Help ID Older Wenonah Fiberglass Canoe

Found a canoe that I may purchase. It’s listed as an 18’ fiberglass Wenonah but owner does not know age or model.

Any ideas what it might be? Looks similar to a Champlain. I realize it’s hard to tell from pictures. Hoping to go check it out soon.

Pictures are here:

Try to get a hull identification number

– Last Updated: Jun-02-14 1:49 PM EST –

The HIN will include a model code. The customer support at Wenonah is still quite good and if you call with the HIN I'll bet you can identify the model.

If you can't due that try to get some basic dimensions like length overall, gunwale width at center, and depth at center.

It appears to be a TuffWeave canoe and is definitely Wenonah's center rib construction method which they stopped using years ago. It is very strong, however.

It looks like a long boat. There are people here who know much more about older Wenonah models than I do but its length, relatively tight bow paddling stations, and relatively plumb stems make me guess it is an Odyssey. It could, I suppose, by an 18' Jensen (although it looks a bit deep for that) or an 18' Sundowner.

If you call the seller and he tells you it is only 17' long, it is probably a Spirit II.

Asked him to look…
I asked him to look for a HIN and send it to me.

It does look like an odyssey after doing some internet searches. Found lots of good things from people about the Odyssey but I’m not sure if it fits my needs. Basically, newbies wanting to do flat water multi night camping trips in East Texas Rivers (Neches, Sabine, etc). I’ll post if he finds a HIN.

It might not be that long
The camera perspective often makes boats look longer in photos than they really are.

It would be interested to find out what model it actually is.

Thwart to keel supports! I approve!
A simple, effective alternative to foam core construction.

If its an Odyssey its before 91
That was the year we bought ours and no keel supports…just the darn foam core.

Its a big boat for big water and long trips and may be too much for the OP’s needs.

center rib construction

– Last Updated: Jun-02-14 6:00 PM EST –

The aluminum supports running to the keelson box from the thwarts was a characteristic of Wenonah tandem canoes built using the center rib method of construction. The Odyssey was also built using Cross-rib and PVC core stiffening. Boats built using those construction methods would not have had the vertical supports.

The keelson box added significant rigidity to the hull bottom and contained a structural foam rib. Wenonah solo canoes built using the center rib construction (I have a WWC1 built that way) had the box and foam rib but not the vertical shock absorbers.

I was just curious when that sort
of construction ended. I don’t recall the 1991 catalog but do know there were alterations in the Odyssey shape trimming down the Jimmy Durante like nose.

Some time after the millenium
I know they were using center rib construction in 1990 and this old Wenonah catalog shows it was still being used in 1999:

Sundowner 18
Could be a Sundowner 18. I had a Sundowner 17 and it kinda looks like it.

could well be

They should consider going back to
center rib with keel supports. It will be just as light as foam core, and cheaper to make. The hull on either side of the center rib will be more flexible, more able to take a shot and recover.

Our old Moore has that construction. It oil canned until I added the vertical keel supports. The hull never showed visible motion after that, except during rock encounters.

18’ Sundowner
That my friends is a Sundowner. Not too early cause it has black anodized aluminum trim. The center rib tandems all had shock absorbers from the thwarts to the center-rib. And they were not as light as core-stiffened construction because the hull had more laminations of cloth and the thwarts were heavier gauge to support the shock absorbers. This was Wenonahs strongest composite lay-up and I would take it any day over Royalex.

A really nice canoe, enjoy it. Age does not matter.


We’ll know for sure Thursday…
Going to see it Thursday. Will buy if it looks solid. I’ll post up the model once I get the HIN and call Wenonah.

For the price, it’s worth a gamble. I’ll just resell it if I don’t like it…or keep it for lakes and get something else for flat river work. :slight_smile:

18’ Sundowner
I suspect Bill is correct and it is a Sundowner. If possible, take someone along and try paddling it at least a short distance. The Sundowner would certainly have the capacity for multi-day river trips.

It is a canoe with a relatively straight keel line and it is 18’ long, so it isn’t going to be terribly nimble on twisty streams unless the paddlers have a considerable degree of skill.

A lot of people really liked the Sundowners because they were quite efficient. Not everybody did, however, since the hull has a somewhat roundish cross-section which made the boat feel tippy to some, something to keep in mind if newbies are paddling it. Adding gear will probably help in this regard.

18’Sundowner vs 17’Sundowner
There is lot of difference between these two and the 16’6" Echo/Sundowner. The 17’has a more rounded hull and is fast, but not as stable as the 18’. The 18’Sundowner was Wenonah’s #1 seller for many years because it does things very well. Its not hard to turn, it has great glide, cruises with little effort, and handles big lakes loaded very well.It is very beginner friendly. Gearwoman and i have passed many groups on our outings in the Adirondacks while fully loaded on both rivers and lakes. We’ve only taken on water when I’ve let big boat wakes hit us broadside when loaded. We’ve use it more on trips now instead of the trusty Spirit since it holds more and is faster. In the Pine Barrens we use her Penobscot, but everywhere else is Wenonah territory.

At any price under $900 or so, you have a great canoe at a great price.


A Sundowner it is…
Turns out it is an 18’ Sundowner, center rib, tuff weave. The stickers were still on it but too faded to see in the original pictures.

$450 brought it home. I’m not good at haggling.

Couple of spots on the bottom concern me and may need some repair.

Hard to tell in pictures, but at least two look like cracks and another is a gouge.

The cracks are under the flotation tanks at the ends so I can’t tell if they go all the way through.

Question: I do plan on fixing them, but I would love to go out and do a test run on the water Saturday. Should I fix it first?

Also, it looks like it had a rudder or something on it at one time:

It also looks suspiciously like someone painted it. The scratches and the gouge are all the way red. I can’t tell though.

It’s in fair shape, and perfect for a first beater boat. Clean it up and spend an afternoon patching some spots and it’ll be a fine craft I think. Plus, I feel like I could sell it and get my money back if I decide to move on to another.

Definitely lighter than the OT Tripper I was hoping to find…or at least it seems lighter. It feels a lot more fragile though…but perhaps I am just not settled into it’s feel yet.

Not that bad
Fix your cracks/gouge with a fiberglass patch and some epoxy. From the looks of it you could just add some epoxy and be good to go.

That is a good deal for the boat. Now you have to do it justice by using the heck out of it.


I think it’s got potential. I looked at it again this morning and the cracks really just look like gel coat. The rudder bracket needs to come off but I think it’ll be a relatively easy fill…and it’s in the stern so it shouldn’t see as many major bumps.

Called Wenonah. It’s a 1989 model. It’s in pretty amazing shape considering 25 years.

The owner got it from his mom recently. She just used it down near the Texas coast so I guess it was used in bigger water mostly. The little PVC thing on the front thwart and the rudder bracket suggests it might have been used for some sailing or something.

Tufweave is an excellent construction
though not the lightest. The boat does look “painted” with something. It doesn’t look like any of the damage is leaking, so you can go try it out.

On fixing the more serious damage, I would sand and scrape until you’re through the red stuff, and then use fresh fiberglass (not stuff that’s been lying around) and epoxy. You may be able to fill the deeper damage before applying glass. Concentric patches, largest first. Shouldn’t need more than 3 layers for the worst of it, maybe less. You can decide whether to apply color matching paint once you get the patches cleaned and sanded at the margins.