Alternative to MR Horizon

-- Last Updated: Jan-16-08 8:51 PM EST --

I picked up a Mad River Horizon 15 (15' 2") a few years back as I wanted an easy-to-maneauver canoe that was lightweight and fairly stable. Unfortunately, it's not as stable as I thought, especially as I've come to realize that I spend 90% of my time on flat water, and 70% of that time fishing. It does OK as a solo fishing canoe, as I can lean it over fairly far, but tandem is a different story... I find that I'm constantly struggling to keep it centered and can;t concentrate on anything other than my balance. I've tried weight in different areas, lowering the seats, etc., but to no avail. My other issue with the canoe is it's short length and the oilcanning - not particularly a bad thing, I know...

In any case, it's time to move on. I've been looking at the Wenonah Boundary Waters, Bell Northwind, Wenonah Kingfisher, Wenonah Spirit II or maybe a used Souris River Quetico 17 (for price!) and a few others - I know everyone asks this, but any opinions on these models? I can't find much on the Wenonah Boundary Waters... I'm also leaning toward the Tuff-weave or similar make-up as I don't know that I can afford kevlar just yet.

Thanks for your help!

quite a canoe but the native ultimate 14.5-16.5 might be your thing…I heard they dont oil can and have read a lotta people swear by them…go give one a test paddle you may be surprised.

The Kingfisher is a bit wide for my
taste. The Spirit II has a good reputation and appears from the specifications to be a good paddling canoe. I would suggest that, if you fish and paddle solo much, that you inquire into whether the web seats are available in Tuff-weave. Bucket seats make it difficult to paddle solo from the bow seat.

Thanks for the info
I agree about the seats - I’m not a big fan of the buckets anyway. From what I’ve read about the Spirit II it has great secondary stability and is a good all-purpose canoe - I’m just still a little leary about the initial stability. The Native SOT looks interesting, but I’m not sure my dog would enjoy riding in it!

You may want to post on the Advice
board about the initial stability, but its one that is often recommended for a family canoe.

Tender Boats
I haven’t paddled the Horizon 15 but it is a boat I’ve had my eye on. The specs do suggest it could be a bit tender as a tandem fishing rig. I did balance thing for years when taking someone fishing in my Sawyer Cruiser which was as tender as it was fast.

I bet you’d find the initial stability of a Spirit II much better, same with the Souris Q 17, I’ve heard that Wennah’s BW is very similar to the Souris, which would mean very stable. The kingfisher is pretty wide as yakcanfish says, but I’ll bet its still a much sweeter paddling boat that some others just due to the Wenonah blood lines. If you’re only using it tandem the width may be little problem.

If you let folks know where you’re located they might be able to let you try a boat or point you toward a good dealer or used boat. I’ve seen good sounding deals on Austin, Texas’ Craigslist for both a Kingfisher and Boundary Waters recently.

And hey, if you’re nearby, I know a guy who might be interested in the Horizon, me. :slight_smile:

Thanks - but I’m far away!
Osprey - I’m actually straight north of you - waaay north in Wisconsin (no, I’m not a Packer fan!). There are quite a few good paddle shops around - and in nearby Minnesota. If you’re in the market for a light (54lbs in Royalex), maneuverable tandem, I’d say the Horizon is a good choice (at least at the 15’ length). It’s not unstable - it just has less initial stability than I would have liked - and it’s not as noticeable solo, which is how I ended up buying it! The Spirit II is sounding like a good all-around choice… I don’t want to give up too much secondary stability either. I’m also coming to terms with the fact that, as a bigger person, I really need a longer boat (and wider helps). Plus, I don’t think 17’ would be too much for me to handle solo.

I’ve a 17 footer glass canoe. Its no
problem soloing the boat, except in the wind if I don’t have enough weight in the bow. I like it solo, just not the weight when loading and unloading. If I could keep it somewhere other than in the back of the house and not have to haul it to the truck, I’d use it more often.

Way up in God’s Country Eh?
Guess you’re a little too far for test paddling my Explorer :-).

Yep, you ought to be able to find some boats to try up there when the water reliquifies. A Spirit II ought to turn up used there fairly often I’d think also. You might also check out the Bell Northwind as its big and stable and has bomber secondary stability, maybe not quite as initially stable feeling as the Wenonah Aurora I owned, but a better all around boat for me.

If you’re a big guy with some experience I bet you can make due with most of these boats solo, but I’m sure it’ll be a tradeoff with the longer wider boats being much less nifty to paddle solo than the Horizon. I’ve paddled big tandems solo all my life and as long as you know your limits its fine, carry some extra gear or a dry bag filled with water and you’ll be good for any weather you want to be out fishing in and most water’s you’ve got any business plying in a canoe. Seems like you do have some Texas sized lakes up that way though so use your good judgement :-).

One more question…

– Last Updated: Jan-22-08 10:33 AM EST –

Thanks yak.canfish - I think the 17' would suit me fine as well. Osprey - can you compare a little further the differences between the Aurora and Bell Northwind... these are two others I've been considering, but have been reading mixed reviews about their initial stability. I know the Aurora is basically the same design as the Spirit II, but shorter - does this have a great effect on the stability?

My 2 Cents
I’ll try to be brief, though its easy to go on forever about stability and the differences in feel of the boats. I think there is some bit less initial stability with the lesser length, but not too much. The Wenonahs have a flatter shallow arch in my opinion and thus feel a little more initially stable. The Northwind’s shallow arch is more rounded and thus it feels slightly more tender, but it is a canoe that I could easily stand in and pole. The Bell shouldered tumble home allows them to design in more secondary stability. I think the Bell oilcanned less also, mostly due again to bottom shape. I think you’d be happy with any of these boats.

Also note I’ve only paddled the Aurora and Spirit II in royalex. I’ve paddle the Northwind a fair bit in composite and a ton in the royalex. I recently sold a Northwind and wouldn’t mind having it back at all – just a great all around boat.