Open Day – 2nd October

Come and join us on Saturday 2nd October and find out all about One Tree Canoe Company. We will have factory tours, come and try paddling, static displays, art gallery, sausage sizzle and a luck door prize….

Check it out on Facebook Events – https://fb.me/e/NsW8zq2k

Hope to see you there

Winter Holiday

We are on holidays from 18th July until 9th August and won’t be running tours and hires during this time. Canoe production will continue in the factory whilst we are away and we are still available to take orders for new canoe sales via phone or email

Merchandise

We have been told by many a customer how much they love our logo, so we’ve decided to add a range of “merch” to our offerings. Starting with bucket hats and stickers, we also hope to be introducing a range of retro t-shirts soon as well. Watch this space

New Apprentice!

One Tree Canoe are very pleased to announce that Amanda Law had started with us as an adult apprentice. We are excited to have Mandy join the team and look forward to continuing to make quality canoes for all our customers

No hires and tours weekend 27/28 February

Sorry for any inconvenience, Susie and I are attending a leadlighting class this weekend to learn how to make stained glass windows.

We will post up our masterpiece on Facebook later 🤣

Yellowpatch: Curtis Island’s best kept secret

When people think of Curtis Island these days, its often in association with the new coal seam gas plants that have been erected there.  And whilst the trio of plants certainly dominate the view of the island from Gladstone Harbour, it is by no means typical of the rest of this large Curtis Coast feature.

Curtis Island is the northernmost and largest of the group of islands that make up Gladstone Harbour.  It is the third largest island in Queensland and excluding the developments on the southern end, largely untouched.  Its perfect for fishing, camping, four wheel driving, hiking and boating and due to the limited access to the island, you’ll easily find a spot away from the crowd!

There are 4 main camping areas on the island, but by far the stand out for me is Yellowpatch! Yellowpatch is a remote campsite located on the north-eastern tip of Curtis Island, tucked in behind Cape Capricorn.  It is accessible only by boat and is instantly recognisable by its distinct large yellow sand blow from which it derives its name.  The camping is on a sheltered beach to the east of the sand blow in amongst a stand of native hardwood trees.  It’s a really enticing spot which is frequented by anglers using it as a base to fish or crab in the adjourning estuary.

The other common visitor to Yellowpatch are the cruising sailers like ourselves.  The anchorage in the estuary, once you’ve successfully navigated the mouth, is deep and sheltered.  It’s a perfect place to layover for a few days or even a few weeks.  It was here, at the foot of Yellowpatch itself, that we anchored up.

You may recall in an earlier article I wrote about my brother’s 40ft solar powered catamaran. This trip found us once again at sea on the ‘Solar Coaster’.  We travelled from the mouth of the Boyne River around the southern tip of Facing Island and up the Eastern side of Facing and Curtis Islands to Cape Capricorn.  Our plan on arrival was to do a little bit of fishing, a little bit of hiking, a little bit of canoe product testing and a great big bit of next to nothing.  All in, the perfect recipe for an escape from the rat race.

We had bought 2 new canoes with us to test out on this trip, the square stern Kingfisher 14 and the Sprite 11 pack canoe with a new recliner style fishing seat fitted.  Both canoes were designed for the fishing market and we wanted to wet a line in both to see how they performed in an estuary environment.  The square stern Kingfisher 14 in particular we wanted to evaluate as a potential tender to a large boat such as ours.  It’s a tough life sometimes having to go to beautiful places and mess around in boats, but we survived it.  Both canoes performed admirably and will be added to our One Tree lineup hopefully in time for Christmas

The fishing during our trip was consistent, if not particularly fruitful.  We did manage to land enough bream and flathead to provide a couple of meals but we certainly weren’t returning home with a freezer full of fillets.  I suspect the empty freezer was more to do with the skill level of the anglers rather than the availability of fish to be caught.  The water in the estuary is so clear you can see to the bottom in most places and there appeared to be no shortage of fish down there.

Having decided that fishing perhaps was better left for others, we took the obligatory hike up the sand blow. Its quite a hike to the top, but well and truly worth the effort!  The view of the islands to the north extends to the Keppel group and includes the rugged Hummocky Island.  The back drop of the crystal clear blue water against the golden yellow of Yellowpatch itself is incredible!  The birdlife in the area is quite prevalent and we were lucky enough to see Whistling and Brahminy Kites circling overhead.  Bet they were catching more fish than us!

The hiking in the local area at Yellowpatch is a little limited due to the surrounding salt pans. However, it is possible to hike through to the eastern shoreline of Curtis Island and up to Cape Capricorn Lighthouse if you’re feeling energetic.  We weren’t…

The real attraction of Yellowpatch is just its attractiveness.  Its a wonderful place to drop anchor and just unwind for a few days.  The kind of spot were you can grab the boat and buzz around for a few hours or just cheerfully sit and watch the world go by.  Anyone who has had anything to do with yachties will know that come 4pm its time for happy hour! Out come the cheese platters, salami and biscuits, all to be washed down with a nice bottle of wine thanks very much.  We certainly weren’t about to depart from tradition.  Even better when its on the beach watching the sun go down over the water.

So, with canoes paddled, hill hiked and fish caught, we headed off back home.  In all, not a lot of much done during our week at Yellowpatch, but that is kind of the idea with places like this.  If you’re looking for a spot to anchor up and recharge the batteries, there are few better spots.  We will certainly be back for more.

If you want any information about the Curtis Coast, I highly recommend contacting Gladstone Region Tourism at www.gladstoneregion.info, for more information about fishing canoes and how NOT to catch fish, give Dan a shout at One Tree Canoe Company.  Happy Paddling 🙂 

Colour chart for canoes

Trojan Composites Colour Chart – click on colour groups to see all options

Polyester Pigments

What is a Pack Canoe and why do I need one in my life?

Originally developed for the Adirondack region of North America, the Pack Canoe or Pack Boat is traditionally a small, light weight open top paddle craft designed to be manoeuvrable and easy to carry.  The original concept was for a boat that you could literally drop your gear into and go, it was open topped for easy gear access and usually quite short, wide and stable with a seating position lower to the floor to facilitate paddling with a double-bladed kayak paddle.  These boats were back country champions, able to be dropped into a narrow twisty creek and then dragged through thick bush to the next access point.  They have been successfully used by hunters and fishermen for over 150 years.

Like all things in life we tend to go through cycles and the trusty Pack Canoe had been forgotten for many years, especially with the introduction of the plastic Sit-on-top Kayaks.  However, in recent years they have enjoyed a resurgence with designers remembering why these trusty little boats were so popular amongst outdoorsmen for many decades.  Certainly, in the North American market manufacturers are finding a demand for these craft, particularly amongst fishermen who frequent remote freshwater rivers and creeks.  In Australia though our options are a little more limited, there is a growing market here that should drive a larger range of boats.

So why should you consider a Pack Canoe for your next fishing boat?  Here are the top 5 reasons to put a Pack Canoe on your wish list.

Number 1 absolutely has to be carrying capacity.  Canoes in general are just great for carrying gear and pack canoes are no different.  Canoes being an open top, higher sided boat, by their very nature have a lot of room to put your stuff in.  The abundance of room means you’re not having to second guess yourself on what to leave at home and it also means you’re not having to stow stuff away in 27 different hatches.  Even in a short canoe you can easily carry enough gear to go fishing and camping for multi day trips.  From a fishing perspective there is a tonne of room to put your tackle boxes, esky, milk crate, camera gear, extra tackle box, kitchen sink, in fact pretty much anything you want… Long story short, you can put a lot of stuff in a canoe!

Number 2 is weight.  Pack canoes are light, usually less than 20kg, so really easy to haul through the bush or lower down a steep river bank.  It also means it’s a lot easier to lift on top of your car or camper trailer.  Lower weight makes them nimble and responsive on the water, your paddle strokes translate quickly to easily to the direction you want to go.  Pack canoes more surprisingly well through the water.

Number 3 has to be stability.  Canoes as a general rule are an inherently stable paddle craft; pack canoes are no different.  As mentioned above, these boats were originally designed for use in rough back country creeks, so they have to be stable enough that you can launch them from a steep bank or overhanging log.  Want to stand up and cast, no problem, the pack canoe can accommodate that as well.   When you consider additionally the room you have to move about inside the boat it makes for a fantastic fishing platform. 

Number 4 is versatility.  Want to paddle with a kayak paddle, perfect!  Want to paddle with a canoe paddle, do it!  Want to motor, sure can!  Want to sail, sure why not!  Pack canoes are one of the most adaptable styles of paddle craft out there and lend themselves to a variety of means of propulsion.  Pack canoes are a fusion of the good points of a canoe and kayak which means you stay dryer and easier to get into than a kayak whilst being less wind affected and easier to paddle with a kayak paddle than a canoe.  The swiss army knife of paddle craft!

Number 5 and probably most important is comfort.  It’s just nice to sit in a canoe! The seating position is inherently more comfortable than a kayak because you have your butt above your feet.  This means you can shift your feet around as you’re paddling along and take some of the weight off your poor long-suffering backside.  I know you know what I mean by this!  Seating options are usually fairly abundant in these boats and it’s not hard to find one that’s just right.

Being roomier also means, you can shift around a lot more in the canoe whilst you’re fishing and avoid sitting in the same position all day.  Canoes are also very easy to fit out, with little effort you can have you pack canoe configured with all the modern conveniences to make your time on the water very comfortable.

I hope I’ve whetted your appetite to give these little boats a go, I believe its worth considering for your next fishing rig.  If you’re looking for more information on Pack Canoes, we recommend looking at offerings from Wenonah, Old Town, Swift, or closer to home One Tree Canoe Company.  Happy Paddling!

They call me the Wanderer…

“All that wander are not lost…”

That would most certainly be the case if you are lucky enough to find yourself in the seat of our new entrant to the range – The Wanderer recreational kayak.

That’s right, a kayak!

We caved in to peer pressure and added a kayak to our range, but not just any kayak, this boat is an absolute gem.  It has a hull that has find the fine line between stability and efficiency on the water.  It’s confidence inspiring for the new paddler and a delight to paddle for the old hands.  A little bit of a marvel!

At 15 foot long it is long enough to eat up the miles on a day on the water, and still short enough to tuck into those sneaky side creeks along the way.  The cockpit is open and roomy and still affords a bit of sun protection on those hot summer days.

A great kayak for rivers and lakes, it will handle most any enclosed waterway with aplomb. In short, a pretty great option for a day out on the water!

Give Dan a call if you you’d like to find out more or check it out for yourself.

https://onetreecanoe.com/portfolio/wanderer/

 

Solar Powered Canoeing

How often in life can you say you get something for nothing? There aren’t many places you can go or many things that you can do that won’t cost you something.  In fact, I used to think that the only way I could move my canoe from A to B, without any cost except the sweat off my brow, was with a paddle.  Turns out I was wrong, thanks to free power from the sun and a trusty electric outboard!

Whilst electric drives on canoes and kayaks have been around for quite a long time, they have traditionally suffered from short battery life, requiring large capacity and very heavy batteries to cover any reasonable distance.  Typically, a 100Ah battery (weighing 30+ kg) when paired with a 40lb thrust motor, may have pushed your canoe along for 10-15km if you were careful.  Whilst this was ok, it did somewhat limit your day on the water.

Similarly, solar power is no new thing. However, recent innovations in the engineering of solar cell performance and control of the power they generate has meant that modern panels are lighter, more efficient and more robust than ever before.  The power output from a moderately sized (1m2) panel is enough to recharge an average sized (50-80Ah) battery in a day.  Meaning that in theory the same canoe and motor configuration we discussed above, if fitted with a solar panel and allowed to charge for a short period in the middle of the day, could do almost twice the distance with a lot smaller battery.  That’s a lot less sweat off your brow and certainly worth some investigation!

Just how much sweat will my brow be losing though? Being the dedicated man of science that I am, I decided we needed more facts around the performance of electric and solar powered canoes and so, set about rigorous testing over the recent Christmas break. We came up with some very interesting results.

Before I go into results, I’ll start with a brief overview of what we hoped to achieve how we set about doing it.  We felt that to make electric outboards a viable proposition on a canoe it needed to achieve two criteria.  It needed to have a run time that would provide a reasonable day on the water and it needed to be light enough and compact enough to not interfere with the day’s activities.  It also had to be cost effective, otherwise why not just get a tinnie!  The setup that we envisioned to make this work was a canoe and outrigger fitted with a 40lb thrust electric motor, 1m2 flexi solar panel and a 55Ah Gel Battery.  Our thinking was this combination would be light weight, easy to attach to a variety of different craft and provide a good compromise between run time and overall system cost.

As the power output for solar cells was already known and well documented, we focussed our attention on determining what battery power would be drawn for different canoe sizes and configurations.  We tested a range of canoes from 11 foot to 16 foot, with and without outriggers and at a range of motoring speeds.

To ensure we achieved maximum possible speed from the canoes being tested we used a 60lb thrust motor and a 100Ah battery.  Our theory being once we worked out power draw for a canoe configuration, we could then work backwards to determine what size motor would best suit.  Testing was then a simple matter of motoring a canoe over a set route through the range of speed settings on the motor.  At the end of each run a reading would be recorded for average speed, battery voltage and current drawn.  From this we were able to plot power vs speed, determine battery life and the theoretical distance that configuration could travel.  The testing was done at Logan day use area on Wivenhoe on a very still, and very hot, Boxing Day (after all the Aussies were getting annihilated in the Cricket) in and area unaffected by wind or current.

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Here’s some of the interesting things we discovered along the way.  Size of canoe had very little effect on speed achieved and power drawn.  The longer canoes went a little faster and drew a little more power, but not that much.  Having an outrigger on made very little change to speed or power.  Extra weight in the boat made little change to speed or power.  Again, as expected, more weight meant more power, but not by that much.  The thing that did have the greatest effect on speed was depth and trim of the outboard.  We found that setting the motor height as close to the surface practical gave the best speed results.  The outboard shaft is the biggest drag on the system and spending a bit of time optimising the height will have a dramatic effect on travel distance for your canoe.  I also suspect modifying the shaft to be more streamlined would have a significant effect as well.

So, our results in a nutshell.  Average top speed for a canoe between 11 and 16 foot is around 7.5km/h.  At this speed you could expect to travel around 13km on a 100Ah battery (using 60% battery power).  If you want maximum distance, reduce the speed to 4km/h and you’ll get closer to 20km.  Slow and steady definitely wins the race.  The slower you go, the further you are able to travel, great news for trolling fisherman and people without small children.  The max power drawn in most cases was less than 430W (36A) which means a 40lb motor would be a suitable choice for all but a very heavily laden canoe.

Please note; we based all our distance calculations on only using 60% of battery power (60% depth of discharge (DOD)).  It is possible to go to 80% however a corresponding reduction in battery cycles (number of recharges) could be expected.  If you’re not concerned about battery life (you don’t use the battery that often for instance), then dropping to 80% DOD sometimes would be ok.  More expensive Lithium Ion batteries are able to drop to 90% DOD and would be worth considering for regular long-distance motoring.

So back to our original idea of solar powered canoeing, what could a day on the water look like with a solar / battery combination?  Here’s an example case study using a 14-foot canoe fitted with an outrigger, 40lb thrust motor and 55Ah Gel battery with 250W solar panel.

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Our party leaves at 9.30am in the morning and motors out on the lake to their favourite swimming spot.  If we have a 100Ah battery on board, that can only be 6.5km away, otherwise we are paddling home.  With a 55Ah and 250W solar panel it can be 11km away.  Our battery will be down to 60% DOD, but we have the sun to recharge it.  We are assuming its Easter time in SEQ and the solar efficiency is about 77%.  We are also allowing for the panel to be mounted flat in between the outrigger poles with no tilting towards the sun.  After 2 hours of swimming and eating lunch we have a recharged battery and are ready to head off home.

With a fully recharged battery and the afternoons sunshine we have enough battery power to motor 11km back again to our launch site without ever having to put a paddle in the water.  Paddle manufacturers of the world are right now calling for my immediate whipping!  The outcome is 22km travelled over the course of a 6-hour day and not one drop of sweat on your brow, not even from having to lift the battery out of the canoe!

The added bonus to this system is cost.  Our proposed combination of 40lb thrust motor, 55Ah Gel Battery and 250W flexi solar cell could all be purchased for less than $750.  When you consider you never have to buy fuel, that’s pretty good economics.  It turns out some things in life can come for free!

To find out more about testing of canoes with electric drives feel free to give Dan a call from One Tree Canoe Company on 0424 00 1646 or www.onetreecanoe.com. Happy Paddling / Motoring 😊