Hello all. I am where so many of you have been, and I'm looking for a bit of guidance. After a long summer of paddling a Penobscot 16 Rx, usually by myself, I accepted that I should be in a solo canoe. The Penobscot is destined to be that "first canoe" that I'll likely blather about in the future, so it will stay with me. But I'm 5'6", about 145 lbs, and a narrowish solo just sounds so much more appropriate than paddling a tandem heeled over all day every day, especially when I rarely even get out on the water over night.
For now, I've found that I really enjoy getting in any water I can find, often a little river near my home in Vermont. I will often get out for a few hours, paddling upstream until I can't because of time or skill or strength of riffles (really like messing around in the riffles and seeing how far I can navigate up them - hours can be spent on this), then paddling back down. Ponds and reservoirs aren't uncommon for me either, and the lake is nearby... I'm sure it will go much further than this - weekends, longer trips... faster water for sure.
I would definitely describe myself as a beginner, but a fast learner with a penchant for obsessing over my pastimes, and pretty athletic and adventurous. I'm getting to be OK with what I consider to be J and C strokes, but I'm sure that when I take lessons I'll realize otherwise. I like to kneel mostly, with a rest for my knees from time to time. Sit and switch is fine sometimes, but other paddling styles seem more interesting to me. Heeled over is fun...
So, after poking around and around in circles on the internet, I think I could be very happy with a 13-15' canoe, beam under 30", I'm guessing 1.5+" rocker, acceleration and nimbleness trumping top speed and initial stability... I could go on, but I'll stop. Oh, no rock bashing yet, and I'm handy and like to work on the things I us, and I like to go on the light side, so maybe a stronger kevlar layup? I dream of a wildfire or something of that sort, but many do, and I'm sure that there are other more reasonable options. And if my barn full of skis is any indication, there will be more than one solo canoe - I just need a reasonable starting point, not perfection.
Suggestions? Advice on where to look for a used boat? I don't see a lot advertised locally. Thanks for reading my life story.