"It is wonderful how few pounds of cedar, rightly modeled and properly put together, it takes to float a man.” So wrote J. Henry Rushton in the late 19th century. Rushton was a canoe builder who helped promote a class of ultra-light sporting canoes. In this way he might have done as much to invent our sport as Inuit seal hunters did. Rushton’s most famous “pack canoe” was called “Sairy Gamp,” and it weighed just 10 pounds. Nick Schade’s interpretation, the Nymph 10, is ten times easier to build and weighs less than 20 pounds built with quarter-inch bead-and-cove cedar strips.
Less than 20 pounds! We’ve had cats that weighed more. Yet Nymph will carry you to your favorite fishing spots, moving fast with a kayak paddle, stable enough to relax and eat lunch aboard while you slouch in the kayak-style seat. If you want to get the Nymph down to 15 pounds or less, you can build with 3/16” strips.
Nick wrote about building Nymph in a recent WoodenBoat article, and it’s featured in his new boatbuilding book. Builders are the beneficiary of beautiful, clear illustrations in the instruction manual. And for “walking softly in the wilderness,” you just can’t beat an ultralight canoe.
The flyweight 10-footer is 25" wide and will hold paddlers weighing up to about 175 pounds. It's overloaded beyond that, although you can press the limit if the extra weight is in the form of gear stowed low in the hull.
A 12-foot version of this kit, a little heavier but with a payload of up to 240lbs, is growing in popularity. The Nymph 12 is 12' long x 26.5" wide and will weigh between 25 and 30 pounds, depending on construction technique. You can choose between the 10- and 12-foot Nymph in the options above.
Build this boat if:
- You want an ultralight, fast, and comfortable canoe with lots of eye appeal.
- You like the look of a classic canoe that can become an heirloom
Other builders looked at: