Submitted: 07-13-2012 by UncleStu
Where to start? In 1967/early 68 we first bought a 13 foot Grumman, complete with home-made sidesaddle motor mount & a small gas outboard, maybe 3/4 or 1 hp, that we instantly called The Egg-Beater. Had lots of fun with it, made a great addition to Dad's 14 foot Duracraft Semi-V with 10 hp Johnson. The Eggbeater outboard was troublesome & finally gave up the ghost, but that was several years later. I used to have to stop halfway around the lake & clean out the float bowl on it. But for every outing using the motor, it was probably used 4 or 5 times with paddles.
It was probably in late 1969 or spring of 1970 that Dad called me- a rare thing indeed back then. He said a guy had a 15 foot Grumman canoe & wanted $80 for it- should he put it in the company bulletin board sheet or did I want it today? We went in the old blue & white '58 Ford pickup and I bought it that evening.
Our 13 & 15 foot canoes were as different as night & day. The 13 footer had an almost perfectly round bottom & would easily dump a careless paddler- it was *great* for perfecting those upper body/lower body differences I first learned of at Scout Camp a few years before! The 15 footer had- & still has- an almost flat bottom & by the time I got it I was unswampable in it, as friends in fishing or ski boats would make a round or 3 around it, trying their best to turn us over.
The 13 footer went some years ago, but my Grumman 15 still remains. I don't know exactly when it was made- the tag was chiseled off the deck when I bought it. I believe that was because Texas boating laws then required anything over 14 feet to be registered- but that's just a guess.
It has its scratches & scars, but the hull has never been holed & there are still no leaks at all. She's straight & ready to go- heck, my brother & his kids took it out just last weekend. Many times over the years, if someone does yard work, roofing, etc, they'll ask the same question, & my answer is always the same-"No, not for sale."
I've owned my Grumman 15 for over 40 years now. It has required *No* maintenance of any kind. Just turn it upside down, & it's good for a day or for 20 years. Direct sunshine? All right. The ice storm of 2000/2001 here in NE Texas? OK. What does it need? Nothing. When I'm ready to go, so is my Grumman. It was true shortly after I bought it when we floated & fished down the White River in Arkansas- Dad in the 13 footer, me & my brother in the 15- and it's been true ever since, for over 40 years now.
You say Tin Tank? I say Plastic Fantastic. Outdated? Time-tested. Flaws? Yes, aluminum is noisy. It's probably cost me more than a few fish over the years. Yes, on a hot sunny day- and we have *Lots* of 'em in Texas- it can do a fair imitation of a reflector oven. It's no lightweight- on some days it seems to have gained almost as much weight as I have in the past 42 years! If you should wrap an aluminum canoe around the river rocks, it sure ain't gonna pop back into shape by itself.
And yet- for all that- I still give it a 10. Why? Ruggedness. I doubt any plastic, Royalex or even Fiberglass could have survived without wearing through the hull from being beached & launched on the rough iron ore gravel-so common here- for so many years. You can even shoot fireworks from it! That might be dicey in anything but aluminum. The fact that it needs *No* care at all- just turn it upside down, at most you'll need to sweep some spiders out of it- really endears it to me. Far too many things require work from me- but never my Grumman 15. Oil canning? What's that? ;^) Sentimental reasons? Sure, why not? It's never let me down & is still ready to go after 40+ years- and often reminds me of better times too.
If you want the fastest, or the most snob appeal, or the lightest, or the best solo, or a hard-core whitewater boat, or the quietest for fishing- OK, you should probably get something else. But if you want a flatwater canoe for the long haul- something you can pass on to your children & grandchildren, something you'll never have to work on- get a Grumman Standard canoe.
My only regret about my 15 footer- for almost 40 years, I've thought the only thing wrong with it is that it's not a *17* foot Grumman canoe!