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Thread: 20' Nor-West Freighter

  1. #1
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    Default 20' Nor-West Freighter

    I'm looking at purchasing the 20' Nor-West freighter this week. Any insight on these canoes? Pros and cons?

    Next question is the motor. The canoe is listed for use with 15 to 30hp outboards. The Suzuki EFI 20hp weighs 97lbs. I have read some good reviews on this motor. Easy starting and fuel efficient. The 25hp Suzuki is 136lbs and a 30hp ETEC weighs around 150lbs. I am leaning towards the 20hp range since they are a bit lighter. I will be using this on the Columbia river here in Washington as well as lakes in the PNW. I'm not going to be heading into shallow waters. Any advice?

    I have a 19' Whaler for rough days. I am buying the freighter for efficiency and ease of hauling camping gear to some remote spots. Easier to beach the canoe than have to anchor a bigger boat and haul gear to shore.

    I have searched the forum for the Nor-West and saw some info from North61 but not much else. Lots of other great stuff though on the freighters.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Picture of a 20'
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Wow ...That is a very pretty boat.

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    'go with the larger ENG you will enjoy it with the heavy load's SID
    PS good looking Canoe have fun an be safe

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    I run a 20HP Honda on my HB, tops out at ~16 mph, and quietly. It has the electric tilt option so that pushes the weight up a bit, ~110 lbs. No complaints.

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    The Nor West canoes are very stable, seaworthy craft suitable for big water use. They can take a lot of engine. In Nunavut these boats are used in the ocean and the 24 footer is likely the most popular size. It will haul 5000 pounds! When heavily loaded more HP is a good idea. They have a nice full stern and will float a heavier engine pretty easily. My 24 footer took us on a lot of great trips.

    Outside Igloolik, Nunavut circumnavigating a chain of islands called Avajja

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    While I love the shape/design of the Nor West, their construction materials are a little dated. They were perfect during the Depression Era. Cheap to repair with available materials. I would go with more modern materials that need less repairs.

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    Started using the 20hp efi Suzuki on a Hudson bay last year. Worked much better than 9.9 Honda or 9.8 tohatsu with loaded canoes. The fuel mileage is also very good. Top speed empty was between 16 and 17 mph and 12 to 13 mph with full load. Usage was on large lakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pipercub View Post
    While I love the shape/design of the Nor West, their construction materials are a little dated. They were perfect during the Depression Era. Cheap to repair with available materials. I would go with more modern materials that need less repairs.
    Very important considerations for sure.

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    North61. Did you have to make many repairs to your canoe? How was the durability? I talked with a guy who guides out of one in NH and he says he just paints his canoe occasionally.

    Braley. Thanks for the info on your Suzuki. Sounds like a good motor.

    I have wondered about the toughness and ease of maintaining these canoes. The canoes I have considered are the Maine Freighter, Scott Hudson Bay, the Nor-West, and now the Yukon Freightworks. None of these are manufactured near the Pacific Northwest so it's difficult to check out any of these canoes. Quite a bit of info on the Hudson Bay but not much on the others. Scotts website (Abitibi & Co) doesn't seem to be working yet but I see the Hudson Bay for sale at Two Rivers Canoe in Maine. I have an email out to see the prices for canoe and trailer. I also sent an email to Yukon Freightworks this morning with some questions. Would like to see some pictures of a finished 22'.

    Thanks to all for your input. It's much appreciated.

  11. #11
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    I bought my 24 footer for 500.00 and fiberglassed it nd replaced some ribs and the keelsons.. They are flexible and tough the canvas takes a fair bit of abuse and they have enough "give" that they are pretty durable. That said they can start getting cracked and broken ribs and when enough damage has been done the structure can start failing as each part supports another. That said they take a lot of abuse in Nunavut as they aren't well cared for and they last a long time. The keelsons will wear down in gravel, and they need some maintenance. Lovely though. I'd buy another but maybe not for river use. They are realy great on big lakes or the ocean.

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    Thanks much North61.

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    I have seen very few if any of the big canoe's that will hold up to river running, bottoms can't take the beating from the rocks & gravel & MUD
    I think the Grumman 19 is the best for that but is a lot smaller than the HB type an only rated for 1100 LBS total SID

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    Personally, i go with the scott hudson bay. I had one a few years ago and stupidly sold it, Scott from canoe people in whitehorse has 4 new hudson bays on the way. He say mid to the end of may delivery, I'll grab one for sure. I think he said they are around $5600 delivered to whitehorse approx. I had the old HB in some fairly rough water and it handled it fairly well, and the HB seemed very durable, I think north 61 has had his for years

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    I have had my Hudson Bay since the summer of 2001 and it's still going strong. Just need to store it upside down and out of the direct sun and you are good to go. Need to repair the gelcoat on high wear drag spots on the keelson's every once in a while when running shallow gravel rivers.

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    I've a lot of respect for the Nor-West Canoes. They're actually tougher than most people realize. Don't quote me on this, but I believe they construct their canoes using a Dacron fabric, which is light years tougher than traditional canvas. Overwhelmingly, these are all you see along the small communities in the Hudson Bay region and abroad into the arctic regions of Canada. What's equally admirable, is how long this outfit has thrived, building traditional boats.

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    Dacron is tough stuff, but, you need a sun blocker on both sides. The sun will eat it up. Airplane fabric is Dacron (Ceconite)...you use a silver dope paint, (aluminum particles suspended in it), to block the UV... These are big water boats, not for shallow water....

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    Remember ... The US$ is high currently, so the exchange rate may be to our American advantage. I believe Scott's price for a Hudson Bay was quoted in Canadian$, not US$ which may make the price effectively lower for us 'mericans. Further, Scott was quoting FOB Whitehorse. They are cheaper in provinces closer to the lower 48.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grit View Post
    Personally, i go with the scott hudson bay. I had one a few years ago and stupidly sold it, Scott from canoe people in whitehorse has 4 new hudson bays on the way. He say mid to the end of may delivery, I'll grab one for sure. I think he said they are around $5600 delivered to whitehorse approx. I had the old HB in some fairly rough water and it handled it fairly well, and the HB seemed very durable, I think north 61 has had his for years
    good to hear. i may sold my old freighter 21 orange wood rebuild to get a new one.

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    Hi crow, I run a 30hp etec on mine and would not go smaller. the boat doesnt feel the weight of it at all and it just make it easier to push ur load up river with a 30 hp. I run it also in shallow rivers with a rock hopper and extra plastic keels on it and its a very strong boat , it can take a lot of abuse. They are very tuff. They made it with 20 oz canvas epoxy filled, not dacron. anyway, love mine, shes a beauty. you wont regret . pricey but quality has a price. my 2 cents.

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