Buying first canoe (?) - questions

Worried from Sundowner reviews
I am a little worried after reading the review page … lot of people commenting about it being not very stable. I really like the idea of it being much lighter than the royalex spirit II.

Anyone with hands-on experience on Kevlar UL Sundowner 17 comment on suitability for a beginner?


New Paddlers With Kids?

– Last Updated: Sep-16-12 9:27 AM EST –

Just say "No" to the Sundowner! I had a couple friends who owned one and it was fine for 2 experienced paddlers; definitely fast with decent glide. Initially, you're going to want a boat that your family feels comfortable in, not something that will have them on edge. That's how my friends end up with boat "Bargains!"

Thanks … Will go back to spirit
Thanks for sharing your friends experience … I do want my family to feel comfortable, eve if that means a heavier canoe!

You can tell from the waterline width …
… of 32.5" on the Sundowner that it will be fast but relatively tippy. 32.5" is very narrow for a 17’ canoe.

The Sundowner has less rocker than the Spirit II, so it probably will be a little harder to turn.

The advantage of the Sundowner is the lighter weight.

But if you want a Kevlar composite hull for first-time, novice, family use, I think a waterline width in the 34.5"-36.0" range would be more suitable in a 17’ tandem canoe.

17’ Sundowner
compared to the 17’ Spirit, the Sundowner is faster and has slightly less capacity. Its initial stability is slightly less than the Spirit. But from a user standpoint, My daughter has a Tuffweave 17’Sundowner that came from a racing friend who used it for years to win C-2 Recreational races. Now Kelly and Mark use it recreationally and they have 4 kids. Mark is a big guy, Kelly is petite, the grandkids are 7, almost 5 almost 4 and just 1. I will probably upgrade them to an 18 Sundowner that i have to give them more room as the kids get bigger.

A kevlar Spirit II would be better, but the 17’Sundower is not a bad boat. You just need to be careful getting in and out, and get used to the hull.

The Kevlar UL could come in at under 40# and at the heaviest will be around 42#. As the second boat as the kids get bigger it will be perfect. It is more stable than the 17’Jensen. I have had all three 17’ Wenonahs out in all kinds of water, with paddlers of all sizes and skill levels. None are bad canoes; you just put football players in the Spirit, under 200# paddlers in the Sundowner, and people with some experience in the Jensen. Kids are not a problem in any of the three. Kids have a low center of gravity.




Bought the RX spirit
Went and checked it out, didn’t feel hugely heavy. I thought it better to deal with the extra weight than risk turning off everyone on a potentially less stable sundowner. As someone said earlier in this thread, if we like it there are more canoes in te future, and better to get something than spend more time debating with myself:-)

Haven’t gotten it home yet, probably in the next two days. Thanks to all of you for great advice! I am sure I wil be back for more advice soon …

I Think You’ll Be Pleased
My wife is turning into a pretty good solo paddler. She started off paddling tandem with me 28 years ago. Had we started off with our friend’s Sundowner, I would have been paddling by myself all these years. Boats like that are fine after a person learns to paddle, but novices need to get comfortable with canoeing first. The Spirit will have plenty of stability without being a “Dog” to paddle. Good luck on your first canoe!