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Thread: Cree-Yamaha Motor Co Inc

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Cree-Yamaha Motor Co Inc

    During some of my studies of past canoe companies that went out of business, I found this one particularly interesting. Apparently, Yamaha scientists did 160 km trips in some proto-type freighter canoes designed by the Cree. The Waskaganish band were the folks who initiated this business venture with Yamaha. Back then in 1985, there were over 20,000 canoes being used by the Cree and the Inuit. I'm trying to find out what happened to that company in my studies. I'm also trying to find a photo of what this canoe looks like:Yamaha technology combined with Cree designs. Very interesting stuff.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Yamaha helps Indian band with boat-making venture

    BYLINE: By James Daw Toronto Star

    SECTION: BUSINESS TODAY; Pg. D1

    LENGTH: 447 words


    A Quebec Cree Indian band has found a Japanese-owned company to help it start a local industry making safe, durable replacements for cedar strip freighter canoes.
    Yamaha Motor Canada Ltd. will invest with the Cree in a small factory to make unsinkable, fibreglass dories in the remote James Bay community of Waskaganish (formerly Rupert House). Dories are flat-bottomed boats with flaring sides.


    "We feel that we're going to have a product that would be very good for other parts of the country," says Billy Diamond, former grand chief of the Grand Council of the Crees.
    Diamond achieved national attention when, in 1975, he helped win a $135 million land settlement claim for the Cree in the wake of the James Bay hydroelectric project.
    Now he is president of WEDCO (for Waskaganish Enterprise Development Corp.), which first went to Yamaha for a snowmobile sales and service dealership after Bombardier Inc. of Montreal said no.

    Yamaha, the Number 2 seller of both snowmobiles and motorcycles in Canada, granted the franchise and found a service technician to train the Cree. Then the idea of the boat-making project developed.
    "We were looking for something that could travel safely on James Bay and was light enough for two or three men to handle," says Diamond. "It takes four or five men to beach a freighter canoe."
    Roughly 17,000 canoes are owned in the region by Cree and Inuit hunters.
    The Cree were having to go farther afield for the materials needed to make their own cedar canoes, Diamond says. Canoes from Hudson's Bay Co. cost about $4,000 and lasted only two or three years.
    Transportation costs are the main problem. Waskaganish is 150 kilometres (94 miles) from the nearest road. Vehicles can travel on frozen muskeg terrain in winter. In summer, travel is by air, or water to Moosonee in Ontario.
    In addition to motorcycles, outboard motors and the like, Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. of Japan, with sales of $3.85 billion a year, makes 20,000 boats a year, from little sailboats to 30-metre (98-foot) coastal fishing boats.


    But it's not economic to ship small boats long distances, so Yamaha has 20 boat factories around the world, many in under-developed nations where versions of traditional native boats are made.


    Masafumi (Mark) Aoba, president of Yamaha Canada, says he sees the joint venture with the Crees as his company's way to "contribute to the Canadian society.
    "What concerns me most after talking to Billy Diamond is that many people lost their lives on the sea hunting and fishing every year," says Aoba.
    Yamaha will contribute $80,000 toward the $200,000 investment in the boat factory.

    *I highlighted one particular quote that stuck out to me.

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    Default who'd a thunk?

    Who would have ever thought to combine modern engine technology and modern boatbuilding techniques to some tried and true Native American old school boat designs? Sounds like a magical recipe that will yield a wonderful result.

    Did Yamaha produce/ship any boats? Or is their effort still proceeding? I didn't see a date on their stuff.

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    Interested in hearing what you can dig up.... should be a great story. Short lived company, expect you will have to dig deep or make direct contact with community there to see what is on file.

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    Those must be huge freighters they are using.

    It would seem there would have been some progress made on making more dependable canoes to serve the folks up there even if the deal with Yamaha fell apart....waiting to hear what you find out Mainer.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    Decades ago, I hunted geese on James Bay in 26' freight canoes......substantial craft.

    The Japanese have a history of designing long, narrow easily powered boats.......Mexican and Central American fisherman use Japanese designed pangas that are made locally in several locations and a duplicate has been made and sold in Fairbanks. The most popular model is 22' and pushed by 50-70 hp outboards..

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    Vern, thanks for chiming in. You are a wealth of knowledge. I always enjoy your stories. In regards to hunting geese on James Bay, I'm trying to purchase a copy of the image below of Cree Geese hunters, because it's so flippin awesome. Bunch a Cree in those canoes:

    Please take note, that the freighter on the right, can generally be found around moose factory. It's shape is very different than the nor-west freighter canoes. I have a haunch that it may very well be one of the yammy/cree designs from 1985.

    (hope it gives you flashbacks)

    Attached Images Attached Images

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    "flashback":

    Google on "panga boat" pics........and you will see some very similar craft.....I've fished out of the basic [bare bones] model for 25 years on the Baja.

    They are a good, sturdy basic craft but lack the canoe esthetics for me.....

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    There are a couple of videos on youtube titled moose factory taxi or something like that. I have seen pics of that type of craft on the net and always wondered what it was

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    Don't you think they would be using Yamaha outboards? If they were Cree working with Yamaha, why are they running Evinrude outboards in the picture. Seems like you could contact the dealership that the Cree own in partnership with Yamaha. They may have given up on boat making but there is a good chance that they still have the Snowmachine/OB motor dealership from Yamaha. There was a period of time when Evinrude and Yamaha and maybe some other boat motor companies thought that boat building was a good idea. The problems arose when they started competing with the other boat builders, who threatened to quit using their drive engines as long as they wanted to keep making boats. Since they were all making far more profits from selling boat engines, they got out of the boat building business.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Out of business in 2001 but this may be their boat.
    http://www.waskaganish.ca/cree-tourism
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Out of business in 2001 but this may be their boat.
    http://www.waskaganish.ca/cree-tourism
    Have to say the profile on that boat have the Japanese style.

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    That is a bow designed for big water.

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    like these

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    Those images above seem to be in the style similar to these Japanese boats... this is one boat that crossed the ocean and showed up somewhere in the US after the tsunami.



    One more...long, narrow, upswept bow.


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    I don't know who originally designed the Panga boats, but hear they are very common in Mexico, pacific, etc. I know lots of them are in Florida and a few here in the Carolina's. Apparently known for being very stable with small horsepower requirements, to my understanding the low power requirement is what made this style boat so popular in the poorer parts of the world where these boats are in such high use. There is a guy in Florida, or Texas, that imports new boats from Mexico. Panga USA or some similar name. Very affordable boats and I looked into them last year while searching for a near shore saltwater boat to use here in NC. Ugly as all get out, but efficient and sea worthy. That was my final impression on the Panga style boats.



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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    I don't know who originally designed the Panga boats, but hear they are very common in Mexico, pacific, etc.
    Very true. These are what the fishermen use in the Mexican Sea of Cortez; both the commercial fishermen and the sportsmen's guides. They're always open boats, never with an awning (even with their HOT sun), and with a decent sized OB.

  18. #18

    Default Panga In Reference to Yamaha Boats

    (The original panga design was developed by Yamaha as part of a World Bank project circa 1970.)



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panga_(boat
    )

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    See link..manufacturer of Panga boats... looking at this site really gets one to thinking about the possibilities. If the wind kicks up, I am thinking one could hang in there for awhile vs. heading to the dock. If they can set the transom for a main outboard + kicker on the 20,22 ft design, that would be a good thing. I sent an email asking for more details.

    http://www.pangamarine.com/contact.html

    Attachment 76625

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    Plenty of freeboard handles waves great.

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