A Brief History of Adirondack Guideboat
For over 150 years, the Adirondack Guideboat has been regarded as the highest example of the boat-builder’s art. A fishing boat, a hunting boat, a hauling boat; it was a boat a man could carry for a mile or row for a week. Over time, the boats evolved becoming lighter, faster, prettier, and easier to row. Professional guides were pursuing game, but they were also pursuing customers. The stories a guide might tell, the game or fish his “sport” might bag, the meal he might cook, they were all part of what brought the sport back year after year. The beauty and grace of the guide’s boat was also part of the wilderness experience.
The Adirondack Guideboat influenced commerce, culture and developed rowing sport in the Lake Region of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The boat was built with local pine, spruce and cedar and 8,000 tiny tacks and screws. Guideboats flourished for 60 years with a peak in the 1880s and 1890s. With the advent of the automobile and access roads, the Guideboat was no longer needed for regional transportation. But the design of the boat was held in high esteem and the Guideboat found a new position in recreational rowing.
Adirondack Guideboat designs are unique to our company. Each of the boats was designed, adapted and created by Steve Kaulback, the company founder. The designs are an innovative blending of lines of Rushton and Grant beautifully using cedar strip epoxy composite construction method. The result is an efficient, safe, flexible, easy to use rowing boat with a huge carrying capacity. Our cedar Guideboats are available in lengths from 13 to 19 feet. The next innovations came with the evolution Kevlar/fiberglass composites providing exceptional weight and strength advantages.
The next boat in the AGB series was the 12-foot Vermont Packboat, a smaller, lighter boat perfect for rowing alone or with a friend. Steve developed a unique hull shape with a “hard chine” creating a light, agile, fast, safe, seaworthy boat that is above all easy to row. In 2013, an ultra-light solo version of the Packboat was added to our fleet of small craft.
Our most popular boat is the 14-foot Vermont Dory. Steve expanded his Packboat design creating a very stable and fast boat that is excellent for fishing and long distance camp cruising.
The Adirondack Guideboat Company Today
Our company has now built over 95% of all the Guideboats ever built—which is not to take anything away from all the other hands that crafted these boats. Those were different times and different technologies.