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 Post subject: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2010, 9:29 am 
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Location: In a small boat
I’m considering buying a used Poke boat to use as a camping kayak for weekend trips on nearby lakes. The price is right and the light weight and large cockpit are appealing.

I’ve seen a couple of different models of Poke boats (this one seems to be a discontinued model) and know that the seats are crude and the outfitting minimal, but I am more concerned about the construction materials and quality. The Poke boats I’ve seen appeared kind of flimsy and under built.

The Poke boat site make a big deal of their “specially woven, aircraft-quality fiberglass cloth”, “ballistic nylon cloth” and “very complex, flexible, high-elongation isophthalic resin”.

Is there anything to this beside ad hype? Sglass and nylon? Vinylester resin? Their retail price seems very high compared to other fiberglass boats.

Does anyone have a Poke boat or experience with their materials and construction?

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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2010, 10:20 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
I’ve always been put off by their advertising. For years their signature line was something like “A canoe is tippy, a Poke Boat isn’t”. I noticed that after the rec kayak craze got underway that line changed to “A canoe or kayak is tippy…”

I guess their advertising targeted a specific audience; I seem to recall Poke ads in National Geographic, Smithsonian and Audubon magazines. Maybe in the New Yorker as well.

Given the hyperbole of their advertising I would wonder about the basis of their special construction claims.


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2010, 11:47 am 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1496
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Poke Boat website humor

I took a look at the Poke Boat website and there is some funny stuff there:

“It’s everything a canoe/kayak isn’t! Canoes are tippy, hard to paddle, and worst of all….heavy”

Wait, what…. “Everything a canoe or kayak isn’t” is a good thing? Have I wasted decades paddling these things that isn’t good?

I guess I never realized how tippy and hard to paddle those darned canoes are. And worst of all heavy; you would think by now canoe manufacturers would have developed lightweight materials and construction methods of their own.

“But, we have to admit, they’re probably not the prettiest boats you’ll ever see.”

OK, that I can agree with.

“You see, using machines to build boats creates perfectly uniform parts that are completely blemish-free. Pretty? Yes. As lightweight and structurally sound as possible? No way. So we don’t use machines.”

I’m not even sure what this means. Maybe they use hand knapped obsidian blades for cutting and bore holes with a bow drill and sharpened antler. The good thing is that it produces a boat that doesn’t have “perfectly uniform parts”, isn’t “blemish free” and isn’t “pretty”. ?

But the best is this, all actual quotes from the Poke website:
“It is easily hand-carried or dragged by one person over rugged terrain”…. “Drag it! Really drag it! Over gravel, rocks, beaver dams and fields”….” The boat can easily be pulled by a person or even dragged over fields by a truck!”… “a boat that can be dragged over beaver dams, log jams, gravel and other obstructions with confidence”

I want one to drag behind my truck.

Seriously, that over-the-top boasting makes me appreciate the restraint of the more subtle bias and brag coming from mainstream manufacturers.


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2010, 12:09 pm 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Quote:
I want one to drag behind my truck.


Why stop at one? There is an outfitter on the Saco River who has a fan hitch on his ATV and hitches up five Old Towns at a time to drag over the sand to the storage area.

Talk about disposable boats :rofl:

I would like to do that with five Pelican Explorers. I truly hate that boat.


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 Post subject: It could be
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2010, 12:28 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
littleredcanoe wrote:

Why stop at one? There is an outfitter on the Saco River who has a fan hitch on his ATV and hitches up five Old Towns at a time to drag over the sand to the storage area.

I would like to do that with five Pelican Explorers.


It could be the Reverse Iditarod

Hitch a team of poly hulls behind a paddler in harness and drag the boats from Anchorage to Nome. Or maybe from Dannemora to Gloversville, paddling, drag portaging and patching as they go.

It’s a made for TV Extreme Games event.

I’m not sure how the winner would be determined.

First one to give up and buy a lighter weight boat?


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2010, 12:42 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Mike I am amazed that you didn't have something nice to say about the Poke Boat.

After all those years of reviews in C and K where you always found something nice to say about each offering. Guess now you are retired and free!

some more reviews. When a boat is reviewed here, someone always gives that boat a 10. The absence of 10's is telling in this case.

http://www.paddling.net/Reviews/showRev ... l?prod=859


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2010, 1:34 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
littleredcanoe wrote:
Mike I am amazed that you didn't have something nice to say about the Poke Boat.

After all those years of reviews in C and K where you always found something nice to say about each offering. Guess now you are retired and free!


Kim, welllll, most of those reviews were for Paddler. And for a long time I got to pick the boats I wanted to review.

Unfortunately my retirement date is still a couple of yearned-for years off. The “free” part is truer than you know though; Paddler still owes me a check for one review, and my sons photography money for two pieces.

You are right though, I can find something good to say about almost any boat. One of my volunteer test paddlers would say only this about boats he didn’t like – “Boat float. Me like boats”

I’ve only paddled one Poke boat. A friend in Florida has a kevlar Poke, probably 14’ or so with lower decks than those I see on the website. It’s actually not a bad hull for poking (no pun intended) along on blackwater rivers.

littleredcanoe wrote:
When a boat is reviewed here, someone always gives that boat a 10. The absence of 10's is telling in this case.


Indicted by the absence of an “It’s a 10!” conformational bias? Some of those “It’s a 10!” reviews are as funny as the Poke site.

The Radisson reviews there were my favorites, running the gantlet from 10’s!!! to a hilarious “POS fell apart on the first trip” rant.


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2010, 2:06 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Memory must be gone..almost as long as Paddler has been gone..the latter is back...hope it (for all its foibles --who told them to print in the colors and the backgrounds they use?) can hang on a while.

Should start a new thread of hilarious reviews. I spit all over my monitor reading the Pelican Explorer ones.

I dont give any boat a 10 though my Nomad would come in close at 9.5. I got lots of feedback because I thought the Peregrine was only an eight.


As for the Poke Boat I have seen them but not paddled one as they just didnt catch my fancy..kind of tubby like ( I already had one of those kind of kayakcanoes.)


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 23rd, 2010, 2:32 pm 
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Location: Atlanta
I've never had a chance to paddle or closely examine a Poke Boat. I own a 1983 Phoenix "Seewun" c-1, in the "Fiberlastic" layup (no longer offered) and I have examined a number of Phoenix kayaks in their standard glass/Nylon layup. Phoenix used good materials and construction practices in all their whitewater boats. Their boats were not too flexy or too flimsy. The Fiberlastic layup boats were comparable to polyethelene in durability, and unlike poly, Fiberlastic does not deteriorate with sun exposure or age. Unfortunately, Fiberlastic boats (polyester cloth, vinylester resin) were just about as heavy as poly boats.

Based on what I have read (about claimed weights) and seen (from a distance, as in paddling venue parking lots), Poke Boats will be less stiff than Phoenix whitewater boats, but that may not matter in anticipated Poke Boat uses. Phoenix uses a light, flexible layup, but in their case, flexibility means the Poke Boats can be poked and bumped without breaking too easily.

I think the main question is, do Poke Boats fit into any particular niche better than other available boats. But I don't think there should be concern about materials or construction methods.


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 24th, 2010, 6:58 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
ezwater wrote:
I think the main question is, do Poke Boats fit into any particular niche better than other available boats.


The Poke boat’s niche is another question, but I think the OP’s main question was actually this, or these

Waterman wrote:

The Poke boat site make a big deal of their “specially woven, aircraft-quality fiberglass cloth”, “ballistic nylon cloth” and “very complex, flexible, high-elongation isophthalic resin”.

Is there anything to this beside ad hype? Sglass and nylon? Vinylester resin? Their retail price seems very high compared to other fiberglass boats.

Does anyone have a Poke boat or experience with their materials and construction?


I can’t help much with the specifics of those questions. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of resins can speculate about whether flexible, high-elongation isophthalic resin is polyester or vinylester or epoxy or what.

Same for teasing the truths out of “aircraft-quality fiberglass” and “ballistic nylon”. Normally I’d suggest contacting the company, but given the hyperbole of their other claims (Better than a canoe or kayak…drag it behind a truck…) I’m not sure that would be the most reliable source of information.


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 24th, 2010, 1:31 pm 
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Joined: December 21st, 2007, 2:45 am
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Location: Connecticut, USA
This has been and entertaining wisecracky thread, but I'd like to offer a serious response to the OP's question about construction claims.

Having owned 17 canoes over the past 50+ years and paddled many others, and having read the Poke Boat site, I believe I can say with confidence that no one making composite boats has any secret or proprietary hull process. Poke Boat is using standard composite cloths and resin, probably laid up by hand rather than by wet vacuum bagging or resin infusion. This should be a quality construction, and the rather high prices reflect that.

Therefore, I wouldn't base any decision on Poke Boat vs. other well-known manufacturers on the construction claims. Rather, I would base my decision on the performance characteristics of the boat and on price.

Re performance, note especially that the boats are flat-bottomed, which is rare. That's how they get the initial stability they hype. You may not want a truly flat-bottomed boat for many different reasons.

The boat design is reminiscent of the so-called pack canoes offered by companies such as Hornbeck, Hemlock, Placid and Vermont, except that the boat is partially decked like the Bell Rob Roys (which are much narrower and tippier than the Poke Boat). You may want to look at these companies' products if you want to sit on the bottom of a short, light boat with a double blade. The pricing doesn't seem all that different.

Now, as to weight. If your Poke Boat isn't heavy enough, it probably will be if you can talk Mike McCrea into outfitting it for you with his dozens of doohickeys, widgets and dinguses. I was hoping he could install a magazine rack in my Old Town OTCA. I have nowhere to properly store my magazine reading archive: Playboy, Spiderman, Crayola Classics ....


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 24th, 2010, 1:35 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
:o Not the Law Library of Congress? :rofl:


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 24th, 2010, 1:44 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1496
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Glenn MacGrady wrote:

Now, as to weight. If your Poke Boat isn't heavy enough, it probably will be if you can talk Mike McCrea into outfitting it for you with his dozens of doohickeys, widgets and dinguses. I was hoping he could install a magazine rack in my Old Town OTCA. I have nowhere to properly store my magazine reading archive: Playboy, Spiderman, Crayola Classics ....



Hmmmmm, I actually have a couple of decorative hand crafted magazine racks, and I'm hoping to run into Glenn again this October. I better bring some quick set epoxy with me.


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 Post subject: Isophthalic resin
PostPosted: May 24th, 2010, 3:11 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Since Glenn took this discussion back to serious answers I Googled Isophthalic resin and came up with this discussion:

http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/materi ... 17904.html

A lot of that goes over my head, but I gather that Phoenix uses Polyester resin and not vinylester.

I have no idea which resin would be more advantageous in the type of flexible, lightweight construction used in Poke boats.

Is there a resin guru in the house?


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 Post subject: Re: Phoenix Poke boat construction
PostPosted: May 24th, 2010, 4:10 pm 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
The only thing I know is that you can flataxe off the fiberglassed layer if its adhered to the hull of a wooden canoe with a polyester resin.

Try with a vinylester resin and lots of the wood pulls off and then the boat can be sold as a porcupine.

I am trying to find what osmotic blistering is..


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