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Thread: Novacraft Pal/ Bob special advice please

  1. #1

    Default Novacraft Pal/ Bob special advice please

    Hi . We currently have a NC SP3 but are finding it too heavy so we re looking at buying a Pal or Bob Special but can’t decide which. We’re mainly on the Thames and the River Wey. Mainly tandem but want the ability to go solo. We’re slight build and 5’8 and 5’2. We’re novice , only been paddling a year.
    Would appreciate your thoughts .
    Many thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Really quite different boats. I have owned a Bob Special and paddled a Pal. For what you are currently paddling (my local rivers too) and because of its light weight, the BS is the one. Fine bows , easy gliding, light and stable. It is not so good on rough water and my trip to the Tay descent, when the river was in flood, and I took the Pal ,was terrible, but I think it will be some time before you aspire to paddle that sort of water. I discussed the BS he was paddling with a young man on the Desborough loop last week, and although kitted out as though for grade 3, he had found it excellent for what he was doing, which was the Thames.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Now I'd go the other way from Peter (Impcanoe) and say the Pal.
    There's negligible difference in weights between the boats whether you get Tuffstuff of Royalite, although if you're looking for Royalite (no longer made) then you could be waiting a while and it might be the one that comes up for sale first that's the deciding factor.
    Both boats have minimal rocker so are not quick turners on faster water, but for what you're proposing that won't matter much. The Bob will turn a bit quicker because of its shorter length.
    The Pal will give you more stability, especially tandem, and it's easy to paddle solo as well. It also has more capacity if you ever need it.
    I have a Royalite Pal and I like it a lot, either solo or tandem. I considered a BS a couple of years ago as a solo boat, but rejected it due it having a shallow V hull which will scrape the bottom in shallow water before a shallow arch which the Pal has. I've also found the shallow V hull less forgiving when you're near the point of no return when heeling the boat over. Other people will disagree.
    If you're thinking of a Tuffstuff boat, also consider the NC Prospector 15'. Turns easily, nice and stable and not heavy, but it will catch the wind more than the other two.
    Good luck.
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Having barely paddled a Bob Special, I can't really compare, but I can confirm a Pal would do your job eminently well, and is a very nice canoe to paddle both solo or tandem. I have also been impressed with the durability of Tuffstuff both on my mate's Pal on Scottish expeditions, and another mate's P15 on Scandinavian trips. The Pal does turn, but it needs heeling over more than a Prospector to do so quickly.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    North Lancashire, South Lakes
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    When I took up canoeing three years ago I was in exactly the same situation and ordered a TuffStuff Bob Special. After more investigation I changed the order to a Tuffstuff PAL for it's slightly bigger capacity. and light weight. I am 67 and average build. I can roll it onto my shoulders when necessary and have no difficulty in getting it onto the roofbars of a Land Rover Discovery. As you appear to be a 'we' then I really don't think you would have any trouble with a PAL. I am not a moving water paddler and really just paddle the lakes in the Lake District with occasional trips further afield, usually day trips, with some overnighters. If you were going on extended trips with two of you, depending on how much kit you need, you might need something a little larger but I always travel pretty light.
    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines!

  6. #6
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    I meant to say that capacity wise, the Pal is fine for camping trips but as it has lower freeboard could be more prone to taking on water in waves. However, my mate was OK on our windy Inverpolly trip with two adults and kit for 7 days. A Prospector would have more freeboard, but then would catch the wind more unladen. The Bob is an inch deeper according to specs. Weight capacity is pretty much the same and plenty for any foreseeable use.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  7. #7

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    Thank you all so much. At the moment we are swaying towards a Pal. I can’t see us using it for long trips so not too worried about it taking on water as we won’t be carrying heavy loads.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Aldershot
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    I have a Pal and even with my wrecked joints I can roll it onto my shoulders to pop it on the car. TuffStuff is more rigid than a plastic boat but the Gelcoat does take a scratch quite easily. I got mine bashed and scratched up on it's second outing so now that's done, I won't worry anymore.

    I haven't used it tandem but I have loaded it with loads of gear and my little over 10-stone (OK, 5 over) without issue. I also have a low-cut prospector and although it seems to lack freeboard, it coped fine with with about 10-ton of stuff and boat wakes at Henley. I doubt capacity will be an issue at all for you.

    I asked about boat recommendations on here before I bought the Pal. If I can find the thread, I'll post a link.

    Here you go http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...pennies-!!!!!!

    Col

  9. #9

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    Thanks for the link Col. I thought I’d read all the posts and reviews for the two boats but missed this one. Your boat looks lovely.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Kent
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    Hi, I’ve a Tuffstuff BS and get on well with it - mainly solo but occasionally tandem. As others have said it’s light and easy to handle on flat water. I’m a 5 8 10st lightweight and it generally needs a bit of trim (water container) when solo. You’re welcome to come and give it a try on the Medway if you’re close - we’re 10mins from M25 J5
    Rob

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Aldershot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perivalepaul View Post
    Thanks for the link Col. I thought I’d read all the posts and reviews for the two boats but missed this one. Your boat looks lovely.
    Thanks,

    Beige wouldn't have been my first choice of colour but I think it looks pretty good.

    If you wanted to have a paddle, it could be arranged; maybe keep an eye out in the "meets / social" section and see if something pops up that we could both attend. Or, if you want to toddle to Aldershot, we could chuck it in on the Basingstoke canal somewhere.

  12. #12

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    Hi. Thank you Rob and Col. That is a kind offer.
    We visited Brighton Canoes on Saturday and were lucky enough to see them side by side. We’ve studied the posts on here and think we’re going to go for the Pal in Tuff Stuff.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Aldershot
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    Good choice.

    What colour ?

    If you want to put some additional buoyancy in it, Matt at BPM made me some airbags that fit, taking into account the little built in tanks.

    2019-02-25_05-52-07

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    North Lancashire, South Lakes
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    You won't regret it!
    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines!

  15. #15

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    Thanks. We’ve just ordered a “ go faster “ red �� Hopefully arriving tomorrow
    Where is BPM? Do you think we’ll need additional flotation? We’re not planning on camping or carrying loads of gear

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Pal is a great choice for pretty much everything. Enjoy your new boat.

  17. #17
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    Nov 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perivalepaul View Post
    Thanks. We’ve just ordered a “ go faster “ red �� Hopefully arriving tomorrow
    Where is BPM? Do you think we’ll need additional flotation? We’re not planning on camping or carrying loads of gear
    If you're not going to play silly beggars and capsize it, you don't need it. The built-in tanks provide enough flotation for the hull. I fitted some because I am likely to forget that my lack of skill might get me into trouble.

    https://bpm-whitewater.com/

  18. #18

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    Thanks for the link. We’ll see how we go but it’s good to have somewhere recomended

  19. #19

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    We are now the very happy owners of a Nova Craft Pal Tuffstuff.
    Norfolk Marine were amazing. We ordered yesterday afternoon and it was delivered at 10am this morning - some 115 miles.
    Thank you for all your help , advice and suggestions.

  20. #20
    Join Date
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    Surrey
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    Congratulations on your new arrival!

    That's very good service, but I'm not surprised from what others tell me about them.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Where's the pics ? You know us children like pics .
    Congrats on your new boat.
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    Where's the pics ? You know us children like pics .
    Congrats on your new boat.
    I tried but don’t know how to upload photos onto here.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perivalepaul View Post
    I tried but don’t know how to upload photos onto here.
    Mal will give you a tutorial shortly
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  24. #24
    Join Date
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    Congratulations. I'm sure you will have lots of great times in your PAL.
    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines!

  25. #25

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    We went out in it yesterday paddling from New Haw up to Pyrford Lock and had a great time. It’s so much easier to car top and carry. Paddling seemed easier and quicker too.
    We re really happy with it.

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