Asking about Penobscot 15 solo

-- Last Updated: Apr-28-13 1:31 PM EST --

I did a search but didn't find much info about it. I did see where the 16 is considered a good tandem/solo. This boat has the sliding seat is called a solo and weights in at 53 pounds in RX. I see Old Town doesn't list them anymore.

I am looking for a used solo that might work for river and larger water tripping, but would also use it for day tripping. A wenonah argosy and MR freedom are also other RX options currently available. I am leaning toward the freedom, put saw the Penobscot.

If a 15 exists, it’s new. The 16
Penobscot was the first and shortest. Later a 17 and I think there’s an 18.5 now.

Speaking as an old race boat inspector and owner of a MR Freedom/Guide Solo, I would not consider the Penobscot design in a 15 foot solo craft. Not unless it’s completely different from the 16.

Old town made a 15foot penobscot for a short while. I haveonly seen 2 in 15 years, one at the Chattahoochie race and once at the Danvile kibler valley Dan river race.

Penobscot 15

The plaidpaddler will seethis. He has catalogs from different manufactures going back to the 60s!

Speaking of catalogs…

Penobscot 15 and Penobscot 16
There is a couple of pictures of a 15 and 16 next to each other in the extended trip report for the Lumber River, NC dated Mar 23, 2013.

They made it in 1992

Sniffing the printers ink has not dulled your memory too much. In the 1992 Old Town catalog is the 15’Penobscot solo among 4 wooden, 7 Discovery, 10 Oltonar, and 11 composite canoe models. Only 2 Kayak models were in the Old Town lineup back then. They were a Canoe company.

The 15 Penobscot was a true solo. 29.5" width, 29" at the 4" waterline, 18"deep bow, 13.5 in the middle and 49# with standard aluminum gunwales and sliding seat/ portage yoke. Not a bad paddling canoe either.

They also cataloged a composite solo called the Northern Light 15’4". Only skin coated Old Town I ever saw. It paddled similar to the Wenonah Solitude, but weighed more (52# in glass and 45# in Kevlar) and cost more. Not a big seller. But a nice canoe, especially for Old Town.

The Old Town rep for our area was a gentleman named Jack Gillespie. And a true gentleman he was. I got to test paddle quite a few Old Town models in that era at Oak Orchard canoe that Jack would bring for demos. They really cared about a quality finish over production cost or weight. And were not so interested in mass merchandising a product.

I do not remember how many years the 15 Penobscot was in production, but it is in the 1992 Catalog and Canoe magazine buyers guide.


Old Town Penobscot 15

– Last Updated: Apr-28-13 9:38 PM EST –

Old Town did make one; it was an older model.
I know they made it; I owned one.
Have a photos of it;, me standing beside it on Wisconsin river sand bar, and underway on same river.

Mine had adjustable/sliding/wood/cane seat, wood gunwales(heavy duty) & thwarts, and small, brass decking. Yes, I did say brass,
It tracked quite well, but did not do well on rivers that required a lot of quick manuevering. It had very little glide, and you couldn't miss too many strokes before it went dead in the water. It took a little effort to get it up to speed, but you could maintain good speed with steady paddling. Great initial stability & good secondary. I still regret selling it; it was definitely built to last, and had decent lines.
Mine was the fast version; a red one.


Did you see a resemblance in hull design
to the Penobscot 16? My eyeball of the 16 was that it was softly V-bottomed.

Pen 15
I had one, I liked it.

The Penobscots have always been shallow arch bottomed. I’ve owned three of the 16s. Was always a little sad that I missed out on getting the solo version.

Maybe that bit of reverse curvature…

– Last Updated: Apr-30-13 12:56 AM EST –

... which the Penobscot has a few feet away from each stem contributes to the illustion of a V (it elongates the "narrow zone" of each end more than what's on most canoes, but only near the keel line, not on the sidewalls). I seem to remember seeing that on this kind of boat before, and it shows up in the company's website pictures too. Just guessing if that might be what's going on.

Bob’s Penobscot 15

Thanks Bob and Mike and others
So not a twisty river boat. How about turns when heeled?

I am currently looking for a versatile used solo. Hopefully under about $800. I am looking for a light layup so know that is a low ball figure. I can still handle 50+ pounds to load and unload, but have a bad disc. The stated weight of 53 pounds for this boat I can handle for now. Like the photo, thanks for posting it.

I see several boats for sale. The Pen 15’, freedom solo, and argosy in RX in the $5-600 range, and an MR Indy, wenonah encounter in Kevlar in the $1000 range.

I’m just trying to figure how they stack up. Thanks for all the info on this and the other threads I have posted.

Twisty river boats…
A lot depends on what you mean by twisty rivers. If it’s a rock garden run, or a very narrow and very twisty creek where you have to make a lot of radical maneuvers, you need something really maneuverable. That Penobscot ain’t it. But for most class 1 rivers and some of the larger streams with bits of class 2, I don’t really like a “twisty river boat”. I find it’s a whole lot easier to learn to turn a boat that tracks well (and less work) than it is to make a boat that’s built to maneuver radically go straight when you want it to. And it’s a lot more pleasant to get through the slow water stretches between riffles.

Must be a difference in perception
because as a boat inspector, I saw the bottoms of a number of 16s, including the one used by a friend to win (twice) the downriver cruising class on the Nantahala.

But I will go look again, if I get the opportunity…

Hasn’t been for me. I quickly learned
to paddle high rocker OC-1s, not needing to correct on most strokes. It’s just cab-forward paddling, used by many decked c-1 paddlers.

Turning a fast, low rocker canoe by leaning it hard in or out won’t get you through a slalom course. And I don’t lean my Guide Solo any more than I lean my Synergy or my Millbrook when I’m turning in whitewater.