I'm completely satisfied with my new Tennessean. I spent a lot of time in Canadian wood/canvas canoes and was reluctant to get into modern materials, but this is a perfect blend of old and new.
Prior reviewers correctly raved about Merrimack's good looks and craftsmanship. Jim at Merrimack was as accommodating and informative as could be, and then some. The Tennessean performs exactly as represented: an ideal cruiser for rivers and small bays of the Florida panhandle, even with some wind from the Gulf.
It's light but not flimsy. Stable but definitely not a tub. Smooth paddling solo or tandem. Easy to carry and tucks away in the garage. I expect to put many happy nautical miles on this heirloom quality vessel.The show room of the Merrimack Canoe Company is an anachronism. The quality, beauty and craftsmanship that define the Merrimack canoe is almost impossible to find in our world today. Yet the combination of traditional and high tech materials (carbon fiber) used in their construction make another statement. "How can something this wonderful be built using these materials"? Although it is tough to get past the aesthetic statement made when looking at the boat you soon realize that the beauty is much more than skin deep.
PS: Merrimack's line of cherry wood paddles are also first rate.
I purchased a Tennessean and have loved every minute of time spent on the water with her. She paddles like a silk dream, and weighing under fifty pounds is easily transported on a roof rack. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a Merrimack you won't let go. I have been canoeing for almost 50 years. I can honestly say that this is absolutely the best small production canoe on the market. I had the pleasure of buying a used Tennessean directly from Merrimack, and in the process met Jim the owner, Randy Pew who designed my canoe, and Scott who actually built it. I brought my 7 year old son to pick up the canoe in Crossville, TN and we got to see where these canoes are made. I was expecting a factory., What I saw was a very small group of guys who are the stewards of an art passed down from generations past and who care very much about what they make and how satisfied their customers are. I could have saved a few bucks and bought a plastic boat from a chain store. But I've had my boat out several times now and can tell you it worth every freakin' penny. It is beautiful, handles like a dream, is light enough for my old bones to toss onto the roof of a Suburban solo (and did I say it was beautiful). Look at their website and you'll see a picture of a Tennessean with a crowd of admirers around it. I SWEAR the exact same thing has happened to me every time I've had it out: "What kind of canoe is that?" "What's it made of?" "Did you make that by hand?" "How much did THAT cost?"
Take it out on a beautiful morning or at dusk. Paddle it tandem or solo. Soak in the beauty of the boat and your surroundings, and you'll have what I call a "Bill Mason Moment." You'll know immediately why this canoe is a special thing. Life's too short to ride in a canoe made of recycled drink cups from the stadium. Buy this boat, enjoy this boat, and make sure these fine people can keep making them like Randy's family has done for generations.