Considering Jensen 18

I have been looking for a fast tandem and have come across a 87 Jensen 18 in what the owner describes as ultra-lite tuffweave. The boat appears (from pictures) to be in very good condition and the owner says it weighs about 55lbs.

Is UL tuffweave fiberglass with a foam core replacing some layers of glass? Is this a good boat for flatwater cruising with 300lbs worth of people and a 60lb dog? Assuming nothing more than light gelcoat scratches is $650 a good price for this boat that comes with aluminum trim, tractor seats and a rear footbrace?

Thanks for any advise or opinions on this boat,


GET it quick
before someone else does. If you don’t like it, easy to sell. 60 lb is a pretty big dog, but 300 lb is fairly light for people. don’t know about the construction, my jensen 18 was built by Mohawk.

The boat is easy to paddle and a good bit faster than the average canoe, handles well in rough water but the low sides can get you a bit damp in breaking waves from the side. Turning it quickly takes some doing.

What he said.

– Last Updated: Dec-11-08 2:59 PM EST –

If it were within a hundred miles of me I would be driving there right now.

I have been out in a Jensen 18 on average lake waves for SE Wisconsin (decent size waves from power boats with closer to 500 lbs paddler weight and a 58lb Bassett Hound and we had no worries at all.

Nice paddling canoe.

Don’t know about the foam core, but
at 55 pounds it is not underbuilt. The Tuffweave fabric forms an unusually strong bond with the resin they use. Maybe Wenonah has details on the layup.

That Jensen 18

– Last Updated: Dec-11-08 3:29 PM EST –

A fine, fine boat. We've had a KevUL 18 for about a dozen years. We probably put about 400 lbs in it before the dog. Ours has literally thousands of miles on it. This is a boat that can take you lots of places in a hurry or it can handle a leisurely evening paddle after work. The first new boat we ever bought was a Tuff-Weave Jensen 17 from Rutabaga back in '77 or '78. It is still around after more than 30 years of abuse. A close friend keeps it out in a field and we shake the various varmit nests out of it every spring. The skin-coat, Tuff-Weave UL layup was developed originally for the 17; it kept them right at 50 lbs, and that 17 foot length, 50 lb weight combination kept them exactly legal for lots of racing. If it is a skin-coat, they are actually pretty cool looking boats, even more translucent than the equivalent Kevlar lay ups. As the others have said, just go get it. If you don't like it you have one of the closest things to a negotiable instrument I can think of in the canoeing world!

the 18 Jensen
is a great hull. I have an '85 in UL Kevlar w/ wood gunwales that’s a very efficient cruiser. Also works great as a tripper for wife & I although not the driest ride in big wind & waves. It’s fast enough that you can afford to stay on shore when it gets rough & still keep to itinerary. Also very lite on the portage trail. Wasn’t aware there was such a thing as UL Tuffweave. We-no-nah still does Tuffweave, it’s their heaviest layup short of Royalex. Also least expensive hand laid hull.

Here in East 18 Jensen is a very competitive racing hull in C2 stock class

I’m a confirmed sit & switch bent shaft guy & it’s a great boat for that type paddling but kneeling won’t work.

Price/value is function of how much you want it & what else is availble locally. You could compare it to price of esentially same new hull & factor that into worth ? As far as performance goes, you won’t be disappointed

Tuffweave 18 Jensen
This is a great boat in a very stiff and tough layup. The 18 Jensen was made in a wide variety of layups, both Kevlar and Tuffweave. All the Tuffweave layups have kevlar reinforcement in the stems and along the keel line. Most of the Core-Stiffened Tuffweave (now Ultralight) hulls were gelcoated. It is a strange looking layup in skin coat since the glass is very transparent and the kelvar strips show up like yellow ribbons embedded in the layup. You can look down thru the hulls and see things in the water below.

It is the lightest fiberglass layup used in a canoe not specifically made for racing, but is not a fragile or week hull by any measure.

I have a 17 Jensen in the same Core Stiffened Tuffweave layup and it has many hundreds of tripping miles and many hundreds of racing miles with only gelcoat scratches and gouges to show for many full speed beachings and rock impacts.

Your 18 Jensen will carry 400# with no problems, its limitation on open water is its depth, but you will lots of freeboard with only 400# aboard. I have raced the 17’Jensen on big lakes with 2 of us that weighed about 375# plus the cart and hydration gear.

Buy it quick before one of us finds out where it is.


Thanks for the Jensen 18 advice
I’ve arranged to purchase the Jensen. The seller is even having his parents transport the canoe to my area on their wait back from visiting him for the holidays.

Thank you for all the helpful advice,


Great choice
I have a Jensen 18 and love it!. Took the scouts out tripping with it, Raced the 70 miler twice in it and have done the 90 miler in it. It is a great boat for a team. (As you get more profiecient you will find that you use the Bow paddler to steer more often using bow rudders and diangle draws. )Love theboat.



whitewater X
How different or similar is the jensen whitewater X to the jensen 18?

Whitewater X
Its deeper with some bow flare and 6 inches longer. Not too much different in speed, or stability from the 18 Jensen, but was designed to go fast downriver in waves. The later Whitewater XX is a very different beast, faster still and very little initial stability.

The Whitewater X would make a good tripping boat, sort of the racing version of the Odyssey.


for me the reason why
the 18’ Jensen is such a good model (IMO), is not the fact that it is fast, because there are faster canoes, but the fact that it is relatively ‘easy’ to go fast with this canoe – probably because of its relative high stability, good tracking, high paddling comfort and low windage. No other canoe, not even an ICF racer of 6.5 m long, has allowed me (us) to paddle at an average speed of 10 km/h for several hours.

Mohawk Jensen
Does anyone know whether Mohawk made a Jensen model?

I have a Mohawk that is shaped like a cruiser class racer with Sawyer like bucket seats. The front seat is a slider and it has a rear foot brace. It is 18’ long and about 31" wide. It was made in 89. I have not been able to find any info on it. Would someone please tell me what I have.


Mohawk Jensens
Mohawk did make several Jensen designs over the years. The Mohawk Jensen is similar to the Wenonah Jensen, but not identical in either design or construction. They are by far the best paddling Mohawk composite canoes ever made. Few were made and fewer exist today. Mohawks layups have not proven to be as durable as the same period Wenonahs or Mad Rivers.


To markkrawec, congratulations on a boat that should give you lots of enjoyment for a long time. And to Dirk_Barends, a tip o’ the hat for a really concise analysis of why this can be such a good boat. I think you nailed it.