flatwater canoe

I’m considering a 3rd canoe for my fleet, and have generally been on the lookout for a good used flatwater tandem. I’m primarily interested in paddle and portage lakes (Adirondaks, unless we’re going on a road trip) and the lower Hudson River (read tidal current, wind & wake).

I have a Bluehole Starburst for tandem river/whitewater tripping, and a Mad River ME for tandem playboating and whatever whitewater solo I want to do. The Starburst has enough rocker that it’s a bit too squirrely on flatwater, and with the whitewater outfitting, it’s just not comfortable for a long day on the flat. It’s also Rx, so heavy for any type of portage - hence the search for boat #3.

I’ve paddle & portaged a rented kevlar once, enough to convince me that’s what I’m looking for. Would like to accomodate a week’s worth of gear (my wife and I are backpackers, so we pack light) and\or room for a kid in the center (always look to the future).

Thoughts? I have some, but I won’t privilige the discussion by mentioning them here.

Thanks all.

Wenonah Minn II


or Minn III(Wenonah)…

– Last Updated: Sep-04-09 2:27 PM EST –

...or jackl's...
Granted, for moving water..the III is pretty big.


those are both great
if you can find them used.

There are many models that would fit your needs that are in production or have been in production in the past.

If you try to narrow down your choices to a few models and then wait to see one of them come up used within driving distance of where you live, you will probably pass up a number of great opportunities before you find one.

I would just research every used tandem you find for sale in your area, made by quality builders of the present or past, such as Wenonah, Mad River, Souris River, Bell, Placid Boatworks, Curtis, Hemlock, Swift, Clipper, Blackhawk, Sawyer, Vermont Canoe, etc.

You will probably find something that meets your budget and needs faster that way.

Mad River Lamoile
Great tripper for a week or more and for future passengers. Additionally, this hull is hard to beat when it comes to paddling in following seas, tidal currents, wind and waves. Few conditions can thwart the efforts of this canoe. What say you Clarion?

Happy paddlin’


Bell Northstar. Did I win?

There are so many boats that fit your intended use - maybe if you fine tuned your requirements, a short list can be made. If your looking for used, then I’d just get any reasonable boat that is convenient enought to go look at and within your price range.

MR Malecite with a center seat.
I happen to know where there is a used one.

Wish I had the opportunity to push mine

– Last Updated: Sep-04-09 2:34 PM EST –

... but I haven't yet. So far it has only been on the Allegheny River and Raystown lake, and conditions not worth mentioning. I can say this about it though, it paddles just fine solo loaded down with gear. I think ness has some pictures somewhere of a trip we did on the Allegheny in early summer. It would take me a while to get up to speed, but once I did, it moved right along. It is fairly narrow for a tandem, and at 18'6, it will haul a lot of family gear.

I love mine and hope to get it out in some challenging conditions in the future. It was a great addition to our family fleet.

Excellent advice. Pblanc hit it on the nose, that in trolling for a new boat, I really have to look at everything, which is what I typically do. And the p-net boat reviews are quite good, though you do have to read between the lines.

What I had hoped by posting was to build an inventory of names that I should be aware of, and this list is a great start to that, so thanks. Happy to hear more, if you’ve got them.

…this is another dynamite boat…
Another nice tandem…

another Bell= Northwoods

– Last Updated: Sep-04-09 2:41 PM EST –

Thought I'd mention Bell's Northwoods...their flagship, or one of their flagship tandems.
*want this in their BlackGold (kev/carbon)...is pricey(why I've yet to purchase;-))

Your profile says Brooklyn
Where do you go to find WW to play in? I’ll be on Long Island a bit and am wondering about the opportunities and how far away they are. Thanks!

or Northwind
Northstar is great for a couple with compact gear, but might get tight with a child added to the gear pile. Once folks realize how many “luxuries” can fit in a canoe the “packing like backpackers” idea seems to fade away…:wink:

Who will be in the bow?
My suggestions would be to buy used, forget about the kid in the middle for now and just get a boat sized right for your immediate needs, and when its time for the kid in the middle sell and get a bigger tandem. With that said, and you listing the variety pack of waters you want to paddle - Adirondacks, portaging, big rivers, tidal flow I say throw an ultra light Wenonah Spirit 2 on your list. Take your bowman to a demo event and the two of you paddle a MN2 and then the Spirit 2. If your bowman is comfortable in a MN2, that’s your boat. There’s a definite rush to paddle a performance tandem well and move along at a fast pace together. But if your bowman has any concern about all day comfort in the bow paddling station in a MN2, you will spend more time on the water in the long run if you got a kevlar Spirit 2, or in a kevlar Souris River Quetico 17, or in a kevlar Bell Northwind with a bigger and more comfortable bow paddling station. Then when it’s kid in the middle time; upgrade to the kevlar Wenonah Champlain, or the kevlar Souris River Quetico 18.5, or the kevlar Bell Northwoods and you will hardly notice the difference in paddling from your former boat.

Hemlock Eagle
in the lightweight layup is around 49lbs…and that includes gel, which helps with durability. If you’re in NY, you should check out Dave Curtis and his boats. He often has used ones for sale, but not often the lightweight version. Check the website at www.hemlockcanoe.com

Eagle is a great hull, not the fastest, not the slowest, very comfortable, seaworthy and aesthetically pleasing.

Kneeling Tandem
If you are used to and enjoy paddling a Starburst and ME, then you are used to kneeling and heeling a tandem with soft chines and strong secondary stability.

It is likely that you will prefer that kneel and heel feel in a flatwater tandem, too, though you will probably want one that allows sitting as well as kneeling.

If the above it true, I would rule out all the sit-only tandems, which means just about everything that comes with factory tractor seats. As to heel feel, you may not like tandems with pudgy bubble sides and lots of tumblehome.

I recommend a sliding bow seat on a flatwater tandem, as the stern and bow paddlers will not be seated in a WW gemini position that forgives significant weight discrepancies.

More than low 50 pounds is too heavy a boat for an experienced tandem paddler, but less than 40 could be suspicious.

Look at the Swift Winisk in its lighter layups.

Catskills & Connecticut

I live in Brooklyn, but keep my boats in Stone Ridge (between New Paltz and the Catskills) and do my paddling from there. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that we got our place and I moved my canoe up from WV (and then bought another), so we’re just learning the water. NPMB.com is a great resource which you should check out.

There’s quite a bit of water in Connecticut, and we paddled a section of the Farmington a couple of weeks back (Riverton to Satan’s Kingdom). Easy class II, though there are bigger sections. We hope to paddle the Esopus this weekend (Phoenecia, in the Catskills), and we’ve run the Delaware & Mongaup on the NY/NJ/PA state line (your profile shows PA, so you may know more about that that I do).

We’re solid class II paddlers and are always on the lookout for paddling partners, so if you’d like to try to hook up, I’d be game.

Thanks d_rat
I appreciate the offer. I’ll shoot you an email as things shape up and I see how much time I might have to paddle.

Have fun on the Esopus. It’s a nice little creek. The Catskill Creek can be a real treat too. But those two are about the extent of what I’ve paddled in the area. I’d like to get some more of the great northeast paddling in this year.