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Old 07-12-2010, 11:09 AM   #1
Grey-Jay
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Wenonah Wee Lassie vs. Hornbeck equivalent

Assuming foot braces on a Hornbeck, anyone test paddled both and can offer a comparison of the Hornbeck model closest to the Wenonah and the Wee Lassie.

Most important attribute - not getting blown around in cross winds with canoe not weighed down with gear. My Bell Bucktail previously owned seemed to be impacted easily by wind.

Desired use: exploration of backcountry ponds, roadside to a mile distant, small flatwater twisty streams.
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:41 AM   #2
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I have a Hornbeck Black Jack but have never paddled the WeWee lassie so I can't comment on the two (don't you love it when people comment but not on the specific question you asked?) but, by putting the canoe cover on my boat it handles the wind so much better.
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Old 07-12-2010, 12:45 PM   #3
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Were did you get the cover for your Hornbeck, I have a 12' low jack would be interested in a cover...thanks
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dpc34 View Post
Were did you get the cover for your Hornbeck, I have a 12' low jack would be interested in a cover...thanks
I made my own, custom fit over my backpack (the bulge aft of the seat). In my case I used snaps in the wood gunwale, but I've seen velcro used just as easily. Total cost: about $24. Alternatively there is a source online to make one for you, if you are willing to part with $395.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:29 PM   #5
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Were did you get the cover for your Hornbeck, I have a 12' low jack would be interested in a cover...thanks
Friend made it.

It's good to have friends with sewing skills

It's based on Wldrn's design.



The nice part with the Black Jack is with the outward curving gunnel you can just tension the cover edge and it holds under the lip without drilled fasteners.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:44 PM   #6
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I assume if one ultimate goal is camping out at Fish Pond, weight becomes more imprtant than paddling speed and the Hornbeck Black Jacks are ideal for such trips vs. other heavier boats?
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:45 PM   #7
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Hull Shape

The Hornbeck 12 can be had much lighter than the Wenonah, but at somewhat higher price. The main disadvantage of the Hornbeck is the extreme cheek at both stems that reduces the effective waterline by almost 3 feet. [Forward speed is approximately computed by multiplying the sq root of the waterline length by 1.5 for mph.] The Wenonah is much, much, faster and will much more seaworthy and somewhat more rugged.

For pricing similar to the Hornbeck, also consider GRB, Hemlock and Savage pack canoes. For a little more cash, look up the Vermont Tupper and the new Swift 12. Both are more rugged boats.

One might test Placid boats' SpitFire, the fastest, most sea kindly and best handling boat in the 12 foot class, but also the dearest. The ten dollar burger usually tastes better than the one on the dollar menu; boats are similar. Blissfully for the pack canoeist, there are lots of choices to arrive at one's personal mix of weight, performance and price.

Whatever boat you select, get a good paddle. A couple hundred dollars +/- doesn't change boat quality much, but it makes a HUGE difference in paddle quality.

Last edited by charlie wilson; 07-17-2010 at 12:45 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:44 AM   #8
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In summary, it seems that an important decision in choosing one of these 10-12 foot pack canoes is whether you will be frequently "carrying" a significant distance where lightest weight possible is required, sacrificing speed and other performance features. If one's primary goal is frequent day outings or camping trips with carrys to interior ponds, the logical choice seems the Hornbeck boats. If carrys are minimal or infrequent, there are better performing boats which weigh more but surely still light weight.

Dilemma -If I am doing the Lowes lake-Oswegatchie trip, I would personally want a 12-16 pound boat, not a 25-30 pound boat for the carry. Yet to paddle that length of the Bog River and Lowes Lake, I would want a more efficent boat that the Hornbeck. Looks like you can't have it all.
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:08 AM   #9
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Dilemma -If I am doing the Lowes lake-Oswegatchie trip, I would personally want a 12-16 pound boat, not a 25-30 pound boat for the carry. Yet to paddle that length of the Bog River and Lowes Lake, I would want a more efficent boat that the Hornbeck. Looks like you can't have it all.
Spot on!

I got a 10.5' Hornbeck in '03 and it is a pleasure to put up on the car and carry to put-ins and longer carries. But I realized that for extended trips on the water it was a little slow and uncomfortable for me. I figured I use a canoe for paddling so it was better to have a canoe that was better on the water-that's why I bit the bullet and got a RapidFire. Don't get me wrong, the Hornbeck is a great canoe for pond hopping but if I'm going to be out all day or even half a day with short carries I'll be in the RapidFire. I do plan on using the Hornbeck to get into Fish Pond in the St. Regis Canoe Area either this year or next...

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Old 07-13-2010, 09:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermont Scott View Post
I got a 10.5' Hornbeck in '03 and it is a pleasure to put up on the car and carry to put-ins and longer carries. But I realized that for extended trips on the water it was a little slow and uncomfortable for me. I figured I use a canoe for paddling so it was better to have a canoe that was better on the water-that's why I bit the bullet and got a RapidFire. Don't get me wrong, the Hornbeck is a great canoe for pond hopping but if I'm going to be out all day or even half a day with short carries I'll be in the RapidFire....
I agree with Scott, and restate that each choice is a compromise, though I don't find the Hornbeck to be particularly uncomfortable. I'm lucky enough to have both a Hornbeck 10.5 and a Rapidfire. Where the Hornbeck shines best for me is on true off-trail bushwhack travel that I often do, particularly in the backcountry blowdown areas of the 5 Ponds Wilderness and similar areas. A few pounds makes a tremendous difference in ease of travel and of balance for safety under those conditions. When the majority of steps are "up and over the next log", the pounds really do add up. Ability to turn between trees is another significant factor and is dramatically easier with a 10.5' boat than with a 15.5 foot boat. A longer/heavier canoe, even the Rapidfire, can be difficult and frustrating to maneuver when closely spaced trees and underfoot debris are dense. However, on a decent trail (including the Lows-Oswegatchie connect trail) with a good carry system, the Rapidfire would be the boat of choice if there is significant distance paddling to be done.

On the other hand, I have many times taken the Hornbeck on Lows, even in rough weather (not a problem with spray cover installed). Without a strong headwind, if you paddle right along I know for a fact that you can make it from the lower dam to Grass Pond within 4 hours. From there the real fun begins to visit remote untrampled ponds.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:14 AM   #11
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Looks as if a Swift Adirondak 12 could come in at 18lbs and a 12' Spitfire could come in at 20lbs: not in your 12-16lbs range... but way under your 25-30lbs range.

Where do you draw the line though? The jump from a 12lbs Hornbeck to a 24lbs Flashfire or 25lbs Rapidfire might be too much... but if you reject the 12lbs Hornbeck for something nearer 16lbs... you're getting close to Swift Adirondack weight... and then the 2lbs to the Spitfire seems minimal... and then you're left thinking that the Flashfire (or Rapidfire) no longer comes in at only 20% more.

Whatever you decide, you always have the option of convincing yourself that you've got the balance just right: most folk on forums seem to do the same thing - write as if the choice finally made was the only one that could possibly have made sense
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:32 AM   #12
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Other info:

Perhaps spoiled by a 17-6 sea kayak, I have paddled anothers Hornbeck 10-? Kevlar and remember hitting a speed wall rather quick. Pleasing to paddle slow, not pleasing to move along when desired.

My previously owned Bell Bucktail fiberglass drifted and blew around in wind much more than desired.

Placid Boatworks are not being considered only due to cost. My newer sea kayak cost in excess of $3K so another priced vessel will not happen. My Werner paddle alone cost $400. I fully agree to its high quality and performance but either a lottery winning or inheritance will be the only path to a Spitfire or Rapidfire as of now.

I may be forced to look for used, which might mean Hornbecks as most available.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:51 AM   #13
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..... the choice finally made was the only one that could possibly have made sense
A universal truth!!! Beware the fate of the donkey exactly half-way between two bales of hay, and starved to death because he couldn't decide between them. b
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:55 PM   #14
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In early June I carried canoe and gear to Big Bad Luck Pond, which I think was about 3 miles, and so I was glad to have a 10 foot Hornbeck. Wind doesn't bother it and it rides over pond waves, not that I would think about taking it out on big water in bad weather. And it is fast enough for me--I'm usually in no hurry.

I do become uncomfortable in it, though, after a couple hours of paddling; even when fishing, three hours is my limit.
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Old 07-17-2010, 01:15 PM   #15
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A Query on Cheek

I just received a query asking for an explanation of the benefits and negatives of "cheek in paddlecraft, as I was pretty sketchy in my earlier comments.

Cheek, significant hollow in the stems of hulls, was a function of material selection. When wid-ish planks are twisted from the flat at hull's bottom to the vertical at the stem, they create hollow. This was included in every Rushton as he made lapped wood boats. The look has been carried on in composite replicas for cosmetic, not hydrodynamic reasons.

Paddlecraft must overcome two forms of resistance; skin friction and wavemaking resistance. Skin friction, or drag, is a straight line function of the surface area of wetted skin and it's condition. Cheek increases wetted surface somewhat. Skin condition is pretty much the same on all composite hulls when they come out of the mold, but remember that a moderately used hull may have half again the drag of a new hull!

Wave making resistance is amplified with hull width, so waterline width to length ratios are important, but waterline length is the key determinate of hull speed. As a hull speeds up, it starts creating transverse waves. As speed increases the distance between transverse waves increases. At theoretical maximum hull speed, the hull is in a two wave wash, bow and stern supported on just two waves with no others along the hull. Further increase in speed causes the hull to drop into the trough between the transverse waves. Humans lack the power to climb over the bow wave so a realistic maximum is reached. The formula is Sq root of waterline length X 1.55 = T MAx in MPH. Longer hulls are always faster, except when they have cheek. The minimal volume of cheeked stems will not support the hull on the two wave wash; the stems cut down through the transverse waves sooner than hulls with fuller stems.

This is verifiable. Climb in a Pungo or similar short hull. "Hull speed" is easily reached, no amount of extra power can drive the thing up across the transverse wave at the bow.

How much cheek is an issue? Winters claims 3/8" in 3 feet is maximum allowable hollow; any more encourages early separation, locating the stern transverse wave at the hips of the canoe. Take a three foot dowel along when comparing hulls.

References? Howie LaBrants 1962 article "The Principles of Canoe Design" is available from the American Whitewater archives. John Winters "The Shape of the Canoe" is available from Redwing Blackbird. Benford's "Navel Architecture for Non Navel Architects" and Gilmers "Modern Ship Design have useful sections amongst data on wiring and fuel tank placement. Bon chance!

Last edited by charlie wilson; 07-19-2010 at 08:11 PM..
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:24 AM   #16
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What is the role of cheeked stems in aiding straight line travel?

It seems that in order to avoid spinning like a teacup in very short pack canoes driven by people who have sweeping long double blade strokes the cheek and the fine stems might aid in tracking.

Not that its the only way..there are other ways that require a refinement of the forward double blade power stroke...but perhaps an obvious way or ...no?

Seems a shame to have a 11 foot boat that is actually only 8 or nine foot long though. However everything is a tradeoff.
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