"Fast" Royalex Tandem Canoe.....?????

I am thinking about getting another tandem canoe. I sold all the tandems that I had and now have none (only solos).

I am thinking I may want a Royalex canoe to do downriver tripping with my wife. I would want to use it for Class I-II and maybe some III tripping.

I want something sufficiently maneuverable to pick my way down a rapid for downriver tripping with a load, but that will still provide sufficient speed for the long flats that usually lie between such rapids. I will sacrifice playfullness for speed since I generally do less playing for tripping and value flat water speed.

I really prefer a kevlar boat, but it is probably not the best choice for rivers that may be shallow or boney.

Models I am considering: Wenonah Sundowner 17, Old Town Penobscot 17 or Tripper, possibly an older Mad River Explorer 17…which I think may be a bit on the slower side, and maybe a Mad River Eclipse (similar to the Malecite but in royalex) but I think it may lack the needed draft.



How long are the trips you
typically paddle?

I think that’s the one I would get, but I’d get the 16 for Solo and Tandem.

I plan to only paddle this canoe tandem since I already have a dedicated solo boat.

The mileage of my trips will be about 30 miles per day, generally for shorter trips (2-3 days) and packing light since I believe in lightweight packing so I won’t be hauling all kinds of stuff with me.


Mad River Royalex canoes
Endurall (their first Royalex canoe)


Horizon 17

Penobscot in class 3?
Otherwise, yes.

Fast and class 3 seem to be mutually exclusive.


– Last Updated: Jun-13-12 5:49 AM EST –

I agree with the comments above that Class III may be pushing it for any of these boats. Certainly it would not be optimal for a Class III rapid, but one that could get by with an occasional easy III given the right line.

I have been told the Penobscot is a popular boat for downriver racing, which I would have imagined would include some Class IIIs in a given run...but maybe not.

I would probably avoid doing class III runs, as my wife is not very comfortable with whitewater, but some trips may include one that you may have to run.


don’t count out a Swift
Dumoine. I’ve had one for 10 years, was initially impressed with it’s speed in relation to the Winisk, and bought it as it has some rocker. A bit narrow up front, but fairly high.

Seems like
you might be looking for a boat that does everything well and I have never found such a boat. I guess my suggestion based on what you are describing is the OT Penobscot 17. The 16 is a wonderful boat but might be a little small and shallow for tandem tripping in whitewater. It would be a good choice for solo tripping.

Dumoine is a
and decidedly slower than a Tripper. I think in this case the ten inches of length does translate into ten inches of water line width difference.

Its too wide a boat in the bow station for me so I suspect it would be too for your wife. It was hard to get a vertical stroke as the seat is pretty far back and hence the paddling station wide.

I guess you might get the speediest out of longest rubber boat you can get.

But I don’t think its the Swift Yukon. But the wl width is 33.5 in . Not bad…same as the Yukon.

Now I know my old Wenonah Odyssey (kevlar) was used for downriver racing in rec classes. Its a quick boat. You might consider finding a used one.

I have a Penobscot 17
and I’m very happy with it. It is fast and has a huge capacity. I have not run it in rapids, so I don’t know how it would do. I have run it down a slow-running river and I was pleased with its maneuverability. As long as both paddlers know what they’re doing, I think it probably would do well in mild rapids.

Penobscot and downriver racing
The year the ACA held open canoe nationals in Ohiopyle, I saw plenty of Penobscots running the Lower Yough successfully, but you’re talking racers who spend all year practicing for that sort of thing.

I would not want to run a narrow/tracky boat like a Penobscot through class 3 with a bow partner who is “not comfortable with whitewater.” If you do get a Penobscot, plan on portaging, lining, or swimming the class 3s :).

On the Kenduskeag
race which is 17 miles; ten just moving water and seven with class 2 and 3 almost continually. Penobscots and Trippers both are most seen. But that is hardly scientific. Most racers are from the Bangor/Old Town area.

Looks odd with Zav racing paddles. Some racers train and some do not.

You want what you can’t have.
There is no tandem that you can load with gear and pick your way down class 2-3 rapids AND get decent speed on the flats. None. Nada.

The best compromise might be the Old Town Tripper. It sure ain’t fast on the flats, but its not a total pig either. And on class 1-2-3 whitewater it is acceptably maneuverable, even with two paddlers and a carefully pared down camping load.

People may have already suggested canoes that are a bit more maneuverable, but they’ll be slower. Or canoes that are a bit faster, but they won’t be truly manageable in whitewater. Back to the old backferry, slide sideways into eddies routine. Suddenly it’s 1965.

Did you say something about playing? Do you have an idea how much experience and skill is needed for a tandem team to play in an Old Town Tripper, or even in a Dagger Caption?

Is this another one of those trolls where you hide your intelligence and knowledge in order to get everyone to argue over the empty set>

Matt has been around a while. You know that. He has asked about and owned many boats. He seems to be a detail guy.

Two batteries, four pumps …
… paddle what you like.

Problem solved.

If you notice I said “fast” in my description. My intent being that I understand that you won’t truly get a fast boat, but that I am looking for one that is relatively faster than others.

And if you read my posts you will see that I am not looking to play. I am lookning to go straight down river.

so no…this is not an example of hiding my intelligence in a mindless troll or however you put it.

A bit over the line on that one…

And yes I am aware of how difficult it is to play in rapids in a tandem touring boat but it can be done with a skilled team as you know.

And clearly I think my post is asking about a compromise.

Some boats are faster than others.

Oh…and SOME boats will go through rapids AND go fast. I am not sure of what boats may fill that niche in tandems, since I am generally a solo canoeist, but the Hemlock SRT certainly defies the “mutually exclusive” attributes of fast, maneuverable and whitewater capable. No question about that one.


this is why I rarely ask questions anymore here on paddling.net, and rarely even visit this site any longer…

you seem intelligent
and I also laugh at the variety of responses, as whether you’re a 6’6" expert in great shape or a 5’ newbie with a walker, your response still takes equal bandwidth on this here internet. My Dumoine must be custom, ‘cuz every time I mention it’s properties, I get some expert(the same one every time who I believe tried one once) saying I’m wrong, same happened with my Reflection last week, after I had just spent 10 hours in it over 2 days. What I learned 12 years back was “figure it out on your own” "make do with what ya’ got" and “forget all the technical bs people spot; it’s a hull, a paddle, and some water…what’s the issue here?”

Easy there, Matt.

– Last Updated: Jun-13-12 1:11 PM EST –

Internet forums aren't the best medium for good discussions sometimes. Can't see our faces, hands, shoulders...can't hear voice inflection. It leaves a lot out of communication....

Take a deep breath. I'm curious to see what others come up with for your answer. The Penobscot seems iffy to me though - unless your class 3 looks different from what I see described as class 3 around here (I know that's possible). But you note that I said "*seems* mutually exclusive" - and that is *my perspective* only...and that, based on specifying royalex. Maybe I didn't help the discussion, but it was a challenge to be shown wrong.

I'm a little surprised that the Millbrook AC-DC hasn't been mentioned, but you did specify royalex. I didn't mention it at the outset because I haven't paddled one.