Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

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KerryOnKayaks
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Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

My local indie wilderness and paddle sports outfitter has a large consignment department and they've asked for my help in gathering info on and pricing a vintage Ally 18' folding canoe. The guy who dropped it off to sell said he thought it dated from the 1980's. I've looked it over and it seems to be in quite good shape -- no serial number with which to date it but it has an instruction manual in English and French and a label glued inside the hull and the manual indicates it was made in Canada by a company named Vogue. All parts are there except the seats, which seem to have been odd inflatable pillows back then. The current seats for the 18' Allys are four-legged aluminum frames with clip onto the hull longerons with a molded seat that mounts atop the frame.

I've already sent an email to Bergans-Ally in Norway asking if the new frame type seats will fit in the older boats. They've acknowledged the message (auto response) and say they will get back to me.

I've got no clue as to how they might price this canoe. Already ran a thorough search on all the posts here on the forums to see what I could find about Ally canoe. IF the newer seats fit, they are $90 each (not including tariffs and shipping). I told the shop I would come by early next week and set it up for display (and to take measurements to see about the potential seat fit.) The skin (vinyl) is quite supple and I didn't see any weak spots or damage to it. Frame has surface patina but no substantial corrosion and it looks like all the connectors are intact. Even has a fully intact patch kit. To my jaded eye (after 20 years of using folders) this boat looks barely used and like it was carefully stored. Even the huge closed cell foam inside hull mat is intact. I am intrigued by the boat -- frame set up looks nearly identical to that of my PakBoat kayaks, which is little surprise because Alv worked for them before starting PakBoat.

For anyone looking for a big-ass 2 or 3 person tripping/expedition canoe that weighs under 50 pounds this could be a good deal once we figure out a price for it. A new Ally 18 is shown at $3,850 USD on Bergan's current website. Doesn't look like Ally has changed their design much over 35 to 40 years either.

Anyway, if anyone has any insights on Ally canoes I would welcome a share. i know that what something is "worth" depends largely on what anyone who might want it is willing to pay for it but any suggestions would be helpful.
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idc
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Re: Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

Post by idc »

I've a 16' DR, which I'm very fond of. It is a pig to assemble (the only folder I own which you have to hit with a mallet to get it together), but paddles very nicely once together. When I didn't have a garage it only got used when I was doing long trips, as it takes a good hour to go together and so is just not worth it for a two hour leisure paddle. Now that I have a garage I keep it assembled and have lately used it a good bit. Taking it apart is not as awful as putting it together. (About 20 mins work.)
Sounds like a great buy to me.

Edit: Alternative review from a fellow Brit fan here: https://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/ally- ... 50797.html

mje
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Re: Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

Post by mje »

There’s an entry on the main Folding Kayaks site (http://foldingkayaks.org)

“Bergans of Norway have sold folding canoes for many years under the Ally name. Bergans currently offers five canoe models and one 5.2m kayak. The kayak is a bit unusual in construction. It’s around 18′ long, which makes it among the longest singles made. Unique among folders, it has a cable that can be used to vary the amount of rocker in the hull by varying the tension on the cable.

Sea Kayaker gave this boat excellent marks for performance but noted it was the most difficult boat to assemble they’d encountered, and includes a rubber mallet to assist the process! (The manufacturer replied that once left assembled for a while, the hull and frame take a set and subsequent assemblies become easier.)”
Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster

Jake
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Re: Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

Post by Jake »

A rubber mallet! That’s what was missing from the stuff sack when I received my Feathercraft Kurrent😊.

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Jake, I added a rubber mallet to the kit with my FIRST folder, the Feathercraft Kahuna I bought in 2002. Have kept one handy for folder assembly ever since, though I eventually found a smaller one than the Shrek-sized mallet I first had.
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

Jake
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Re: Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

Post by Jake »

I’ll stop by Home Depot tomorrow first thing.......Oh, wait! Almost forgot! I’m paddling a Feathercraft Aironaut. The only thing where a mallet might help is installing the skeg, something that could bring even Shrek to hurling expletives😊

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

I feel you (on the Shrek reference), though my FC has the simple strap-on skeg -- but there are aspects of FC frame assembly that can be maddening, especially getting the extension bars aligned and trying to keep the ribs from popping off the chine and gunwale bars.

I will be tackling those kerfluffles this week when i unpack and assemble the Wisper to inspect it for the season. Now that I have a huge boat garage to store my fleet I can leave them set up for local day trips -- never takes long to pack one up if I want to take it on the road anyway.

Still envy you having managed to snag an Aironaut before they became unobtainium.
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

overland
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Re: Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

Post by overland »

Allys are fine canoes, not quite as well built as PakCanoes but plenty tough for expeditions. I know an Arctic outfitter who swears by them--he uses the 16.5 version. I have an older one of these that was well used and is worn in places, but the hull fabric remains supple and strong and it paddles well. I'd have no qualms taking it on a long trip. I also have an old PakCanoe 140, one of the first, sold by Mad River and used by the previous owner on long solo trips in the Arctic, and the fabric there seems quite good, too. For these reasons I personally wouldn't hesitate to buy an older Ally or PakCanoe. The advantage of the Allys is that you don't have to mess with the air sponsons; plus, they're lighter. As for this canoe, I'll bet it would be attractive to someone who is planning an Arctic trip or other trip where they have to fly in. In my limited experience it seems that Allys sell for a little less than the equivalent PakCanoes, maybe because they're less known here, or because the construction is not quite up to the quality of Pakboats. Customer service is terrible, too. Anyway, one thing to look for is whether the construction and assembly is the same as the new ones. I seem to recall that the bows of older boats were assembled a little differently, but I'm not sure of that. I suspect that if you want to sell it you should take photos and advertise it on a site like Canadian Canoe Routes--ccr.com--and be prepared to ship it. I advertised my PakCanoe 165 there and got a number of responses. It was ten years old and sold it for about half the new price. For a boat the age of this Ally I'm guessing you might get 1/2 to 1/3 of new, deducting of course for the missing seats.
Here's link to a review in Trailspace that mentions slight changes in design and assembly over older boats:

https://www.trailspace.com/gear/ally-ca ... 1-16.5-dr/

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Wow, thanks for all that information. Extremely helpful. I haven't been able to assemble it yet The shop where it is waiting is too small to set it up inside -- they have an outdoor patio area where they have a boat display rack but it has rained here 3 days running. As soon as we get a clear day I'll do that I did carefully read the manual that is with it and it looks as if assembly is very similar to the PakBoat Puffin frames. It seems it would be a good boat for those who like to take dogs on their voyages due to having the closed cell foam hull liner instead of sponsons to keep the skin taut.
Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Curtis Lady Bug solo canoe
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15

overland
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Re: Anybody out there familar with vintage Ally canoes?

Post by overland »

The closed cell foam is the same as on the pakboats and i think is there mainly to protect the skin from abrading where it rests against the stringers. It also makes the boat more comfortable inside and provides some flotation. The sponsons in the pakboats provide some flotation, too, but I'm guessing their main purpose is to make the skin taut while easing assembly. With the Allys assembly and a taut skin are achieved by sheer force--hence the importance of the rubber mallet to drive the ribs into place. The skin in the PakCanoes is initially a little slacker--until you inflate the tubes. With the Allys the taut skin is achieved simply by forcing the ribs in place. The funny thing is, the Allys seem a little tauter when all is said and done. But it's a little more work to assemble.
Anyway, if you look at a youtube or other instructions for assembling the Ally you might be able to see if you have the current version of the frame or the older one. I don't know when the change was made, but I think it was a pretty long time ago.

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