High-end solo or C-1 for normal use

String’s post about solo vs. Tandem performance inspired me to go ahead and ask my question. I have zero experience with C-1’s but have seen a few in use and love the design.

Here is my question please: I am determined to buy a nice solo boat next spring. Fast and good tracker. Flat water and river class 1 or 2 max as needed for light tripping. I love the lines of the voyager and think that’s the one I want but what about just sinking a little more for a C-1 like the J-203?

Would I be wearing out the skin composite of this boat using it all the ime? Can they handle it? Obviously I am not talking about dragging it over sand and rocks etc. but it would get used weekly and get bumped, banged, scuffed… Whatever. I would also want to overnight in it though. Pack it like my CH17 kayak. Are they suitable please? They are such rockets!

Should I just stick to a more “traditional” hull like the voyager?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

If I had a grand to spend
On a good flatwater, light creeking boat I would seriously look at the used Hemlock Peregrine that Hemlock has for sale. Nothing against the Wenonah, it is a great boat. I just really like the looks of the Hemlock and I think it would be very fast.


To see the pictures just go to hemlockcanoe.com

Nice looking boats.
Thanks Sloop.

Here in Michigan
I think you could use a J-boat on alot of the rivers. I wouldn’t run Delhi on the Huron or the Pine or Little Manistee River in a marathon boat. But I have a friend that regularly runs Keystone (Beitner Road) Rapids on the Boardman in TC in his J-203. These boats are built to be very light yet strong enough to provide the structure to support themselves… so dragging a loaded boat through shallows is not something you can do all over. Several boats are holed on the AuSable River which has very few rocks during each marathon. In addition, these boats are dramatically affected by adding weight… so alot of gear will seriously impair their performance.

So, I think a C-1 would work great as a day touring boat, and in the pinch if you’re a small guy with a small pack you might be able to overnight on a flatwater river… but I wouldn’t run whitewater. By the way… where do you encounter Class II in MI? I’ve never paddled anything in the Lower Peninsula that approaches Class II.


Thanks PK!
Great feedback.

RE: Class 2, not here. I go to Tennessee a lot to see my parents and sisters. dad is originally from there so both my sisters gravitated that way when the folks retired and moved back. Plus, my wife and I lived there for 5 years due to a job transfer. Always take a boat with me when I go. Great lakes and rivers down there. Mild winters compared to here!

Anyone else have any feedback?

I have $.02 worth…
I use an older J180 for most of my day touring. It’s plenty durable enough to have held up for a couple of years and has lots more left in it. Two things are limiting factors for me, though. I can’t carry more than a water bottle, spare paddle & change of clothes in a drybag without severly affecting trim. I’m also reluctant to use it anytime I have open-water crossings on the agenda. I use it both on lakes and a couple of class 1 & 2 rivers in my area. I love it 'cause it weighs in in the mid-twenties & my back problems compound the difficulty of long carries to and from the water. I don’t like it ‘cause in waves greater than 1 1/2’ or so it’ll ship water over the bow & be hard when encountering waves or wake along it’s beam. It’s twitchier than most of the fast solos out there, but not too scary to be my primary boat.

I’d suggest a Voyager…
For the situations you’ve described. In my opinion, it would probably be the best choice if you only get to pick one.

Here’s where I’m coming from. I’ve only done a little racing, but I’m spoiled. I own both a Voyager and and a J200. I’m also lucky enough to live on the water. Sometimes it’s calm, and sometimes it’s not. For a warm-water workout, or for a day trip if it’s not windy, I most often use the J200. All summer, it gets used the most.

For a trip, or for a workout when the water’s close to freezing, I usually use the Voyager. For the first month or so after ice-out and before freeze-up, it’s the one that gets used most.

The J200 takes some getting used to, but it’s great for a workout if you like to paddle hard. Even if you’re pretty accustomed to it, it’s best for sheltered, warm water. Not good for big, windy lakes. Great fun for shallow and mild rivers, but not great for banging through rapids. It’s good for day trips, but under the right circumstances it could be tolerable for an ultralight overnight. If you put any more in it, you’d lose any speed advantage over the Voyager.

Empty, the Voyager is almost as fast as a “real” racing canoe. With enough gear for a two-week trip, it’s only slightly slower. You can feel confident in big, cold water, and you can just generally feel a lot more relaxed when you paddle.

After getting the balance down, you can feel pretty relaxed paddling a racing solo all day, but in something like a Voyager there’s a different level of comfort. And if you feel like it’s much slower than the racing canoe, time yourself on a little loop. The difference might be smaller than you think. Especially if there’s wind.

Hope these perspectives are helpful. Your mileage may vary.


Gotta love that boat huh? Do you find yourself switching up or j-stroking please? Is it all that as far as tracking goes?

Thanks again.

Got to agree…
on that recommendation as well, but I would also suggest looking at an Advantage as well. Probably a little more nimble in class II, but not quite as fast on flat (but, both differences would be pretty neglidgeable to a newer paddler).

I have been soloing for aprox 8 yrs in a Wenonah Rendevous in Kevlar layup. So, dont sweat the composite durability… it will definately take the bumps and bruises of normal use.

My next solo is actually going to be a Clipper Sea-1, which is a decked canoe.

I have paddled them and have completely fallen in love with this boat. Very similiar to a Kruger design, but unfortunately the Kruger is just out of my price range…

Good luck in your quest, have fun and be sure to test paddle several diffent types before you buy.

In a few short months it will be paddling day season… so contact your local dealer to find out when…



another two cents
Well I happen to have a Hemlock Peregrine and I love it, so of course my opinion is that you’re crazy if you don’t get one.

But - if C1 means those little 18.5 foot 22 pound carbon bullets that sometimes come out to play on the river, they run me down easily.

But they don’t have room for a dog and the guys paddling them tell me that no way would you ever want to lean one over…so they are not the same as a Peregrine at all (you can freestyle a Peregrine if you like).

If you want some rough “data”, on one of my regular upstream runs that’s just a bit under two miles on a section of the Huron where the water is deep and the current is relatively slow, I can do the upstream run in maybe 25 minutes and they can do it in 18 (they say). In any case I ain’t racing against one for pink slips.

I’ve looked at the Voyager too as a possible fast boat to carry the dog but I lost interest because several people have told me that it’s not a fun boat and it gets blown around by the wind easily -so you might watch out for that…it apparently wants a big load and maybe a calm day too. And I really like boats that can be leaned.

So - forget the Voyager and get a C1 and a Peregrine.

Depending on your weight you might look at the Peregrine smaller brother, the Kestrel. I paddled one and it’s definitely a little bullet too…not a C1 but probably even hotter than a Peregrine.

Thanks Popedandy (Dave)
Got your e-mail. Much appreciated. Thanks to all again for great input too! I did not mean that I would be using it for class II stuff. Just as needed if I was passing thru it. For those mentioning sizes, I am 6 feet and 220 pounds.

Are there any other peregrine owners out there? If so, how do you like it for:

Speed, wind manners, tracking, overnighting (I’m 220 and would carry 40 to 100 pounds depending of trip length).

God, that used peregrine is calling me!!!

Dave, I’m in the Same Boat - but
I have the Voyager. It is FAST. It LIKES a load or a calm day. Great in a breeze, NOT in heavy wind. The canoe SCREAMS speed.

I think it is for sale if I can find something which is as fast but is less effected by wind (and has more “personality”).