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Thread: Scott Freighter Canoes

  1. #1

    Default Scott Freighter Canoes

    Just got back from Whithorse YT and looked at the Scott fiberglass canoes, very nice. Saw a 21' near Sutton on the way home, wondered if anyone has one or any experience with them.
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  2. #2

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    Man, those are nice canoes KK. If you find someone locally that sells them I couldbe interested in one as well.

  3. #3

    Default Canoe

    Green canoe is a 21' powered with a 15 HP Johnson 2 stroke Short Shaft. Owner who is from Kenai area said it would do 25 MPH. He used it for a month on the Yukon, said it did
    well on Skilak similar lakes in rough water. My buddy in Whithorse has a 24' by 5' wide wood
    canvas canoe rated for 5K weight capacity, powered by a 30 HP OB. They make a lot of sense on Yukon type of waters.

  4. #4
    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    A few years ago when I spent some time in Nunavut, Canada I noticed that those were one of the most popular styles of boat in some of the coastal villages. The big 21-22 footers were used on the arctic ocean for seal hunting, fishing etc. First time I've ever seen a canoe type boat on the ocean, but they must be seaworthy considering how many of them are parked around Iqaluit.

    Yk

  5. #5

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    That'd do better on Skilak than my 14' jon boat!
    Repeat after me: Placement. Bullet. Caliber.

  6. #6

    Default Canoe

    Here is a pic of my buddys 24' by 5' wood canvas canoe.
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    Default Canoe

    looks like a good out fit, but as a conoe, I am not sure, some of the LUNDS look just like it. have to stretch the truth a little for the canoe
    SID

  8. #8

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    Have to agree with Sid on this one, it looks a bt to wide to be called a canoe, looks more like a skiff than a canoe.

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    Default Canadian Freighter canoes

    I am fascinated by this thread on Canadian freighter canoes since I have been obsessed by them for many years. I first observed them in use when I was working in the high arctic (Resolute Bay in NWT) in 1962. (I am clearly now an old guy!). The Natives there used them for everything including hunting beluga whales in the Arctic ocean.


    The 24 footers available now are all copies of the Chestnut originals and are just the square stern version of the huge freighters of the Canadian fur trade. Pushing a couple of tons of freight with paddles tended to evolve efficient craft quickly and hence the great efficiency of the design whether paddled by voyageurs or pushed with an outboard. They are displacement hulls and are definitely not a Lund!


    The big freighters are apparently still used widely in the Canadian north and are still the only craft that will do both big water lakes and fast rivers with equal aplomb.


    It took me many years to find the 24 footer that I wanted and additional time to convince the owner to sell it to me. The "24 footer" that everyone refers to is actually not quite that long and is in fact nearly the same dimensions as the 22' 8" James Bay freighter described in the Scott brochure (http://www.Scott canoe.com/1_canoes/jamesbay.html).


    Before the inernet, finding anyone in Alaska who had ever even seen one of the big freighters was like looking for Ivory Billed woodpeckers: I saw a big one being repaired in Teslin Junction, a 20 footer in Talkeetna (used for guiding fisherman on the Talkeetna), and thanks to Stan Pickles of Midnight Sun in Anchorage, talked to JB Crowe in Bethel who had two of them. Crowe was obsessed with them also and used his for long river trips while moose hunting. I saw a picture in Alaska Geographic of Jim Scott of Eagle in his freighter with the caption that he had moved there in part to be able to run his freighter on the Yukon. After Chestnut there were a couple of companies in eastern Canada that built them some 30 years ago as wood and canvas and a small shop in Teslin Junction did also but I do not know when the Scott fiberglass ones first appeared. (there was no connection between the Scott canoe company and Jim Scott of Eagle).

    Ralph Freese of Chicago (for a nice story on him, check the Chicago Tribune http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/n...,6473493.story) gave me a quote on one that he would custom build using one of his 34' Voyageur canoes as a mold. Needless to say, especially with cost of transportaion and only an Exxon annual profit at my disposal, the cost of any of them was prohibitive.


    Jim Scott in Eagle rhapsodized about the canoes, didn't know where I could get one, and had sold his 21 footer to a young trapper who previously had a 19' Gruman. Scott referred to the Grumans as "toys" and said the trapper capsized the Gruman in the Yukon and lost his tied- in sled dogs. I have an old 19' Gruman with lift and while I wouldn't part with that "toy", the Grumman and the Canadian freighter are just entirely different canoes with different uses. For freight capacity and safety, the big freighters have no equal.


    I finally found my hand made 24 footer about 15 years ago and convinced the owner that he should sell it to me. As Jim Scott advised, I ran the canoe with a 25 horse power outboard. It will take up to a 40 horse though. I have carried 6 sled dogs, a spare outboard, two hefty passengers, and food and fuel for a long trip and felt secure and safe on the Tanana and a favorite tributary, even when the wind kicked up pretty good on a couple of the wide crossings.


    They are a remarkable craft and are easily one of the most fuel efficient vessels in that load range in existence. The listed load capacity in the Scott brochure is something like 3900 pounds. Try pushing that in a 24' jet boat with 25 HP! Of course the canoe is slower but the gas consumption/mile and outboard price is a tiny fraction of any jet boat or skiff of that load capacity. I suspect that we will see these canoes appearing more often in Alaska as gas spirals upward from the current $4.50 or so.


    Unfortunately I rarely use any of my several boats now. The trips that I especially enjoyed were very long ones and I just don't get to travel those distances anymore. I haven't wanted to part with it and even though I like looking at it, I don't really get to use it. Recalling Jim Scott's story reminded me that it is probably time for some younger person to enjoy it. The years do fly along and needs change. I've been listing a bunch of my other outdoor gear on Craigs and may in a weak moment list the big canoe. Whoever ends up with it will have to undergo an extensive interview and promise to treat it well.

  10. #10
    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Default

    That's really interesting Foamsfollower, I passed through Resolute several times and spent a good deal of time near Arctic Bay on Baffin Island. The canoes that they are currently using on the coast are fiberglass, but I seem to recall that they weren't a Scott canoe. Alas, my memory fails to dredge up the brand, although I looked at them fairly closely. I'm guessing it was a maritime province based canoe company though, since I only saw 1 or 2 in the western NWT.

    Yk

  11. #11

    Default Canoe

    Thanks for all the information.

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    After some thinking and head scratching, I think I found the canoe company that made at least some of the ones I saw on Baffin Island. Nor-West Canoes is a Quebec based outfit that makes wood and canvas boats. The 24 ft "Arctic" is what I saw the most I think. I assumed they were fiberglass, but looks like I was wrong. I'd love to get my hands on one, but shipping would be way out of my league.

    http://www.nor-west.ca/html/canoe/canot_artic_en.htm

    Yk

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    Default Yukon Canoes

    I used to travel over to Whitehorse every spring and bring back a load of 10 canoes from a company their that made them..
    Originally they called them selves ( VAHALLA ) canoes
    then about 5 years ago changed the name to (YUKON)
    I stopped buying them about 4 years ago, but they may still make them.
    they were fiberglass and they had about 7 molds of different canoes.
    the freighter canoe they had two of.
    one a 15.5 foot with transom with a 41 inch beam
    the other was 19 foot with a 44 inch beam.
    it was almost like a boat but with a canoe look.
    I sold everyone I brought home right away, and should have kept doing it.
    anyway,, these are like the workhorse type boat of that region, and very popular.
    Jamie is the owner of Far North Fiberglass in White horse, and may still be making the boats.
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  14. #14

    Default canoe

    Good link about performance of the 21' Scott
    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/showthread.php?t=12448

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    Default Scott freighters.

    The Scott canoes are schookum for their intended tasks. Which isn't log infested, skinny creeks and small rivers, with log jams to cross.

    For my needs, a canoe needs to be at least marginally portable/portage-able, carry-able on a pickup rack, paddle-able. The big Scott freighters are much heavier, than the 19' Grumman (120#) or the 17' Osage (108#). The 18+'Albany model hauls more than the Grumman, but weighs 180#. It's too wide for 2 guys to paddle handily. They're great as a Jon boat that can handle rough water. They are an artifact of a former time, by construction, updated with fiberglass to replace the canvas.

    I think that Bushrat or one of his neighbors may have one. Be nice to hear a report from someone who is actually using one. And, by the way, they're not cheap.

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    Default Canadian Freighter canoes

    I've used the term "Canadian Freighter" as a generic term but may have been misleading on that. Scott Canoe and the few other sources (used to be some made in a place near Whitehorse) as I mentioned are just the hull shape of th Chesnut Freighters of 70 or so years ago and the Chesnut Freighters are just the Voyageur canoe with the stern chopped off to hold an outboard. The hull shape as a double ender was just about as good as it can get for moving freight with paddles. Even chopped off, it is easy to move thru the water. Of course it is a dispacement hull and "on step" does not apply as it does with any jon boat or Lund.

    Of course they are very different from a Gruman. I'm not dissing the Gruman. It is the best means that I know of for getting into the really interesting places in Ak. The 19' Gruman is a remarkable craft in it's own right and I use mine in exactly the way Rick does. It has gotten me into lots of places where the other water craft can't go and some where no one had been for a long while. (I carried mine in a 24' Carolina skiff. When I got a couple of hundred miles from the landing with the skiff, hauled out the Gruman and 15 hp and kept going.). With a long rope, hip boots and a chain saw, there are darned few places that a Gruman can't get to and it can also haul a lot of meat and gear if the water doesn't get too rough.

    As far s fast water, my personal limit is the Talkeetna fsomewhere up past Sheep creek. Other friends took theirs up (and down) thru the canyon of the Kashwitna. No way that I could do that and I don't even know how many power boats have done that. Given the number of pieces still lodged in sandbars, it is not 100%!

    The Grumans are also potentially dangerous. The stern is poorly designed for outboard use (Jim Weisenhaut of Bearver Sports tried to get Gruman to change it but didn't succeed) so they can be tippy, especially with that 15 HP and lift siiting nice and high. There are some pretty well known accidents involving the Grumans so there is no need to go there.

    The 24' Chesnut design is very stable. Two persons can very safely pick a net over the side of one. It will take some very big water and tipping one over is just not likely.

    My 24 freighter is fiberglass over wood. It's held up very well over quite a few years but I don't take it in rock gardens. Neither it nor the Scotts or any others come cheap. A few thousand bucks is a good starting point for a 24 footer and I can't really see much use for one smaller than about 20'. Short and wide is just not an efficient hull shape for a canoe.

    The Chesnut 24' freighter (aka Scott James Bay ) is the utility boat of the Canadian north. Yellowknife may want to chime in. His experience in that part of the word is much more extensive and recent than mine. As he pointed ou to me, it essentially opened up vast areas of the North as the horse did the western part of the US. Unfortunately, the design just never got to alaska. I'm not sure why, but it was probably something to do with the pattern of the fur trade. But with the rapid demise of the 24' Woolriges and the Skiffs with 150 HP in the face of $5 or 6 or 7/gal fuel, both the slow Chesnut Freighter and the 19' Gruman will become a lot more appealing.

    The average American's parking lot ( or landing spot on the river) may eventually have both a 24' Scott/ Chesnut/James Bay/ Canadian Freighter with a 25 HP and a Gruman 19' with a Fbx lift and and 8 HP.

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    Default Freighter canoes

    The Grummans do take some getting used to. They can be tippy, though that tenancy seems to dissipate with experience and skill.
    I currently take a second canoe along for those places where it seems ill advised to take the Grumman - serious exploring or getting into areas that are very remote. The Grumman is a burden if you may portage, and it makes a lousy sled for hauling meat .... plastic canoes make better sliding toboggans.

    My system entails connecting the 19'er catamaran style to a 16' Wenonah Kingfisher via a pair of aluminum tubes that clamp to the gunwales. Once we get to a log jam, we separate the canoes and work them over separately. Then, at slow speed we tow the 16'er upstream with my partner as the rear helmsman. Once we reach our river destination, we park the Grumman, and use the smaller canoe to explore the off river lakes and small creeks. The 2 canoe used in cata-canoe fashion are extremely stable, and expand the venture's cargo capacity by several hundred pounds.

    I agree with foamsfollower that the stern of the Grumman is poorly designed for a motor. the Osage 17'er is a better design for a motor ... it has a 18" wide transom compaired to the 12" wide Grumman transom. The Grumman is also "round bottomed" where as the Osage is flat. If the Osage 17' freighter was lengthen to 19' or 20', it would displace the Grumman. Perhaps Marathon Boat can be inspired to retool the 19'er to a new standard ... with a wider transom and a flatter bottom, and maybe a couple more inches of width ... no more than 2 - 4 needed.

    Economy on these rigs is excellent. My Grumman, with a 15 horse 2-stroke Yamaha, is thrifty with fuel. On a recent 170 miles river trip, she burned 16 gallons. With fuel over $4/gallon, that counts big time.

    Finally, the Grummans are rugged, but when the rock gardens are too shallow, I get out and walk the Grumman thru the worst of it. I like being in those places that the river boats avoid. It's quieter and there is a lot less hunting pressure.

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    Default Improving the Osage

    I second the motion to try to get Marathon to modify the Osage as Rick suggested. I have long wanted to see an Al canoe like that. I have no idea how to get Marathon to do that. Maybe the Boat Shop could make some suggestions to them. I think those changes would make an ideal boat with very good fuel efficiency. It would be very useful not only for Alaska but for almost anyplace where people spend a lot of time on fresh water.

    Even the small skiffs are now expensive to buy and to operate. A couple of years ago I bought the modern version of the old Compeau's 24' tin boats with lift that ran with a 33 HP: a 4'x24' Alweld with a 4 cycle 60 HP Yamaha. Fuel efficiency is still not nearly as great as one might expect.(about 7 or 8 mpg) and while the speed is quite a bit higher than any canoe and it is a good work and hunting boat, the speed is a lot lower that it is with the really big riverboats. It is also not a rough water boat.

    My Carolina Skiff with 150 HP Yamaha 2 cycle will do at least 35 MPH carrying 2 moose and gear and a too scarey for me 50++ mph empty but the fuel efficiency is about 3 mpg with a big load and I can no longer afford to take it on the few hundred mile trips. When I did run it on long trips, I started from the landing with 200+ gallons. Those numbers are now ancient history, I think, for almost all of us.

    The tandem canoe setup that Rick describes is obviously a good setup and hooking two Grummans the same way makes a heck of good way to haul things like building materials in still water or downstream..

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    Thumbs up Freighters

    There are currently no Grumman dealers in Alaska. The Boat Shop sells the Osagian line of canoes, that includes the Osage 17' freighter, a good boat, but not quite the full sized rig.

    Grummans have been made for some years by the Marathon Boat Group, which has very recently been granted the right to call their canoes Grummans. When Marathon began producing the 19'er, they chose to reduce the original aluminum skin from .050" to .040", which degraded the canoe's legendary durability. I'm told that is when and why Beaver Sports stopped dealing them. This summer, Marathon B.G. began building their current 19'ers with the original .050" skin. Perhaps they are interested in making boats that Alaskans want. I'll call Marathon on Monday and see if there may be some interest in improving the freighter's design to better serve the needs of Alaskans (although, I love my boat - as is, it could be better.)

    The other approach might be to talk to the Osagian manufacturer to see if they could be enticed into producing a stretched version of their 17'er. A 19' or 20' version, with the same beam (44") and transom (18"), and flat, 3 keeled bottom would suffice.

    I would think with the price of fuel headed for heights unknown, there may be a good market for that kind of freighter for people like us. Then Marathon might be able to enlist dealers in Alaska.

    By the way the 170 mile river trip on 16 gallons of fuel was travelled at approx 15 mph with a peak of about 17 mph .... mostly full throttle and with several hundred pounds of load.
    Last edited by Rick; 07-12-2008 at 21:46. Reason: forgot

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    Default Scott Freighters

    KK,

    There are two of us in Delta that have had Scott Hudson Bay Canoes for several years. My friend has a lift on his but I don't run the Tanana so I haven't bothered. The Hudson Bay is a very effective moderate size frighter. Well built and strong.

    I have owned the 19' Grumman and like the craft but the 21' Scott is a lot more canoe...a lot more!

    I have mine on a galvanized trailer and Scott at Kanoe People in Whitehorse has duplicated my trailer system for his packages.

    This is not a paddling canoe and I have installed oarlocks for emergency use.

    Freight canoes are an effective way to transport heavy loads inexpensively.

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