Canoe or Kayak for Race

-- Last Updated: Apr-16-15 8:28 PM EST --

Trying to figure what would be best for a local race. It's got a lot of twists and turns. 16 miles log, and a lot of down trees and logs to get over, so a lot of getting in and out. Two people by the way. My options are:
16 ft Pamlico Exel Tandem Kayak with Rudder 75LBs
17 ft Grummond 17 Eagle Aluminum Canoe 75LBs

one vote for the canoe
its longer and I’m assuming easier to get in and out of for your obstructions

probably the biggest consideration is which one you have the most experience with- canoe or kayak?

First vote reply
Did the race last year in the canoe, lost a lot of speed on corners wasn’t to bad getting in and out, have a lot of kayak experience, no tandem kayak experience, last year was first time in canoe in 10 years.

a couple more thoughts

– Last Updated: Apr-16-15 9:27 PM EST –

sometimes going straight from bend to bend (or corner to corner) is the way to go but if you're dealing with current then often staying in the current (even if its longer) is quicker with less effort expended so plan accordingly. Even small eddy differentials can slow you down.

Sounds like the kayak might be more productive for you. I myself haven't done any tandem kayaking so I would choose the canoe for that reason alone. It's not just about the boat, the paddler is an even bigger variable.

if you have to get out
More than three times, canoe.

That rudder might be good for you

– Last Updated: Apr-16-15 10:08 PM EST –

In a canoe, if the bow and stern paddler can cooperate with some "advanced" strokes on the turns (not advanced in terms of difficulty, just advanced in that most average paddlers are unaware that these strokes exist), speed loss can be greatly minimized. For average paddlers jumping in a boat and wanting to go fast through the turns, a rudder can be a huge advantage, so maybe you'll do better in the tandem kayak. However, on tight turns on twisty creeks, it might be necessary to use steering strokes from the bow as well, in which case a rudder won't be such an elegant solution.

In the kayak, you will absolutely need to have synchronized strokes or the two of you will be banging paddle blades. However, if you want to get the most speed out of the canoe, you should already be using synchronized strokes, and if you are, doing the same in the kayak should be even easier.

With that big honkin' kayak, the entry/exit advantage of the canoe will be a lot less than what it usually is with the kayak/canoe comparison. However, if you need to get in and out from one end of the boat (as often happens when access to the deadfall you need to climb over is difficult), the canoe still wins.

As 17-foot canoes go, that Grumman is kind of a slug. The kayak might naturally be faster even though it's no super racer either.

Those are a few factors to consider. If you get the chance to do a shake-down comparison of the two boats, do so!

A couple of thoughts, since …
every year we do a “race from hell” that we give up counting the amount of downed trees we have to get out for.

If the water level on the sides is only a few feet deep where you can get in and out easily in the water. I would use the kayak.

If the sides are deep making it hard to get in and out, I would use the canoe.

I paddle both canoes and kayaks and in my estimation it is much easier to get out of a canoe pulling up parallel to a downed tree and then getting out on the tree and pulling it over

Those boats all sound like losers to me unless you are in the “rec class”

Jack L