Depth of solo canoes underwater?

I’ve posted recently about finding the perfect solo canoe.

I think I’m narrowed down to a Mohawk Odyssey 14 or a Wenonah Argosy. I’m going to paddle both soon, and that will probably make up my mind. But I’m curious if anyone knows how far in the water these two boats would sit? I paddle in a lot of really shallow spots and I thought this might make a difference in deciding. Or would they be pretty similar?

I’ve not hear much about the Argosy other than it is a little tipsy.

Any thoughts on the Argosy?


It isn’t just the draft, it is also the
width and underwater profile. Often a deeper draft is no problem if the underwater cross-section permits you to thread through the shallows.

I own an Argosy since it came out

– Last Updated: Nov-21-06 6:53 PM EST –

and have access to a Mohawk Odysee as well.
Bob might be right with the Mohawk beeing the better all purpose canoe-specially if you are a fisherman. But the Argosy is definitely more fun! Freeboard is comparable with both while the Mohawk has a flater bottom-what could be good for 1/2 inch less drag. But that can't be the issue: if the water is that shallow, there is no point in canoeing in it.
I found the Wenonah runs a bit dryer as well. I had both on class 2-3 water. And she's faster (well-it is a Wenonah...). final stability is perfect.
Can't tell about the weight: my Argosy is Kevlar and the odysee I can use is Royalex (what could make for a bit different behaviour in the first place). If money is not the issue I would buy the Argosy.
But that's me....
As I own a Vagabond as well: that canoe is more comparable to the Odysee on the behaviour side. But has less freeboard and runs very wet in class 2+

Canoecamp makes a good point that if the water is so shallow that half an inch difference in draft will matter, you really can’t canoe there anyway. It might make an occasional difference when cresting the downstream edge of a sandbar, if your river has those, or for rocks that poke up close the the surface.

I can’t tell you actual draft, but in any of my solo canoes, one of which is the Oddysey 14, it “appears” that I can clear rocks and logs that reach to roughly two inches below the surface. You weigh more than me, so I’d guess three inches in your case. That’s very approximate of course, but I think you’ll find that shallow-water capability is pretty good.

shallow water
You’ve gotten a lot of good advice. If there’s enough water for you to be paddling and not poling, either boat will work just fine…and both will take you through super shallow water. Just buy the boat that feels better to you…both are fine boats.

I misread the Mohawk as the solo, which I have paddled . on rereading I saw it was the Odyessy which I have never paddled.


Hut myself

Sticky stern
I tried out a royalex Argosy a few weeks ago on flatwater, in fact that was my last outing of the season. From other comments I’ve heard about being a smaller person’s boat, I thought my 255 lbs would be pushing it in this boat and maybe it was. I had 10" of freeboard in the center with me in the boat, so that means the boat was drafting at 3.5". My experience was very good tracking and OK efficiency, the boat stayed upright with me in it (a good thing - the water waas next to freezing), and I could easily carve tight turns while moving forward. I’d rate it a little more wobbly than my Voyager solo when paddling sitting on the seat at highest notch. Stopped the boat and did some basic draws from mid ship and had a surprise. A perpendicular port draw from mid ship for me didn’t pull the whole boat to the port, it pulled the bow only - as much as 45 degrees with one draw stroke. Doing that in moving water could throw me sideways if I wasn’t expecting it. To be fair, after some experimenting I could find an angled draw sweet spot that would pull the whole boat. But at least for me the differential rocker in the Argosy makes this boat perform way differently than my wife’s Mohawk solo 14. For me the Argosy is a downriver and I’d have to keep it moving forward for best control.

it is surprising how little difference the load actually seems to make:

My Argosy is kevlar clearcoat. So I can see the waterline through the hull. And I made marker points for various load ranges in it: Me (150 lbs), my wife (…a bit heavier…), me and the dog (110lbs), my wife with a load… those marks are only an inch appart, at the most 1 1/2.

In our 19 ft tripper (Itasca) it’s the same story: between 2 adults only and whole family with load the marks differ ~ 2 1/2 inches.

I guess, I’ll never get close to the capazity of those canoes…

differential rocker…
calls for different onsets for sideslips and draws/prys. The Voyager has a straight keelline with no rocker. Hence you’ll have to draw/pry at the very center to make it sideslip without veer.

With differntial rocker, you have to find that spot in any canoe that has it, not only the Argosy. That’s less than an hour on the water 'til you got that. Now that I think about it: all my canoes are asymetrical and have differential rocker (and behave very differntly for that matter) except for the Vagabond.

Just a note…
to those who are saying that if you have to worry about the draft, it’s too shallow to bother paddling.

There are lots of reasons to get in a canoe on a stream besides just “paddling”. I use my solo (Vagabond) on a LOT of very small creeks flowing less than 50 cfs, some of them less than 15 cfs. Obviously, for me draft could be pretty important. Just as obviously, I’m not doing those creeks just for the fun of wielding a paddle. I’m fishing, exploring, getting into places where very few people go. Nothing is better for that stuff than a good solo canoe. I find paddling for the sake of paddling to be pretty boring. I enjoy running mild whitewater, and I like the way a good canoe responds to precise paddle strokes, but other than that, I’m using the canoe as a vehicle to get me places where I couldn’t otherwise go, in order to experience those places as few people do.

I find that I can dependably paddle in water four inches deep without touching bottom, no matter what canoe I’m in. Much shallower than that, and there will usually be rocks or other obstructions that stick up a bit and catch the bottom of the canoe.

Needless to say…I wear out the bottoms of my canoes relatively quickly.

But you don’t really have to pay
attention to where you draw, do you? I paddle radically different assymetrical opens and c-1s, and the adjustment happens quickly without conscious calculation.

that’s why I didn’t mention it in the first place-you don’t care about it anyway. I stick my paddle in and pull/push the boat towards/away from it. If I need the bow to come first, I do it a bit forward, if I need the stern first, I do it a bit aft. If I need the move completely paralell, I have to do it at the hulls ‘sweat’ spot. What OC1 do you paddle?