Fastest Tandem Recreation Canoe

Looking into a go fast / up river canoe for day paddling to week long tripping. Any thoughts on which designs are the most efficient?


What type of paddling?
Flatwater? Whitewater?

What is your experience level?

fast upstreamers

As I was saying,

– Last Updated: Dec-01-14 10:46 PM EST –

The fastest canoes are long narrow asymmetrical hulls with no rocker. Going upstream one generally maneuvers to avoid the current but straight stretches with parallel banks do occur and then it is just about speed. In my experience I prefer some rocker to help avoid getting caught by the current when emerging from an eddy into the current. If your bow paddler has strong turning strokes an scr might be fun on a big, slow flat river. Savage River makes some almost racers that look interesting. As the stream gets swifter or gnarlier, or the bow paddler more recreational, you will need more rocker to enable the control you need to stay on line. But still long narrow and asymmetrical. Some long touring canoes have a little rocker. The Wenonah Itasca is a big speedy boat that turns quite easily but is not race fast. Used boats worth a look would include Wenonah Sundowner 18, whitewater 2, or Minnesota 2 or 3.

Fast tandems

– Last Updated: Dec-02-14 3:25 PM EST –

Of current boats, certainly both the Jensen 18 (if you pack light for that week-long trip) and the Minnesota II should be included in the list that you're building. For just flat out speed and straight tracking in a "conventional" tandem, you'll find few to match them. An old Sawyer Cruiser isn't a bad choice, either (especially if you can find one in Kevlar.)

stock racing canoes

– Last Updated: Dec-01-14 11:11 PM EST –

Look at the fastest stock class canoes in races. You'll most often find either the Wenonah Min II, the Savage River Susquehanna, or a couple of other stock and custom boats built by GRBNewmanDesigns, including their Monarch. The newer Monarch design is said to be both faster and more maneuverable in competition with the Min II. Wenonah makes the same Monarch hull as GRB, but is not listed in the Wenonah catalog. As far as I know the Wenonah version is only available through licensed outfitters, MacsCanoe for one.

I have a Wenonah Monarch and my daughter has a Min II, and although I have paddled and very much like both, I haven't done a real head to head comparison. I've seen the Min II on several Yukon River races, including the 1000 miler, and a mixed Adirondack team has won overall first place on the 440 mile Yukon River Quest in the Min II. Any of these stock boats would be excellent tripping boats as well, for the non-racer with a load.

Might want to look at Bluewater
Freedom 17 Tripper specs. I have found mine quite capable for the conditions you describe. 17’ hull, asymmetrical, differential rocker, and a 33" beam (narrow for a 17’ boat).

I heard that Bluewater is being resurrected after closing a while back. Probably used ones out there, also.

x2 to yukon
Ill second everything Yukon said.

Look at

Wenonah MNII, MNIII, Jensen 18, Sundowner 18, Odyssey, White Water II, White Water X, Savage River susquehana, Grasse River monarch, Saywer Champion, cruiser, or almost any other stock racing boat, but that list covers 80+% of all stock boats raced in my experience

The Savage River Suqu. is the boat I’ve looked at the most.

There seems to be little difference between this hull and the Minn. II.

I’ll have too take a look at the other hulls.

Any idea where I can find out more about the Jensen 18?


in old Wenonah catalogs. In speed it is nearly identical to the MN-II. The MN-II has more capacity and is a tad deeper making it a better tripping hull. There is no rocker in the 18’Jensen and it is very slender in the bow. On calm water with a light load and equal paddlers, I would pick the Jensen. Heavier paddlers or load favors the MN-II. Both are Jensen designs and are original racing hulls that are not nearly as squirrely as the SCR or the 4x32 or 3x27 racing hulls.

On an open flatwater river like the Susquehanna or the Raquette above Piercefield any of the mentioned boats would be fine. On a tighter stream like the Tioughnioga a shorter hull with some rocker like the Spirit II or a 17’Sundowner makes life easier.


HansSolo on bwca
Hans Solo has just about every old canoe spec sheet you could want. The J18 spec sheet is in his photo album found here:

Specific J17/J18 pic:

All boat specs:

I think some friends of mine
used a Jensen 18 to paddle cross country in 1996. There was a bit of upstream travel… the Columbia and the Snake.


– Last Updated: Dec-03-14 6:44 AM EST –

Jensen 18 out of Kevlar or the Savage River Susquehanna out of carbon/Kevlar, but if you are small lightweights, you would do better in a Jensen 17 out of Kevlar

We have had A Susquehanna and raced it several years, but we can go faster in our Jensen 17.
I am 154 pounds and she is 112.
We have two Jensen 17's. We call one our beater boat that we use in rocky river races

jack L

Savage River Susquehanna is my choice
I have raced a Jensen 18, Minn II and the Savage River Susquehanna. I love the SR Susq. I think the SR Susq is faster and more maneuverable than the 18 or Minn II. The SR turns better when leaned. My team rides higher in the SR Susq. My carbon/kevlar SR is lighter that the Kevlar Minn II. Paddling upstream quickly is very dependent on the line you take. Learn to read the current.