Fast , light tandem canoes

Have a friend looking for a fast , light tandem canoe. I have a Kevlar MR Malecite and recommended it , but I haven’t paddled many canoes. What other models would you recommend?

Flatwater or whitewater?

Intended load?

My 39 lb kevlar Lotus BJX is for sale.

– Last Updated: Sep-07-06 6:45 PM EST –

Ooops, I thought he was looking for a tandem. I would delete this response, but String's response is attached.

Flatwater , not much load.

– Last Updated: Sep-07-06 3:37 PM EST –

Daytripping . Maybe some light rapids , class 1.

Bell Northstar
I’m no canoe expert, but it’s the nicest one I’ve tried so far.

I’m sure the Wenonah folks will be chiming in soon. A Jensen would certainly be fast if they have the skills.

Wenonah , Jensen 17, kevlar,…

39 pounds, stable, fast and sweet.

My wife and I did thirty miles in it yesterday in 6 hours and 25 minutes.

It also comes in an 18 footer




some possibilities
Bell Mystic

Wenonah Jensen 17

Savage River Susquehanna

another vote for Bell Nortstar
I have never paddled a Jensen 17, but have been passed by lots of them! The Wenonah quality on other boats I have owned has been very good, too.

From personal experience, I too like the Bell Northstar. My kevlar Northsate is listed at 37#, and while I have not actually weighed it, it sure feels light. It is reasonably fast, a nice looking hull, paddles decently as a solo.

How light and fast?
ever since the USCA redid their rules there have been a lot of 4x32 racing cruisers that are obsolete for racing. Some of the older designs are pretty stabile and fast! The Newer ones are too squirelly and I doubt you would enjoy paddling them.

Nice Pics JackL
Where in Florida? I visit there twice a year and have paddled in Jupiter inlet and north in Ormond Beach. I always like to find new places.


That picture is on the Turner River
and the rest are from all over SW and central Florida.

We have done a little paddling in NE Florida, but our favorite areas are the Keys, Everglades, SW Florida, the Springs area (especially Ocala vivinity)and the big bend.

If you are heading to any of those areas let me know and I can give you some good places. Or better yet, I can e-mail you one of our trip reports which will have about two months of various places.



Kevlar MR Malecite vs. Jensen 18
I own both a Kevlar MR Malecite and Kevlar Clipper Jensen 18 and like your friend, I’m looking for still another fast and light tandem design. One can never have too many fast and light canoes, at least up and until it comes time to pay for them.

I consider the Malecite as light and easy to handle on shore, stable, maneuverable in tight places, but not really a fast tandem. I seem to recall that Jim Henry designed the prototype as a down river racer and later adopted that design in early Mad River production. Since your friend is interested in class 1, the Malecite would be better than the Jensen 18 in rapids but would be slower in flat-water. Overall, I consider the Malecite to be a good and versatile all around design.

The Clipper Jensen 18 is a flat-water canoe, tracks well, is stable and is fast for a recreational canoe. The Clipper version is 1” deeper and “more of a tripper” than the “more of a cruiser” but slightly less stable Wenonah and the Clipper is heavier and more awkward to handle on shore than the Wenonah. As I understand it, Eugene Jensen designed the 18 as a standard class racer and it has a long history of flat-water recreational racing success, although the design would be considered dated by today’s standards. Between the Jensen 18 and 17 designs, the 17 would be more maneuverable in rapids.

Best regards,


Thanks JackL

I go to central East and North East Florida usually in April, December and sometimes the summer (try to avoid July & August but it’s the kids school vacation time). I would be interested in some info when I go, especially the Everglades info and other central/south paddling areas near the east coast. Staying in Palm Beach County makes those trips not too far to drive.

I love Florida and being from California, I am a rare breed as Californians tend to hate it. I guess they just don’t see what I see, lots of open land, warm beach water and laid back people. Boating and fishing rules too!


Wenonah Minnessota II in Kev/ultraliteco

Wenonah Escape
The 17’ and 18’Jensens are the fast cruisers to beat in the C-2 Recreation and C-2 Stock classes. The 18’ is faster and a touch less stable. I have paddled both in waves on large lakes unloaded and had no problems. But…

The Escape is deeper and still as fast as the 17’ Jensen. At 17’6" it falls in between the two Jensens in length. It is deeper and has more capacity than either. It is basically a scaled down Minnesota II and is just shorter and lighter. If the Minnesota II can be though of as the tripping equivalent of the 18’Jensen, then the Escape is the tripping version of the 17’Jensen.

I just came back from the Adirondack Classic 90 Mile Canoe Race and paddled among all the previously mentioned models. Some of my observations from this year and other years;

The Bell Mystic – very highly overrated in Bells literature, by its dimensions it should be faster than an 18’ Jensen, but on the water it does not keep pace.

The Mad River Malecite-- at 16’6" its too short to be fast with any kind of load and its very shallow for waves with a tandem load

The Bell Nothwind-- Nice tripping canoe, but not as fast as a 17’Jensen; have passed strong paddlers in a Northwind with a 17’Jensen several times. Have not seen one place against competition, only podium finish was uncontested(3rd of three canoes).

Bell Northwoods-- again a nice tripping canoe, but not as fast an 18’Jensen or Minnesota II.

The Escape has won the C-2 Recreational class in Men’s Masters(40-59) the last three years against every Bell, Mad River, Clipper, Mohawk, Sawyer, Grasse River, Savage River,NovaCraft, etc and with a faster time than any C-2 rec boat. The 17’Jensen was the winner back to 1999 when a Wenonah Spirit won. The Men’s Open division of C-2 Rec has been won with 17’Jensens for the last 4 years and possibly longer.