Freighter Canoe Performance

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Bing, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Bing
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: New Hampshire, USA

    Bing Junior Member

    Evening all,

    Here's a couple of photos of some modifications I made to a Scott Hudson Bay 21 freighter canoe. My wife and I are in our third season of weeknd and occasional week-long cruising in this boat on portions of the Connecticut River, the NY State Barge Canals, and various lakes. I'm happy to report that the boat performs very well for what we use it for and that we have had loads of fun with it. I'd also like to give you some specifications and accurate performance data, but I'm not sure how best to go about that. What would be of interest to report, and how do I accurately test the boat? For example, I think the boat can make upwards 20 river miles on one gallon of gas, loaded with two people, gear, and provisions, at around 7 mph, with a Honda 8hp 4 stroke. Is that reasonable, or even remarkable? I really don't know how to orchestrate an accurate test to prove it. All I know is that we seem to use very little fuel on our trips. Couple that with being able to sleep, cook, and use the porta-loo onboard, and avoiding marina fees by beaching the boat on river islands for the night, we've enjoyed some mighty inexpensive vacations on some lovely waterways.

    Your thoughts, questions, and comments would be appreciated,

    Bing
     

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  2. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Terrific report. Good for you!

    What is the beam?

    -Tom
     
  3. Bing
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: New Hampshire, USA

    Bing Junior Member

    Boat Specs

    Here are the advertised specifications for the boat from Mid Canada Fiberglass, makers of the Scott Canoe line:

    Length 21'/6.3cm
    Gunwale Width 56"/1.4cm
    Transom Width 26"/66cm
    4" Waterline Width 47"/1.2cm
    Depth at Centre 20"/51cm
    Bow Height 34"/86cm
    Stern Height 22.5"/57cm
    Rocker Moderate
    Hull Shape Flat
    Tumblehome
    Asymmetric
    Keel Triple
    Capacity 6" Freeboard 2000lb/900kb
    Weight: Fiberglass 250lb/113kg
     
  4. Tug
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Muskoka,Ontario,Canada

    Tug Junior Member

  5. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    The info is of great importance for trip planning. What do you use as a point to point, sunrise to sunset ave speed when planning trips? What is your typical payload? As far as detailed info is concerned, try to provided "total weight of everything" with the same accuracy as the speed/distance/economy data. This is a pain to do. And tell us the prop you're using. If distance is being reported directly off GPS, try fiddling with the rate of data capture over a known course. A slower rate than the default can sometimes improve accuracy at slow speeds like these. (The gps calculates distance over a wiggly course if the datapoints are too close together). Don't worry if you come up short on some of this data. the detailed stuff is mostly a curiosity. The numbers you use for planning a comfortable trip are a goldmine. The ability to go an extra ten miles in a day will probably double the number of possible itineraries for a week-long trip- very important if you have to pull permits or make reservations.

    Oh- and one other question- can you keep her looking like that when you travel or does she end up like this after a week!? (Where did that d*** stove go ??)
     

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  6. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    Location: California

    troy2000 Senior Member

    Sweet-looking setup. Makes having a tent instead of a hard-top cabin look more reasonable on other types of boats, too.
     
  7. Bing
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: New Hampshire, USA

    Bing Junior Member

    Thank you, this is the kind of information I was looking for. I'll try to set up the test runs as you have described.

    Yes, the cabin tent can stay up while motoring; in fact, I don't think I've ever taken it down on a trip. We can roll up the vinyl doors on either end and tuck the ends away, which makes for pretty good visibility while sitting. However, I stand up when motoring most of the time, using a telescoping tiller extension, and look over the tent, the top of which is just about chest high. Since these pictures were taken we've added a bimini back aft, the frame of which makes for a much more secure "cage" to stand up in. We also have a "picinc" canvas that only provides sun shade, which we use when we take out another couple for an evening dinner cruise.

    We keep all the equipment in bench lockers, so I guess I have to confess that we keep the boat pretty ship shape most of the time. I know what you mean about loading and unloading a typical canoe every night. That's one of the reasons we set the boat up as it is. Too often we couldn't find an on shore camping spot. Now it doesn't even concern us.
     
  8. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: Guess.

    hoytedow Old Woodbutcher

    It saves a lot of weight and cuts down on wind resistance. I like it.
     
  9. Bing
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: New Hampshire, USA

    Bing Junior Member

    Yes, the cabin tent does not weight much, probably around 15 pounds. The curvature seems to spill the wind right over it, though I can't say we've been out in a big blow. If we did need to keep on going through a high wind long fetch area, say to cross a bay or lake, we can drop the tent in about 5 minutes, throw on the mooring cover from the bow to just aft of the rear cabin bulkhead, hunker down, and go slow. These boats are famous for weathering Canadian lakes in all kinds of weather with a full load, including a moose or two. Here's a shot of the cabin interior.

    I need to take some new photos; these are a year old and don't show the further modifications I've made, nor the boats new color scheme.
     

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  10. Bing
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: New Hampshire, USA

    Bing Junior Member

    Another question, if I may. How does one test for and rate stability? While I can say the boat is much more stable than it looks, that's just my way of saying that I've grown accustomed to and comfortable with the boat's motion in a variety of situations. Are there methods of quantifying stability without going in to theoretical calculations, such as getting four good friends to stand on one gunnel?

    Here's a picture taken this morning upon returning from an overnight on the Connecticut River north of Hanover, New Hampshire.
     

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  11. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    Location: California

    troy2000 Senior Member

    Is that a custom tent, or were you able to find a standard model you could adapt to your needs?
     
  12. Bing
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: New Hampshire, USA

    Bing Junior Member

    Yes, this is a custom Sunbrella tent. Bev, at Village Canvas of Meredith, NH, gets credit for constructing the tent from my general design sketch. The original thought was to have a hard top (I was thinking a Bolger Birdwatcher style), so when I added the higher coamings to the cabin section I did not follow the boat's sheer, thinking this would make installing the top easier. In the end, due to weight and stability and constructability issues, I opted for a canvas top, which has worked wonderfully, but I wish I had made the coaming follow the sheer; it would have looked better.

    With the tent collapsed and the boat cover on the boat is much more aerodynamic to trailer, another reason not to have a hard top.

    The bimini has worked beautifully as well, providing sun and rain shade when standing, which as I said before is my favored conning position. In a howling wind I would certainly collapse the bimini, which can be done in less than a minute, as I do have a fear of the thing becomming a sail in a beam wind and catching the boat on a roll.

    My next project is to mount a remote throttle and shift lever, and replacing the stock tiller with a longer, more ridgid one. I hadn't thought about that when I bought the boat, but clambering back over the seat back to shift isn't pretty or safe, and makes manuevering in tight quarters a challenge. Once the remote and tiller are done I may add a collapsable safety bar over the seat back to lessen the chance of toppling overboard, though I have to say that standing up back there feels much more stable than sitting.

    I have thought about stick steering, but I can't see any advantage to that unless one were to move the helm up forward, under the tent perhaps, but that doesn't seem desirable to me. With the motor swivel tightened down a bit to hold the engine in line (though not enough to hamper steering), I don't actually touch the tiller much when cruising. It's a simple matter of shifting my weight to steer, and I have gone three or four hours like that, following a meandering river and never touching the tiller. Of course I have to adjust the engine position when my wife decides to move to the other side of the boat.

    Here's a picture of the view from the "bridge" as we approach a lock on the Champlain Canal.

    Bing
     

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  13. srimes
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    Location: Oregon

    srimes Senior Member

    Looks dangerous if the wind picks up. I'd be nervous to travel with the tent up. I had a 17' aluminum canoe blow over on a calm section of a river, and I talked with a drift boat fishing guide who said their boats can flip if it gets too windy, especially if the wind is blowing upstream.
     
  14. Bing
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: New Hampshire, USA

    Bing Junior Member

    As I said before, you wouldn't want to keep the tent or bimini up in extreme conditions. If I were crossing a large bay or lake with lots of fetch and subject to hi gusts, I would keep the rig down just to play it safe. Once across, in ten minutes the rig is back up.

    One thing you will find with freighter canoes, and I guess this would apply to any small narrow boat, is that other boat wakes aren't all that fun. While I've never been concerned with flipping over, the confused water that fast cruisers can throw up just isn't pleasant. When I can expect the wind and wave direction, a 2ft chop isn't all that bad, but toss in crossing wakes and it's not a place to be. While I'd like to do the Loop, I'm sure there are many places on the route where this boat would not be safe (besides, that's a long time in a canoe -- I would prefer a trawler of some sort I'm sure). But if you want to cruise rivers and canals with a very shallow draft boat, very economically, with reasonable creature comforts, and towable by a small SUV or pick-up, affordable freighters might be something to consider.

    Bing
     

  15. Wavewacker
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Location: Springfield, Mo.

    Wavewacker Senior Member

    Great to see this! I have asked questions about hauling my morotcycle and doing what you have accomplished, but with the Loop. What is you opinion of adding amas/stabilizers/pora? Making that a tri, perhaps with a little storage on either side above the water/gunnels. What's your opinion of a small sil rig at the bow?

    Your tentage is excellent! I have seen arched bows, forming a cuddy on an open aluminum V hull about 16'. Snapped along the gunnels and like a hard deck initially at the bow and having a higher transition as it moved to the rear to about half way. Would that work on your setup?

    Speaking of wakes. I have a 15.6 cheapie RAMX I bought to try to rig for sailiing. I was on Tablerock Lake in a cove near my cabin. I had a date for a romantic excursion, we just got away and were both liiking the wrong way, I started to say something and only had time to catch my breath as we went over. Yes, I was sober. We recovered and went back to the cabin, she was not impressed! Srimes, I've never been blown over on calm water, except in my younger days floating with Budwiser.

    Back to your rig, I have not really had a canoe that long (and I was thinking 24') to paddle in any chop. Guess I would have to practice, but I can handle class 2/3 rapids, 10/12' with flotation. How responsive is it at 20+ feet? I'm thinking the Mississippi, in a breeze there can be chop and barges throw a wake! Would the outriggers be sufficient, for safe passage?

    Have you been out in cool nights...no, cold nights up there? I did Artic training at Ft. Drum, Ny. LOL...How does the tentage work for you? I see many possibilities as a camp cruise. I won't mention my morotcycyle again, but a small generator, electric rig? 6 or 8 inches above the gunnels for a hard curved deck over, how would that fair in your opinion (anyones)?

    Do you use a dolly/portage system or is it too big to pull over sandbars?

    Thanks, I'm pumped on your cruiser.
     
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