impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with kids

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Daddy-O
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impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with kids

Post by Daddy-O » Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:52 am

So I picked up this cool old boat. I am almost certain it is a whitesell 'pirahna'. It is set up for tandem and that is exactly what my aim was for our next boat. My plan is for it to be the vehicle which will assist in crafting high quality fun for our little girls, OC2 daddy time! Up to but deff. not exceeding class III for the time being. I took my oldest "5 yrs." down the Nantahala about a month ago for her first taste. Overwhelming success, one my best days yet on any river. We were in a borrowed 'caption'. I understand the pirahna might not functionally excell in terms of prowess and agility when compared side to side with a caption, but my hope is that it will serve us well. The royalex seems to be in good condition, no cracks, no distortion of hull, no massive piton dimples. The price was modest. I am so stoked! Would anyone like to give feedback, thoughts, reflections, tall tales etc. regarding this set up? Or paddling with children and how to maximize the experience for them?

Big Thanks
Daddy-O

Pierre LaPaddelle
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Re: impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with k

Post by Pierre LaPaddelle » Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:26 am

Daddy-O wrote:. . . I understand the Piranha might not functionally excel in terms of prowess and agility when compared side to side with a Caption, but my hope is that it will serve us well. The price was modest. I am so stoked! Would anyone like to give feedback, thoughts, reflections, tall tales etc. regarding this set up? Or paddling with children and how to maximize the experience for them? . . .
Welcome to the club! Actually, you won't have to look too far back for some discussion on exactly this topic. I've recently converted an old Piranha to tandem, and am enjoying it on Class II - III runs.

You're right -- it ain't a Caption, nor a Vertige-X, nor a Merganser. But it's stable, yet playful. An ideal boat for introducing kids or noobs to moving water.

Enjoy! :D

Rick
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ezwater
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Re: impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with k

Post by ezwater » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:06 am

Whatever one might say about the Pyranha's deficiencies, Nolan Whitsell did take it down some incredible runs. I would not want to claim that a Caption had any business in the Niagara Gorge.

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keez
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Re: impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with k

Post by keez » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:47 pm

I turned my Nitro into a tandem and my 9 and 4 year old sons love it. I put the 2 saddles fore and aft of the original solo saddle. I thought the balance point would be a concern (me at 200 lbs and them 50-70 lbs), but was pleasantly surprised by the boat's performance. As Pierre said, welcome to the club!!

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Re: impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with k

Post by ezwater » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:31 pm

keez--- The Nitro may be of those boats where the shape of the hull *in the water* does not change much depending on load and trim. It's a symmetrical hull that does not taper markedly toward its ends.

There are many other boats where this is not the case. My MR Synergy, for example, was designed to be asymmetrical, swedeform. It is quite sensitive to fore-and-aft load, to trim.

So for a father/son or tandem son boat, the Nitro may be exceptionally good.

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Re: impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with k

Post by Silent Bob » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:24 am

I took an old Viper 12, and set it up as a tandem/solo with a rather long saddle. Works really well with me and my 5 year old. Its big enough to handle the extra weight, but small enough that I can horse it around without a lot of input from him. As with the nitro, it doesn't seem that sensitive to trim. It's also stable enough that I can (usually) heave him back in the boat without someone else holding onto the gunwale. Which is good since, at this point, I think he would rather swim than paddle. :lol:

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PAC
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Re: impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with k

Post by PAC » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:50 pm

Paddle the Scamp (Mohawk version of the whitesell 'pirahna') with my kids for years. They loved it - I loved it - we had fun! It died due to heavy use after years of 4th hand service. The hardest part was getting the triim right with super light weights in front so as to to give them a true paddling experience (once they actually learn to paddle the bow starts taking over :-) ). We had a blast! Enjoy the times with the kids and take lots of pix!
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JimW
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Re: impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with k

Post by JimW » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:38 pm

I don't paddle tandem, but I used a Piranha in the Grand Canyon and found it very easy to get on with.

In terms of ability to carry the weight of a parent & child crew, I'm not a lightweight and I carried a reasonable amount of extra weight just to fill in some of the gaps between the end of the airbags and the cockpit area (including an electric pump in a steel ammo can) and the handling seemed good to me so I reckon you'd be fine with an adult/child crew.

I think trim will be important, the boat I used showed evidence of tweaking for trim - of course the canyon has strong upstream wind most afternoons so it was trimmed slightly bow heavy to allow it to plough into the wind on the flat, but it didn't seem to detract from handling in WW, did make it a handful in the occasional uncharacteristic downstream wind though!
You'll have to experiment, but it maintains it's width well forward and aft so plenty of scope to try different positions.

I really liked it, but UK rivers wouldn't really suit it.

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keez
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Re: impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with k

Post by keez » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:58 pm

Thanks EZ; I refer to my tandem Nitro as a "mini-Blast".
The water up here is almost warm enough to take the boys on, can't wait for the long weekend!!

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Re: impulsive purchase: whitesell pirahna & paddling with k

Post by KNeal » Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:34 pm

You just can't compare the Whitesell boats to any other whitewater boats (aside from the Scamp, since it is basically a precursor of the Piranha). The Piranha is a can-do boat. Nolan opened up many runs with it and ran some stuff with the boat that were not repeated (think, Niagara Gorge). Tim Ed Spangler and partner have been often spotted running the Upper Gauley and the Upper Yough in a tandem Piranha. I do not recommend you take your kids down those rivers because you have that boat, but they are examples of what the boat can do in the right hands.
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