canoe advice

I’m looking for a tandem canoe that would be good in open water, lakes, bays, large rivers. I’m not into canoe tripping so it doesn’t have to haul a load. Paddling efficiency would be a top requirement, sea worthiness, and weight are also important considerations. I’m not looking to win any races with this canoe, I just want something that is easy to paddle. Price is not an obstacle, nor do I need to waste money if cheaper is better. Any thoughts?

Sundowner in kevlar would be my first choice. Next would be a Minnesota Canoeing Association 4x32 cruiser with a Wenonah Jensen in kevlar a real Close third.

This is all based on your statements. Personally I think the Jensen would be my first.

did I ever mention
I love my Swift Dumoine. Good “big water” canoe that turns real easy.

Sawyer Cruiser
if you can find one. I think it’s the best big, flatwater boat ever made. Fast, seaworthy and absolutely fun to paddle. It won’t turn quickly, but you don’t seem to require that. The trick will be to find a good used one–especially if you’re looking for a light weight kevlar boat, since not that many are around.

But if you can find one, then you will never regret getting it.

“Classified Ads”, on the left side…
…of your screen, often has good buys in used canoes, and there may be one near you. Like most recreational stuff, there are a lot of slightly-used boats around at bargain prices. I only buy new now because I’m clear on exactly what I want.

Ignore all advice from baldpaddler
He’s a sweet old guy (bless his heart), but alzheimers has taken it’s toll. Having said that, you should definitely get a kevlar boat, probably full size (ie, 18ft) or close. I don’t recommend cruisers as good all aroud canoes. Too shallow and too narrow. 18ft jensen is the “sleekest” canoe I would even consider. And a wenonah spirit II is a much better all around boat and still fast by most people’s standards.

What you describe is a flat water application and if the natural beauty of wood turns you on, consider a cedar strip canoe. There are many models for all types of canoeing, except white water and rocks, and they are bueatiful. You can build them yourself or buy one but for sure, it will be a show stopper. If you need links, drop me a note.

CYA, Joe

I am currently building a 17’ Nomad from plans by Bear Mountain Boats.


Minnesota II, Itasca, Champlain
For big water, big load, easy to paddle canoes, these are the ones to start with. If they seem too big, then the Spirit II makes the list.

All the Baldpaddlers suggestions are fast paddling boats, but most are too shallow for big water or loads. the 18’ Sundowner was a great hull, but its out of production. Dave T will disagree, but i would take it over the Bell any day.

Charlie doesn’t have much Alzheimers yet, but he rarely travels with more than a gallon of Gatorade and a few Snickers bars.


– Last Updated: Aug-21-06 9:31 PM EST –

1) 100% flatwater:
Wenonah Jensen_18(Kevlar) ....wins by a few lengths
Bell Northwoods(BlackGold)

2) flat + Class 1-2:
Bell Northwoods(BlackGold)

A Wenonah Champlain is a great
big water canoe, but it’s a tripping canoe and made to haul big loads. Unloaded, it’s a sail boat.

Check Ebay - -
I thought I saw one on ther the other day. I believe it was in PA area.

makes a bunch of nice canoes.I think maybe one of their touring styles-Spirit II,Adirondak,Aurora or perhaps a Propector design would suit your needs nicely.Good luck!

Clipper 18 Jensen Stock
You might look at the Clipper 18 Jensen Stock. Before I bought mine Gene Jensen told me it’s the same as the Wenonah 18 Jensen below the waterline but 1" deeper along the sheer-line, which was exactly what I wanted. I use mine for flat water day trip cruising like you describe. I don’t actually think my Clipper 18 Jensen Stock is quite as fast as the Wenonah 18 Jensen but it is more seaworthy, drier, and similar to paddle. If you live in the Eastern US Clippers are hard to come by since they’re made in the Canadian Pacific NW, but they do have a dealer in Toronto. The Clipper web site is:

Clipper Jensens
The Escape at 17’6" is very similar to the 18’ Clipper Jensen. Their Solitude is similar to Wenonah’s but has differences. He did different versions for the west coast just like his few designs for Mohawk were different. Only side by side can you see where the differences lie. All good boats, and now boats to be treasured. May his classic designs carry on as long as the Chestnut Prospector and be the standard for efficient flatwater travel.


Efficient tandems
Others have mentioned Wenonah boats, and I think you should focus on the Minnesota II for your use as a fast day cruiser that can handle open water. But the other Wenonahs mentioned are fine boats also. The Bell northwoods is on your list, but also try the northwind if you have a Bell dealer nearby. Don’t know what you currently like to paddle (tender vs. rock solid stability), but if you like a lot of initial stability (flatter bottom hull) try a Souris River Quetico 17. It’s a good big water boat. Being that you are located in New Jersey, you have some other boats to take a look at also. Try a Hemlock eagle in the Finger Lakes area. You should be able to find a Lincoln dealer to try their 5.3 meter. And Swift Winisk would also be a good boat for what you are looking for, if southern Ontario is within your range.

Lots of great replies Keep’em coming.

Minnesota 2? Looking at its description I thought that this was it. That many outfitters use it just added to my comfort level. However, reading the reviews, some questioned its weight carrying ability and room for larger paddlers. This led me to the Itasca, which got poor lightly loaded reviews. Then on to the Champlain, which reviewers said was a handful in wind. I realize that I need to read all these reviews with caution buuuutttt?

Last year I missed by hours a leftover Blackgold Bell Northwind for $1300. I wouldn’t have bought it without paddling it, yet, it attracted me to Bell. How is a Northwind different from a Northwoods?