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Fuel Efficient Canoe Haulers

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  • On canoe shape, the aerodynamics
    at highway speed do not give an advantage to a sharp ended canoe. At subsonic speeds, a blunt entry and a tapered "stern" work best.

    Our 15', 65#, high rocker, blunt ended ww tandem actually gets a bit better mileage on our Honda Accord than our 17', 50#, sharp ended flatwater tandem.

    Another wild card in the mix is outfitting inside the canoe. The end bags in our ww canoe seem to stabilise turbulence. This probably makes more of a difference at the front end of the canoe, as it sits on the car. On the other hand, prominent minicell pedestals inside a canoe may impede air flow that has to occur.

    There's a lot we don't know about canoe and kayak aerodynamics on car racks. Wish some grad student would supply the data.
  • We've had Accords and a '97 Outback.
    Our stick Outback 4 got 29 mpg with no boats and no racks, and 25-26 mpg or so with a single ww tandem canoe on Yakima crossbars. In the SE, one seldom needs AWD for snow, and only occasionally for ice, but the Outback is outstanding on heavily rain-puddled highways, and extra competent when negotiating long stretches of gravel road.

    Our latest Accord is an '08, and gets 32 mpg highway mileage with no boat and no racks. It gets 27 mpg with racks and one ww tandem on top. Last weekend we got Sandy tailwind going to New Orleans, and clocked 28 mpg. All of our Accords track straighter in crosswinds than our Outback, with or without boats. The latest Accord holds cruise control speed as well as the Outback, in spite of being much longer geared.
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