Project Boat: Dagger Passage Tandem Canoe

Some people put cars up on jack stands in the back yard. Paddlers put boats up on lawn chairs. This is my Dagger Passage project boat. I’ll be documenting my restoration of it in a future newsletter article, but I thought I’d share a few “before” pictures here.

Click to see more.

The main concern is to get this gouge in the hull filled where the skid plate has worn through. I’m a purist and would like to find a small piece of kevlar felt, but I might have to settle for a big ball of epoxy instead. Then I need to put spar varnish on all the wood parts, install a sliding bow seat, and buff the finish down to the original blue, plus paint over some places where the finish has worn through and is showing the green ABS plastic.

Here’s some interesting history of the Passage: I found the Mad River Reflection 17 on the Mad River website. They bought all the old Dagger canoe molds and are bringing back selected models because they were such great designs. The Reflection looks exactly like my Passage, so I called up Mad River, and they said they weren’t absolutely certain the old Dagger Reflection was an update of the Passage, but the drawings showed only minor tweaks in the seat specs between the two boats, plus the Passage was built 1994-1998, while the Reflection started production in 1999. Mad River guy pronounced them basically the same boat.

Specs for the Passage as given to me by the Mad River folks:
Length: 17’4″
Width: 35″
Weight: 64 pounds with aluminum gunwales (not bad for a 17-1/2 foot Royalex canoe)

I paddled this boat tandem on the fourth Au Sable trip and it’s a sweet hull design. As Mad River says, “Hull tracks well but doesn’t feel like it’s on rails, there’s surprising agility for a longer canoe, making the Reflection 17 at home on lakes or rivers.” Indeed.

I’ll post an update when I finish the job.

Loretta Crum


5 responses to “Project Boat: Dagger Passage Tandem Canoe

  1. loretta, you can get the skid plate kits from Piragis online, with the kevlar felt, that is what I used on my royalex boat, less than 50.00 and does both ends. Sounds like a good project. Randy

  2. Randy: Thanks for the tip. I like the price and Piragis is a great shop.

  3. If you need a great chair for camping try thier Clif Jacobson chair. It’s really heavy duty, can strap it on the rear deck….just a random thought. Randy

  4. Some history on this line of Dagger products: when Dagger was manufacturing them in the ’90’s in Crossville, TN, they made four molds of roughly the same design. The first was the Sojourn, a 14’9″ solo. Next was the Reflection 15, which was a small tandem of the same proportions as the Sojourn but about a foot longer. The third boat was the Reflection 16 which was a larger tandem and another foot longer. Finally, the Passage was the largest at 17’4″. If you laid them all side to side they share almost exact proportions except in overall size. All four boats were well-reviewed and paddled.

    The Dagger Passage was made exclusively in R-Lite and weighs in at 54 lbs. It sounds like the Mad River version is using a heavier plastic.


  5. Regarding the fill in the spot where the skid plate will go: I have usually just used small strips of fibreglass and resin to build it up. No need for kevlar as it is just an underlayment. Once the hull is to the level you prefer the skid plate fits neatly on top.


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