Crappy canoes that could make good solo canoes

So I’m not having luck finding solo canoes under $1,000. What could I convert? Still looking for less than 15 feet long and less than 35 inches wide. Lots of glass Yankee Rebel type things around here. Don’t really want a flat bottom, though.
If you’ve converted a cheap tandem to a solo, please post pics!

Keep looking. I just missed getting a Curtis Lady Bug listed on my local Craigslist last year for $850 but found amother in the next state 2 weeks later for $900. They do turn up in your budget range.

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I just sold an old town 119 for $400. It went quick, so you have to be on top of it and get some alerts setup

There are apps that let you set up to have Craigslist automatically send you updates the minute that posts show up within a distance range that you specify of products that you specify.

I got several of my kayaks and both canoes I’ve owned (and more of both for friends and family) by getting those daily notices and being the first to contact the sellers.

Don’t recall the app I used though – maybe somebody else knows what it is?

Is there some reason that you haven’t pursued or commented on the Rendezvous that rival51 pointed out? As he said it fits your stated needs perfectly. It looks to be priced way under market value at $550 for a composite canoe with wood trim in “mint condition” and it’s an easy drive for you.

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You can set alerts right in Craigslist, just need an account

At the time I was looking in-state and was UP-bound. My sister lives in Naperville and there’s nothing easy about that drive. However, I appreciate you pointing it out. Now that I’m back it does appear to fit the bill.

I’m on craigslist twice a day. The only thing that popped up was three hours south so I had my brother call and tell them I’d take it and he was ready to pick it up that day. The seller said that “due to demand” they were pulling the listing and would accept bids. CL is pretty sketchy on its best day in southern Michigan. But hey, if you need a $400 Grumman, it’s a heck of an outlet.

SOLD, just not to me.

1987 OT kevlar Canadienne. under 16 feet, 32 inch beam, wanna race?
$250 because it needed a simple repair.

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CList alerts works ok… but you will miss stuff.

Saerchtempest is the best, and you need to run it a few times a day to be Johnny on the spot.

I have seen tons of nice solos this year. Was a mint essentially unused MR Freedom recently in Idaho for $400. Gotta get creative… use canoe transport services, find someone on the board, be patient, etc.

Or go on a road trip. We have seen that people will travel a long way for a good canoe. I met a guy half way and charged him another $150 to deliver it a couple of hundred miles.
I like the local Market Place ads.
I found a great deal on a Hyde drift boat by driving through a local neighborhood. It was just sitting there with a for sale sign on it. It was a steal at $3,300 so I went to the bank and brought it home on the spot.

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Yup, I drove 450 miles (each way) plus paid $90 to take a ferry across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin to buy a kayak from the seller on the dock at the other side and immediately carry it back onto the ferry for the return trip – it was a one-of-a-kind model of a type of kayak I had absolutely ZERO experience with. I struggled with it at first (very narrow beam and hard chines that I was not used to paddling) but by now it is still my absolute favorite kayak for most outings.

First boats of any type tend to have some element of gambling.

I don’t think you can get the ferry for $90 anymore, lol. I’m about 10 minutes from the ferry dock, though.
I appreciate everyone’s help. More are shaking loose this weekend, I see. I’ll find one. It may not be THE one. Maybe the one before the one before the one…

Good plan.

Yeah, that ferry ride was in 2009. I’m sure fares have gone up since then. It was the Muskegon high-speed, not the Badger up by you, though I have made that crossing too, last time in 2000 with my mom and her car on a trip to visit Wisconsin relatives. Is the Badger still running? Much preferred the newer ferry – no diesel smoke and a quicker crossing.

OK, yes it’s still running and there should be no diesel smell on the Badger because it’s coal-fired. I was on the maiden voyage of the “fast ferry.” I told someone from the ownership group they were going to have a hell of a time with a Catamaran on Lake Michigan. He scoffed at me and told me they ran them on the North Sea “and Lake Michigan is not the North Sea!” I laughed. They then spent $1 million on the “ride stabilization package” within a year. Just about the only two people who didn’t puke on that maiden voyage were me and my photographer (we had been salmon fishing about 5 nights a week that summer and had no problems with the rollers coming from the side that day). As for the “quicker crossing” The dock-to-dock time is about an hour difference. Muskegon doesn’t like to advertise the 40 minutes to get out to Lake Michigan. OK, my homer stripes are showing. But it’s a couple hundred to get a vehicle on either now, I believe.

I lucked out that time I brought the kayak across to Muskegon – the lake was like glass almost the whole way across that day. That last time we took the Badger it was choppy as hell and half the passengers were green and/or puking over the rail. I managed with deep breathing and my thumb pressed so deep into my wrist that it left a bruise. Don’t know if that “pressure point” stuff actually works or if the pain simply distracts you from the nausea.

I forgot it was coal – guess I confused it with the quaint 19th century sternwheeler wooden car ferry that we still have operating here in PA to cross the Susquehanna at Millersburg.

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A crappy canoe is always going to be crappy no matter how many seats are in it.


You are unlikely to find many tandem canoes 15 feet or less in overall length with a beam less than 35". It is just a question of buoyancy. In order to have enough of it to float two paddlers, a canoe 15’ or less in length is going to have to be reasonably broad in the beam.

You might consider looking around for one of the earlier whitewater solo canoes. Boats like the Blue Hole Sunburst II, Dagger Caper, and Whitesell Piranha are all in the range of 14’ 3" to 14’ 6" with a beam of 31-32". A lot of whitewater open boaters started out in one of these and then went to shorter 4 meter boats when they became available. You might find one hanging in some old school whitewater boater’s garage or barn who might be willing to part with it for cheap.

They would not be light in weight or the most efficient designs for flat water paddling, but they would certainly be no worse in that regard than a “crappy” converted tandem.

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A Dagger Reflection 15 makes an OK solo, in fact, some came with a center seat. I use one for fishing,but I took out the bow and stern seats to save weight.

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