Altering Canoe

Hi guys… I have a Wenonah C1-W, a Jensen designed downriver canoe. It is kevlar, and I really like it as it is wicked fast. I am not using it for whitewater anymore, however, and would like to use it solely for a flatwater tripping canoe. I think that it will work well except for the high sides. What do you guys think about cutting down the sides by about 3 inches. Will I be compromising the performance of the boat in any way by doing this? It seems to me that this would just reduce weight/windage, both of which would be a benefit for a flatwater tripping boat. I think that I would just use a good ole jigsaw for the job. Thanks for your help.

Done it
A Jigsaw works, may need a couple blades. Be sure to get tempered rivets to re-instal the rails.

go for it
I have heard of a few people cutting down C1Ws or the similar but 6 inch shorter WWC1 to use as flat water trippers.

What layup?
Cutting down an ultra-light 3" might mean cutting into the ribs. They would need to be tapered so the gunwales would fit and then glassed over to seal them. A center-rib or flex-core lay-up would not have the extended side ribs or worry. Will cutting 3" at the bow and stern put you into the air tanks or is yours without them?

Gearwoman has the older WWC1 and its a great solo tripper at its original depth. Really nice security with a tripping load in waves. Much better in wind with the load than empty in a race.


Thanks for the help… keep it coming!
Thanks so much for the encouragement and help! My boat has the center rib, so cutting down the sides doesn’t have the issues of the side ribs. And the air pockets are down about four inches, so that shouldn’t be an issue. We still have no open water up here in northern Wisconsin (all iced up), but before I start cutting into my boat, I plan on putting in a good load and seeing how much freeboard I have left. Thanks again for the help.

That should work. My first boat was a KUL C1W sold to me as a tripper set up with a cook custom spray deck for some of the same reasons. I wish I still had that boat



– Last Updated: Apr-24-14 8:29 AM EST –

I just picked up a used C1W last fall a price I could not pass up. This is my 3rd C1W the last 2 were about 35 years ago. I too thought about cutting down the sides because exiting the boat seems to be a little harder than it was 35 years ago, gravity must be getting stronger. Well I didn't get it altered over the winter but decided before I do that I am going to try to raise the seat. I just ordered some seat spacers and am going to play around with some different heights on Friday. I seem to remember that is what I did on the previous 2 boats.

Done it
I’ve got two Jensen WWC1s, the 16’ fiberglass model from the late 70’s/early 80’s. I cut the sides down on both of them because it felt like paddling in a bath tub.

I don’t think I went down as far as 3" and I didn’t cut it down evenly the whole way around the boat. I cut the center down a bit more than the ends. I also own a Bell Magic, which I really enjoy paddling, so I was able to take measurements from it to give me an idea of how much to trim off. I basically copied those measurements to the WWC1.

On one of them I also shortened the center thwart to tuck in the sides at the paddling station for better reach. It made it more pleasant to paddle but also noticeably took away some stability.

I used a jigsaw with a finish tooth blade and it cut through like butter. The only hard part was getting the gunwales back on without a second (or third) set of hands. I also painted the cut edges with epoxy to seal them.

Be careful about cutting the bow/stern down too far or the gunwales will hit the float tanks when you put them back on. Mine are just above them.

I say go for it. Makes for a great paddling boat.


Since there’s been a lot of interest in cutting down the Jensen WWC1, I’d guess it must be pretty deep in the middle (can’t find dimensions online). I’d question that, though, because depth provides seaworthiness, i.e., less chance of shipping water in wavy conditions. Why not use it as is for a while and see how it responds to windy and moderately wavy conditions?

Its interesting because
I use 15 inch deep boats on trips with heavy loads all the time and I have never felt any significant negative impact from the depth of my canoes. On the other hand, there have been many occasions on lakes in rough water when I was very thankful for the extra depth. On a few occasions I believe it helped me avoid disaster. On others it enabled me to stay on the water when lower sides would have meant a day baking bread in camp waiting out the wind, (not necessarily a bad thing). Its true that I don’t travel real light and so that could make a difference if you going ultra light on a trip with lots of portages.