The outline of the later story, adapting Roger Mac:
Curtis Canoes was operated by Dave Curtis until the company was sold to John Renner in '86. The company continued to be listed in the Canoe & Kayak Buyer's Guide until ~'96, but "probably not producing any hulls for 3 or 4 years". Dave Curtis stopped selling the Curtis Canoe line after '90 or '91, and was the first US dealer for Swift in '90, and an early Bell dealer, starting when the David Yost boats made their appearance.
Charlie Wilson highlights the significance of what the original line up achieved:
The Curtis line was the best thought out of it's day, size series of tripping and sport solos, a good combi hull and two fine river and lake tandems. It was a relatively complete but tight array of good hulls. Dave Curtis's lamination schedules were superb
The range was highly enough regarded for a grouping including Charlie Wilson and Dana Grover to seek to buy it in the name of "Avant" after the Conclave in Indianapolis in the fall of 1990, and for Ted Bell and Charlie Wilson to try and buy the assets in 1994 and for Joe Moore and Charlie Wilson to try to buy them as they put Placid boatworks together in 2004. The moulds survive (and some of the designs continue to be built) c/o David Yost, who passed them on to Colden Canoe, Placid Boatworks and Swift.
Some of the early Curtis solo hulls are about as famous in solo-canoeing circles as it is possible to get, as are a few in the Hemlock Range. Please see below for details on each of the classics. Most of the information has been compiled c/o the old catalogues and images held on the Hemlock Canoe Works website, but additional material comes from assorted online discussions and by personal correspondence. Wherever possible, sources are identified.
A final thought: no thread on Curtis hulls should go far without crediting a couple of others. This paid both merit discussion in their own right... but key players in the history of Curtis Canoe include:
- Harold Deal - one of the "Paddlers of the Century" (an "unsung paddling hero"), plus 24-time Open Canoe National Champion (through to 2001), a pivotal contributer to the emergence of "Freestyle" canoeing and an accomplished designer. He is generally credited with having come up with the idea of the "shouldered tublehome": a trademark of many subsequent Yost-designed canoes.
- David Yost - another of the "Paddlers of the Century" and the link between the original Curtis hulls and more modern variants (though not to the Kestrel and Peregrine, which were "descended" from the Vagabond and Nomad without reference to DY).