Hello, looking to buy a new canoe. What is a good canoe?. Is Kevlar the best?? My gf and I are starting to do river races. Our current canoe is too big and heavy. Please help us out! Thanks Jim
No idea what sort of rivers you are racing on… They could be flatwater or rocky… length of race…maneuverability required? portaging…
Another one of those threads where more background would be helpful…
Im not going to elaborate…except to say that what you race on Maine rocky streams is probably not going to be what you use on the Missouri 340…
Also there are classes of boats and paddlers. For example
I don’t know squat about racing in other areas. Since you haven’t specified your area, it’s not worth babbling on even about racing in my area if its not your area.
I just did the river rat race down the millers river. It is in western MA. Its generally flat water
Check to see what others have
Look at what your fellow racers are using and more importantly winning in.
Looks like a recreational race
if you are doing flatwater of course Kevlar long and skinny designs work well…
When you get seriously into racing something like
works for mixed teams
But its pretty much a specialized canoe. If you want a canoe just for racing…
There are some older Jensen models that might work … like the 17.
I’d go watch Run of the Charles on April 27 and mingle and take notes… You will see all of the flatwater race boats.
The race boats used in the Rat Race are unique in that the rules state no boat over 18'. Normal USCA race boats are 18'6". The top finishers yesterday were in custom built "Rat Boats" used for this race only. There is also a length to width ratio when measuring the boats. That being said for years the top boats were Sawyer Cruisers. My guess is there are a number of them sitting in back yards all over Athol-Orange. There are some fast 18 footers out there, Savage River and Wenonah come to mind. With one of those 18 footers you could race the Stock Class at other races and have a competitive boat. Back when I was racing my Rat Race boat was an older USCA racer with 6 inches cut out of it. Kind of tricky but it can be done. I suspect there were a number of cut down Pro boats there yesterday.
I wouldn’t go straight to an all-out
racing canoe, because even if you don’t totally discourage yourselves trying to handle it, you also won’t be a bit faster than you would be in a fast touring design.
You could buy something like a Minnesota II, race it, and then sell it for a good price when you’re ready for something even faster. I wonder if the M II is offered in Tuffweave. Not much heavier, stiff as Kevlar Flexweave, more durable, easier to repair…
Careful you don’t get to enjoying just fast wilderness touring. It might make your relationship last longer.
Decide what class you want to race
Organized points races in New England, New York, PA, NJ will have stock canoes, amateur (cruisers), and pro canoes. Most races will have a recreational class. USCA is the national body that governs flat water marathon racing. ACA sanctions down-river and whitewater racing. An ACA race down a river will have whitewater. A USCA race held on a river might have some fast water, but it will have no whitewater. Boats to compete in these two types of races are totally different.
Starting out in flatwater racing the decision to make first is to race recreational class or stock class.
Both use canoes that can be used for other purposes, camping, tripping, fishing. True racing classes use canoes that are good for racing and exercise, but not much else.
Recreational classes typically limit boat length to 17’ or 17’6". Stock classes using USCA dimensions will be 18’6" with limits on width, concavity in the hull lines, depth at the bow and center. Most race organizers will spell out what is a stock boat or recreational boat. Some races as Old Bill mentioned limit boat length to 18’.
For a good starter canoe, a Kevlar Flexcore Wenonah 17’Jensen will fit the recreational class at all our NYMCRA races in NY. Rec class usually has a minimum weight of 50-55# and a max length of 17’ or 17’6". For the races allowing 17’6" the Wenonah Escape in Kevlar Flexcore is the one to beat, but the 17’Jensen is very competitive, especially with lighter paddlers. I use the 17’Jensen cause it makes rec class everywhere.
For stock class, the choices get wider. The most popular canoe is the Wenonah Minnesota II. It is good for stock class racing and is a great tripping canoe. The older 18’Sundowner and 18’Jensen are both competitive; the 18’Jensen is marginally faster on calm water, and the 18’Sundowner is faster on a tight river. There are stock canoes from Grasse River (Monarch), Savage River (Susquehanna)and Crozier that are competitive.
Another class that is growing in popularity is C-4 Stock. The two canoes for this class are the Wenonah Minnesota III and Minnesota IV. The III is better for a light team; under 150# each paddler. The IV is faster on open water and better for a heavier team. It is a really fun class and having 4 people for the portages makes it easier.