Help: buying first canoe

I am looking to purchase my first canoe. I am planning on fishing on a relatively mild river(no rapids)and lakes. I will be mostly going solo (about 80% of the time) with my dog.

I am looking at a used OT disco 133 with oars. It is 40.5" wide and its weight is 78 pounds. The length appeals to me because I can easily put it into the bed of my truck, but I have never paddled a canoe this short and wide before. Does this canoe fit what I would like to do with it, or would I regret getting a short canoe?

sounds like you’d be rowing
as it’s got oars. Rowing is cool, and I bet that boat would move really well.

Should be great
40" wide should make it nice and stable for fishing while standing and the oars should help to offset the speed disadvantage.

You might want to consider a Discovery 158 instead since it is also very stable and you could use it for a lot of purposes. It’s good for tripping, fishing, whitewater, flatwater, solo, tandem, poling…

Main problem with the Discovery boats is their weight - 80 pounds or more is a lot to carry but it can be done. I started out with a Disco but wish I had bought a royalex boat like a Penobscot or Tripper for my first boat. I still use the Disco for poling these days.

sounds ok, but a Penobscot_16 is a
great starting canoe. Has a good hull design, especially with your dog…just $.01 to think over.

sounds good
that seems to fit well with what you want to use it for.

I can’t say from experience about …
… a shorter 13’-3" boat that is wide in the beam , but 40" is wide (real wide) by the ratio .

I’ve always steared away from short and wide personally … just seems to restrictive in abilities .

I like the ideas given already about a more versitile (longer and narrower) boat , and understand that you are mainly looking for a solo , so weight is more of a factor for you than for tandem paddlers . Sorry can’t be of more help than that .

I owned an OT Disco 133k for years, it was a nice boat. The width didn’t slow it down one bit, and it was very stabile. I eventually had enough of it because of it’s weight. I’m no wuss, but 78lbs. digging into the back of your neck is a bit much. I had fun with it for the 10 to 12 years I owned it. I sold it last year and dont regret it. Take a look at something lighter, you’ll be glad you did.

I had the Disco 160K
It rowed like a dream at 40 inches wide and weighed over 90 pounds. It was a dream in any kind of water short of surf and other large breaking waves. I was fun in most white water including class 3 with bags and a pump. It carried a ton of gear and people and was the worlds best boat…maybe the best boat in the universe except for two things.

It weight over 90 pounds! Really! And rowing is not popular amoung the kayakers so they will all look at you funny, because you as a beginning rower can handle rougher water than they can after lots of practice.

Rowing Down the River

– Last Updated: Mar-28-10 10:47 AM EST –

I paddle rivers myself, and I believe you would be happier looking forward as apposed to always looking over your shoulders. Even "Mild" rivers have logs and obstructions to watch for. Especially since you will have a dog with you and will need to also watch out for the dog.

As for paddling a 40" beamed boat, sure you can. I owned a 14' Great Canadian Adirondack Sportsman with 42" beam. I was perfectly happy with it until I got to paddling other boats and remembered paddling didn't have to require so much effort. I believe you're on the right track looking for a small tandem rather than a solo to paddle with your dog, I just think you'd be happier with a wee bit narrower boat.

I understand you want to get something short enough to put in your truck bed. I have carried boats up to 16'6" in mine. In my opinion, 15' is about the safe limit on length unless you get one of those "Bed extenders" that attach into the hitch. I'm going to give you a few boats I own or have owned that would work well for you.

I paddle a Mad River Explorer 15 that I installed center seat in and converted to a solo. You can also paddle it from the bow seat with the canoe turned around, putting you closer to the center. have your dog in front of you and you should be good. It's about 14'9" and beam is 35-36" and weighs 62lbs. Plenty wide and stable. Sudden moves from your dog might make it "Wobble" but it has excellent secondary stability. One of the few boats I've owned that I haven't swam from at least once!

"Brother" to the Explorer 15 is the Explorer 14TT. Same boat, 14'9", but polyethylene and 72lbs. I owned one, sold it after a few years to get the Explorer 15 because it is supposed to be 10lbs lighter. I can't tell a difference. The polyethylene holds up VERY well to scratches. Only problem is long term the polyethylene can "Hog back" if left in the sun a lot. But shorter poly boats less susceptible. The 14TT can usually be found NEW in the $600-700 range new, so cheaper than the 15 too.

Another would be the Bell Angler. Nice thing about the Bell's is the "Shouldered tumblehome." That's where the hull comes in at the gunnels and makes it nice on those long days when you get tired and tend to rap your fingers on the gunnels. The Angler is about 14'4" if I'm not mistaken and has about a 37" beam. This one also moves pretty good for such a short canoe. Had some friends from work on the river last spring and they remarked how "Fast" that canoe was. I bit my lip and stifled a grin. It WAS much faster than the Pelican they were paddling, but "Fast" wouldn't be a word I would use. It DOES paddle nicely for such a short, fat boat, though.

Check out Craigslist in your area. Sometimes you can find some bargains. There are a LOT of people out there that buy a boat and paddle it once or twice and decide it's not for them. I recently purchased a boat that retails for $1700+ for $725. Not a scratch on it until I paddled it myself! Hope this helps. WW