"Duke" 4 man canoe

A boat builder near us makes "Duke" four man canoes and we are considering ordering one. I haven't seen much info about it and I assume the original company went out of business. Has anyone ever paddled in one (or even any other OC 4) and has advice? I don't want to order one and then find that it isn't very good for paddling, or our paddles are hitting the 'iako or something.

Submitted by ag70 on Tue, 11/10/2009 - 10:23am

I've steered double rigged Dukes for Jan Whitaker's Rochester River Challenge the past two years. So, my experience is limited in that it's a double hull, flat water, and generally novice paddlers. They turn fairly quickly because they have more rocker than most six mans, the hull shape is much more rounded and I find I have to be a bit more careful in where I place my paddle when poking to not have it slip back off the hull. They also tend to bob quite a bit, but that could be more the fact the canoe is fairly heavy with eight people in it when double rigged.

I don't know that I would get one for generally flat or even open water paddling, but haven't spend any time in one to say for sure.

#1 Tue, 11/10/2009 - 11:04am

Hey, I have a Duke! Got one the first year they were in production. I thought they were no longer being produced. I know the original company went out of business...but the mold was still up at east/west custom boats in Maine. Is Ted the builder you refer to who is still making them?
Re: the canoe....I keep it at the Jersey shore. It's my ocean/surfing canoe. Like Anowara says, it has a fair amount of rocker and I do get the sense that it bobs around a bit. It is quite easy to steer...so much so that you have to watch for over correcting. I find that when rigged well..and with a good crew...it tracks fairly straight. It also seems to be a bit wider in the cockpit/seat area. Overall...I like the boat for what I use it for. As Anowara mentions, I don't think it would be much good in flat....unless you're looking at getting it for strictly training purposes, etc.
If you don't mind....please put me in touch w/ the builder who is still making the boat. I'd like to know who is still making them and would love to get my hands on the sailing rigging that they were offering as an option when the boat was first introduced (maybe there's one sitting around somewhere).

#2 Tue, 11/10/2009 - 1:57pm

At my former club, we found the Duke OC-4 as a good way to handle times when we had too many for one OC-6, but not enough for two. The Duke picked up the slack. What else can you do when only 7 or 8 paddlers show up for practice?

They are harder to steer if for no other reason than you have a smaller ratio of paddlers to steermen. Yes, it is rounder and has more rocker. I knew many who would try to steer an OC-6 who wouldn't touch a Duke OC-4. If you can steer both, you can steer anything.

I often thought if I wanted to run a youth group or a gaggle of seniors, I'd get a bunch of Dukes. You can double hull them, you can ama them and you can train a high ratio of steersmen quickly. They are easier to move around, more stable, easier to stow, etc. I believe there is a Wounded Warrior program that uses them exclusively in double hull mode.

#3 Tue, 11/24/2009 - 12:04pm

Sounds like the typical 4 man you'd find in Hawaii back in the day. Probably off one of those. A deep, very round and rockered Opelu type design.

#4 Wed, 11/25/2009 - 10:10am

If I can remember that there was a pretty big marine supply outfit along Ala Moana near the Alawai. Do not recall the name. Like Kilgos they were around for years. .Those may have been the canoes they sold out of their catalog.. Mid to late.1970's...options could be sailing kit, out board motor mount, Someone else must have bought the mold because I bought a 4 man in 1993 that was exact...with the same options. ...Bradley ? Fiberglass Hawaii? other ???

#5 Wed, 11/25/2009 - 4:13pm

I think it was McWayne Marine Supply. My dad had a boat back in the day

#6 Thu, 11/26/2009 - 10:11pm

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