Canoes and Canoeing
If you are to own a canoe select it carefully; consult catalogues of
reliable dealers, and, if possible, have an experienced and good
canoeist help you choose it. The pretty canoe made of wood will answer
in calm waters and wear well with careful usage, but sportsmen prefer
the canvas-covered canoe, declaring it the best boat for cruising, as it
is light, easy to manage, will stand rough usage, and will also carry
er loads. The best make has a frame of hardwood with cedar ribs and
planking; spruce gunwales and brass bang-plates to protect the ends.
This canoe is covered with strong canvas, treated with some kind of
filler, and then painted and varnished. There are usually two cane
seats, one at the stern, the other near the bow. These are built in.
Canoes vary in the shape of the bow, some being higher than others. The
high bow prevents the shipping of too much water, but will also offer
resistance to the wind and so impede the progress of the boat. A medium
high bow is the best.
One firm of camp-outfitters advertises a canoe called the Sponson, the
name being taken from the air-chambers built along the outside rail,
which are called sponsons. It is claimed that these air-chambers make it
next to impossible to upset the canoe, and that even when filled with
water it will support a heavy weight. Sponsons can also be purchased
separately and can be adjusted to any sized canoe.
For a novice the sponsons would seem a good thing, as they not only
insure safety but, in doing away with the fear of an upset, make
learning to paddle easier. Then there are the guide canoes made
especially for hunting and fishing. They are strong, flat-bottomed, will
carry a heavy load, are easy to paddle or pole, and will stand rough
water. These canoes are good for general use on the trail.
The prices of a _good_ canoe range from twenty-eight dollars to forty
dollars. One may go higher, of course, but the essentials of the canoe
will be no better. A lower price means, as a rule, not so good a boat.