Effects of wind on kayak vs solo canoe

This is a pretty general or broad question but I’ll narrow it down a little and any help is appreciated.

In your experience how does wind afect a Wenonah Prism in comparison to a day touring kayak in the class of the CD vision/WS tsunami.

I’m currently debating the merits of a Prism and an intermediate level day touring kayak.

The only solo canoe I’ve recently paddled was a Bell magic which was very nice but was difficult for me in the wind.

Don’t want to open a can of worms, just looking for your experience with this canoe in the wind.

Thanks a lot

Canoe vs Kayak.
I own an Old Town Discovery 168 but have owned a couple of glass canoes (Great Canadian and an un named slightly smaller boat) I built a stripper 16 foot and rebuilt a wood canvas 14 solo canoe. All were fun, unless the wind picked up.

I own an NDK Explorer, P & H Capella, Orion, an Eastern Island Makkovic a Sealution and some WW stuff.

A 20 or 30 KM (Kilometre) wind 10 or 15 knots would make life near impossible to solo against or abreast to that wind.

A sea kayak is not going to notice 15 knots as that is where waves start to form. 20 knots it’s drafty but fine, 25 knots it is still OK. 30 knots you are seriously looking for shelter and will have to work, 35 + knots you are running with the wind looking for a take out because you likely can’t make headway.

With a canoe at 35 knots your boat best be secured to the top of the car and pointed into the wind.

Canoes top out with reasonable paddling about 10 knots, Kayaks 25 knots.

I was paddling in 29 knots yesterday and it may have been gusting just a little higher. 4 foot wind waves, a Canoe would have been well on its way to Ireland.

Wind: Canoe vs Kayak
In general, any wind is going to have a much greater influence on a canoe than a kayak (for obvious reasons). If going downwind, this isn’t a big deal. You can go directly upwind in either – the canoe will have much more drag. Any other angle is much more difficult in a canoe than in a kayak, irrespective of the particular model.


My latest canoe project: http://www.rosaryshop.com/resources.php/request/canoe


– Last Updated: Jul-28-08 12:48 AM EST –

Get the kayak and be a kayaker. When you get old you can get a canoe and then you'll be an old canoeist!

Paddlin' on

Canoe vs Kayak in High Winds
This is an easy one to answer. Don’t go canoeing in high winds unless you are running downwind with a spray cover. Kayaks are much better in high winds because they are lower to the water and present less of a profile for the wind to act on. The kayak’s slender design and rudder system allow much more control against the winds force. Canoes have no advantages in high winds. Their natural advantages in stable conditions are in carrying capacity for long trips, comfort, and visibility of your route because of your height above the water. You won’t see many canoes in the oceans or big lakes where waves and winds are high. Those are the relms of sea kayaks.

Sea canoes!

– Last Updated: Jul-28-08 4:26 AM EST –


There is no comparison
I paddle both canoes and kayaks and both tandems and solos.

A canoe is no match for a kayak in the wind.

I still like both equally as well though and each one has it’s place.



on the other hand
I have seen some sea kayaks with so much gear on their deck, that would have easily fitted IN an open canoe, that their seaworthiness and windage was changed to about the same level or even worse as an adequate canoe…

The other point is that most open canoe are designed to carry a substantial load, and without such a load are a whole lot more difficult to paddle with hard winds. So far I even cannot find a decent 15’ touring canoe that is in fact not too big for me when paddling empty.

I still miss my MRC Pearl in that respect.

Small enough for empty paddling?
Hemlock Kestrel or Placid Rapidfire?

Oooooo! Now yer gone went an’ done it!
Dun’t ever ask me ta carry yer dag-blamed cooler, GK… unless it’s gots dem Beanee Weenees in it.


if only I could get them here
Indeed that one seemed like a very good option to me, and I finally had arranged to test paddle a RapidFire this spring, to see if that could be the boat for me, but unfortunately it was sold two week before I got the chance to test the only one that was in Europe.

Perhaps next year.

Kayaks for wind, but try covers
When the waves break over the bow and hit you in the chest, in a sea kayak you can laugh. In a canoe, you have a problem. As say the other posters, sea kayaks are superior for paddling in the wind. You can go out and make headway on days when the canoes need to stay on the beach; tied down on the beach! That said, a loaded canoe with a spray deck on it handles much better than an empty, open and uncovered canoe.


The advantage of a canoe comes
when you go off the water, to portage. And, when the wind is SO bad that neither canoe nor kayak can venture forth, the canoeist has more gear and provisions for comfort.

Cooler??? What’s a cooler?

– Last Updated: Jul-28-08 10:53 AM EST –

Them's for canoes and row boats. Beanee Weenees don't go in no cooler.

Paddlin' on

Those are two I’d like to try.
But, none to test paddle in the Midwest that I’m aware of.

A rudder on a canoe sure helps in windy
conditions. I have a foot controlled rudder on my Sawyer Summersong and it sure helps in windy and wavy conditions. It allows me to paddle and make headway in conditions not very friendly to canoes. The rudder makes the effects of the wind and the waves on the canoe more manageable, but doesn’t reduce the wind effects to the level that the effects would be on a kayak of similar length.

Of course, rudders on canoes may get lots of ridicule on this board and they do add a few pounds to the canoe, just as they do to kayaks.

Since I’ve never been in a kayak …

– Last Updated: Jul-28-08 6:32 PM EST –

........ all I can say is there have been more than a few high wind days when I was wondering if I might of made out better in a yak at the time ??

But considering everything else other than the wind , I'm sure it was just my imagination . I need space and easy access to my gear , I fish alot from the canoe .
I like the ability to move around and also stand up .
I just can't imagine myself sitting in a confined position all the time .
I like the easyness of getting in and out of a canoe . I think a canoe is a much drier ride than a yak , and I don't like the idea of rolling a 360* because that isn't why I go on the water .

To me it seems the yak dbl. blade paddle would be a hassle having to stow and also paddle with , especially if threading your way through tree limbs and obsticles .

If all I wanted to do when on the water was cruise around and site see , then a yak might be the preferable tool for the job . The short play boats look fun also in the white water .

I guess I'm a canoe type and always will be .
Kayaking looks like it could be fun , I think they might go faster in general , but I also think they tilt over alot easier , and that just ain't for me . I like to do more riding than ballancing .

tracking is indeed important
while a rudder is a step too far for me, you are right that course keeping is one of the key elements for successful paddling in the wind. Some designs are easier to keep on course than others, and that is a matter of having the right balance between tracking and maneuverability in my experience.

Where you live, you need a kayak
There’s a lot of water out your back door where you don’t want to take a canoe, right?

Because your butt is at water level, sea kayaks are a lot more stable than you think. At 25" width, the Carolina I used to own was almost impossible to tip. My current boat is skinnier and feels very tippy. And because you can button up under a spray skirt, they are not as wet as you think, although I have to admit I never am dry after kayaking. But hey, it’s a water sport.

Give me a yell one of these days and I will get you out on the water. You may like “the dark side”.

I don’t, but people do set up kayaks for fishing. You just need a couple accessories to hold the rod while you paddle and the paddle while you fish. We get you out where you can toss a spoon into a school of feeding blues, you won’t be unhappy.


pack canoes have bottom mounted
seats too…with a spray deck they are less affected by windage.

And some of them are skinnier than some sea kayaks and actually faster than say a Carolina(which I know is no speed demon)