Some scratches make this a great deal for you. Hands down, the Itasca is the finest really large tandem canoe made. I used one of these with a group of 4-H youth on Lake Nipigon in Ontario. It held a huge load, paddled easily enough for them to keep up and was very stable. It only weighs 49 pounds!! and has molded in kevlar felt skid plates. With it's 1.5 inches of rocker and dramatically pulled in gunwales by the paddler positions the Itasca just feels good to paddle, is reasonably maneuverable and feels safe in big water. This ultimate expedition canoe hauls amazing loads, yet is easy to handle.
It is really fun to paddle empty; it is so fast. Versatile enough for all-around use, the Itasca is an extreme design -- a seeming contradiction that takes some explaining.
This is our highest volume tandem, giving it huge capacity and rock-solid initial stability. This 37inch-wide hull has lots of reserve buoyancy so that it scoffs at big waves, even when heavily loaded.
Large as it is, the Itasca handles like a smaller canoe. The wide and slightly-rockered hull turns much faster than you'd expect of its 19 foot length.
Notice, too, that the gunwales pull in strongly at the seats for a much better paddle reach than otherwise would be possible. It travels well partly because you can apply efficient strokes. While not as fast as our Minnesota II, the Itasca carries more weight.
This hull carries more while retaining better glide than any other tandem making it the perfect choice for extreme voyages.
It travels quickly if lightly loaded as well, making the Itasca ideal for coastal touring, or wherever waves can be huge.
Many people feel a canoe should be 16 foot or 17 foot long, but the Itasca illustrates a different point: Only a longer hull can combine excellent paddling, capacity, seaworthiness, and stability. These varied aspects make the Itasca a superb canoe.
Canoes are available in several kinds of materials and with different construction methods:
Royalex is a very tough and durable but still a reasonably light weight plastic laminate. A 17 foot Royalex canoe will weigh about 64 pounds compared to 75-85 pounds for other plastic or aluminum.
Composite materials include Tufweave, a fiberglass and polyester hybrid that outperforms ordinary fiberglass types S or E. Kevlar is a an extremely tough material that is also very light weight. Graphite is even lighter than kevlar but not as abrasion resistant.
Flexcore construction uses several layers of either Tufweave or Kevlar with a specially designed hull reinforcement in the bottom of the canoe. This reinforcement is designed to be quite stiff to retain the design shape but able to flex rather than break on obstacles. This is a very tough construction method but not as tough as Royalex. It's advantages are lighter weight and better performance. It is easily repaired if you manage to damage it.
Ultra light construction uses fewer layers of specially reinforced Tufweave, kevlar and or graphite to build the lightest canoe that is still practical for everyday use in reasonably demanding conditions. It usually does not have a color applied to the hull unless you ask for it. The gel coat (color) adds about 5 pounds to the canoe. This is the stiffest construction method, resulting in the best performance. It is not a good choice for a steady diet of hitting rocks and gravel unless light weight is a very high priority for you. It is especially good for lake and large river trips where carrying the canoe is over portage routes is necessary. Some smaller people and those with less upper body strength appreciate the light weight in all circumstances. It is reasonably easy to repair in most cases.