Johnston's 33-Foot Big Canoe

Page 6 of 10

Figure 10

33-Foot Dugout Canoe

long canoe carved from a log with five paddlers

© 2005 Bill Bevis

Figure 11

Bow and Chines

front-end view of a round canoe carved from a log

© 2005 Bill Bevis

Figure 12

Phil Johnston's "Big Canoe"

Very Stable

Cross section showing a thick bottom and deeply angled chines

Sketch by Bill Bevis

Overal length: 33'
Width, outside: 33"
Width, outside bottom: 17" (½+ of overall width)
Thickness, gunwales: 3"; floor: 7"
Chine angle: 45°
Weight: c. 2400 pounds

This is Phil's "A" boat, one of his first. It is 33' long, 33" wide, and weighs 2400 pounds. The flat bottom is 17" wide, only a little more than half the canoe's width, which one would think might make it unstable, but it comes up to 45 degree straight chines a foot wide (huge and steep chines), then to vertical sides, 21" top to bottom. The bottom is 7" thick, and Phil said the canoe was very stable in easy water.

All of Phil's canoes are distinguished by this "ballast" bottom, heavy and sitting low in the water. We had absolutely no idea how it would paddle, and we could not find anyone in the country who had tested such a boat in class III water such as Lewis and Clark ascended. No doubt (since I know silliness), some guys somewhere paddle radical dugouts, but they are not connected to the Lewis and Clark circle and they have not published their results. Shame on them. I hope they get in touch.


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