In 1850 False Creek was a tidal estuary and Chinatown was a bramble, thick with terns, sandpipers, and the call of red-winged blackbirds.  Tidal flats connected False Creek with Burrard Inlet, and the tributaries of the Fraser formed a maze of meandering tributaries. Old growth cedar stood heavy on the North Shore and inland waterways were accessible only through tangled brush and muddy banks.


When building The Greenhorn, I imagined a boat where the paddler could stand to look over brush, or apply leverage to push through a mat of grass. She would be very personal; the boat would fit the paddler like a glove, he or she would be locked in much like a kayak, able to rise and fall with the long swells that rolled in from Spanish Banks.
Exploring Vancouver and the Lower Mainland would have demanded a light boat; small enough for a paddler to carry through heavy bracken, over fallen old growth, and down steep banks. She would have been light enough to throw over a shoulder, and shallow enough to pole through mudflats, shallow creeks and reedy estuaries.
Today’s paddler would fall in love with her. Her initial stability would make drinking a cup of coffee a less tippy affair; and she’d be a stable platform for photographers and birdwatchers. The brave would find her suitable for stand-up paddling (or fly-fishing). And no matter how she was used, her elegant lines would always please the eye.


The Greenhorn - A Solo Canoe

The Greenhorn is simple. Designed to be built of 3/16’s cedar or basswood with laminated gunnels and single thwart she will weigh less than 30 lbs. The distinctive tumble home will mean that a paddler can stay anchored in her contoured seat and easily deploy any required control strokes. With moderate rocker fore and aft she will pivot with ease from her central cockpit. With a slightly flatter bottom, nervous paddlers will find she is a little less twitchy than some other solo boats, and those with more experience will appreciate her versatility.

At 15 feet, The Greenhorn will find her ideal paddler somewhere between 150 and 180 lbs, with a maximum displacement of 250 lbs. Lighter paddlers may find that tracking will require a more pronounced corrective stroke. By extending her length modestly she can be built to carry a load, and by reducing her length a tad, she can be made to fit paddlers as light as 120 lbs. And while she is designed to be paddled from a seated position with a traditional stroke, those who wish otherwise can use a double paddle or install a kneeling thwart with pads.

Building Plans - For Building or Display - $85.00

Order Plans or Commission a Boat

The first of The Greenhorns will be constructed of cedar recovered from hydro poles taken from concession roads in Perth County and milled by Royce Riehl and his son in GadsHill. Like all of Ashes’ Boats she will have a story to tell. Her namesake is The Greenhorn Cafe, a cafe owned and operated by Walter Ledaca and Ganga Jolicoeur on Nicola Street in Vancouver. Two other cedar boats were commissioned at the same time, and a fourth will be built of Basswood and offered on spec.

In the end The Greenhorn’s came together beautifully. They’ve found their home on Canada’s West Coast where they grace the quiet waterways of the green Fraser Valley.

Boat available for viewing at The Greenhorn Cafe - Spring 2015

Greenhorn Cafe