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Hornbeck Boats

An Adirondacks boat builder.

That's what Hornbeck Boats from Olmstedville, N.Y., calls itself.

The description can conjure qualities such as hand craftsmanship, high-caliber work, no mass production, and a specialized product made for the region.

The company makes double-paddle canoes, ultra-light, durable crafts meant to combine the best features of canoes and kayaks.

The boats are built for high-performance and to be light enough to carry to the many lakes and ponds accessed through the trails of the Adirondack Mountains.

Although they’re designed for those waters, they can be used on many different waters.

Why a double-paddle canoe?

In a double-paddle canoe the boater sits below the water surface, helping stabilize the boat like ballast, allowing the vessel to be narrow, light and fast.

In a conventional canoe the paddler sits well above the surface, requiring the boat to be wider, heavier and slower.

A double-paddle canoe’s smaller profile and lower freeboard makes the vessel less vulnerable to winds.

The double paddle itself propels the boat faster and more efficiently than a single blade.

With a single-blade paddle, only one side of the boat is propelled, so the canoer must compensate or yaw, or the boat will sail in a circle.

With a double blade, no correcting is necessary, and every stroke propels the boat forward.

Other advantages can also be named, but those are major ones.

Hornbeck produces several different models of canoes and also a couple of kayaks.

The boats are made in three different versions: Kevlar, Carbon/Kevlar and All-Carbon Fiber. Many of the boats are offered in all three versions.

All those materials are lightweight, and Kevlar is heaviest. Carbon/Kevlar is lighter, and All-Carbon Fiber is lighter yet.

Other features include: ash, walnut, cherry and butternut woodwork; fairly round hulls so waves have little to slap against; a flared hull with a hollow cheek on each end, helping both with speed and to keep water out; reinforced areas of stress, such as with additional layers of Kevlar; no extrusions or pop rivets; padded back rests; Polycell flotation; tie-downs fore and aft; and more.

Brief descriptions of the different models follow.

Canoes:

  • 9-Foot: 27-inch beam, 8-inch depth, 125-pound capacity. Weighs 12 pounds in Kevlar, 11-pounds in Carbon/Kevlar and 10 pounds in All-Carbon Fiber.

  • 10-Foot 5-inch: The best seller, “a true Adirondack classic,” the company says. A 30-inch beam, 11-inch depth and 300-pound capacity. Weighs 16-pounds in Kevlar, 15-pounds in Carbon/Kevlar and 14-pounds in All-Carbon Fiber.

  • 10-Foot 8-inch, “The Black Jack”: 30-inch beam, 11-inch depth, 300-pound capacity. All-Carbon Fiber construction, less than 12 pounds. Also available in 10 feet or 12 feet.

  • 12-Foot: A solo for paddlers more than 225 pounds or those who leave nothing at home. Can also be set up as a “minimalist’s” tandem. A 31-inch beam, 12-inch depth and 425-pound capacity. Weighs 19 pounds in Kevlar, 18 pounds in Carbon/Kevlar and 17 pounds in All-Carbon Fiber.

  • Low-Profile 12-Foot: Best for those less than 225 pounds. Feels like the 10-footer but with a little more speed and volume. A 29-inch beam and 10-1/2-inch depth, and the capacity was unavailable. Weighs 16-1/2-pounds in Kevlar and 15-1/2-pounds in All-Carbon Fiber. Also offered in Kevlar/Carbon, but the weight was unavailable.

  • 14-Foot: A solo that carries all your gear plus your dog. But can also be set up as a tandem. A 30-inch beam, 11-inch depth and 625-pound capacity. Weighs 25 pounds in Kevlar, 24 pounds in Carbon/Kevlar and 21 pounds in All-Carbon Fiber.

  • 16-Foot: Strictly solo. Designed for speed and performance, like for 40-mile days on big water. A 27-inch beam, 11-inch depth and 725-pound capacity. Weighs 27 pounds in Kevlar, 25 pounds in Carbon/Kevlar and 23 pounds in All-Carbon Fiber.

  • Decked Canoe: A 10-foot 5-incher in Kevlar/Carbon. Looks like a kayak, with a deck on top, but with a larger cockpit opening. Built for wavy, windy or cold conditions.

Kayaks

A kayak is also available in two different versions: one with hatches and bulkheads and one without. They’re both 16 1/2 feet long and built with either Kevlar or All-Carbon Fiber.

Accessories

Accessories are also available: a yolk; a backpack mount; a bicycle cart; foam blocks, webbing and rope to create a car-roof rack, free with each vessel; oars, hardware and outriggers for trolling flies or lures; items for customizing for canoeing with a dog; and paddles.

So Hornbeck Boats certainly appears to merit everything good that's implied by the name Adirondacks boat builder.

That can be the meaning of the words “Adirondack Made” on the hull.

But those words can also suggest that the canoes are as beautiful as the mountains that essentially created them. 

For further details, visit Hornbeck Boats’ web site.