Man isn’t meant to stay indoors — our weekly “Trekking” column can attest to that. It’s a column dedicated to the adventurer inside of all of us, the one pining to ditch the office humdrum for a quick surf session or seven-week jaunt in the Grand Tetons. One day we may highlight an ultra-light stove and the next a set of handmade canoe paddles. Life doesn’t just happen inside the workplace, so get outside and live it.
The canoe has been around — in some shape or form — since the late Mesolithic Period, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily become any more eye-catching in the swath of time since. Most modern canoes still tout a design reminiscent of the early dugout canoes, though with upgraded components and a more refined set of features that bring them up to speed with today’s heightened expectations. The aptly-titled Sea Dart ($8,500), however, is in a league all its own, thanks to Escobedo Boat Works’ penchant for design and apparent knack for craftsmanship.
Designed by home-builder David Escobedo and the oldest son of well-known troubadour Townes Van Zandt, the Dart serves as a sublime example of how to properly pair form and function. The 16-foot vessel is made of Joubert marine plywood that’s been imported from France and certified to meet British Standard 1088 specifications, meaning it passes a series of quality standards that help ensure it’s as apt for skirting coastal estuaries as tracking shallow creeks. The boat functions as canoe-kayak hybrid of sorts, and as such, it’s well suited for touring and fishing, especially the latter given how stable the boat’s platform is for casting or poling. The three available finish options — Oyster, Mist, and Moon Dust — only add to the Dart’s aesthetics.
Looks are only part of the equation, though. The vessel’s hull capitalizes on a Viking-era construction process known as the lapstrake method, which relies on overlapping panels, high-test epoxy, and a fiberglass coating that’s been hand-sanded to perfection. The process adds to the boat’s durability, cuts back on complicated hardware, and keeps weight to an absolute minimum. In fact, the entire canoe weighs a mere 55 pounds, making it a viable solution for those who prefer to venture out on their own.
Check out No. 4 St. James to place an order. Also, because each Sea Dart is built-to-order in Texas, keep in mind that build time can take as long as three months.