Customer Reviews

  • Hi Jim, Our Traveler arrived safely late Sunday afternoon. Modern Piano Moving had called us a couple of days ahead to schedule a time. They were easy to deal with and very good about keeping us informed. Wow! The Traveler is incredible. We had high expectations because of all the great pictures on your web site but seeing the canoe in person just takes your breath away. The lines and craftsmanship are superb. And thanks for making this purchase such a positive experience. I'm sure we'll get lots of interest as we paddle the Traveler around the Northwest and we won't hesitate to give you and the Merrimack company a strong recommendation.
    Judy and John T. - Washington State
  • Jim & Kathy, Bob delivered our canoe the other night as promised and we just wanted to thank you for all your help and the excellent customer service. This has truly been a wonderful experience. And the canoe is absolutely beautiful. We knew your canoes were very high quality based on all the reviews we read but we were still amazed at the craftsmanship and the attention given to every detail. Hats off to your master craftsmen. Please give them our regards. You may consider us to be a lifelong walking talking advertisement for Merrimack Canoes from this point forward; we could not be more pleased. Thanks again and Happy Canoeing! (Two weeks later): “ We are just loving our Traveler; it paddles like a dream”
    Bob and Abby O. - Silverdale,WA
  • This canoe is a perfect blend of traditional appearance with modern technology and performance! It was purchased new about two months ago, in a Kevlar lay-up, with Ivory gel-coat. The interior of the canoe is finished with cherry stips imbedded in a clear resin to give the appearance of a traditional wood strip canoe but without the maintenace. The decks and rails are mixed cherry and ash, without any imperfections. The seats are ash framed, with nylon lace webbing, generously sized, and very comfortable. All workmanship including wood/joinery, fabric lay-up, and the gelcoat finish is impeccable! The performance of this canoe on the water is not any different than it's construction... perfect! My wife and I paddle together most times on several local lakes of various sizes and wind exposures. This canoe glides effortlessy with a minimum amount of effort on the paddler's part and with good speed, due most likely to the shallow arc hull. The hull is of a very unique cross-section to provide a truly remarkable blend of performance, and stability,both initial and secondary. Any initial feeling of "wigglies" soon sudsides after a few minutes on the water. The tracking is excellent, with a minimum amount of corrective strokes being required to stay on course. I also paddle this canoe quite easily from the stern postion, while my wife sits back and relaxes without paddling! (This is her favorite way to canoe!) The canoe is also easily handled solo from the bow position, seated facing toward the middle, although a little balast on the opposite end of the canoe will make it easier, especially in a windy situation. Although this a a 17' canoe you would never know it by the way it handles,and feels on the water. It has just enough rocker at the ends to keep it manueverable, but is still able to track very well. In our opinion the Traveler is an excellent all around canoe! Highly Recommended!
    John Magula
  • I take several trips to Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario. For years, I rented aluminum canoes from local outfitters. I decided to find the "perfect" canoe that would cover over one hundred miles of lake with the least amount of effort. I found it in the Merrimack Traveler. I cannot say enough good things about this canoe. It handles beautifully and glides through the water with ease. As a bonus, I get a lot of "wows" from other canoeists when they see the detail and workmanship. I am extremely happy with my Traveler and I am happy that my money was well spent. I could have found a cheaper canoe if I was willing to sacrifice performance for dollars but I didn't, and I'm so glad I spent the extra couple hundred of dollars to get what I was really looking for.
    F Carney
  • This canoe is fun for a day paddle on the lake, tandem or solo. At 17’, it has capacity for week-long canoe trips, but our favorite use for this canoe is sailing. After attempting to restore a 1922 wood / canvas Old Town, I gave up as the wood was too brittle and we decided to rig this Traveler for sail. We built and installed a mast seat from ash, then made the rest of the sail rig (rudder, mast shoe, leeboard. leeboard thwart, mast and spars) from mahogany to match the gunwales and decks. With the cream colored sail and green Kevlar hull with cherry ribs, this boat really turns heads. The performance is great and since the heyday of canoe sailing in the 1920’s, a sailing canoe is a rare sight. Beyond sailing, the Traveler is probably our favorite canoe for tandem paddling. Like the Pennichuck, it rides great in waves, it has good glide and paddled solo from the bow seat facing backwards, this also makes a great solo canoe. If I could only have one canoe, this would be the canoe I would keep. Fortunately, there are no restrictions and so I think I’ll keep looking for more to add to the fleet.
    Larry Graubner
  • I have paddled a lot of other canoes and find that I prefer those with symmetrical hulls and classic lines. Probably my favorite tandem is the Merrimack Traveler. I paddled a friend's Traveler in the wilds of Northern Ontario--real canoe country--both tandem and solo. It is by far my favorite tandem to paddle solo. It is an elegant, classic canoe with excellent hull efficiency.
    Rex Benfield
  • Thank you for such an awesome canoe! The Traveler paddles like a dream. Empty, loaded, tandem or solo. I love the way it paddles. The other two canoes on the trip could not even keep up with us, we were stroking and they were working. The 58 lb. weight makes it very easy to handle off the water as well. This canoe will see a lot of time in the water. Thank you again and Happy paddling!
    Syd Howell

Excerpted from CANOE & KAYAK MAGAZINE- "Boulevard Canoes" By Steve Salins

There are times to paddle for "go" and times to paddle for "show." If you are portaging deep in Quetico, it won't matter much what your boat looks like or what it is made of because it's unlikely that there will be anyone around to take notice. But on a crowded sunny summer afternoon along the Charles River in Boston or any other waterway that is the aquatic equivalent of a tree-lined boulevard, there's no experience quite like paddling along in a canoe designed and built to feature exceptional craftsmanship. We're calling them "boulevard" canoes because they are all dressed up to demand admiration, and they get it. They are showy, functional, romantic, and collectible; these are canoes that carry champagne, Camembert, and caviar instead of beer, pretzels, and peanut butter. My favorite Seattle showplace is the University of Washington Arboreturn, a gentle back-water of Lake Washington with a variety of wildlife and numerous comers to explore. On a nice day it becomes a fine boulevard because trails and a nearby museum bring out spectators, and the nearby canoe livery attracts a variety of paddler. I often paddle in the Arboretum to relax. Sometimes I enjoy taking my solo Kevlar "rocket ship: with me to show off the speed and glide of my canoe. At other times, my beautifully trimmed contemporary canoe flaunts its sleek lines, wood trirn, and easy handling. But to really feel proud, I paddle a wood canoe. Invariably someone walks up to say, "What a gorgeous boat!" Even before I put it in the water! Eyes and hands run along the lines of a boulevard canoe to fully absorb the quality, uniqueness, and finish. I'll admit that I revel in the attention I get paddling one of these boats and appreciate the ego massage that comes with it. Exclusivity comes at a price, though, given all the handwork required to build these craft. Finding builders with boats not already committed to customers proved difficult, and in the end only four were sent to us for the test, each one reflecting a different design philosophy. The Mallard from Woodstrip Watercraft uses the cedar strip method of construction. Two are technological hybrids; the Wave Dancer from Cascade Canoe uses birch veneer to support a fiberglass hull, and Merrimack's Traveler uses cherry ribs to support a Kevlar skin. The Trader is a traditional cedar canoe using rib-and-plank construction. Many think a beautifully made canoe is not suitably tough for paddling. But, remember, there was a time when all canoes were boulevard canoes, and they proved their toughness and mettle over decades of use. Many owners of exquisitely made show canoes use them on a regular basis. For them, the additional maintenance and-extra care in loading, launching, and landing are a reflection of their pride in owning a beautiful and distinctive boat.

Merrimack Traveler

At a distance, a Merrimack Traveler looks like any fiberglass or Kevlar gelcoated wood-trim canoe. There is an elegance of line, but nothing out of the ordinary seems apparent. Close up, the special qualities of the Traveler become obvious, and the closer you look, the more special this canoe becomes. Cherry wood ribs give an impression of a classic rib-and-plank boat to the interior of the hull, yet it's coupled with modem Kevlar and resin technology.

Once realizing that this is no ordinary canoe, a viewer's eye is drawn to details, and it's readily apparent that Merrimack pays close attention to construction details and makes a product of superior craftsmanship. For example, deck plates are perfectly fitted to the gunwales. All wood pieces are sanded absolutely smooth and given a natural finish to bring out the beauty of the wood and produce a soft feel to the hand. The seat frame is mortised together. Fasteners are evenly spaced and recessed. The 17-foot Traveler has a shallow-arch hull with a moderately fine entry line. It carries a hint of rocker, no keel, a slightly recurved bow, and a classic sheer line. With a 35-inch width and 12.5-inch center depth, the 6inch freeboard' capacity lists at 850 pounds. The gel-coat exterior of the Traveler is well finished. At certain light angles, the rib skeleton shows through the layer of Kevlar skin. The effect is caused by skin shrinkage after molding, and although visible, the structural result is a tightly constructed hull. A good friend, looking at the Traveler tied to my van, remarked the rib marks "look kind of cool." I'd agree that the lightweight and striking interior ribs more than compensate for the minimal visual imperfection.

This canoe is trimmed out in ash gunwales with cherry handles and decks. Gunwales are slightly edgerounded, and all of the stainless fasteners are recessed (comfortable to canoeists' hands and fingers). Decks are perfectly fitted; no fillers are needed. The smooth cherry handles feel like satin to the touch, and one side of the handle is curved to visually match the curve of the adjacent deck. Nice touch!

One of the subtle appointments of this canoe is the very small piece of brass stem band covering about 4 inches of the deck and lapping over an inch or two onto the stem. I first though this piece was for show, but it's clear that this small "bang- iron" protects the tip of the deck from damage as the canoe is lifted or set on the ground. As I recall how many chewed-up deck ends (and end caps) I've seen, I have to salute Merrimack's attention to detail. The bang iron also evokes memories of stem bands on classic wooden canoes, which is the heritage of this design. I like the touch.

Inside the hull, cherry-wood ribs span from gunwale to gunwale, with half ribs in the spaces along the bottom. The ribs are coated with rolled-on resin, which effectively seals them to be maintenance-free. The rib construction results in a slotted gunwale system very narrow slots, to be sure, but another practical reminder of ties to traditional rib canoe design.

Seats are strung with fine webbing, which is comfortable, cool, and durable. Ash frames reveal the mortise joint, and the hanger spaces are chamfered to smoothly blend to the gunwale. Given all the attention to detail, I can only ponder why the Merrimack elves don't mount the seat with the joint 'fastener underneath. Other than that, the seat design suggests care for comfort and craftsmanship. Seats are mounted at heights comfortable for either sitting or kneeling (10.75-inch bow / 11-inch stem).

Both yoke and thwart are tapered, slender, and finished to a soft satin touch. For me, the curve of the yoke is shallow and did not easily hang on my neck when I carried the canoe. The yoke is functional for normal use, but if I were to take the Traveler for lengthy portages, I'd reshape it to "bite" a little more readily into my shoulder, or replace it with one of a deeper cut.

A diamond-shaped laver of fiberglass mat is laid on the bottom to provide a nonslip surface and stiffen the hull. Mat is not a usual visible finish for a canoe, and I was initially disappointed to see a portion of the wood ribs cover by a translucent material. But the finish is not unattractive, and I'm not sure there is a better way to stiffen' ' the bottom while allowing the wood ribs to show through a nonslip surface. The overall canoe is stiff, the Kevlar skin is thin, but the Merrimack folks have figured out how to make a stiff boat while maintaining lightweight (56 pounds).

This Traveler was first tested by a solo trip on a small, moderately windy lake. First paddle strokes always introduce a canoe in a way that is not easily forgotten. The Traveler's first impression is one of smooth glide with responsive turning and control. Nothing in successive outings changed my mind, either solo or tandem. In my opinion, this canoe perfectly blends initial and final stability. On one trip I paddled with a friend who has minimal experience. Together we leaned the gunwale to the water, and the boat still felt secure. New canoeists may find initial stability a bit tender at first, but I would be surprised if the discomfort lasted more than a few hours. Once familiar with the Traveler, most new paddlers will appreciate the fine handling characteristics, glide, and stability of this hull.

The Traveler feels like a deep canoe even though the center depth is only 12.5 inches. The boat handles well in wind; I found it easy to maintain course, as well as to turn or adjust course when needed.

We had an opportunity to paddle the Traveler in the cut at a time when a number of large powerboats went through, setting up significant wakes and reflected waves. As expected, it handled the waves well, keeping dry in the bow. In one particular instance, a steep, angular wake sent us surfing toward a concrete bulkhead. For a moment, I though we were going to scratch some gel-coat; we had no idea that the Traveler likes to surf! In subsequent wakes, there were no problems; the boat handled well at all angles to waves.

Overall, the Traveler would be an outstanding all-purpose family boat, suitable for paddling solo, very fine for general recreational use, and capable of hauling two paddlers and gear for a multi-day trip. All of this comes in a canoe that would invite attention along the show boulevard of waterways and launch points. The Traveler is a truly beautiful canoe, well crafted and functional, that paddles well. It carries all the hallmarks of a boulevard boat and easily fits on the list of canoes I'd want in my fleet.

  • Jim, we finally had a decent day on Monday December 29 and we were able to get the Osprey in the water. We had a great time! She handles like a dream. We spent about three hours paddling around an area off of Lake Houston about two miles from our home. Everyone that sees the canoe says she is a beauty. We can't wait to take her out again. Thanks again for a beautiful canoe.
    Donna Z. Houston, TX
  • I wish to commend Merrimack Canoes for the quality of its product and service. My family gave me my Osprey as a present for my 60th birthday. It is a beautiful little canoe that is very easy for one person to handle. On many afternoons during the past several months we have enjoyed canoeing on Lady Bird Lake here in Austin. Our Osprey never fails to attract a lot of compliments for its beauty. Thanks for providing such a nice product. It has been a pleasure dealing with your company.
    Ross Rommel - Austin, Texas
  • Dear Randy and All the good people at Merrimack, I have wanted to send this photo to you for some time now. My original Stowe Canoe Company canoe that I keep in Maine was destroyed in a storm 3 years ago. Through research I finally learned about Merrimack and the relationship to Stowe. You folks helped me arrange the purchase of this beautiful Osprey at a dealer in New Hampshire during July of '98. We bought the canoe there and drove it to Kennebago Lake in northwestern Maine where my family has a cabin. On August 22, 1998, I married my wonderful wife on the steps of the cabin and canoed her in our new Osprey down the lake to our wedding reception in what was one of the most romantic and beautiful settings I have ever experienced. I look forward to passing this canoe to my children and grandchildren. It is a beautiful and functional work of art! My wedding would not have been the same without the canoe or your assistance in making this happen. This is why I want you to have this photograph. Thank you very much! Sincerely,
    Riq Lazarus
  • Dear Merrimack- My Osprey arrived this morning (Sunday), meticulously packed and in perfect condition. Peeling back the wrapping to reveal this work of art was a moment I will not soon forget. The canoe is exquisite and a testament to the workmanship and skill of the craftsmen who made her. I was impressed not only with her construction, but also the design of the Osprey as well. She paddled almost effortlessly and handled the relative chop of the Chesapeake just fine. My Osprey may have been the smallest vessel on the Chesapeake this morning, but she was certainly the most exquisite!! Porting her back the 1/4 mile from the beach to my house was also a snap. With paddle in hand, and Osprey over my other shoulder, she seemed much lighter than 48 lbs. I would also like to comment on the discount you afforded me due to the resin blemish on the bottom of the hull. After 5 minutes of searching for the blemish, I finally found what I thought might be it. Either way, it was so superficial that I never would have noticed it had you not told me first-off. That you would give a discount for something so small and invisible is proof of your professionalism, integrity, and the kind of class you'd only find in a old, family business. I appreciate that immensely and have an even greater respect for Merrimack as a result. Thank you Merrimack....I look forward to a lifetime of using my Osprey, and I'm sure she'll provide my future generations with the same pleasure. Best Regards,
    Lt. Brian W. U.S.N. - Maryland
  • Hi Jim & Kathy I am writing to you to thank you for making our week on Lake Eufaula a great one. I cannot imagine being on this great lake without our OSPREY. We have been on the lake every morning. Thank you for your advice and help in selecting the right canoe for our needs. Our dog SASHA was with us each day the canoe is stable and tracks very well. If you have anyone who needs help in making a decision on a Merrimack just have them call me. I am sure there is another Merrimack in our future.
    Jim T. - Alabama
  • I bought my Osprey more than twenty years ago as a replacement for an old 13 foot wood and canvas canoe I had used for many years. I fell in love with the way it looked when I first saw it. Like my old canvas covered boat, it looks the way a canoe is supposed to look. I have owned several other canoes over the years, but none have matched the Osprey for performance as a fly fishing boat. It is light and responsive, easy to paddle, easy to carry, and the extra beam makes it very stable. I have been caught out on large lakes in heavy weather a number of times, and this little boat brought me safely to shore every time. I have two daughters in their thirty's who learned to canoe in this boat, and two teenagers at home now who like it so well they want me to buy another one. I also want to mention how happy I am with the people at Merrimack. Like I said, it's been more than twenty years since I bought my boat, but when I called about getting some materials needed for a cosmetic repair I was treated like I bought the boat a week ago.
    Andy Fults
Back in the water? You bet. Maddie and I took Kermit (we named our green Souhegan after the famous frog) out on the little lake in Southwood immediately after we left your place on Saturday. Sunday the children and I went on a 6 hour paddle up and down the Wacissa. We caught a few fish, hooked, but did not land some huge channel catfish, one of which was the length of my daughter's arm. We love the canoe! Last night I rigged up a pulley system in the garage to stow our new practical piece of art. My only complaint is that my work is suffering because of the canoe. I am finding that daydreaming about canoing is distracting me from my work. A small price to pay.Tyler M. - Florida
  • I wanted a very high quality canoe for fly-fishing and overnight camping. I spent months looking for a canoe that would offer the classic look of a wood canoe, yet offer the strength and low weight of modern materials. After examining the Merrimack Web site, and spending considerable time talking with representatives of the company, I decided to purchase the 16’ Merrimack Souhegan. This decision turned out to be one of the best purchases I have ever made. The Merrimack Souhegan is truly first class! The craftsmanship and quality are far superior to anything I have seen in my many years of canoeing! The canoe is extremely stable and handles with ease. My first day out in the Souhegan was windy, but it tracked straight with little effort. I found it to be perfect for carrying equipment to campsites or when fishing with a partner. The color (I chose “ivory white”) is absolutely beautiful, especially in contrast to the select grade wood trim! Customer service at Merrimack also set them apart from any of the other canoe companies I talked with. You will find them to be very helpful and responsive to your questions and canoeing needs. Shipment was fast and well packaged. If you buy a Merrimack, you’ll want another one after paddling your first. I am already thinking about adding a Baboosic or Osprey!!
    J.F. Denver, CO.
  • I've now owned a Merrimack Souhegan for several months, with a half dozen outings under my belt. I feel I owe it to Jim and Kathy at Merrimack, and potential customers, to give my impressions. First off, I spent a lot of time before the purchase, trying to decide which canoe was right for me. After a not-so-brief conversation with Jim, owner of Merrimack, we came to the conclusion that the Souhegan was the best choice, given that I expected to do nearly all my canoeing with my better half, as well as an English Setter, which will be added to our household in a few months. I thought the 16 ft length might pose problems for storage and transporting... and potentially be harder to control on the water. Jim's assurances were absolutely correct, and I now feel a shorter boat would prove to be too limiting for us. After several conversations and emails, we decided to pull the proverbial trigger and ordered a Souhegan in candy apple red. It's a rather daunting experience, committing to pay more for a boat that you've never seen, compared to the more popular brands. But I have to say that without a doubt, we feel we couldn't have made a better decision. The Souhegan is possibly the most beautiful canoe I've ever seen. So far, we've had at least one person compliment it on every single outing. The interior cherry 'ribs' perfectly complement the red exterior, and I often find myself staring into the boat rather than out at the scenery when we're paddling. The canoe is also the best handling boat I've ever encountered. It's fast and graceful, but easy to maneuver. It's also very quiet, unlike most other boats I've been in. Stability is excellent. I won't claim that I've ever tried to heel it over and see how it carves a turn, as I'm really just a recreational paddler. But I've never been concerned with capsizing it, even on the occasions I've stood to take photos or moved around to reach the cooler. And, I must say, we are pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the mesh nylon seats are! Finally, I'll have to say that Jim and Kathy's customer service is excellent. You can't do any better than to give them your business. I would buy another canoe from them in a heartbeat!
    Brett S. - Wisconsin (Rating: 10 of 10 from
  • First and foremost, it was a real pleasure doing business with the Merrimack Canoe Company. I searched through just about every canoe ever made looking for something in preparation for a Boundary Waters trip that I could also use in the Louisiana swamps. I couldn't be more pleased with my Merrimack Prospector. I've just returned from a two week expedition in the BWCWA and I've been using it solo in the swamps every weekend. My double kevlar hull was a dream to portage, even over back to back 100-200+ rod portages, and handling it solo in the swamps is cake. I even had added weight while portaging due to an unexpected benefit of Merrimack's construction. The inner and outer gunwhales leave small slits between the cherry ribs; perfectly sized for velcro straps which I used to secure my paddles and fishing rods to the boat while portaging. She swallowed up the biggest, heaviest packs of 2 weeks worth of gear for 4 people no sweat, and as is told in the description, the more weight, the better she tracks. We were amazed how she cut right through the waves. The flip side of that is the canoe's only weakness. Paddling solo with no weight, she's harder to handle in the wind than others. But you can't have your cake and eat it too, it's a deep boat. An experienced paddler can manage. As far as durability, my Prospector definitely has some "character" now after the Boundary Waters, but nothing like the gouges and planing we started noticing on the keel of my buddy's Royalex hull. The large seats are so comfortable, we never even once thought about sitting on life jackets or other padding. And of course the sheer beauty of the thing is sure nice for the ego as she's admired everywhere I go. Bottom line, for those deterred by the price, my Prospector was worth every penny and more." -Ben Rawls, Louisiana (pictures from Ben's trip) Having been an ACA Canoeing Instructor for fifteen years, and now an Instructor Trainer, I have long wanted a Prospector. It was a financial stretch, but I purchased Merrimack Prospector at the end of April and there are no regrets. I have paddled it both tandem and solo in three instructor training workshops and on two personal outings. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this highly rockered boat tracks! It is definitely the BMW of the open canoe world. I love the Merrimack, my students love it and best of all, my wife loves it!
    Lee Goodnight (Rating: 10 of 10. review posted on
  • I was delighted and surprised to find out that one of my top three canoe choices was built just down the road when I was looking for a new boat. The people at Merrimack were excellent to deal with. I felt like I was truely involved with every step of building just the boat I wanted. It has given me many wonderful hours of enjoyment, and I swell up like a proud Papa every time someone compliments me on the apprearance and performance of the boat. I keep brochures in the glovebox of my truck and happily hand them out whenanyone asks. Solo or tandem it is smooth and responsive whether out for a day trip or loaded down for a week in the BWCA.
    James Finley
  • My wife & I have owned our Prospector for about 2 years (Burgundy/fiberglass). Whenever we take it our, we always can expect a positive comment from those who see us paddling. Once you get used to the "tippiness," it is extremely easy and fun to paddle. We experienced some deep scratches on the bottom when paddling over some shallow shoals; however, a fiberglass repair shop was able to buff them out using very finely gritted sand paper & it buffed up good as new. If anything ever happened to it, we'd buy another in a minute! A beautiful canoe & best priced, by far, for the quality workmanship involved in its construction.
    B. Clerico
  • I first became aware of the Merrimack line of canoes last year. They seemed to combine the appearance of a wood and canvas canoe with the practicality of composite construction but I wanted to paddle one first! My local canoe shop in central Iowa wasn't really interested in stocking a canoe I wasn't ready to promise I'd buy. Finally I drove to Madision, WI and padddled one at Carl's Paddlin (a great canoe shop). It is a Prospector and it's great! So far I have only paddled it solo and it handles like a dream. It's reasonably fast, turns well and balances pretty good when solo when I sit in the bow seat (facing the stern). Both initial and final stability are good. I did manage to capsize the canoe but I had to work at it. And the canoe is just so pretty! I get compliments regularly. I just heel it over 15 degrees or so and feel like Bill Mason, who said once that if he could have only one canoe it would be a Chestnut Prospector. The Merrimack Prospector is a real close second. The only flaw is the hull shows the pattern of the ribs in the Kevlar covering. This is because the wood and canvas canoes were sheathed in cedar and then covered with canvas. This canoe has the ribs but due to the strength of fiberglass or Kevlar there is no sheathing between the ribs and the Kevlar. Hence the rib pattern shows through. It's a small thing though. All in all I love the canoe.
    Leonard Tinker
  • The Prospector is a traditional Bill Mason Canadian style canoe. The Merrimack version has the same lines as the traditional Prospector but is much lighter. We purchased our Prospector in carbon fiber and had the boat trimmed with cherry. This was an anniversary gift for my wife and myself and this is our most beautiful canoe. This is a family heirloom that will be around for many years. We do paddle this canoe and it isn’t only for looks. We’ve found this canoe handles better as a tandem than a solo. I have some great memories paddling this canoe on a quiet lake under a moonlit night. Using an Algonquin paddle with leather wrapped around the paddle throat and using an underwater recovery, I have found this canoe is very quiet and I can sneak up on wildlife more quietly than I can with many other canoes.
    Larry Graubner
  • The visual impact of the Baboosic is almost palpable; such is the level of the craftsmanship evident in its construction. So much so, that I have even had non-canoeists comment on it. Once the boat is on the water, it becomes readily apparent that the same level of craftsmanship went into its design, as well. I can only echo the sentiment expressed in one of the previous reviews: this is the finest little boat I have ever paddled. Having said that, I add this caveat: no matter how much some readers may desire that these reviews be objective, there is always one large subjective variable --the individual paddler with their biases, their preferences, and their unique skill-level, all of which influence their objectivity. One paddler's hard-tracking boat that's easy to turn with a 'bit' of lean is another paddler's hard-tracker that resists turning unless leaned precariously, even if the degree of lean is the same for both paddlers. The Baboosic is not a hard tracker, though it tracks, and glides, surprisingly well for a boat with 3 inches of rocker. It also is not difficult to hold into the wind. Nor does it weather cock in a following wind. If you're looking for a boat that carves graceful turns; the Baboosic is not it; the symetrical rocker causes the stern to 'skid' around in a turn. But the boat will turn on a dime. Some people characterize this boat as initially skittish. I do not. The Baboosic, as noted in other reviews, will lock to the rail when leaned. Even the slightest lean induces that feel of 'push-back', which increases the more one leans. Once one is aware of this, feelings of initial 'tenderness' become a moot point, and you find yourself not even thinking about it. The boat is 30 inches wide at the paddling station. Whether one likes that, or not, is a personal preference. It's not an issue for me. The seat, strung with extremely taut nylon cord, is the most comfortable canoe seat I've ever placed my derrierre on, upwards to 7 hours at a stretch. I've taken this boat on week long camping trips. It handled the load and various conditions encountered with aplomb. Lastly, I have never paddled a boat like the Baboosic. It's so light and responsive on the water, it's like paddling a leaf. I feel like I am part of the experience; not an intruder. It's canoeing the way I think it should be.Jack Wagner
  • Jim, it was really GREAT to hear from you. I have been lousy at staying in touch, but I'll change that when it warms up. I have baptized the Baboosic and it is an UNBELIEVABLY PERFECT boat for me!! When the boat came I was having ankle/foot problems and ended up wearing a heavy knee length boot for 3 months into October and didn't paddle. The boot and therapy did its job, so in mid-October I took the Baboosic to the local bayou, kneeled with the kneeling mat, and had a ball!! Man that boat will turn, turn, turn, which I love. Yet I can paddle it straight as a locomotive. The performance is almost unreal. The Baboosic is such an incredible, graceful performer that I fell head-over-heels in love with it with the first paddle stroke. I'm eleated I bought a Baboosic.
    Louis C.
  • My Baboosic arrived yesterday safe and sound, in absolutely flawless condition. From reading all the positive reviews I found, looking at pictures of your boats and the great customer service you provided, I must admit my expectations were rather high. Nevertheless, I was completely blown away. The Ivory color is handsome, radiant & elegant. The wood, so silky smooth. Masterpiece comes to mind - I didn't want to put it in the water. By chance it arrived on a full moon, so I went to the water anyway, for our first full moon paddle. The color choice (ivory) was spot on. The ivory boat glimmered and shined in the moonlight. Looks aside, this boat is quickly going to teach me how to paddle beautifully. Unlike my whitewater canoe, It's gracious responsiveness to correct ( & correction) strokes is instantaneous, as is it's unforgiving responsiveness to improper technique and lazy paddling. This boat is truly a serious paddlers delight. Once in the water it felt so light, It seemed as if I was in a Mother Goose fairy tail floating in an egg shell. In a word, SENSATIONAL!! This boat is exactly what I wanted & need. My whitewater experience is going to improve tremendously with the Baboosic's calm water instruction & demanding discipline. I'm very proud to say my Merrimack Baboosic is the shining gem of my entire fleet. Your customer relations skills were second to none at every step, first call through delivery. I've never had such a pleasant experience spending money, and I have spent a lot of money on boats over the years. I really appreciate the time each of you spent with me, weighing options and educating me of your product design and construction. This really helped, insuring the decisions I needed to make would be correct. Not once did I feel even a glint of pressure or persuasion. Thank you very much for keeping Merrimack's history, quality, artistry, craftsmanship & value alive! Also thanks for working so hard to get it shipped out to me in time for my freestyle class. Please tell Randy I'm totally thrilled with his beautiful boat! I feel privileged to own it. I couldn't be any happier.
    Leonard V
  • Excerpted from CANOE & KAYAK MAGAZINE - BABOOSIC FIRST IMPRESSIONS This 14-foot canoe has strictly classic lines; slightly recurved stems, substantial curve in the shear, and little tumblehome to the sides. The traditional heritage (and the hull) is reinforced with thin cherry ribs. The Baboosic has great visual appeal, and I particularly noted the meticulous craftsmanship of the wood trim, attention to detail and superb finish. The Baboosic is my pick for best looking boat in the review. Inside the hull, cherry ribs shine with a coat of resin, and the bottom (where additional half ribs form a stiff diamond shape) is covered with a layer of clear three-quarter-ounce fiberg1ass mat. The grain structure and color of the ribs add striking beauty to this canoe. Two sculpted cherry thwarts are standard, adding a lightweight, pleasing accent while giving great stiffness. The hull is rigid and stiff throughout its entire length. All fasteners are recessed. Gunwales, thwarts, seat frame, and handles are all rounded and sanded smooth. End flotation chambers are installed "upside down," tucked under the cherry decks. I'm not sure why, but the result is to maintain the appearance of a classic wood-rib canoe that has no end tank. A small brass stem band remnant drooping over the deck to the upper stem evokes the traditional brass stem band of a canvas canoe, as it provides a bang plate to reduce wear damage if the stem touches the ground. Stems are partially recurved to contribute to the traditional lines. When you look along the waterline of the hull, the entry line appears quite fine. Thwarts are fastened to inwales with two stainless fasteners on each side. With the cherry ribs joined between the inwale and cutwale, the Baboosic has very narrow slots just as would be found in a rib-and-plank canoe. Slots allow water to completely drain out. Decks are perfectly fitted to inwales, no filler noted. The curved shape of the deck is reflected by a curved side on the adjacent handle and deck came from the same piece of cherry, but examination of the grain indicated otherwise - suggesting the the matched curve is intentional. Merrimack pays attention to small details. OUTFITTING The Baboosic seat is fixed and hung from the inwales. The seat frame is strung with nylon cord to produce a stiff, comfortable, traditional seat. Wood spacers have been shaped to eliminate sharp edges as well as to match the width of the inwale. It's such details that give Merrimack canoes a real sense of elegance of construction. Even though hung, the seat is very rigid side-to-side --- quite impressive. There is no foot brace in this canoe, and I probably wouldn't put one in. It's very traditional in appearance and construction, and I'd look first to paddling it in a kneeling position. PADDLING PERFORMANCE A strongly arched cross section and unusual amount (three inches) of rocker suggest a canoe that sacrifices initial stability and stiff tracking for the kind of handling demanded by experienced paddlers, and this turns out to be the case. In fact, the Baboosic evoked feelings of something from paddling's past -- a mystery until Randy Pew, designer and owner of Merrimack Canoe, explained that the Baboosic plan is based on the lines of the well-known Prospector. It paddles very much that way too. If you like a Prospector, you'll like the Baboosic. On calm water the Baboosic does not rest at a single stable position. The arched hull produces wiggle, and depending on your paddling skill, it may feel tender. I got used to it, and while I wouldn't call the Baboosic very initial-ly stable, it is not uncomfortable on calm water. The Baboosic turns easily and yaws quite a bit with each stroke. My initial impression is that this boat is one for a moderately experienced paddler or someone willing to get that way. New Paddlers shouldn't shy away: the Baboosic will encourage and reward good paddling technique, and probably rather quickly. Width at the paddling position is a little over 31 Inches. When seated, I have to reach more than I would prefer. Dropping knees into the chine, and paddling the Baboosic in the leaned-over northwoods style, this canoe becomes an absolute delight: feather light on the water, absolutely quiet through calm water, with just wonderful control! From this position, the rail drops easily to the water and can be brought up effortlessly. Fine final stability! Merrimack advocates the Baboosic as a potential freestyle boat should a paddler choose to use it so, and I would agree. This canoe Is a lot of fun for messing around on calm water, doing freestyle moves, and just generally playing. When it's time to move, this "baby brook" goes with surprising speed for a short canoe. The Baboosic did not test out as fast as some of the other boats, but on a subjective level, it has as good a glide feeling as any of the other boats when paddled at average cruising speed. With a heavy load, it still cruises well and runs nearly as dry as when empty; it would be a mistake to think of this as only a play boat. Some canoes have a "softness" in waves, and the Baboosic is such a canoe. Hitting a wave, the bow rises as expected, but rather that slap or pound subsequent waves, the bow drops gently and softly --- a rare treat in any canoe. Paddling in waves reflected off concrete walls in the cut, the Baboosic is also "soft." It was the most consistent canoe in the review for handling quartering waves. The term "flighty" almost describes the feeling of paddling this boat unloaded. It is so light on the water that those who are used to feeling a hull carving through water may feel more like a feather bouncing on top. I suspect that the flighty sensation is the price one pays for having high rocker and convex stem shapes. For some paddlers it may feel different, but it is something one would get used to and probably appreciate over time. I like it. After initial strokes with a straight paddle, I tried a bentshaft and the boat tracked well enough that I could get three to four strokes on the side, which is about average. The Baboosic responds with a yaw to a paddle stroke because of the rocker, but I'd be sure to take my bent-shaft paddle along --especially when the canoe is loaded. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR USE To me, this is a paddler's canoe. it's fun, but it demands and rewards attention and good paddling skills. It's an outstanding boat to use for playing around and for day trips. Paddlers of all sizes felt comfortable. On a long trip, I think it gives up some efficiency and returns the pleasure of paddling in a classic style in a classic boat. No apology is needed when carrying gear. The Baboosic runs dry and plenty quick with a load. Excerpted from PADDLER MAGAZINE - 12 Top Solo Touring Canoes By Tom Hall TOURING CANOES: The Baboosic by Merrimack is the love-at-first-sight canoe, the first to capture the fancy because it is a singularly beautiful classical canoe, with lines created on the aesthetic of form and function. Its proportions, dimensions, curves and contours all shape and fit so the whole becomes the perfect consummation of the parts. Its hull is fiberglass or Kevlar laid very thin around ribs of cherry wood: a rare but powerful fusion of old wood and new boatbuilding that makes a canoe that could rightly become a museum piece. But it's not too precious to launch, nor be defiled if dinged. The initial worry is that it might be too pretty to paddle well, but it's light as a leaf on the water, and its surge with the first stroke dispels all doubts. It's quick to turn and might feel a bit ethereal, but the knack of managing it comes early on. For a touring canoe it proves agreeable on straight courses, and it even has volume enough to carry a fair-sized load. As a tourer it keeps its charm over the long haul, even though it has other commitments. As a canoe it was the sentimental favorite of boats tested - "Perfect in every way," said a rowing-coach-test-paddler. The Baboosic is a performance solo canoe and whenever I just want to mess around on the water with a canoe, this is the boat I usually take to the lake. This canoe is best paddled from a kneeling position and I have found that the gunwale can be leaned all the way to the water, and even under the water, and still be pulled back up. I usually paddle with an ottertail or beavertail paddle and prefer using an underwater recovery stroke. Heeled over, this canoe will spin on the proverbial dime and is very responsive. Larry Graubner Jim: Max and I had a thrill meeting you, Randy, and Scott, and seeing your shop. It's much more real to the kids when they can see that people make things, instead of believing that everything starts at Wal-Mart! And much fun for Dad as well to meet the guy who designed my canoe and the guy who built it.

    We couldn't wait to get it out Sunday despite it being rainy and windy. We went to a local state park that has a 70 acre lake that doesn't allow motorboats, jet skis, etc. I don't gush much, but I think it was one of those afternoons that my kids will talk fondly about at my funeral (hopefully a long time from now). Okay, maybe all they will remember is how funny it was when our dog -- a little Cairn Terrier -- decided to jump out of the canoe and go for a swim, only to realize that (1) the water was deep, and (2) it was also cold. But hey, that will still be a funny story years from now. I took the canoe out solo a few times and was in awe of how well it handled even with my clumsy efforts. I've paddled nothing but rental Grummans for I don't know how long, and was just thrilled with the Tennessean. But most of all, paddling that beautifully hand-crafted canoe with my beautiful Nashwaak paddle as the sun broke through the clouds and the geese flew by just gave me one of those "Bill Mason moments" when you wonder why in the world we ever invented automobiles, powerboats, and airplanes. I just don't think it would have been the same if I had been paddling a plastic canoe from the local big box retailer. Ralph D. - Tenneessee

  • Jim, sorry for the delay in responding....been busy paddling! I was so anxious last week waiting for delivery; it was something like waiting for that special Christmas present when I was about five. The delivery was smooth and I spend hours in the garage looking at it for the next two days. We finally got out on our maiden voyage today on a wonderful Flagstaff 'Indian summer' day...what an incredible canoe to complement a beautiful fall day. Handled well in slight wind and moved easily when I was solo paddling (Victoria likes to take breaks). I am pleased with every aspect of this canoe; I haven't been able to take my eyes off it. We are ecstatic over this purchase. Thanks so much for your help Jim. We will send a better picture when we next take one.
    Paul and Victoria C. - Arizona
  • The show room of the Merrimack Canoe Company is an anachronism. The quality, beauty and craftsmanship that define the Merrimack canoe is almost impossible to find in our world today. Yet the combination of traditional and high tech materials used in their construction make another statement. "How can something this wonderful be built using these materials"? Although it is tough to get past the aesthetic statement made when looking at the boat you soon realize that the beauty is much more than skin deep. I purchased a Tennessean and have loved every minute of time spent on the water with her. She paddles like a silk dream, and weighing under fifty pounds is easily transported on a roof rack. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a Merrimack you won't let go. I have been canoeing for almost 50 years. I can honestly say that this is absolutely the best small production canoe on the market.
    Dr. Richard C. - Florida
  • I can't thank you enough for providing such a great boat. I'm happy to say I'm well on my way to spending countless hours out exploring the backwaters of Florida. So far I have been impressed how easily this canoe maneuvers, even when solo. Please pass on my thanks to everyone there. It's nice to know that fine craftsmanship still exists. Thanks!
    Dave R. - Florida
  • Yesterday, Alison and I drove up to NH to Wild Meadow Canoe to "look at canoes". We came home with a beautiful Ivory Tennessean!!! Seeing, touching and experiencing one of your Merrimack canoes in person...the classic look...the impeccable craftsmanship...It was love at first sight. We looked at and "water tested "some others that actually were very nice. Then we climbed in the Tennessean. For quality and design, there was no comparison! It/we moved smoothly and gracefully through the water, rode comfortably over some wake from a passing power-boat and glided happily back to shore. We were seduced. Tom Whalen and Brian installed a roof top carrier for us on the spot and home we went. Alison and I easily handled the 50 lbs. off loading it into the garage. We can't wait to take her for her maiden voyage this weekend discovering areas of the upper Charles River we've never seen. As you might surmise, we're excited!
    Bruce Marson - Massachusetts
  • FINALLY I was able to get the canoe (Tennessean) out on the water! Sunday afternoon we paddled around Lincoln Pond, which is actually a lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state. Beautiful! (The lake and the canoe.) There are two times we see the canoe: when it's on the car, and when we are paddling. Looks great on the car, of course, and seeing the classic cherry-wood ribs while paddling is an experience unmatched by all other canoes of kevlar, fiberglass, or plastic! No buyer's remorse here!
    Bruce P. - Vermont
  • I can now tell you that this blue boat has been tested and found to be


    Greg took it out all by himself the other day to Oscar Scherer State Park. It handled well for him. Sadly, it does have a few scratches on the keel, so maybe the ivory would have been a better choice from that standpoint but we're both glad we picked the blue.
    Susan M. - Florida - Feb, 2007