Esquif Avalon vs. OT Penobscot 16

I was deadset on purchasing an OT Penobscot 16 in RX until I learned about the Esquif Avalon. Seems very similar. On paper, I think I like the Avalon better, particularly the sliding front seat and the increased rocker. But there doesn’t seem to be much info about the Avalon on the web, nor are there any near me to test. Maybe somebody on this board has experience with both boats. How do they compare? In particular, does the Avalon knife through waves like the Penobscot or does its rocker make it ride up a little higher and drier in roughish water? Is initial and secondary stability similar on both or is one better than the other? How about speed and tracking? Finally, the Penobscot seems noted for its lack of oil canning; is the Avalon similarly oil can free? BTW, my intented use is 50% tandem, 50% solo, sometimes with kids, mainly daytrips on lakes and slow rivers with occasional rapids (nothing more than cl II). Thanks.

I know nothing about the Avalon, but I too was sold on the 16’ Penobscot…until I saw a Bell Northwind RX. I bought the Bell. Bell has ceased production, but you can still find their boats at retailers. May want to have a look at one. I solo mine from the kneeling thwart, and also take my lady and our son out. With aluminum gunwales, it’s a very stiff hull and I havent noticed any oil canning in mine. Good luck in your decision.

You haven’t said how you would use
the boat. I think of rocker as related to turning or spinning a boat, not riding over waves. A canoe with little or no rocker can ride through waves if the hull has enough flare. But if you’re more concerned with river haystacks and holes than with lake waves, neither the Avalon nor the Penobscot is your first choice. It’s a tradeoff game. A better boat for one environment may become a worse boat for another.

Paddled both
I owned a 16 ft.penobscott and found it quick, easy to solo and light enough.

I’ve paddled the avalon and found it turned better, had about the same stability. The avalon seemed faster and easier to maintain speed. Out of the two I prefer the avalon. Same weight also. Quality was about the same although i preferred the yoke on the avalon. Come to think of it the avalon seemed lighter. Perhaps they weigh them differently?

Thank you the assessment. Exactly what I was looking for.

Well, probably splitting hairs on the waves thing. My experience is that that is one of the few weak points of the Penobscot and I was wondering if the Avalon improved on that while still retaining straight ahead speed and effeciency. My understanding is that a little more rocker does indeed improve seaworthiness on rought flat water, but I’m not a naval engineer so I’ll defer to those know better. I don’t plan to be out on rough waters a whole lot, but you never know if the wind’s going to pick up all of sudden or a powerboat cuts you off.

go Bell
Heard nothing but great things about Bell canoes. Unfortunately there aren’t any Bell dealers near here and I haven’t seen used ones for sale either. But thanks for sharing.

The avalon will turn better and doesn’t seem to lose any speed. As I recall it was an easy paddling boat. The two aren’t a whole lot different but I would take the avalon first. I don’t think either of them are white water boats compared to an Esquif presage or Canyon for instance…but you don’t want to carry a presage or canyon any distance. I think for your purposes you’ve narrowed it down to two good boats.