Cruising speed of Wenonah Spirit II


I would like to know how fast cruising speed you have achieved with Wenonah Spirit II. I’m planning to buy my second canoe and Spirit II is now strongest candidate.

So far I have achieved 6km/h cruising speed with my Mad River Explorer rx with medium heavy load. I guess Spirit II is faster.


Tend to agree
with the advice re: get the Minn 2 if speed is a concern.

As for the speed of a Spirit 2, I’ve always thought of the Spirit 2 as the wider/slower/more recreational cousin of the discontinued Sundowner 18. I’ve paddled a Sundowner 18 composite for much of the last 10 years and have had the opportunity to paddle it alongside both the Spirit 2 and Minn 2 hulls. I’ve found the Sundowner 18 to travel comfortably between 5.00 and 5.35 mph over 10 to 20 mile tidal flatwater trips (the difference is primarily due to wind or tidal influence). Based on hull design I’d expect that the composite Spirit 2 might achieve about 90% of the Sundowner 18’s speed and that the Minn 2 would comfortably outperform them both.

All these boats should have reasonable performance capability, (it’s really the paddler that determines if a boat will perform near its potential), so speed might not be the only concern. I’ve known folks, each of whom owned different models and each were happiest with their own hull selection. So paddle and compare would be the best route to discovering each hull’s attributes and determining which is best for your application.

not based on experience
except paddling a SpiritII on S.F. bay to red rock island. Numbers for speed are dependant upon specific numbers for horsepower and technique of paddlers. I’d go along with the thought that a SpiritII is noticably faster than a royalex Explorer.

Spirit II vs. Minnesota II
I think I’m going to test paddle both Spirit II and Minnesota II. Speed is one important criteria in my case and stability is another because I have 100 lbs male labradorian retriever which is quite active. Do you think Minnesota II would have enough final stability for my purpose? I’m feel my MR Explorer 16 little bit small and unstable when our dog is onboard.

How about strength of composite canoes as Minnesota II? I’m worried about what happens when our dog moves in canoe. Can dog’s claws make scratches to hull of composite canoe?


Decent speed with lot’s of stability
This “duality” is the holy grail for tripping canoeists who have to contend with movement (i.e. dogs, kids, etc.) inside their boats. The only “answer” comes with increasing boat size. Greater length for speed allows accomodating more width for stability. The Spirit II’s larger stablemate, the Champlain, has an even wider, flatter arch than the Spirit … but is able too still be relatively fast by stretching things out over 18 feet (and having sharp composite bow/entry lines). And the Itasca takes it even further to 19 feet … with a more arched bottom for less abrupt motions in big waves (think ocean use). The downside to being “big” is the accompanying surface area drag. So, it really takes moderate tandem power input to overcome this drag and then realize their potential for higher cruising speeds. The larger canoes are very reassuring if you have the power and skill to handle them well in wind and wave situations. When it comes to open boats in big water, I like a little extra size (especially with a cover to reduce windage).

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minn 2
I have paddled a minn 2 in the bwca when any other boat I have ever been in would have stayed on shore due to massive wind driven waves. I have walked from one end to the other in the thing. I am certain I could slow dance in it. The minn 2 is the best canoe for tripping I have ever paddled. One time I paddled our old echo on a trip into Basswood and my uncle and cousin were in a minn 2. They could have run away and hid from us. The boat is very fast and very stable. It is a great choice. The spirit would be the way to go if you want to use the boat on rivers as well. A minn 2 does not turn without effort. Plus if you want a royalex boat you may have to go with the spirit 2 as I do not think the minn 2 comes in royalex. For honest major stability look at the Champlain. It is a beefy version of the spirit 2. It is 18 feet long and very full. Not so fast but for big people and big water.

Minn II - spirit II- Champlain

– Last Updated: Jun-11-04 10:38 PM EST –

These were the three boats in our recent new canoe decision. The Minn II won out due to efficiency and volume considerations. It has withstood family adventures and it is a joy to paddle with just 2 people and no gear. Initial and final stability are very good - haven't dumped it (knock wood). Can't give you exact speed figures, we liked the efficiency just to make it easier to cover distance, not max out the speed. Doesn't turn as well as a Spirit but is not very far behind - about 2-3 more strokes to turn the Minn 180 degrees. We use it strictly on lakes. You really should try it, it suited our needs better than Champlain (too much boat above the water for windy days when lightly loaded), Bell Nwoods or OT boats.