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Thread: Hi From Exeter + a little buying advise!

  1. #1

    Default Hi From Exeter + a little buying advise!

    A big hello from sunny Devon!
    I have been looking into ways to get the family (wife and kids - 3 & 8) out onto the water for a bit of exercise, fresh air and away from technology. We have hired canoes a few times and have loved every second of it.
    So far we are just going down the Exeter Ship Canal - stopping off at Double Locks for a pint and once failing to make it to Turf Locks! - on still water for a bit of experience but I would love to have the freedom to go out as and when I please and really want to try the river Dart.
    So, after all that, my question would be what would the recommendation be for buying a canoe large enough to fit the family + a few essential supplies, mainly dry clothes for the kids?
    It seems to me that 4 seat canoes such as the ones we have been hiring are extremely tough to find (or am I just not looking hard enough!)?
    I know one of the rental places near me will be selling their end of season canoes, they are a bit battered but I'm always up for a project! However I have no idea what make they are.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Hello and welcome from not too far away - near Bridgwater in Somerset.
    I assume you mean the tidal Dart rather that the rocky upper reaches, which you'd have to be very daft or very skilled to attempt with your family in one canoe .
    The only canoe I'm aware of that comes into the UK with 4 seats is this one https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/Riber-16-4-...d=192389883273 and they weigh a tonne and they're only 16'. !7' canoes are available, but they tend to be rare over here and the don't come with 4 seats as standard. If you want more seats you'd have to fit them yourself.
    You don't mention a budget, but in this country Hou make a 17' boat and Venture make the 17' 6" Hunter. Of the more readily available makes from across the pond, Nova Craft are probably your best bet. There's a dealer not far from you in Ivybridge https://www.kayaksandpaddles.co.uk/ They import Nova Craft and sell other makes as well, so it might pay to go have a chat with them. If you're looking for cheap and used, 17' boats are not common here so you could wait a while, so you may be better off getting the ex hire boat if it suits you.

    Another way that some people with a couple of kids go, is to buy two smaller boats and have one adult and one child in each.
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  3. #3

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    Thank you for the reply Old Man.
    Definitely the tidal Dart, would not want to go near the upper reaches, after looking into it over the past few months I think that might be a little bit too much for myself and the kids!
    I have looked at the Riber but can't find too much about it online. I will be the mug who has to get it on and off the car/van so the lighter the better really.
    I have read a few posts about getting 2 boats however my wife isn't really up for that, my youngest is autistic but have noticed she is never more relaxed than when on the water so would like to keep us all in one boat just in case anything happens.
    I would love to be one of those people that says budget is no option when it comes to family safety but it would be a lie As cheap as possible but I am more than happy to hold out and save for 'the right' canoe
    The ex hire ones are going to be going for around the 400 mark but will have to invest a bit in getting them up to scratch - which I am more than happy to do - so might hold out until the end of September when they become available.
    Kayaks and Paddles has been my go-to website when looking, the Pelican 15.5 has a very reasonable price tag however at 551 brand new is that for a reason?

    The Nova Craft Prospector 17 SP3 appeals to me but might have to convince the wife

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    Near Bicester, Oxon
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    We're paddling the Dart on Tuesday, by coincidence, with one of the local companies. Thought that would be smart, having never paddled anything tidal before.

  5. #5

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    Paddling with a group would certainly be something I would like to do before taking the kids out, however work commitments mean I can never guarantee when I would be free. What sort of time on Tuesday are you going?

  6. #6
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    Nov 2018
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    Near Bicester, Oxon
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    Starts from Totnes at 10.30, following the tide out and back at 5. Company called Winding River IIRC, they call it a paddle to the pub and back, which had a certain attraction.

  7. #7

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    It sounds very appealing to me however I am at work then Is this something that is done regularly? I know Kayakhub do trips on the Dart but this could be a good excuse to not only have a beer but meet up with some other SOTP members!

  8. #8
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    Nov 2018
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    I think that it's aimed more at the casual/non-paddler tbh, but it includes hire of decent canoe, all gear, and a qualified instructor in a small group, so given we're still very firmly classed as beginners it made sense. In any event there was no way I was bringing the canoe down in the wind we had last weekend.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Devon
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    The tidal Dart is great paddling, especially the section between Totnes and Duncannon - beware wind, check the tides carefully - read up on springs and neaps, you want a nice calm day - below 10mph gusts ideally, also past Duncannon point suddenly the river widens out and you can get some nasty waves/chop , which can appear at any time, and which you would not want to be out in without feeling comfortable in that environment.

    The other great place to learn to paddle is from Swallowfields put-in on the freshwater side of the weir. You can paddle up through Dartington estate and its very beautiful and pretty safe. Still more fun to choose a calm day so you are not battling the wind too much.

    Be aware also that 17' Plastic boats are going to be very heavy indeed! trolley and 2 people required to lift

  10. #10
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    Aug 2018
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    Devon
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    Pelican is an ok boat for calm water and will hold everyone comfortably, it has good initial stability, so not wobbly to sit in, but not good secondary stability, which means if you tip it over past a certain point, it will suddenly and quickly flip! Also as it has a keel, it's quite easy to keep in a straight line, but difficult to turn. It's also very slow!
    However given its drawbacks, its very light and sturdy, and as long as you don't take it into waves it may well do you until you improve as a canoeist and find you want to upgrade to something better.

  11. #11
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    Aug 2010
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    Exmouth, Devon, England
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    Hello and welcome to the forum from your "neighbour"down in Exmouth.

  12. #12
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    The Nova Craft Prospector 17 SP3 appeals to me but might have to convince the wife
    That would be a nice stable boat for you and your family but it will weigh over 46kgs, which is no joke if you're on your own when it comes to car topping, Be aware that most Prospectors catch the wind more than other boats, which could be important where you intend to paddle.
    As a rule of thumb, the lighter the boat, the more it will cost and the lighter the boat the more it will get used.
    For your circumstances steer clear of the Pelican, it's a starter boat (nothing wrong with that if it gets you on the water), but it's just not big enough for a family of four.
    Whatever you decide to get, there's normally ways to get your boat from storage onto your car and then onto the water and back again that will make your life easier. Some may cost a bit of money and some will take extra time, but rest assured that whatever problems you face, someone here will have experienced similar and will have answers for them.
    Just keep asking questions, they're a good bunch on here - mostly .
    Nin Wanakiwidee Tchiman

  13. #13
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    Aug 2018
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    Devon
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    That would be a nice stable boat for you and your family but it will weigh over 46kgs, which is no joke if you're on your own when it comes to car topping, Be aware that most Prospectors catch the wind more than other boats, which could be important where you intend to paddle.
    As a rule of thumb, the lighter the boat, the more it will cost and the lighter the boat the more it will get used.
    For your circumstances steer clear of the Pelican, it's a starter boat (nothing wrong with that if it gets you on the water), but it's just not big enough for a family of four.
    Whatever you decide to get, there's normally ways to get your boat from storage onto your car and then onto the water and back again that will make your life easier. Some may cost a bit of money and some will take extra time, but rest assured that whatever problems you face, someone here will have experienced similar and will have answers for them.
    Just keep asking questions, they're a good bunch on here - mostly .

    I don't know - I think the Pelican would be fine for well behaved 3 & 8 year olds - they are very stable in calm water... just my opinion


    Problem is to lift a 17' onto a car - I mean thats a job for 2 strong men! Depends how strong the wife is!!

    I would go for 2 smaller boats rather than having to deal with that back destroying monster!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enyaw85 View Post
    It sounds very appealing to me however I am at work then Is this something that is done regularly? I know Kayakhub do trips on the Dart but this could be a good excuse to not only have a beer but meet up with some other SOTP members!
    We went today. Good trip, Nick's a very attentive instructor and he had an additional instructor for a group of 6 boats (IIRC). A total of about 8-9 miles paddling, which was easy going out with the wind and the tide and a long lunch at Stoke Gabriel after a coffee stop halfway. Tougher coming back without the assistance of the tide, and into the wind. Good quality boats, Old Town and Hou. We had 3 of us and two Lhasa Apsos in a Hou 17.
    Last edited by Bonefish Blues; 24th-August-2019 at 05:31 PM.

  15. #15
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    Hello and Welcome!


    Quote Originally Posted by OLD MAN View Post
    That would be a nice stable boat for you and your family but it will weigh over 46kgs, which is no joke if you're on your own when it comes to car topping, Be aware that most Prospectors catch the wind more than other boats, which could be important where you intend to paddle.

    For your circumstances steer clear of the Pelican, it's a starter boat (nothing wrong with that if it gets you on the water), but it's just not big enough for a family of four.
    Tend to agree with OM here, the Novacraft would be a far better performing canoe than the Pelican, which is too small for you already, let alone as the kids grow. I'd be looking for second hand 17' canoes in Royalex (Prospectors, Old Town Penobscots maybe), but they are much rarer than 16' ones and will rarely come with 4 seats (not much does!). You can add seat easily, and there are also removable seats that hang from the gunwhales (though not seem them for a while). Seats can also be improvised fairly easily at first, just keep the height low for stability.

    If you get into it, you will probably inevitably end up having to buy 2 canoes (or canoe plus kayak), they simply don't cater for 4 people once they're bigger than small kids, and still be portable.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  16. #16
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    Based on our recent experience, a Hou 17 would also be good - speak to Nick at Winding River to see if he's letting one go at the end of the season, perhaps?

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