Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why the Pathfinder?

Why the Pathfinder? A friend recently asked that question.

In July 2011 I discovered I want to explore out of the way places by small boat. Areas such as Les Cheneaux Islands in northern Lake Huron, the North Chanel in Canada, the Maine Island Trail, the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound and similar areas.

To do this I want a stable boat that can carry gear and provisions for a week or three. I want a boat I can sleep on if shore-side camping is not available. I want a boat I'm not going to capsize - except in extremely rare conditions which I hope I have the good sense to avoid.

The Goat Island Skiff is a great boat. It is fast. It is stable - once one learns its quirks - but it is easily capsized. It will carry a lot of gear. In fact, the more gear the better. But, the Goat Island Skiff has one major camp-cruising limitation: it is not easily set up to sleep on board.

After looking a number of designs I selected the Pathfinder for my camp-cruising boat. The Pathfinder is larger and more stable than the Goat. The Pathfinder has more freeboard and is much less likely to capsize than the Goat. The Pathfinder also has a designed-in sleep platform that makes it, in my mind, the perfect boat for what I want to do.

The Goat is a sports car… the Pathfinder is a pick-up truck with a camper.

When I want to race - and I do enjoy racing - I'll take the Goat. When I want to explore those out of the way places, I'll take the Pathfinder.

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