Last summer I started a thread about a build that Michael Manzo of Yukon Freightworks was working on. Rather than updating an old thread, thought I'd start fresh with some updates.
This isn't a review--I haven't yet put in enough time in the boat to write one. But I will say I still have permagrin from getting out in it. It's forced me to rethink what a freighter canoe is, and can do.
Here are the highlights: First met Michael in 2017 and have been able to visit him at his shop a handful of times since 2017. He's a Mainer, like me, and Mainers are known for taking their time to do it right the first time. The result is shown below--please forgive the sizing. Like most American males, I struggle with simple tasks like rezipping my fly and posting jpegs to forums. You should be able to right click it and 'view photo' if it's too big.
This is a gorgeous boat. 22', 60" beam, with a fully armored uhmw bottom that offers some burly protection and also helps it skid across shallows. Michael will claim that these are utilitarian moose toboggans, but it's a gorgeous hull. Nothing wrong with jet boats and jon boats, but I grew up canoeing in central Maine, and to me there's nothing better than a boat that's rooted in tradition. It's laid up with a very burly cloth, a ton of buoyancy in the hull, all ash gunwales, gorgeous tig welding on the transom, and made with almost 100% American products. Very cool.
It goes along nice with the 23 copperhead: we had it easily over 20 mph on Quartz Lake, where this pic is taken, and a GPS-verified 17-20 going upstream on the Delta Clearwater River. This is a new engine, and that was keeping it below 3/4 throttle. So these things can cook.
On the Clearwater, four of us, with Michael at pilot, headed up one of the tributaries about as far as you can go, to where you run out of moving water and hit marsh. At the end we were in water just over ankle deep, but the boat liked this shallow stuff just fine. Keep in mind this is a 22', 60" beam craft, carrying 4 people + fuel/gear. Not a big load at ~600 lbs, but still, impressive. Two half days on the water tooling around, on less than 4 gallons of gas.
On the Clearwater and at Quartz, we purposefully ran the boat through real shallow stuff--semi-submerged gravel bars, marsh grass, little tributaries. Getting it stuck was tough, getting it unstuck was easy. The whole bottom is armored with UHMW. Yes it helps with knocks and rocks, but it's also incredibly slick, making it possible for one person to line the boat upstream or shove it off a gravel bar.
Lastly, I was impressed by how well-mannered it moved up and downstream. Upstream, it just felt planted and did what it was told. Downstream, it was a little like a PG version of a jetboat. A wee bit of a slide to the turns, but then the tumblehome catches and it acts more canoe than powerboat. To me, that's a good thing.
Amazing boats, and over the next couple of weeks I'll post some updates as I get out. So far, it's doing everything I hoped it would do...just better and with more grace than I expected.