Help, bell morningstar or wenonah spiri


I need help in choosing one of the above mentioned canoes. I am a beginning paddler with wife and 8 yr old. I would like to be able to solo the canoe as well. I’m 6’5 240 lbs, my wife is 5’4.

Both are royalex, the morningstar is used at a considerable savings to the new spirit ll.

We would be using the canoes for day trips on the water having fun. No plans for a lot whitewater.

Thanks for your help!

Morningstar would be marginal for
the three of you (with some gear) and would be a bit wide for a solo.

The Spirit II is a great tandem but a handful as a solo.

I would buy the Spirit and look for a good used solo.

At 6-5 240
I don’t think the spirit will be too much for you for some solo paddling in lighter wind conditions. I paddled a 17’ with about 1.5" less freeboard quite happily at 5-10, 160.

You will need a kneeling thwart or third seat around 18" behind the center thwart.

Spirit al the way
At your height and reach, paddling the Spirit solo is quite possible. Taking 3 in a Morningstar is marginal and your child will be getting bigger.

I would look at adding a third seat and making the yoke removable. Also a sliding front seat to accommodate your short wife and child.

These things might seem like expensive options now, but they will repay you in increase paddling comfort for your bow paddler and for you.

I favor a composite Spirit in any layup over the Royalex version. And I have thousands of miles in almost every layup Wenonah ever used on Spirit.


Thanks everyone for your replies!! I guess I’m really leaning towards the spirit ll. I was hoping that the bell would work, but thought it might be tight which your confirming. The spirit should be plenty of boat for now and the future. Our rivers in central texas tend to get low and have lots of rocks, that’s why I thought royalex. I’ve read about oil caning but figured that’s just something you have to live with.

Thanks again everyone!