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Thread: Esquif Cargo/12 hp Copperhead report.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Esquif Cargo/12 hp Copperhead report.

    Forum member Boudarc and I tested the 12 hp copperhead on the back of the Esquif and the initial impression wasn't too great. We maneuvered down rabbit slough all the way to duck lake which is quite a small little creek. The motor is way too powerful for the canoe, and it's not as stable as I thought it would be. At idle, the motor was pushing the canoe 10 mph down the slow current and 9 mph up current. This is unsafe and I don't recommend this combo to anyone. I'm a bit disappointed but I will give credit where credit is due and it maneuvered through tight stuff and over logs quite well. I stood while running the motor the entire trip and the seats will have to be rearranged. I mistakenly took the yoke and one seat off the canoe prior to the trip which also didn't work out well. At quarter throttle, the motor would push the canoe at 15-16 mph. At this speed the center of the canoe began to "oil can" because the yoke wasn't there to provide rigidity. Regardless of that issue, the motor is still far too powerful and torquey for this canoe. I will continue to run the motor on this canoe but I have to warn everyone who is interested in this canoe that the 6.5hp copperhead would be far better and much safer. This motor is so powerful that I didn't even dare to open it up past quarter throttle and I'm almost certain that it would push a hudson bay with a heavy load. I will not use this motor/canoe combo on my Yukon trip. I will attach some runners to the bottom of my larger 18 ft. freighter and run the rivers with the 12 hp copperhead. Although the cargo is an amazing canoe, it's also smaller than the advertised specs which surely didn't help. The canoe is actually only 41 inches wide, 15 inches deep at the center, and 16 inches deep at the stern. It's a full 3 inches less beam than Esquif advertises. I'm a bit upset that they misrepresented the specs on their webpage especially after driving all the way to Whitehorse for 16 hours and all the way back. It's a difficult situation to have spent all this money in preparation for a trip and be too close to leaving to do anything about it. Thank goodness I have a larger freighter or I'd be sht out of luck.

    I don't want anyone to underestimate how insanely powerful these copperhead motors are. The 6.5 would likely push an Esquif Cargo with a heavy load no problem. I will not feel comfortable to run this canoe with the 12 hp motor unless I have a minimum of 700 lbs in the boat. I will manage for now on less demanding waters, but can't afford a smaller motor this season. I will definitely go for the 6.5 in the future for this canoe. This motor is ideal for a very wide 18-21 foot freighter with some weight........and definitley not meant for a 17 footer. Quarter throttle was down right crazy! Thanks for coming along for the initial test-run Boudarc.

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    Thanks for the honest report mainer, appreciate the info...

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Great report
    are you going to contact the canoe manufacture about the spec's?
    sounds like they have a different tape measure than you pack..
    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

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    If it scares you it aint for me,thanks
    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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    So, do you want to sell it to finance the lower 6.5HP motor?

    I have always wondered about how top heavy these surface drive motors were and how they would make a round chined boat behave.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    I'm going to put a thousand pound load in the boat for another run along with the yoke and the fourth seat. We will test it out tonight and see how she handles. I certainly won't be getting rid of this big motor and it wasn't to top heavy at all......just too powerful. It'll go on my bigger freighter for sure, and whenever funds become avail.......I'm dropping down to a 6.5 copperhead. I aint kiddin you guys.....the things are insanely powerful.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I aint kiddin you guys.....the things are insanely powerful.
    I don't doubt that. I have watched their first videos with the smaller motors pushing a 1448 or 1436 empty jon boat like it had a blown V6 outboard on the back.

    Lots of duck hunter dudes questioned how well they would work once the jon boat had a hunting load in it. I doubt if the small motor would maintain the insane speed as empty, but I am sure it would push a loaded boat through just about anything but dry mud.

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    I'd be curious to see how the 12 hp Copperhead does on FamilyMan's 18.5' Albany. Bet he'd volunteer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    I'd be curious to see how the 12 hp Copperhead does on FamilyMan's 18.5' Albany. Bet he'd volunteer.
    I have, and yes, we'll see.

    My money is on it being stable. Its hard for my Albany to NOT be stable with its 4+ foot beam and flat bottom. And large transom.

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    I'm actually wondering if you think that your Albany is "over-powered" by the 12 hp Copperhead. Another concern is that a number of posters, including mainer_in_alaska, have said that the various surface-drive motors don't idle slow enough. Like to hear your opinion. In other words, is surface-drive a mature technology or does it have a ways to go?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    I'm actually wondering if you think that your Albany is "over-powered" by the 12 hp Copperhead. Another concern is that a number of posters, including mainer_in_alaska, have said that the various surface-drive motors don't idle slow enough. Like to hear your opinion. In other words, is surface-drive a mature technology or does it have a ways to go?
    I'd like to experience the answer to that too.

    My predisposition going in though, is that it will NOT overpower my very stable canoe. If I'm wrong, I'll post it here, as will Mainer. He and I say it as it is, both of us.

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    That's too bad the 12hp monster surface drive didn't initially work out on the cargo. That setup would have been a shallow hauling wombat if it panned out. Who knows, maybe with more weight in the boat this combo will settle down a bit.

    I measured my old mans esquif cargo at the beam I taped it at 43 inches from outer edge to outer edge. I have a feeling it won't be as stable as my osagian nor handle the same hp without a major stern upgrade. I'm sure it will paddle nicely compared my setup though. I can't wait to try the cargo on the water.

    Mainer do you have pics of the stern of your cargo? If I remember right you beefed it up to handle the weight and power of the surface drive.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    I just got the canoe a couple days ago and won't be beefing it up like I had planned. I'm now putting all focus on my larger freighter with uhmw runners and a new transom glassed into the hull. I won't be able to use the esquif cargo until I get a 6.5 horse copperhead. Boudarc and I bolted that 120 lb. pig right onto the plastic transom for the demo run......and it's actually surprisingly rigid and quite tough. Does your old man run around town in a tan colored van with the camo Esquif? I think I saw it on the road yesterday. There aren't too many of em around as far as I know. I leaned the Esquif all the way over until the gunwale was touching the surface of the water to show Boudarc how much secondary stability it has, but you are right......it's certainly lacking a bit of initial stability like what my Old Town discovery sport had.

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    Mainer,

    That's great to hear that the Cargo handled the 120 pound pig just fine. It should be OK with my 80 pound Merc 9.9 hp. The oil canning is not a good thing though. Do you think with the yoke in place it will still need some lengthwise strengthening? I saw just a little bit of flexing with my 3.3 hp in 2' waves so I wonder what will happen with 700 lbs in there and the 9.9. I have been out of town and tied up with other things and have not had time to try out the 9.9 yet. I am thinking about removing the seat next to the yoke just to give more floor space and I'm thinking it may require some cross bracing...maybe diagonal to help with the flexing.

    Mine measures 42 1/4" outside at the widest point so that is a bit disappointing when I thought I was getting a 44" canoe. For my use it will be just fine but it appears Esquif quality control needs some closer management oversight.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Thanks for the fantastic report. I'm sure that you will figure it out. Any pictures of the trip? Can't wait to hear how it does with the weight and yoke back in.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    One other little hiccup to consider before ordering a Cooperhead. Measure the thickness of you transom. The Copperhead mount only opens approximately 2 1/8". Mainers Esquif was about 2 3/8" so he had to trimmed the edges of the plastic corner caps so the motor would fit. Cooperhead should change the rounded carriage bolts that tighten from the inside to a flat washer type fastener tightened from the outside like all other motors.

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    A 17ft royalex boat is pretty pliable in the yoke area, are you sure that your shorter beam is not just a short yoke? Also as I stated in a previous thread, you should put a thwart on either side of the yoke (30"-36") to stiffen the midsection, if you are going to drive it hard. Most whitewater royalex canoes are constructed this way to take the rough water forces exerted on it. With a molded rounded bottom you could impart a slight flare to the midsection,(with longer thwarts and yoke) which would not only stiffen the midsection, it would allow your canoe to run drier in the waves.....

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    That is exactly what I was thinking about by removing the mid-ship seat and putting in diagonal cross bracing on either side of the yoke. I didn't think of making the thwarts longer to push out the rails and create a flair to the sides. With that you really don't need the yoke if your are not going to carry it on the yoke. Seems like you couldn't do too much wider or it would put stress on the side rails and pull the front and back together and stress the rivets that hold the rail onto the hull. Hmmm..... more thinking and looking needed.

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    Yea lowrider, I don't think you need to remove any seats to install a couple of thwarts...I would not install anything in a diagonal direction, just straight across, same as the yoke.....

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    Maybe move the rear seat forward to a point where the tiller extension is in a comfortable postion and take out the next seat for extra floor space....then add thwarts in front and behind the yoke. I'll probably never put a butt in the 4th seat so I would rather have more room on the floor and tie downs along the way....can't have too many tie downs.

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