Canoe Cover for Windy Conditions??

Have a real challenge with my Wenonah Vagabond UL, solo and lightly loaded, on windy open water and wondering if a Cooke cover will help a lot? Run with the local yaks using a Greenland stick most of the time (not many canoers around here any more)and this ol’ dog has a tough time when wind gets over 15. Hoping a cover might keep me from having to switch to yak, but costly if if won’t help much. Thanks, R

me and canoes dont mix
first time i used one i got in are cove and thats where i stayed lol id paddle and paddle get to a certain areas and get blown back .i was so embarrassed and started to wonder if ill have to move to the cove lol finaly walked it out and said to self canoeing isnt for me

It’ll help. My solution.

– Last Updated: Apr-25-11 7:12 PM EST –

A canoe cover will help some with wind, more so in some canoes than others. But they have inconveniences and detriments that cause me, on balance, not to use them.

I got really sick of wind in open canoes and equally sick of the inability to self-rescue. At the same time, I had gotten completely sick of kayaking and double blades. And heavy weight craft have always sickened me.

My solution to the wind, wave, self-rescue, single blade and weight issues were all solved when I purchased the ideal remedy for all my sicknesses, the outrigger canoe.

I would say, ditch the greenland paddle and use something with some balls. A good ole Beaver tail and good technique and you wont notice the wind much.

My Wenonah Vagabond handles alot
better when I put a medium size cooler and about 100 lbs of camping gear in it. I am also starting to play around with the sliding seat in it to see how it changes paddling with or against the wind. I bought mine used and it came with a Cooke cover but I don’t really notice much difference having it on or off while paddling. (The cover is really nice when it rains though.)

It will help but

– Last Updated: Apr-25-11 7:53 PM EST –

the meaning of "a lot " is up to you.

I won't paddle big water without one as bailing and paddling at the same time does not work for me solo.

Not yet have I got three hands. What the cover does is help avoid the bailing issue.

Dan's covers are the best but practice in the company of others your wet exit. Dan designs his for easy egress, but practice is well worth it.

I bought mine for bail protection. I figure any wind advantage is secondary.

Interesting that you use a a GP. I have too but not on trips in big waves with the canoe. I find I have to use a sliding stroke with the width of a solo canoe (and height) and am not good with the technique when it counts (as in wind)

The Vagabond is not speed in wind. I have only paddled one once in 20 mph winds and three foot waves and it was a bit of work.

Maybe acceptance is the answer?

Oh and self rescue is a snap with a double blade, a paddle float and a stirrup. However the open canoe likely will require a pause before you enter as you bail..not fun in waves. Volume of water to be emptied is where the kayak shines.

(just had to defuse a prior post)

Are there “crusing” solo outrigger
canoes that can pack some gear and handle rough and windy conditions? All I’ve seen are the SOT racing styles. R

Yes and no
Yes, a cover will help in the wind. It makes enough of a difference that I have made covers for all of the solo canoes I use on a regular basis. However, something else to consider is the fact that your canoe has a lot more surface area for the wind to push against than a kayak does. There is no solution for that.

You could always try duct taping something temporary to your boat the next time it is windy to see if you think it makes enough of a difference to be worth making or buying one.

Sort of
When I had my Huki outrigger built, I had two 6" Beckson screw hatches custom installed at each end of the paddling station. This means I can stuff gear less than 6" in diameter into about 12 linear feet of hull. I bought small ultralight backpacking gear that would fit through the hatches, and I could go out for about a week.

I have an ultralight Golite backpack that can carry all the little bags on a portage.

Hence, I can trip, but it’s somewhat of a hassle.

I mainly use the craft for day paddling and exercise runs. Also, it is the craft that will allow me to go out for a day paddle in winds that would cause me to sit in my van rather than open canoe. It’s also the fastest canoe on the planet, not including Olympic sprint shells. Hence, it’s great for paddling upstream or covering a lot of water even if you are not a racer.

You can see the circular front hatch in this photo. The rear hatch is right behind the seat. Each hatch has a removable stuff bag attached to the inside rim to hold convenience items.

Pretty boat in a pretty location. n/m.

spray cover

– Last Updated: Apr-26-11 7:27 PM EST –

I had a Vagabond in Royalex and used it with a kayak paddle until I learned to use a bentshaft canoe paddle. In winds 15-20 knots it was slower than my touring kayak but I was able to make progress. Now use a Cookes cover with a Hemlock Kestrel not because it helps to cut down wind resistance but to protect against water coming into the canoe in high wind situation when I have a weeks worth of gear in the canoe.

You can try adding more weight in the boat by bringing empty milk jugs and filling them at the launch. Put a couple behind you and one forward. Also try c2g's advice and tape some material to make partial covers and see if this is worth the hassle. Canoe covers are a process to install but well worth the effort in bad weather. I love mine especially when it's raining or cold.

My Voyager was an absolutely

– Last Updated: Apr-27-11 8:21 PM EST –

unruly beast in the wind. The Cooke cover reduced the problem from barely manageable to slightly irritating.

duct tape covers must work
You see lots of canoes with them at the 700 craft Kenduskeag Canoe Race. 17 miles of mayhem with mostly Old Town canoes paddled with state of the art Zav bent shafts. Lots of work to apply though…its not a complicated job but takes time.

Will give the temp cover with d/tape a
try. Thanks all for the ideas and support. Thinking a nice light low profile yak (maybe a CD Vision 14/15 in comp, since my friend and local outfitter carries them?) may be in my future though :-). Oh, Kayamedic, I had my GP stick made extra long (8’6") to accommodate the extra height and width of the noe. Safe paddling. Rick

Duct Tape and Tyvek
I put tyvek covers on my Voyager.

They help some with the wind. But as others have noted you still have a lot of surface for the wind to push against.

Low Buck Canoe Cover
Paddling a Wenonah Mocassin for 90 miles across some big Adirondack lakes, i figured it was time to try a cover. I took the fly to a dome tent and laid it across the front of the canoe. from the paddlind station forward. The tapered panels of the fly were a great fit. I just cut one off the fly and attached it with duct tape. It cut down the wind effects a lot.

To make it better for spray and wave protetion, i added a ridge pole from the bow of the canot to the thwart ahead of the seat. Then added aluminum bars from the ridgepole to the gunwales. This worked great to divert the water over the gunwales and not into the cockpit. Once i worked out the prototype, i added snaps to the cover and along the outwale. I just drilled out the existing rivets and put new ones thru the snaps.

Did the same thing for the stern, but never added the snaps. the front cover is all i use on trips and if i need the rear cover, i just duct tape it in place.

The tent fly was $5 from a bin at Eureka Tents in Binghamton, the snaps were another $5 and the aluminum pieces were scraps from a dumpster.

If i did wilderness excursions on a regular basis, i would invest in a commercial cover like Cooks.

Any cover cuts your wind exposure from the side in half, since the wind can only blow in the windward side of the hull and not on the inside of the leeward side of the hull. In a 15 foot canoe that is 12" deep at center, you are eliminating over 15 square feet of sail area. Thats a lot of sideways push by the wind.


Big solo boats are tough in the wind
without a heavy load. My solutions over years have included both covers and cutting down the sides. Cutting an inch off the edge of a 16 foot, 14" deep Mad River solo made a big difference for me . Your boat is bigger and not v-bottomed. It has to be vulnerable to the wind. Once you have the cover for the rough water you dont need the freeboard. On most days the cover can stay in its bag.

I have cut down a few boats but never one with foam ribs. I,ll bet someone around here has thougn.