Hi, my girlfriend and I have been kayak for a few years and would consider ourselves at an intermediate level. We like to do river trips up to a week long but want to make the move to a canoe for the extra room. Also, we are adding a medium size active dog to our trips now. What would be a good canoe. I've been considering the We-No-Nah Chaplain and the Bell Northwind or Northstar. With the dog we want something stable but not move like a slug in the water. I was thinking a 16 foot canoe, does that seem too small or about right? This will be for calm rivers. I'm 200 pounds, girlfirend is 120 and dog is 40. All advice welcome. Thanks.
Champlain and the Bells are good
choices. I like Bell’s system of putting just a little rocker in their boats so that, while they are fast, they turn in a controlled way.
Look at Spirit II also
Just a guess but for a week's trip with a dog sounds like your load would be somewhere around 475 lbs. Although I think the Champlain is a great tripping boat and the stability may be very desirable for an active dog, that's a pretty light load for a Champlain. Test paddle a Spirit II also with your partner, load, and dog also and see if that would work for you.
The Bell Alaskan my friends just
bought looks good.
We've only had the Northwind since August but have put 50+ miles on it and love the boat. It is relatively fast and comfortable initial stability and it can handle a load and not FEEL like you're paddling a big load. Another thing that I've never noticed anyone remark on is the "Shouldered tumblehome;" when you get tired at the end of the day you're less likely to rap your knuckles on the gunnels with them tucked in like they are on these Bell's. We have friends with an Alaskan and it has more volume, possibly a little more stability, but you add 10lbs weight to carry arround. As for the Northstar, it's faster but won't hold as much as the Northstar and Alaskan and I can pretty much garantee you'll be swimming with a lively dog! Here's a pic of the Northwind with probably a bigger load than you will be hauling. WW
River trip canoe
I think the Swift Dumoine should be on your short list. They make layups to suit any need. Very well made, great hull.
Spirit II with sliding front seat
80# difference between paddlers isn’t a big problem when you are loaded, but is huge in most canoes when empty.
The sliding front seat makes it much easier for the smaller bow paddler to reach the water and moves the lighter paddler forward for better trim.
the Champlain will do what you want and have plenty of speed, but empty will be a handful in the wind for a light bow paddler. Now if you can have the dog stay low in the boat and behind the bow paddler, your trim problem is solved.