitation to stay at his cabin and took him up on it several times.
The last time we were going to meet up with him his wife met told us that he was not well. We had talked about doing some paddling. I am sorry to say that I never saw him again.
Pete was very generous and funny in his cantankerous way! I miss him very much.
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Old 06-27-2021, 01:35 PM   #10
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I never met the man, but it sounds like he was a class act
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