How much wind acn a tripping canoe

take? We had very gusty wind kicking up 2 foot or more whitecaps on Jocassee Saturday.I would not take my canoe out in those conditions, but I am just learning to paddle canoes.A canoe got swamped when they were caught in the wind.

How much bad water can an experienced canoeist handle?

Depends on the canoe
My experience is most 18’ or larger wilderness trippers will handle waves to 2 feet, although you will be kneeling while paddling in a lot of them in those conditions. Some WT canoes handle higher waves well and those will be the ones you can still feel comfortable paddling while sitting in 2 foot waves. But just because a canoe will handle wind and waves doesn’t mean you should be out there in it. My rule in wilderness travel is if I must move on in those conditions, to stay within 30 feet of the shoreline to be safer.

I think that is a good policy.
That’s why I stayed on shore and went hiking.

Sea Worthy Boats

– Last Updated: Oct-18-04 9:31 AM EST –

I always feel a whole lot safer when I'm with a group, but I'm a big fan of pushing the limits just a bit.

Our Friday conditions at Raystown were a little challenging with 20k winds and a fair bit of chop. We had 6 solo canoers on the water. When we passed the last sheltered point every one of the Bell paddlers turned back, while those in either large Madrivers or expedition style Wenonahs continued on.

You have a Voyager? I just got mine wet for the first time last week-end. I am extremely happy with it. I have all kinds of pimped out outfitting done including having the boat fully bagged out. Pyker tried to roll it and was very close. We found that because of the extreme tumblehome she takes on very little water when recovered.

I like the bags! I have a cover , but
the bags might be more practical and would definately be a confidence booster.I still doubt I would have taken it out Saturday.I had the Malecite on that trip and it would have swamped .

how much do you weigh? i ask because i wonder just how much weight would be needed to hold the boat down in moderate to rough conditions. i like the outfitting. what type of paddle are you using with it?


– Last Updated: Oct-18-04 11:54 AM EST –

I come in at about 185, but I often have an extra 50 lbs of ballast by way of my dog Molly. I have soloed a Carbom Fibre Voyager on windy conditions and still managed to maintain control, but a little extra weight helps.

The pictures are of Pyker who uses a greenland stick. I use a 50" or 52" bentshaft canoe paddle.

I got the boat because while my Rob Roy is an excellent Molly and Me daytripper it lacks the volume for muti-day with pooch.

I have the boat bagged out with three bags so that it is a simple operation to remove the flotation immediately behind me to create a cockpit for Molly.

It will take me a few days, but I will take some close-ups of the extra outfitting. I left the boat for two weeks with Kris Wolpert (the repair/outfitting guru for BMO), with a request to set the boat up for the possibility of anything. Kris paddles up to class III in a bagged out Carbon I knew he'd do it right.

I tend to go through boats fairly quickly, but I think this one will stay in the fleet for a long while.

Where did you get the bags?
How are they attached?

III in an advantage?

– Last Updated: Oct-18-04 1:00 PM EST –

that's impressive. i've been thinking of adding a wenonah solo to the fleet. was thinking of buying a used advantage to race and cruise with. i've still got my rob roy as well, and doubt i'll ever part with it. the rob roy is still the boat i plan on taking solo trips with though. also, what bell solos were with the group?

Good Question, But…
no easy answers is my guess. I’ll sure appreciate seeing what kind of answers people offer.

Some important variables would be distance between the waves, breaking or not, load in the craft relative to its safe capacity, risk to life if capsized (water temp/ rescue possibilities, etc.) tandem vs. solo, alone or in a group, paddler fatigue, and of course the general seaworthiness of the boat. That last one, seaworthiness ,is worthy of a thread all its own and I think we’ve had at least one on it.

Duluth Moose’s rule of thumb sounds pretty good to me. In most tripping conditions I’m going to stay on the very conservative side. You can’t always anticipate what you’ll get into though, so I’m very determined to keep learning about how to paddle in rough water. Its good to practice in warm water and where rescue by self or others is possible. I’ve been purposely going out into whitecaps whenever I get the chance. That is fairly easy here in Central Texas. I actually want to get out into conditions that are beyond my skill levels so that I know what they are like. The two canoes I have now, seem to react fairly differently in the wind. The royalex Northwind is a bit much for me to handle solo in high winds on open water. I still need to try it with heavier payloads though. The Shearwater is much easier to keep moving forward and less wind-grabbed with my typical day tripping load. But I’ve heard others say the Shearwater without a good load was more affected by the wind than some other solos.

We had a number of interesting wind and wave condition experiences on our Boundary waters trip this spring. Lots of opportunity for learning. There was one boat in our party . The water was still very cold. My bow man was not very experienced. I’d never paddled that particular canoe model before. We had lots of high winds even fairly early in the day. All those things had me more cautious than normal probably. Plus at middle age I’m not as confindent in muscling my way out of trouble. Toward the end of one day’s paddle we were only about 3/4 mile from our intended campsite. But as the wind and waves increased and we approached an exposed point of land we (I) made the call to turn back and take a campsite we’d just passed. In truth we probably would have had no problem in terms of the conditions, but my gas tank was damn near on empty, and I wanted to maintain a margine of safety. I didn’t feel too bad about my choice as we stood in camp with hot beverages in hand while the wind grew wilder and another lone canoe went around the same point we’d just turned back from. “Those guys are probably half our ages,” I thought :slight_smile:

Captain Topher, Tell us more about those turn-tail Bells. Was it good judgement by skilled paddlers, limited seaworthiness of the boats themselves or what? Bell fans want to know!:-()

It depends on the boat and the paddler.

Bell Owner Judgement
Topher and Mike are just givin’ them a hard time. The reason they (and myself in a ultra low volume seakayak) turned was due to the 1.5 liter of scotch that was mostly consumed the night before. The paddling into the wind was fun and challenging, but after an hour of it the aching head fell to the call of a quiet camp, some company, and a quick nap.

BTW they forgot to say that we got to surf the mile back home, they on the other hand had to work their way back to camp because the wind died. Hah!


rob roy
i’m sure your rob roy could have handled the conditions as far as a bell goes.

Don’t forget
that the Hemlock Peregrine made the trip at Raystown with a single blade too. But I will add that the paddler didn’t have any ill effects from the night before. I too very much enjoyed the push into the wind.

I think the best advise came from Mike, trust your gut. If you’re alone what else do you have to go on? If your with a group of experienced paddlers, go ahead and push your comfort level. You may be surprised and be able to raise the level after a succesful trip. How else do you become experienced if you don’t push? However, it is best to push while with good rescue boaters.


Peregrine in winds

– Last Updated: Oct-18-04 8:51 PM EST –

True to it's name, the Peregrine was an elegant hull that seemed quite at ease in the chop and almost unaffected by the winds. I was very impressed with it's confident feel and ease of passage through headwind, bow or stern quartering or even beam winds.


– Last Updated: Oct-18-04 11:27 PM EST –

The bags are all three made by Voyager (one of the confluence companies). They are held in place by both lacing through eyelets mounted under the rails and a few d-rings mounted in the hull.

Randy proved that even after numerous rollicking roll attempts that the bags stayed in place.

I will take post some photos later in the week.

Bell Turn-Arounds
Edr56 was in his Merlin II and Wesd was in his lovely new Magic.

They would have you believe that discretion is the better part of valor and that they were compensating for their lack of discretion the night before. I say hogwash and that any Duckhead worth his beek should be able to paddle through a hang-over.

Who makes the Peregrine?

Hemlock Canoes

Visit here:

You’ll find it under the Falcon series. Mighty fine boat. Dave Curtis does excellent work.

i’ve heard that curtis and dave yost actually designed the hull that’s used for the rob roy. bell gives all kinds of stories as to where that hull came from. one minute they say it’s a shortened magic, the next they say it’s a merlin with less rocker. the curtis/yost hull makes sense since bell could use a mold that yost already owned to make what was probably an experimental boat. that would require only R & D for the deck and cut costs for the rob roy development by quite a bit.