14' Stillwater or 16' Penobscot...

Hi, I have a couple of used canoes by me for sale…It will be for my son (6 years old) and I. I can get the stillwater for $400…or the penobscot for $700. I am thinking the penobscot, but wonder about the stability of it with him. He is skin and bones and wont be of much help for a year or two :slight_smile: The stillwater on the other hand seems like it may be a better choice today and move up later on. I have a Solo canoe for myself, and we would not be doing anything major, just lakes and one slow river by the house. Save the money and buy the stillwater, or buy the better one today?


– Last Updated: Apr-16-10 4:06 PM EST –

By the numbers, a Penobscot 16 is only three pounds heavier than the Stillwater 14, and it is 7 inches narrower. It'll be easier for you to paddle. It might be easier for him to paddle because he won't have to reach out as far. Unless you specifically want a wider fishing-type canoe, I'd get the Penobscot.

The Penobscot 16 isn’t too much for you to handle if you’re already used to solo boats. Your son will only grow, so getting a boat that fits the two of you now will be very limiting later. Just turn around in it and put your son in the stern seat, facing the stern and you sit in the bow seat, also facing the stern. Should work fine. I paddled like this in a 16’ Mad River Explorer with my daughter for a number of years until she was big enough to balance my weight better.


Sorry, both are stupid choices for a kid

– Last Updated: Apr-16-10 4:58 PM EST –

I don't think either is a serious solo option for an adult, and both will just skitter on the water when paddled by a small person.

Even a Wildfire or Spitfire would be large for a kid.

I first met Olympic c-1 competitor Adam Clawson when he was 9 years old, paddling a special small version of a slalom c-1. He was amazing. But in the aforementioned Stillwater or Penobscot, he would not have been able to show what he could do.

If this is a solo boat for your son I’d get him something smalled. You could make a child sized pirogue or 6 hour canoe in a weekend and at 6 he could “help” paint it. I made one for my boys and it was perfect for that 6 - 9 year old phase. After about nine they get close to big enough to paddle full size boats solo. At that stage I’d recommend the narrower Penobscot.

NO…this is for us both together!
I am looking for something when he is with me…my point about him is…he will not be doing much paddling with me…he would be just riding with me for the first couple of years…and I want to know…am I better off with the wider one with him…or the better one, long term…although, I am not worried about selling the stillwater later if needed to upgrade when he can be of help…

Get the Penobscot

– Last Updated: Apr-16-10 10:24 PM EST –

Its far more versatile a boat.

Either sit backward on the bow seat so the other end with your kid is not so much in the sky or paddle close to the center kneeling.

Or add some jugs of water by your boy.

Then in a few years you can enjoy canoe trips,

Give him an appropriate size paddle and take him on a trip and thank him for his efforts. Make him feel worthwhile and you will both have a great time.

I have been paddling with my seven year old grandson for five years. Of course at two he WAS baggage but by five could paddle and at five also soloed a tiny solo canoe. As a matter of fact he would rather solo than be with adults! He is not too big..about 55 lbs. He has the kids equivalent of a Colden FlashFire thought its eleven feet long and proportionally narrower.

And kids dont care about stability. Give a kid a canoe and he wants to see how fast he can dump it. Kids absoultely love capsize class. Adults hate capsize class.

I’d go for the Stillwater 14,
for the following reasons:

  1. The Stillwater 14’ has more initial stability, and

    that will be more comforting in the learning curve for

    the kid.

  2. The Stillwater 14’ is 14’, and that 2 foot decrease

    in length will also be more comforting for a newbie.

  3. The Stillwater 14’ will not be as sensitive to trim

    as the Penobscot 16’ will be. You will need to use some

    water filled milk jugs bungied to the end the kid is in,

    anyway, but the Stillwater will balance easier to trim.

  4. I have the Katahdin 14’, which is the older FG

    version of the Stillwater, and still use it often.

    It paddles surprisingly well, and has good stability

    overall, including when in a good chop from boats.

    The Penobscot also has good stability, but feels a bit

    tippy initially, at least for awhile, or always for

    some folks.

    Good luck!

Simple answer.

– Last Updated: Apr-16-10 7:09 PM EST –

The Stillwater is a boat made for sitting in one place. The Penobscot is a boat made for moving. I had a Wenonah Fisherman (similar in dimension to the Stillwater) and I have a Penobscot. The shorter and wider boat feels more stable at rest. The Penobscot is just as stable at speed and is easier to paddle.

You will (both) likely get bored of the Stillwater, but not so likely the Penobscot.

I do not agree with the claim that the Stillwater will trim easier. The longer boat can have ballast positioned farther away from you, and that gives it more leverage. I can trim a soloed Penobscot with about the same weight of ballast as the shorter boat.

Don’t forget the net!
When I got my sons a three foot handled bait net they quit falling out of the canoe. Young boys will lurch out and try to grab bugs and fish and leaves and anything else they see. With the net they can stay in there seats and scope things up. you’ll be glad you bough him the net.

Later make certain your fishing rods have those floats that wrap around the base of the rod so they’ll float.

Now my boys are teens and can load the boats for me.

It’s a great boat for you. The Penobscot will always hold it.s value. As for stability, I hate to bring the attention to myself. But that is me and my dog Molly on the pnet pic of the week. Molly loves to jump out. The pic shows how stable it is. That is a 16ft Penobscot. I also pole this boat with her in it. Have fun with your son.

Penobscott …
Ok, listen, I have a penobscot 16. First off it is an unusually good canoe for doing so many things, even in Royalex. It rarely oil cans, unless you are really putting your shoulders into her. She is great is shallow snakey twisty water, and great is big water, big waves. I have surfed with her wtih my 11 year old daughter. The Penobscot is pretty fast for a 16 footer. It is easy to solo, I have soloed her in wind 20-25 mph, not on purpose, but it happens. It was hard to make head way, but I always had control. Incredible! My daughter and I have fished in the boat MANY times, never a worry about geting wet. We have explored the BWCA for a week in her … lot of walleyes for dinner, storms, wind, never a worry. It is heavy, that sucks, but the boat is a Gem!! It is easy to sell, but you may never want to as your son will not get younger or smaller. The Penobscot is a great boat! I ahve taken it with my daughter in class one and two rapids, the boat is so manoverable it is a blast! The only draw back is her weight, which at 58 pounds in not that big of a deal, especially since your son will grow into it!!

Good luck with your choice!


Neither of you will ever outgrow the Penobscot as skills improve.

I sold mine, and I miss her. Love my new solo canoe, but there are still times when I’d like to have the Penobscot.

You never know
This could be you and your son in a couple of years


Its a 17’ Penobscot, but close enough :wink:

Well I got a Dagger Suwannee
I missed the Peno…it was sold. I yesterday, found a 15’x36" dagger. Like new! I took it out today (with a 5 gal. bucket of water) and it handled great. Thanks for all the advice, and I look forward to putting my son in it rather than a bucket.

Penobscots tend to go fast

– Last Updated: Apr-19-10 2:26 PM EST –

The one that showed up here on CL friday is already gone.

I don't know anything about your boat, but it seems like you did okay...


BTW - I use one of the larger inexpensive dry bags instead of a bucket for ballast. You can fill it with water and leave a little air in it when you seal it. That way, you aren't going to spill any water in your boat, and if you happen to tip over, the bag will still float at the surface. And using the bag, unlike the bucket, you can get it clear into the other end of the canoe - which means you won't need as much ballast to get the right trim.