The microBootlegger is an elegant, cedar-strip boat that is a joy to paddle and draws compliments every time I take it out. Designed by Nick Schade of Guillemot Kayaks for use on small lakes or sheltered bays, it was inspired by a 1924 mahogany speedboat named BABY BOOTLEGGER as well as by Henry Rushton’s double-paddle canoes. Nick calls it a “roomy, efficient tandem kayak,” but I usually propel it with a single-bladed canoe paddle. Most people who ask me about the boat are equally confused as to whether it’s a kayak or canoe, and I use both terms for it.Building the microBootlegger was my initial foray into boatbuilding, and the choice of this design was as much due to its stunning classic styling and aesthetics as to the fact that it can accommodate a second paddler and/or a small child or two to share the paddling experience.The slightly raked forward bow and stern stems accented in quilted maple against the dark cedar, along with the contrasting maple waterline strip, give this canoe hints of the early 1920s mahogany speedboats. People have asked if the canoe is old and have remarked that it looks like a Chris-Craft or “the Rolls-Royce of canoes”—nice reinforcement for a first-time builder, and a compliment to the creativity and style of Nick’s design.
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