I'm looking for some advice on a lightweight family canoe. We have two adults (5'1" and 6') and 2 kids (40 lbs each but growing). The kids don't need to paddle (and are probably too short-armed at this point to do so anyway) but a third seat for them to fight over would be nice. There is also a dog (80 lbs) that can be positioned where ever needed to even out the load.
So we have a load of under 500 lbs (that will grow over the years but if it grows too much, the extra load can get their own boat) and don't plan on tripping--so very little gear. We are looking for stability on lakes, estuaries, easy stuff. We also want it to be really light.
I'm short and my kids will be short for a long time (possibly forever!) so something narrow appeals to me. Is that really better or does it just seems better? I would prefer to not have to stretch to get the paddle in the water like the fiberglass Sears canoe I grew up with.
We don't have anywhere local to try out canoes. If I can find something cheap used, I'll pick it up. But I may have to buy new. And untested. So I appreciate any advice!
-4 people + 80 lb dog (dog and children are trainable)
-fairly stable in flat water, with some wind
-under 60 lbs, preferably less
-nice to paddle for short armed people--not like that WaterQueen we rented!--and one that actually moves.
I know it'll be a little squishy, but this is just for day trips around town or on camping trips (but not camping OUT of the canoe).