I have been a WENONAH man since I picked up a paddle. Seriously, I have never paddled another brand of canoe. With that said I am looking to buy a 15 foot royalex canoe this spring. The main function of the canoe will be fishing day trips down a local river that has no more than class 1 rapids. It will from time to time be brought out to local lakes for fishing excursions. There will be no major distance paddling happening in this baby. Being the wenonah fan I am I am looking at the heron right now as the frontrunner. I want 15 ft. Some rocker but not much. Fairly light royalex build under 65 pounds. The Heron fits that bill right on. However, I was wondering if there are any other canoes you all would recommend I look at. I know the heron will do the job but it would be foolish to be so narrowsighted as to not conciter other brands as well. Thanks.
Maybe Bell Morningstar and MR
Yep, the Heron fits right on. Since you’re a wenonah fan, you could also look at the Fisherman (a bit shorter and wider) or the Prospector 15 ( a sweet boat but with more rocker than you’re looking for). Personally I’d opt for the Prospector, but it sounds like you know what you want, so I say look no further and get the Heron!
MR Horizon 15 rx
This boat looks good to me for the kind of use you suggest, but I don’t know anything other than what the MR website says.
I sure like Bells and currently own a RX Northwind. My guess is that the Morningstar would be a dandy for you.
The Heron sure looked good to me a couple of years ago when I bought my Aurora. Based on the Aurora experience I’ll bet the Heron would be just fine for you. But of course you need to expand your horizons a little IMHO!
Have fun looking and let us know what you get and how you like it. I’d still like a 15 foot tandem, myself, and came close to buying a MR Explorer 15 a couple years back, but it hadn’t been stored well and was overpriced to my thinking.
Yes, but … Royalex?
I’m a Wenonah fan too. I have a Saranac as my 15 foot “beater” solo/tandem do-everything canoe. It’s arch flattens a bit with two but doesn’t oilcan. It weighs 55 lbs and I have it set up for rowing. It’s amazingly fast (rowing solo) for what it is … but probably not quite as steady as a Heron. My guess is that the Heron will oilcan with two. I found out that my Adirondack (purchased virtually new for $400) did with a 200 lbs passenger and I’m now looking to sell it to a less discriminating fisherman/boater. I would suggest a tuffweave construction for the Heron (still less than 60 lbs even with woood trim) to avoid the oilcanning, increase even it’s “casual” performance and last the rest of your life. Once you start wearing the vinyl off the ends of a Royalex canoe you once liked, a bad case of buyer’s remorse can set in. Also, (since you’re asking for suggestion other than a Heron) you might look at a Novacraft Angler (in Blue Steel with wood trim if price is no object) … super light, steadier/faster than a Heron with the bonus of lasting beauty. My reasoning is that a 15 footer often becomes one’s most used and personally valued boat (they’re so handy) … and given that, maybe they should be extra nice for a long term “relationship”.
I would also prefer Tuffweave, though
oilcanning is easily fixed with a light minicell centerseat /pillar. Do you know, my ABS Mad River Synergy is now almost seven years old, has received increasing use, and still is a LONG WAY from wearing through the vinyl layer on the ends. What do you guys DO to your boats?
I grew up runniing the river in a 16.5 foot echo in tuff weave. That canoe is over 20 and still finds regular use. It belongs to my Dad and I do not like bashing up his things especially since I am more apt to run rapids that he will portage to save bottom. I do a number of trips with my uncle and he has a saranac. It is a nice canoe as well,I would think about one if I could find one. I have a vagabond in tuffweave that regularly bangs down the river as my solo boat. I was thinking about RX simply because there must be a reason so many people use it. I may end up with tuff weave but for now I am sticking to the rx idea. This canoe will find much less use than the solo as I normally go it alone. I will certainly look into the canoes mentioned. Look for an “I bought a new canoe” post this spring!!
Worn ends of Royalex canoes
I’ve found that rate at which this occurs depends on how often they are loaned out for “undisciplined” river use and (somewhat surprisingly) how rockered the canoe is. A highly-rockered Mad River canoe (known for their heavier Royalex in the old days) is probably abraded somewhat less on the very ends and withstands it better (thicker vinyl?). The rental Spirit II’s I’ve seen don’t seem to fare too well … that is, the ends get worn through in a couple seasons. But I agree that with a bit of care (i.e. no ramming or dragging), they can serve quite a while.
This is true. The previous owner
had worn through the vinyl on both ends of my Mad River Guide. So I will do some 3-layer S-glass cloth patches, and will probably throw on a final coat of epoxy mixed with graphite powder.