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Thread: Old Town Charles River

  1. #61
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    Hi everyone
    I have owned a Charles River RX for a year. Below are my impressions.
    The boat is very nice, super nice actually, for flat water. It is a bit longer than more sixteen-footers and the combination of a very very shallow v and quite a bit of sheer makes it track really well, while rendering it easy to manoeuvre when heeled. The side profile of the boat is one of the nicest features. It seats low on the water and the combination of straight sides and tumblehome makes it a real joy to paddle Canadian style. It has lots of stability, both primary and secondary, which makes it a really nice boat to pole. Because of the stability, it is a great boat to coach from, as you can pick up swimmers and rescue canoes quite happily and it can give confidence to newbies. The boat it is quite light for its length.
    The high ends of the boat make it one of the nicest-looking boats in the market. Sadly they are also the main weakness, as the catch wind. Having said that, I think it is fair to add that this is a problem when paddling solo; when paddling tandem, if both paddlers are the more or less the same weight, it is not a problem at all, because the lower sides compensate for the high ends, so no big deal. When paddling solo, trimming is vital. Being a longer boat, the seats are a bit further away from the centre, so when paddling from the bow seat with the boat facing backwards, the stern (bow) rises far too much, and the wind will affect the boat quite a lot. So, if paddling solo with little gear, it is really important to move close the centre as soon as the wind picks up. Other than that, I really love the boat and I would recommend it.
    Old Town class it as a recreational boat; for a long time I thought that classification doesn't make the boat justice. They are probably right, but if you are taking gear with you to prevent the front from riding too high, I wouldn't have any issues with classing it as a touring boat.
    I sold the boat - may be a bit too hastily. As soon as I stepped onto the Mad River Explorer I have bought to replace it (so I could do white water), I missed the nice, smooth feeling straight away.

  2. #62
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    Really useful thread, seriously considering one of these or the marginally cheaper Mad River Explorer 14. Thanks to all for info above.

  3. #63
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    Hi Fluffy Duck.

    The Charles River and The Mad River Explorer are quite different boats. For a start, the Charles river has less rocker, and lower gunnels, a good touring boat, where as the Mad River is more suited to whitewater. The Charles river will handle in Whitewater but is more at home on the lake. I would try and get a go in the two if possible to try them out. Having paddled the Mad River on Flatwater, it tires me out quite quickly, whereas the Prospector design or a Charles River would (in my humble opinion) track more smoothly on the lake.

    I have attached images of mine to give you and idea of what one outfitted for lake/river tripping use might look like.

    NB: I have deflated the airbags slightly for storage.






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  4. #64
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    The Mad River and Charles River are very different boats, the 16ft CR Rx catches the wind more, is prone to oil canning ... you can see the bottom of the boat rippling as you paddle it tandem ... the faster you go the more it ripples ... until you, if you are the stern paddler, are kneeling on waves ... we reckoned that we topped it out at about 4.5 mph.
    The 16ft CR Rx has a Bronze Medal in the ~100mile Cheshire Ring Race in 2011 (see http://www.potteriespaddlers.co.uk/h...race_2011.html) ... I do like that boat :-)
    Mind you I like the Venture Prospecter 16 Rx (sadly no longer made), Silver 2012 (see http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...ty+perspective)
    ... and what do I usually paddle ... a Mad River Explorer 16 TT (heavy & almost bomb proof)

    Try to paddle all the alternatives that you are considering before you buy
    DCUK
    Can't ytpe or roopf read

  5. #65
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    Default The MR "Explorer" 14.5' canoe is not in any way suitable for ww.

    I want to rail against the contention that the 14.5' Mad River "Explorer" is somehow suited to whitewater. I have NEVER seen any ww paddler in the States using that particular "Explorer". I acknowledge that some UK paddlers are happy with it, but apparently they have not paddled the REAL Mad River Explorers, the Explorer 15 and Explorer 16.

    I have a friend who used to campaign an Explorer 16, solo, on serious class 3-4-5 whitewater such as the Chauga Gorge, the upper Conasauga, and section 4 of the Chattooga. These are all fairly technical, demanding, high gradient streams. I would never paddle the so-called "Explorer" 14.5 on any of these rivers. By they way, I was along to watch on all of those runs. Except for a few incredibly able experts, anyone in an "Explorer" 14.5 would have been eaten for lunch.

    The best feature of the "Explorer" 14.5' is that it is cheap. But it is NOT suited in any specific way to whitewater, and it is short, fat, and slow on flatwater. Defend it if you must, but meet me on an easy slalom course and I will show you why the 14.5 is far from being a serious ww canoe.

    If you have one, paddle it as long as you need to save up for something more suitable.

    I have owned and paddled the following Mad River canoes over 40 years, a Mad River Compatriot, a MR Synergy, and a MR Guide Solo (14.5').

    As for the Charles River, the comments I have seen so far are likely to be accurate. I have many, many hours on the Charles River.

  6. #66
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    Having Paddled Both the Mad River Explorer and The Old Town Charles River here's my two penneth.

    The Explorer. For what it is, it's a good value boat, and depending on the Person it may be the best boat for them. However I Have to agree with ezwater. It might be sold as a White-water canoe but it is not only a pig to get going, the v cut in the hull also makes it incredibly unstable on white-water. If anything, it's more stable on the Flat! Agreed as well - it's a great boat while you get into the sport.

    Now onto the Old Town.

    What a beautiful boat. I've paddled most boats out there, Prospectors of various makes, Bells, Novacraft's, We-no-nah.....you get the idea. The Charles River handles superbly on the Flat. It is stable, tracks well, and despite the looks, I find it didn't catch the wind too much, unlike the Novacraft Prospector we were also paddling that day, which did.

    I found that even with Airbags, there was plenty of room left for Kit Storage. What I really like about it is the low Gunnels compared to other designs. For me this is a feature I find useful, others may wish to go for something with higher gunnels. I have the Poly Version which comes in at 36kg. I laughed initially when I saw the carrying Yoke, but find I can take it off the car and use it for small portages no issue. Putting it on is a different matter! It's a tough Boat, but scratches easily.

    In case you are still looking Fluffy Duck, I would strongly recommend you try out as many different boats as you can. The Mad River Explorer and the Charles River are completely different boats for different purposes. It all depends on what you want to use it for. For example, I wouldn't want to take the Charles River down Grade 4, but I might if it was a Explorer. Similarly, for multi-day trips with light river work, the Charles River would win hands down.

    But all of the above is personal, some will disagree, and some agree, with my findings. It's all about how it feels to you.




    Happy Paddling
    _______________________
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  7. Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by SandfordSailor View Post
    Just spotted this - if you contact OT they will send you some nice new transfers for free!
    I followed this top tip... and was given short shrift. OT replied, 'We don't happen to send internationally and don't supply free decals'

  8. #68
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    I contacted Johnson Outdoors who were the Old Town agents and was sent post free a set of stickers within a couple of days.@Bandeedo,who was it you contacted ?

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandeedo View Post
    I followed this top tip... and was given short shrift. OT replied, 'We don't happen to send internationally and don't supply free decals'
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus2 View Post
    I contacted Johnson Outdoors who were the Old Town agents and was sent post free a set of stickers within a couple of days.@Bandeedo,who was it you contacted ?
    Johnson are no longer trading in the UK. The new importer is SMG Europe in Plymouth. http://www.smgeurope.com/Watercraft/...-list.cfm?s=12. Unlike Johnson, they're not part of the US business, just a distributor.

    Might be worth a try.

  10. #70

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    Hi.... have just joined this site and would love some advice regarding the Charles River Canoe in plastic. I recently decided to buy my first canoe and was looking at a new Hou 14 weighing 26kg ith a view to solo canoeing and occassionally my wife coming along. I have the option of buying a plastic Charles River canoe weighing 36kg. I'm 62, 5'9 and reasonably strong and fit but am concerned this would be to heavy to move round on my own on a regular basis. Caould you offer me an opinion?

    many thanks in anticipation.

    Nigel

  11. #71
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    Hello and Welcome

    The Charles River is a pretty good all rounder, but I think if the use is mostly solo you will find it a bit heavy. Its possible, with the aid of a trolley and a good car-topping technique though.
    I've not yet seen a Hou. It may well be a better solo boat, and if its just for occasional day trips with your wife, 14' should be OK. It would be small for tandem camping trips though.
    If its these two, it would depend to me on the proportion of solo v tandem trips. Mostly solo, I'd probably consider the Hou.

  12. #72
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    Hi Nigel,

    As someone with a 90lb (38kg?) and a 27kg boat (Royalex charles river) who is 5ft 4 short and stubby I find the weight not an issue getting on and off the car for either canoe when loading and getting to my put in but after a tiring day paddling I really notice the weight difference! As far as a lighter canoe goes it depends on how many portages you will have. With the 38kg plastic boat I really really struggle on my own dragging it up and down river banks and getting out of canals but at least it will take scratches better so I just haul it out over concrete canal banks.

    The charles river though, being royalex, doesn't take to being dragged up a stony bank or dragged over a canal side too much so I have to use a mat. The hassle of the more delicate boat compared to the rough and ready much heavier plastic one balances out. When solo you'll always find the odd issue with either weight or not wanting to scratch it.

    If tandem, I find neither are a weight problem.

    Since all canoes hold their price well second hand I'd go for the cheaper plastic one, see how you get on, then sell if needed because by that time you'll know what you want. That's what I did only I realised that there is a case for having a plastic bullet proof canoe you can use and abuse and also I nice lighter one.

    Tandem wise either ok unless you do a lot of canoeing and with canoe camping I think you always want a bigger canoe.

    The problem with canoeing is that until you've got your first canoe you won't know for sure what you want and everyone has differing opinions, and once you have a canoe you then realise what you ought to have bought

    I will say that the Charles River is a very stable canoe for first timers
    --
    Andy

  13. #73

    Default Second hand Old Town Charles River

    Hi everyone ,

    read both replies, thank you very much indeed, and decided I would buy the Second hand Old Town Charles River (Plastic) as my wife has expressed a wish to go camping with the boat. I have found a great one that is 5 years old and has had a private owner for 3 years. I have paid 420 for boat and 3 paddles which seemed a good deal. I now need a roof rack, life jacket, trolley and wet suites How exciting

    thanks again.

    Nigel


    Quote Originally Posted by andylincs View Post
    Hi Nigel,

    As someone with a 90lb (38kg?) and a 27kg boat (Royalex charles river) who is 5ft 4 short and stubby I find the weight not an issue getting on and off the car for either canoe when loading and getting to my put in but after a tiring day paddling I really notice the weight difference! As far as a lighter canoe goes it depends on how many portages you will have. With the 38kg plastic boat I really really struggle on my own dragging it up and down river banks and getting out of canals but at least it will take scratches better so I just haul it out over concrete canal banks.

    The charles river though, being royalex, doesn't take to being dragged up a stony bank or dragged over a canal side too much so I have to use a mat. The hassle of the more delicate boat compared to the rough and ready much heavier plastic one balances out. When solo you'll always find the odd issue with either weight or not wanting to scratch it.

    If tandem, I find neither are a weight problem.

    Since all canoes hold their price well second hand I'd go for the cheaper plastic one, see how you get on, then sell if needed because by that time you'll know what you want. That's what I did only I realised that there is a case for having a plastic bullet proof canoe you can use and abuse and also I nice lighter one.

    Tandem wise either ok unless you do a lot of canoeing and with canoe camping I think you always want a bigger canoe.

    The problem with canoeing is that until you've got your first canoe you won't know for sure what you want and everyone has differing opinions, and once you have a canoe you then realise what you ought to have bought

    I will say that the Charles River is a very stable canoe for first timers

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrythemole View Post
    Hi everyone ,

    read both replies, thank you very much indeed, and decided I would buy the Second hand Old Town Charles River (Plastic) as my wife has expressed a wish to go camping with the boat. I have found a great one that is 5 years old and has had a private owner for 3 years. I have paid 420 for boat and 3 paddles which seemed a good deal. I now need a roof rack, life jacket, trolley and wet suites How exciting

    thanks again.

    Nigel
    That's a good price. COngrats on your new arrival!

  15. #75
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    With Royalex in limbo, and poly heavy and often rubbery, I again take the occasion to remind you all of the several Wenonah Tufweave models, which are light, stiff, durable and repairable. I would not choose them for whitewater, but for all other conditions, including dragging up the bank, they shine.

  16. #76
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    I now need a roof rack
    Is it a roof rack or roof bars that you need ?
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  17. #77
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    And for what car?

  18. #78
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    Has anyone outfitted this canoe with four seats? Would that even be possible? And if so, would it leave space for gear?

    Or would a longer model be more advisable, like the discovery 169?

  19. #79
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    Question How!

    I'm not at all keen on the (to me) excessive re-curve of the Charles River personally, so would never ever buy one but that aside;

    How do people car top these canoes?

    You see, when I car top solo, I usually put the boat on from the side, secure it and away. Then when I get where I'm going, I lift and slide it off the back of the car. There are of course times when I have to put the boat back on the car, from the back, due to people parking too close to my car. This would be impossible with a charles river,due to the huge "bird of prey beaks", so as I say, how do you do it?

    Steve


    Now paddling Either a Gumotex Palava 400 Or a Gumotex Solar Pro 410c and LOVING IT!

  20. #80
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    I don't think 4 seats would be wise in any canoe of that sort of length. When you say 4 seats, is it 2 adults plus 2 kids, or 4 adults. The latter won't work, even with the former you'd really need at minimum a 17' and the kids sharing one wider seat in the middle, if you're to take gear with you too.

    Sorry Steve, I don't think your point is that important, whatever the canoe I put it on and take it off from the side. If there's a car parked really close, I'd just move my car for the time taken to load up.

  21. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    I don't think 4 seats would be wise in any canoe of that sort of length. When you say 4 seats, is it 2 adults plus 2 kids, or 4 adults. The latter won't work, even with the former you'd really need at minimum a 17' and the kids sharing one wider seat in the middle, if you're to take gear with you too.

    Sorry Steve, I don't think your point is that important, whatever the canoe I put it on and take it off from the side. If there's a car parked really close, I'd just move my car for the time taken to load up.
    I see what you mean Mal, not that important if you're parked in a car park or a quiet road or whatever, but what about if you're parked in one of the lakeside layby's down the side of Ullswater?

    I don't know if you've ever paddled Ullswater Mal or even driven down the side for that matter? , but if not, just have a look on google earth and you'll hopefully see what I mean.

    You get there and all is quiet,sublime even!,loads of space, no problem. Unload and off you go.

    But 6 hours later when you come back, the layby is literally chocka block and there is simply no where to move your car to, for loading your boat! The roads there are crazy in the summer after about 9am and continue to be manic till well after 8pm in my experience. If you tried to move your car to a position for loading from the side, you'd probably either cause a traffic accident or else more or less block the road. Even if it only took you a minute or two to get the boat on the car, you've still got to tie the blxxdy thing on before you can move, there's at least another five minutes-I can just see the driver of a coach full of Japanese tourists or some jumped up, stressed out rep, on his way to a meeting or whatever, sitting quietly, while you sort out your boat, blocking one side of the narrow road.

    That really is the way to promote the pastime.

    Not every paddling location, has alternative loading options Mal

    So, my original question remains just as important: How do you do it?


    Now paddling Either a Gumotex Palava 400 Or a Gumotex Solar Pro 410c and LOVING IT!

  22. #82
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    That's 2 adults and two kids, Mal, aged 3 and 6 but constantly growing. So for the moment, sharing a seat is no problem (that's not counting the Sibling Wars of Boredom and Excess Sugar), but if the wee boy goes on growing as if on industrial fertilizer...

    So we'd be looking for something spacious enough to at least hold the option of expansion for the future.

  23. #83
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    I've no direct experience, but have paddled with lots of friends with kids, on some quite big trips. With 2 kids of that age, most seem to manage with the 3rd seat in a 16 for day trips, but run out of room for overnighters quite quickly. Much older and you'd either need a very long (rare) canoe 18'+ or most seem to inevitably end up with 2 canoes or a canoe and a kayak.

    Check out the Loch Shiel blogs for pictures of some family "expedition" camping trips, and speak to people like Davy 90 and Bootstrap Bob for advice.

    For day trips, it might be easy to improvise temporary seating with dry bags / boxes etc, to stop those sugar-fed arguments!



    Steve, I've paddled there, and used at least one of the lay-bys, but only off season! So far, I've always managed to have enough space between me and the car next to me to get between them with the canoe half over my car...and great care!
    I actually think you'd still be able to load a Charles River from behind, but it would be tricky. For what its worth, I don't like the shape that much either, but the actual extra height of the bows is surprisingly little extra compared with my Prospector.

  24. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    I've no direct experience, but have paddled with lots of friends with kids, on some quite big trips. With 2 kids of that age, most seem to manage with the 3rd seat in a 16 for day trips, but run out of room for overnighters quite quickly. Much older and you'd either need a very long (rare) canoe 18'+ or most seem to inevitably end up with 2 canoes or a canoe and a kayak.

    Check out the Loch Shiel blogs for pictures of some family "expedition" camping trips, and speak to people like Davy 90 and Bootstrap Bob for advice.
    Cheers again for the help.

    18'+ is maybe not the first choice, it being too close to an ocean liner.

    Kayak is the prospective plan for the future. The older one isn't aware of that yet, but she'll find out sure enough when she finds herself stranded in a boat far away from her mother's sugar rations.

    This boat here from your blog (thanks for the link by the way, highly amusing, yet once more rubbing in that many people have dwellings near stunning places and I don't ;-) ) does resemble ours when on overnighters:



    Do you happen to know how long that boat is?

  25. #85
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    That's a biggy - over 18 feet I think - but quite narrow. Previously they (the Davy 90 clan) had a 17' Old Town Penobscot which they reckon had similar, if not more, usable volume.

    Somewhere are some photos of trips when they only had a 15' Wenonah Prospector, with all 4 of them, overnight gear, and a dog, in the canoe. Which is why they bought the 17'...

  26. #86
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    Getting a bit Off topic for a Charles River thread - our Minnesota II is 18'6 long and despite enjoying paddling it, I wouldn't recommend it as a family tripping canoe as it has little primary stability, feeling very twitchy and sensitive to weight distribution across its beam particularly when stationary. It is also very pointy at the ends and the metalwork holding up the seats makes packing less straightforward than it could be.

    With the benefit of hindsight (and now some smaller sleeping mats) we would comfortably fit all of us and our kit now into an OT Penobscot 17RX which is a great family boat, I'm fairly certain we'd squeeze into our Novacraft P16 now. For day trips, we would still all fit in our Wenonah P15 quite happily although the kids are now showing the slightest hint of wanting to paddle so a middle seat is useful, which we haven't got in the P15.

    You will manage family overnights in a 16' canoe provided you think about packing and keep things fairly light and compact. The extra length for 17' gives the kids a bit more leg room when they are seated in the middle.

  27. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davy 90 View Post
    You will manage family overnights in a 16' canoe provided you think about packing and keep things fairly light and compact. The extra length for 17' gives the kids a bit more leg room when they are seated in the middle.

    Trying to bring this back to the Charles River, then, that would make that model a bit tight for us, right? Which means I'll start browsing the 17' models in our price range.

    Ta for the help everyone!

  28. #88

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    I have had my CR rx a couple of years now and it has been great. Been camping on Loch Etive, down parts of the Tay and Tweed , a few other rivers and quite a few lochs.


    Always felt confident that it would look after me in difficult situations( for a beginner). Lightish weight for car topping but can still take a whole load of gear with two up. Tracks well and is dry in rough conditions due to high rounded ends and hull shape. The windage problem due to these high ends is easily corrected with judicious positioning of self and gear. A great allrounder very impressed.

    What more could you wish for?

    Bernie the Boat







  29. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by rancid badger View Post
    I'm not at all keen on the (to me) excessive re-curve of the Charles River personally, so would never ever buy one but that aside;

    How do people car top these canoes?

    You see, when I car top solo, I usually put the boat on from the side, secure it and away. Then when I get where I'm going, I lift and slide it off the back of the car. There are of course times when I have to put the boat back on the car, from the back, due to people parking too close to my car. This would be impossible with a charles river,due to the huge "bird of prey beaks", so as I say, how do you do it?

    Steve
    I always load my charles river from the back and its "huge beak" is not a problem as long as you drop the rear of the boat down a bit, that said I am either loading it onto a renualt trafic van or a landy, so the height probably does help. My advice would be to get a better car, there is nothing wrong with the Charles River

  30. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by fergus View Post
    I always load my charles river from the back and its "huge beak" is not a problem as long as you drop the rear of the boat down a bit, that said I am either loading it onto a renualt trafic van or a landy, so the height probably does help. My advice would be to get a better car, there is nothing wrong with the Charles River

    A "better car" as in...........?


    Now paddling Either a Gumotex Palava 400 Or a Gumotex Solar Pro 410c and LOVING IT!

  31. #91

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    a Land Rover!

  32. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by fergus View Post
    a Land Rover!
    Hah!

    Buxxer that!!!

    I spent far too many years being deafened, shaken and generally pummeled to bits driving landies for a (part time-mostly) living, to go that route!

    Nah!,actually thinking about it, " a better car" in my case, ( if I was car topping a charles river or similar "timpo" design) would have to be an old banger, that it didn't really matter if I kept raking the stem of the canoe across the roof.

    Actually, maybe you're righ..........no, I did own a landy for a few months back in the early nineties and it was nothing but a money pit

    I don't really need "a better car" , I need a bit more height and a time machine, to take me back 25 years, to the point, just a few minutes, before my spine was injured, so that I could avoid the lifelong issues around mobility and lifting

    You could probably mug me into buying a Land Rover again but never a Charles River.

    Cheers

    Steve


    Now paddling Either a Gumotex Palava 400 Or a Gumotex Solar Pro 410c and LOVING IT!

  33. #93

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    my landy is in pieces, spread around the garage, house and garden and invading my dreams. Seemed like a good idea at the time but now I keep finding excuses to hide from it.
    Keep telling myself it will all be worth it

  34. #94
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    well after the loch ken meet I'm now in the process of turning my seat round putting a brace at the bottom I'm sweating ,I'm about to put a hole in the gunnels I'm apprehensive and I don't want to mess my boat up ,well on small drill then work up to the size that I need well here goes

  35. #95

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    Hi there, I am new on here and really like the idea of canoeing and have been reading with much delight your insights into this canoe.
    I to am close to the Medway in fact I keep my boat in Chatham Marina,! I may soon try to get a paddle on the medway. need to do it soon as the years rush by. Thanks for your posts.

  36. #96
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    I bought a Charles River a few years ago, to get into open boats; a friend was selling it so the plan was to paddle it a while and see what I liked. I've done a couple of lake tours and the River Tweed at a lowish level. It's a bit wide for solo for me, as I have an old ankle injury that makes kneeling in a leaned over boat awkward.

    Yesterday I paddled it down the Ribble, the classic Clitheroe to Ribchester stretch, at a medium level. It had been in high flood the day before, and knowing that the boat has a low freeboard in the centre, I was concerned at swamping in the waves. So I took minimum gear to keep it light and minimise problems if it did. As it turned out, swamping wasn't a problem, but a strong wind blowing upriver was constantly catching the high bow and turning the boat sideways. The only way to straighten up was to move well forward to weight the bow - but then steering strokes were awkward. I wished I'd brought more gear to trim with.

    I finished the trip determined to sell it - I've been after an Esquif Prospecteur but the demise of Royalex has put that on hold unless I can find a secondhand one before anyone else does! However, I'll persevere with the Charles River for now, but make sure I have some ballast to trim it if it's windy. It's a good learning experience, paddling boats that aren't quite suitable for what I'm using them for.

  37. #97
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    Just to echo what others have said.

    I paddled one of these on the Wye last weekend. It was a lovely boat to paddle. Responsive and stable but quick to turn. Handling was mostly intuative. It was even pretty stable with a good 3" of water in the bottom of the boat.

    What let it down a bit was its response to the wind. Easy to trim for paddling into a wind but an unexpected gust was enough to spin to boat around before you had the chance to do much about it. There were a few times I found myself having to scoot way up the boat and paddle hard from a high kneeling position to prevent it swinging me round into the trees until I got a chance to move a bag up-front.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  38. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by stinkwheel View Post
    Just to echo what others have said.

    I paddled one of these on the Wye last weekend. It was a lovely boat to paddle. Responsive and stable but quick to turn. Handling was mostly intuative. It was even pretty stable with a good 3" of water in the bottom of the boat.

    What let it down a bit was its response to the wind. Easy to trim for paddling into a wind but an unexpected gust was enough to spin to boat around before you had the chance to do much about it. There were a few times I found myself having to scoot way up the boat and paddle hard from a high kneeling position to prevent it swinging me round into the trees until I got a chance to move a bag up-front.
    Cheers for that

  39. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_B View Post
    I bought a Charles River a few years ago, to get into open boats; a friend was selling it so the plan was to paddle it a while and see what I liked. I've done a couple of lake tours and the River Tweed at a lowish level. It's a bit wide for solo for me, as I have an old ankle injury that makes kneeling in a leaned over boat awkward.

    Yesterday I paddled it down the Ribble, the classic Clitheroe to Ribchester stretch, at a medium level. It had been in high flood the day before, and knowing that the boat has a low freeboard in the centre, I was concerned at swamping in the waves. So I took minimum gear to keep it light and minimise problems if it did. As it turned out, swamping wasn't a problem, but a strong wind blowing upriver was constantly catching the high bow and turning the boat sideways. The only way to straighten up was to move well forward to weight the bow - but then steering strokes were awkward. I wished I'd brought more gear to trim with.

    I finished the trip determined to sell it - I've been after an Esquif Prospecteur but the demise of Royalex has put that on hold unless I can find a secondhand one before anyone else does! However, I'll persevere with the Charles River for now, but make sure I have some ballast to trim it if it's windy. It's a good learning experience, paddling boats that aren't quite suitable for what I'm using them for.
    Appreciate your view

  40. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJJM View Post
    Hi there, I am new on here and really like the idea of canoeing and have been reading with much delight your insights into this canoe.
    I to am close to the Medway in fact I keep my boat in Chatham Marina,! I may soon try to get a paddle on the medway. need to do it soon as the years rush by. Thanks for your posts.
    You do! You definitely do!! Have sailed to Chatham Marina and it's great, and the non tidal and tidal Medway would be great for paddling!!(I say this just having bought a canoe!!!)

  41. #101
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    To get back to the CR, an all but new plastic one fell into my lap (ow!) at 500, so I couldn't and didn't say no, and now I'm listening to the song of my paddles.....
    Several years ago, on advice, I was looking at a Venture something, I can't remember the model, but I expect they were similar on the water?

    The CR I have found (in VERY limited experience!) a doddle on the water, solo or tandem, but I am tall at 6' 4" and 100kg?
    The polyprop. material does scratch easily, so will be fitting eazykeel (or eazysomething?) strips in due course. Lifting from the gunnels is no problem, nor dragging it up the banks if needed, but getting it on my partners car is, as rolling it over on those otherwise lovely "beaks" is all but impossible, and the car isn't big enough to roll it over when on the roof racks. I have yet to perfect the technique of swinging it from my lap over onto my head without dropping it onto gravel/road/whatever....so haven't done that yet, although carrying it on the yoke is no bother for a 100x or so.
    On the water.........brill!! Need to go run a sluice or two!!

  42. #102
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    May 2010
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    An update on my post above. I've now paddled my CR tandem, on Loch Awe, on a 3 day camping trip. Both of us in the boat were really pleased with the way it handled, in wind and waves as well as flat water. So I'm keeping it for that kind of paddling, and I have another boat for solo paddling. So my overall opinion of it is a good tandem, good lake boat, OK on rivers, OK solo (if don't have a bad ankle ) but take care if solo in a wind.

  43. #103

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    I'm collecting my Charles River this weekend from Scotland. I'm looking forward to getting it on the water and putting it through it's paces. They really are a good looking canoe!

  44. #104

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    I'm looking at an ex-demo for 550. It is in the Three Layer Polyethylene and comes with buoyancy blocks. I've not inspected it yet but I assume standard scratches. It seems rather cheap to me; is this a good offer or is it too low to be true?

    With respect to Chris B's comment about needing more gear to trim in windy conditions; take a couple of dry bags with you. Fill them from the river and chuck into the boat. Instant trimming!
    Last edited by more splash than style; 30th-December-2016 at 12:02 PM. Reason: spelling

  45. #105
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    Like all things, it's never quite so simple: an immaculate boat....any extras and so forth might make it a nice buy: but for a tatty boat it might not seem so good. The other way of looking at it is what is it's worth to YOU, for 550 would be a cheap boat in the new stakes, and a CR is a lovely touring boat (I have one...not that that alone makes it a lovely boat!)

    I must admit perhaps to being a little fortunate in so much as I paid a little less for an almost unused one with a (removed) third seat and some ( 3) unused Voyageur paddles....one fitted me, one my partner, and a middling one..........

    Hope it's the boat!

  46. #106
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    This is shorter and about 10kgs heavier (at 36kgs) than the royalex version. They are currently 1100 new, but was probably cheaper than that when it was purchased.
    I think the answer to your question depends on whether you can manage the weight and what condition it's in.
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  47. #107

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    I'm looking to purchase a CR in royal. If anyone has one to sell, please do get in touch. I'm based in Devon but don't mind travelling to pick up.

  48. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithus View Post
    I'm looking to purchase a CR in royal. If anyone has one to sell, please do get in touch. I'm based in Devon but don't mind travelling to pick up.
    It might help, if you haven't already, to put an ad. in the wanted sect of this site?
    I love my CR solo or tandem, but do find the polyprop. version a weighty beast. The royalex boat would be lovely indeed. Why did they make it longer?

    Good hunting!

  49. #109

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    I have also wondered the same thing. I am looking to use it solo, with my wife and with my wife and our son. Interesting how the polypropylene one has a few differences.

  50. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithus View Post
    I have also wondered the same thing. I am looking to use it solo, with my wife and with my wife and our son. Interesting how the polypropylene one has a few differences.
    Perfect for it.........….I've had 3 adults (retro fitting the middle seat) in mine with no problems at all, as well as solo. The lines (as plastic canoes go, are very elegant, and it's a great performing boat in the general sense. Its only the weight of the poly. one ....so a second wooden canoe is joining the fleet!!

  51. #111
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    May 2010
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    Interesting how the polypropylene one has a few differences.
    Why did they make it longer?
    My guess is that that the Royalex version was made first and the Polythene one was intended to be the same shape and length, but all poly boats shrink about 10% on cooling. It's difficult to work out exactly what the mould should look like to end up with a particular shape, and the moulds are very expensive, so if the boat turns out slightly different but still a viable shape, they just run with it.

  52. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_B View Post
    My guess is that that the Royalex version was made first and the Polythene one was intended to be the same shape and length, but all poly boats shrink about 10% on cooling. It's difficult to work out exactly what the mould should look like to end up with a particular shape, and the moulds are very expensive, so if the boat turns out slightly different but still a viable shape, they just run with it.
    Ahh...…….., thank you

  53. #113
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    Following on from my post of 2 years ago, when I said I still found my Charles River hard to handle solo in a wind, I've now had some more attempts. After the first, in which I realised the trim was still bow light even with gear in it, I decided to review the position of the kneeling thwart, which had been fitted by the previous owner. I've moved it 5" (13cm) forward, so it's now 15" (38cm) behind the carrying thwart. This has made a huge difference and the boat now goes where I point it. I wouldn't want it any closer to the thwart though, as it would make an emergency exit difficult.

  54. #114
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    I'm glad though that you have found a way with your CR that suits you, I find these nuances interesting...
    I tend to kneel using the seat (front seat, reversed) when solo, and have never found the CR (polyethylene) a problem in a breeze, certainly no more than some others. My gripe with the polyethylene CR is the weight!......spoils for me, an otherwise excellent general purpose boat.

  55. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_B View Post
    Following on from my post of 2 years ago, when I said I still found my Charles River hard to handle solo in a wind, I've now had some more attempts. After the first, in which I realised the trim was still bow light even with gear in it, I decided to review the position of the kneeling thwart, which had been fitted by the previous owner. I've moved it 5" (13cm) forward, so it's now 15" (38cm) behind the carrying thwart. This has made a huge difference and the boat now goes where I point it. I wouldn't want it any closer to the thwart though, as it would make an emergency exit difficult.
    It's possible to make the thwart quick release ... a search on here will find ways that folks have done this.
    DCUK
    Can't ytpe or roopf read

  56. #116
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    Thanks, I had seen the thread with quick release photos, but at the time I thought that since I've spent 30 years paddling decked C1s with lower seats, I could manage. But I am finding I'm less flexible than I was, and I may well make the thwart releasable.

    I've also done a further trip since I posted above and I found that with the new thwart position, and two 30L barrels of kit, the boat went really well solo, particularly upwind.

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