Flatwater canoe help....

-- Last Updated: Jan-22-04 6:11 PM EST --

i'm eyeing these three solo canoes but at this time i'm not able to paddle them where i live. i'll be using the canoe for day paddles and camping 2-4 days. if going by dimensions which would be the best all around canoe for lakes and slow rivers? i'm 6' and 190lbs.

#1 is 14' in length with gunwales 29" and max width 30". beam at waterline is 27". center 13" and ends 18". rocker 1.5". [similar to bell's wildfire].
#2 is 15' with beam at gunwale 28". beam at waterline 28". depth 11.5" with rocker at bow 1.75" and stern 1.25".
#3 is 15'6" with gunwale at 26.75" and beam 29.25". center is 12.5" and ends 18.75". rocker is less than 1".
what do you consider the best dimensions for an all around flatwater canoe? [i know cliff j. likes a 14ft'er]. any advice is appreciated.

You do realize how hard this is to
answer don’t you? Because you stated your height and weight, my gut feeling is you’d be better off with the biggest one of the lot. 15’ 6" doesn’t seem like it would be too hard to turn and you would draw less draft so you could float over shallow areas with out getting hung up as much. It would probably be more efficient to paddle as well. If you were smaller you might be ok with one of the smaller ones. Just my thoughts anyway.


i can’t answer it myself so i thought i’d ask.

Just out of curiosity
have you thought about something longer, say 16’ or better?


I put all those numbers into my computer
and all I got was muffled laughter from my sound card.

try using your brain.

Boo - What are You Asking
Okay. You don’t want to tell us the models.

I will assume the 15 footer is a Bell Merlin II. Buy this canoe.

number 2 has
assymetrical rocker. I have found this to be very desirable. Having less rocker in the stern helps it track well, but it still can carve the turns on a winding creek and deal with the moving water. It will keep you happy in more situations.

How the H-e-double L
How do you know what boats Boo is talking about?

Lets get Coffee (or is it Coffee II in on this one).

Buy the Bell…

it’s not a BELL. don’t guess . go by the info i’ve given and if you don’t have any valuable input refrain from replying. thanks!

Very nicely done!
That’s one of the most subtle trolls I’ve seen in a long time! The specs are close enough to real boats to make them almost believable. I thought the reference to Cliff at the end was a nice touch. Well done!

I don’t…
I don’t have any valuable input. I do have an authority problem; so I did what you said not to do, and replied anyway.


not a troll…

– Last Updated: Jan-23-04 1:25 AM EST –

if you read my reply, these boats are not mass produced so their not a bells or any other popular canoes.
it looks as if everyone that has tried to answer is in the same "boat" as i am.....it's too difficult to decide which is right without paddling.
but, i thought i could get some good honest advice from here but i'm wrong. one must think outside the box... it "has to be a bell", please! [or any other popular manufacturer]. sorry , the canoes are wood canvas and wood cedar.

Vague Info…
If you want an opinion of a canoe you need to tell what boat you are talking about. No one will have generic infromation about generic canoes in their head. Two boats with the same very vauge parameters but built by two different builders will perform very differently. Even very subtle differences in hull shape create a different boat when it comes to handling, That’s why c2g is right…it’s a troll.

You could test 15 different 14 foot canoes and no two will paddle exactly the same. That’s why it’s better to know what you expect to do with your boat before you start looking for one.

#3 or #2 for my 2 cents worth.
Based on the givens, here is my input:

You are my size exactly. Well, you weigh 20 pounds less. I like the numbers for #3. Your going to get a little more displacement and the small amount of rocker should be perfect for tracking on flat water. This will be a comfortable ride for you and 2 to 4 days worth of gear, or just for the afternoon.

#2 is good too and may even be a better paddler with less depth at center. Contingent on your paddling abilities, that rear rocker could be less desirable on flat water distance paddling though. You did not mention the end heights for #2. If they are the same as #3 then stick with #3. If they are less (like 17 front and 15 or so back) then #2 could be the best boat for wind.

I really like your novel approach. Freaks a few of us out huh?

Let us know more when you conclude ok?

OK, it depends 100% on what you mean as a flatwater canoe. Canoe 1 would be the best for competitive Freestyle and would likely be the best for running tight twisty flatwater rivers (or maybe swampin’)

Canoe 3 would be the best for lake paddling or for tripping on larger rivers where speed might be more useful than maneuverability.

Finally Canoe 2 could fill in a little for both, but would excel at neither.

I don’t think there is one single flatwater solo for all situations. I own three flatwater solos… and I still don’t have a boat longer than 15’1."


Buy all 3
I have a 12’ and 15’ solos now and am building a 14’. Each has it’s uses and the 14’ is an attempt to find a compromise between a really good small stream boat and a hard tracking tripping boat. As Knoerr said it will probably do neither well but you can’t have too many boats. 4 1/2 canoes and 2 kayaks and counting.

Voting For Boats
I read the specs, filled in the blanks, imagined the colors and made a decison:

I want #3 for my flatwater/river boat.

I vote for the 14 foot
because it’s probably the lightest.

And because I like my canoe and it’s 14 feet long.


#3 or larger
I like to go fast for distance and so #3 is my logical flatwater choice although I’d still prefer to add another 1 to 1 1/2 ft of length for additional volume. I’m just a bit taller and larger than you and I find the 16’6" to 17’ lengths provide me that extra volume for 3+ day trips. On flatwater with boats of that length I prefer minimal rocker, a flared bow, generous tumblehome and a kneeling seat. The longer, flatter boats may require a bit more strength and technique to maneuver, but you shouldn’t be left with having to pare down your gear due to volume limitations. You also might enjoy a drier ride if your flatwater trips carry you out onto big lakes or bays.

As already identified, dimensions are a difficult way to judge a boat’s response and suitability. You really need to put a boat on the water to determine if it fits you. The right boat is almost an organic extension of yourself while an ordinary boat is just a vehicle that hauls you over a bit of water. Presumably someone already owns the models you’re considering so…