First Post, looking for some insight.

I’ve been a long time lurker here and have learned a great deal.So to get to the point.

I bought my first canoe last year (Wenonah Aurora 16ft Royalex)and I’m happy to say I’ve been using it enough to justify the purchase. I’ve been on several lazy rivers (no more than a mild class 2) as well as several lakes both small and large. I’ve gone on camping trips, explored Reelfoot Lake, fished like a madman and generally had a great time.

What I really want to know is this. I canoe solo a lot and I do it from the bow seat facing rearwards. I trim the boat by filling a dry bag with water and putting it in the “bow” (actual stern). I think the bag is 30 liters and I try to fill it so the boat sits slightly “bow high”. Sometimes my gear includes a cooler and some beer, other times it’s me (260lbs) and some fishing poles and other times it’s all of the above. The boat I have has 1" rocker in the stern and 1.5" in the bow. The bow is also 21" deep (I think) and the stern is only 19". What I’m wondering is how does this impact paddling. It’s not a truly symmetrical hull and I’ve wondered how the asymmetrical rocker effects the handling of the canoe. For what it’s worth I paddle with a straight blade aluminum and plastic livery type paddle and I’ve become fairly proficient at using a J stroke ie I usually paddle from one side.

I appreciate any input you could give me as I’ve searched this but would like some more direct input.

No serious harm
in turning around an assymetric boat. Your post more or less answers your question. With the low end (stern) forward you’ll be more vulnerable to shipping water. And, with less rocker at the “front”, it will be a bit harder to turn. But, nevertheless a better solution than trying to solo from the rear seat.

A commonly employed solution is to install a kneeling thwart back a couple of feet from the center - usually in place of the existing thwart. That gets the boat going the right way and and puts you where you need to be for better control and trim.


There are all sorts of symmetry, with the depth at the ends just being one part. For example, the boat could be perfectly symmetrical below the water line, but just with a different sheer (height of gunwales). Some Wenonahs look radically asymetrical, like the Itasca, but really aren’t that different below the water line.

The differences really come in to play when perfectly trimmed and moving at a good clip, neither of those things are likely an issue when soloing.

For excellent, pinpoint control soloing a tandem look into classic Canadian style/style paddling/northwoods style/Omering - all the same thing, basically kneeling near the centre and off to the side so the boat heels (leans). If your knees can take it and you’re flexible enough it is a great way to solo any tandem. It is very efficient, too, since your paddle strokes are close to the center-line of the part of the boat that is in the water (footprint, I guess).

I’ve made a mistake before - don’t look for problems if none are present. If with your current set up you are able to control the canoe reasonably well and don’t feel like you are working too hard, and are comfortable enough . . . well it ain’t broke. Sounds like you are having fun, so that’s the main thing!