The Mystic River canoe is a 17-foot traditional wood-strip tandem canoe from designer Nick Schade. It's a handsome, comfortable boat for protected water exploration and a great project for builders looking to try their hands at the art of boatbuilding with cedar strips.
The Mystic River is a tidal estuary in southeast Connecticut. Starting in Old Mystic it runs through the pretty seaport town of Mystic out to Fishers Island Sound. It makes for a beautiful scenic paddle from quiet, narrow stream to busy open water. The Mystic River Tandem is designed to be a comfortable and efficient canoe to see the sights along this lovely waterway. Its efficient hull shape is good for day trips and light touring on lakes, ponds and slow-moving rivers.
My wife Robin and I wanted a boat that we could easily drop in the water after dinner and enjoy a nice evening paddle with a minimum of fuss and bother. We wanted it to be a joy to paddle, comfortable and efficient. With classic lines, graceful recurved stems and nice tumblehome, this strip-planked canoe design would be at home drifting along the shore in the Adirondacks, or across a harbour in Maine. Robin and I use our canoe to explore the waters here in Groton and Mystic, Connecticut.
Nick Schade, designer
The long waterline and fine entry allows this canoe to cover the miles with speed and efficiency. It has good stability and the capacity to carry a decent load. While it does not have the huge capacity of a cargo canoe or the water-shedding and turning ability of a whitewater canoe, it is a good all-around canoe for fast, lightweight touring.
The Mystic River Tandem is a great first wood-strip boatbuilding project. Canoes are easier to build than kayaks because there is no deck or cockpit coaming and the gentle hull shapes make stripping over the forms quick and easy.
The forms and strongback are pre-cut to the correct size to support the hull. Included with the kit is a mixture of dark and medium colour western red cedar strips, plus paulownia strips for light accents. The strips are milled with a ‘bead and cove’ joint so that one slides into the next for a perfect fit. While we offer suggested patterns, each builder can develop their own unique strip design as they assemble their kit.
The plans contain sufficient information to make it possible to build the boat from scratch rather than a kit. They include full size drawings for all the forms. These plans include a detailed 75 page building manual with over 190 photographs and illustrations.
For those wanting to obtain the other materials needed to build the boat from other sources, this option contains the pre-cut forms and strongback and the necessary plans to build the boat. The cedar strips are not included (see below).
As well as the plans, forms and strongback, 365 m of bead-and-cove cedar strips will be needed to build the Mystic River canoe.