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Thread: Redfire 15-foot Carbon/Kevlar Canadian Canoe

  1. #1
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    Default Redfire 15-foot Carbon/Kevlar Canadian Canoe

    Redfire 15-foot Carbon/Kevlar Canadian Canoe

    Specifications

    Length: 448cm (14' 9'')
    Width (max): 84cm (33'')
    Width (gunwales): 77.5cm (30.5'')
    Hight (centre): 34.5cm (13.5'')
    Hight (bow): 59cm (23.2'')
    Hight (stern): 59cm (23.2'')
    Hull design: asymmetrical (slight swede)
    Hull cross section: flat hull
    Side profile: deep tumblehome
    Rocker: approx. -1.5 cm (approx. -1'')
    Weight: 22kg (50lb)
    Outfit: wooden gunwales (ash), web seat


    General comments

    I paddled the canoe quite a bit now, both in flat and gently moving water, and I love it. I have paddled often the following canoes: a Wenonah Prospector RX, a Nova Craft Prospector, a Venture Ranger 14, an Old Town Charles River RX, and, recently, a Mad River Explorer 16 RX. I think the redfire is the nicest for flat water touring as it is the lightest and fastest of them all; the secondary stability of the canoe is really good and it tracks remarkably well and, of all the above, it is the best wind.
    The design of the canoe is very much "classical;" it has very pleasant lines. Used as a solo canoe, it is narrower than the average canoe of its size but still stable and with plenty of space to pick up a swimmer if necessary. There would be no problem carrying camping gear for a week or so. The deep tumblehome makes it easier to paddle it when heeled and it handles lovely when paddled from the kneeling position, particularly when it comes to speed up the pace.
    One peculiarity of the design is the "negative rocker" (I'm not sure such a thing exists, but I don't have any other better name), i.e. the canoe's ends are actually about an inch lower in the water than the middle section. (I think there are very few canoes with such design; I think the Gatz Mink is one of them.) I have to admit that I was gladly surprised with its effect on the canoe performance. Initially, I was quite concerned about this feature: I'd thought that it would make the canoe quite cumbersome to manoeuvre - and to be fair, that happens to an extent -, but I couldn't believe how much easier was to keep the line in wind thanks to the fact that, when properly trimmed, the bow of the canoe is always on the water. Obviously, the wind affects it, but the canoe is quite immune to sudden gusts: it would give you an extra second or two to react, so no surprises - and this makes a huge difference. The other obvious advantage is that it tracks very well - better than any other canoe I have tried. Because it doesn't swing sideways with each stroke as much as other canoes do, it is really easier to get it to speed. Overall, I found it a very useful feature: enhances the canoe performance for touring; over long distances, side manoeuvring is much lesser consideration in comparison to speed and handling in winds. Obviously, this is no good if you're intending to do white water - but you wouldn't take a carbon/kevlar canoe to negotiate your way among the rocks, anyway.
    The redfire's construction is sturdy: it is much lighter than any Royalex canoe of its size, but heavier than most carbon/kevlar canoes. The reason is that it has lots of quality materials built into the hull: 100 of carbon/kevlar, 100 of carbon, 110 of Epoxy vinyl-ester resin in it plus the ash gunwhales so its not a cheap hull. In addition to that, the bow and stern have a fibreglass and gelcoat layer so they're easy to repair if necessary. Nearly everyone who has seen the canoe commented on how solid and reliable it looks. To me, it's a great compromise as it gives me a canoe that it is easier to move around and car-top on my own, while not having to worry too much if I hit a rock or something while on the water.
    Finally, I would like to thank to Stuart, who's made the boat, for his constant help and kindness since I first contacted him about the canoe. Over a month, he answered all my questions, gave me advice and was super kind to actually drop the canoe at my place so I could take it out for a spin before making a decision. Everything he's said about the boat is true:
    I think it is a really nice solo boat. There is is plenty of space to fit a second seat if you feel like to it. It paddles great, it accelerates quickly, it tracks well and handles well the wind. The redfire may not be a beginner's canoe, true: it is narrower than a Prospector, and that has an effect on primary stability, but what you lose in primary stability, you get back soon enough as it paddles much more nicely when heeled; as I said, the secondary stability is great. I have used the redfire on week-end camping trips on the Severn, the Great Ouse and the Nene and I have been very pleased.
    If you are interested, you can see some pictures and read some of Stuart comments on his own post: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...hlight=redfire.
    If you have any questions, please ask.
    Hope it helps
    Pancho

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pancho View Post
    Redfire 15-foot Carbon/Kevlar Canadian Canoe
    [...]
    One peculiarity of the design is the "negative rocker" (I'm not sure such a thing exists, but I don't have any other better name), i.e. the canoe's ends are actually about an inch lower in the water than the middle section. [...]
    That's hog or hogged:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogging_and_sagging

    Dirk Barends

  3. #3
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    Vinylester typically has some epoxy-like internal bonding. But it isn't epoxy. I think that, from a practical point of view, epoxy and the best vinylester are about equal. But the very best ww/slalom boat builders (examples: galasport, Vajda) are using epoxy.

    On the issue of the ends being lower than the center, such a boat will surely track. But I don't know whether it is the most efficient hull for cruising speed.

  4. #4
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    Hi there

    I'm sure that there are out there some canoe that are faster; there are three obvious ways of improve the speed of a canoe as the redfire: 1) putting some V on the hull; 2) lowering the gunwales; 3) making it narrower. All these would make the canoe even faster, but a price: 1) putting more V on the hull would reduce further the initial stability of the canoe; 2) lowering the gunwales would reduce the load the canoe can carry and would make it less dry in waves; 3) making it narrower would probably bring about a combination of the drawbacks just mentioned: less initial stability and less able to carry load, and therefore a lesser canoe for camping purposes.
    I really like about the canoe is the Prospector feel it has: it paddles really smoothly; fair enough the canoe could be even faster, but I really think the redfire is very fast as it is.
    Take care

    Pancho

  5. #5
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    Actually, putting some V in the hull will slow it slightly, not increase its speed. A V contour increases wetted area, compared to a shallow arch. All the marathon racing boats are shallow arch.

    And putting some V in the hull will usually make it more stable, and seldom make it less so, compared to a shallow arch. A V bottom, like that on the MR Explorer 16, may cause a bit of primary instability, but the V will add a good deal of secondary stability as the hull starts to tip. Mad River's best V bottoms are those with the shallowest V, like my Guide Solo. They are very close to being shallow arch.

    Cutting down the gunwales will not make a canoe faster, except a slight increase in speed due to reduced weight. Lower gunwales will make for less disruption from sidewinds.

    You have every reason to be pleased with your Redfire. But your list of other canoes you have paddled does not include any that I would consider advanced or sophisticated in design. So be prepared for a shock if you happen to try something optimized for flatwater cruising. If you run into Crow, get him to let you try his Wenonah Prism.

  6. #6
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    Hi there

    It's been a long time. Just a couple of clarifications:
    On the issue of the hull design, I agree with you that shallow arch hulls are faster than shallow vees... the only thing is: the red fire is pretty much flat-bottomed in the middle - not shallow arch, as your post seems to assume.
    Secondly, on the issue of the stability, again, I agree with you that vee hulls are very reliable in terms of secondary stability - but the issue I was talking about was the primary stability of the canoe, which is not superb, mainly because it's quite narrow. The idea of putting some vee was to enhance forward performance building on the great secondary stability that the canoe already has while making it more sea-worthy.
    On the issue of the sides, lower sides, as you point out, will mean less interference from side winds, which in turn will bring about better forward performance - which was my point. So I think we agree in the general point - which is illustrated by the fact that performance canoes have low sides. The issue to me was whether that would be good for the Redfire and the use I gave it. Lower gunnels will make less dry, so less potential for canoe camping involving open water.
    As for the canoe type, finally, I think we agree again. I don't doubt that canoes can be faster: the question to me was whether that could be easily done while keeping the overall canoe design, i.e. keeping the canoe with good carrying capacity for canoe camping. At this stage the discussion is purely theoretical, as I've sold the canoe two weeks ago. It's funny that you should mention these issues today, as I was having pretty much the same conversation with a friend two or three days ago. I had to sell the canoe due to the size of the flotilla; I had really mixed feelings to see her go: on one hand I was pleased so I could go ahead and sort out a white water boat, but on the other hand I really wanted to keep her. My friend told me that I shouldn't worry too much, as I'd be getting a fast touring boat sooner or later... I'm not sure. To me, the main asset of the canoe was the feeling it had. Maybe you're right, I haven't paddled any "sophisticated" boats, but when I see those very narrow canoes with lower sides and pointy entry lines, my seventeen stones don't quite fancy going canoe camping in them - regardless how fast they are.

    P

  7. #7
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    And I've paddled alongside said canoe since. The new owner has been out of canoeing for years, but speed wise kept up very well with us until several hours had passed. It obviously wasn't as suited to a new paddler in tight twisty corners (we had a few), but it looked pretty good to me otherwise.
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

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