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... not all of which will "make sense" to every person. I'm not all that spiritual of a person but I do understand the oft-quoted statement, "canoes have soul." At any distance, kayaks tend to look like windup toys to me, but when traditional canoes are paddled by traditional method (no sit-and-switch), a lot of time nothing about even a single canoe stroke is predictable, let alone a sequence of strokes. It's at the far opposite extreme from repetitive-stroke, muscle-memory kayak paddling. If Harley riders stuck with their brand all through the 70s when their longevity and reliability was at rock bottom, it can't be too hard to understand why someone would take their canoe out on waters that might be more efficiently traveled by kayak.
I understand the desire to have a sleeker, more effortless craft for bigger lakes and such, especially when it's windy. No doubt that's one big reason so many people paddle both kinds of boats. My first choice for bigger water and windy conditions is a double-ended rowboat, and maybe I'd be more interested in sometimes using a kayak if I didn't already like rowing so darn much.
Your comment about kayaks having the "advantage" of keeping gear dry is one I've seen several times in the last few months. Normally it's newbie kayakers who say it, so I might point out that all I've ever used are open boats (canoes and rowboats) and I've never had any of my gear get wet. Even with a big load of gear, if it's organized into four or five big stuff sacks, dropping it all into a canoe pack and sealing the liner takes about a minute, and getting it out is that easy too. The time it takes to put the pack in the boat is so quick it doesn't even count. Ease of gear-handling and dry storage aren't mutually exclusive things. Besides, those expensive, lightweight and slick-surface (nylon?) dry bags are especially popular with kayakers because they don't stick to everything they come into tight contact with while being crammed into hatches or yanked out. If serious kayakers are putting all their stuff in dry bags before stuffing it into the boat, what are they doing that's different from open boaters (besides using a greater number of expensive dry bags instead of two or three vinyl ones or even just a plastic liner in a canoe pack)?
I've tried various length kayak paddle and even had Patrick from ONNO make me a carbon paddle extension to use in my solo canoe. In all my experiments the ZRE bent shaft made most progress with less effort. Speed? Can't make faster speed in my solo canoe compared to my touring kayak. In a long trip (over 10 miles) can keep a 3 mph in standard 10-15 knot winds coastal paddling.
BTW always paddle in mixed group kayakers in SOT and touring kayaks. They might or not move faster we always end up at same campsite enjoy the trip.
If you are talking about making long, open-water crossings on a big lake, fully decked boats do have definite advantages over an open boat. Chiefly the relative immunity from big waves, the availability of a solid brace on both sides, less windage, a higher paddle cadence, and (assuming one has a reliable roll) a method of self-rescue that leaves one "good as new" upon completion.
That's not to say that experienced open boaters can't safely make long, open-water crossings though. Paul Conklin, Harold Deal, and Gary Marble paddled open canoes all the way across Lake Ontario.
As for "ease of paddling" many find the greater variety of strokes used in open boating to be more stimulating than the largely symmetrical and fewer strokes used by kayakers. The card game "war" is easier to play than contract bridge but many find "war" to be less than engaging.
Some people with bad backs simply can't tolerate long periods of sitting in a kayak. In addition to easier entry and exit, canoes allow the paddler to shift around quite a bit more, and quickly accessing items in the boat is much easier in a canoe than a kayak.
As for the gear storage issue, for what it is worth, I have paddled a variety of kayaks with bulkheads and hatches and all of them have taken on at least a bit of water so I'm not sure your experience is typical. Canoes allow somewhat more flexibility in packing options than kayaks. I haven't seen a sit in kayak that would accept a 60 L barrel, or even a 30 L barrel for that matter. If one is only expecting to pack and unpack the boat once or maybe twice a day, I don't see this as a big issue but if conditions require loading and unloading multiple times a day, and especially if portaging any distance at all is involved, then the canoe has a distinct advantage.
Can't get a decent tan on your legs in a SINK.