Kevlar Wenonah Vagabond + sliding seat?

Has anyone paddled a kevlar Vagabond with sliding tractor seat and foot brace? Any feedback would be appreciated.

I’m considering going much smaller replacement for the Voyager that I’m selling. At 155 lbs, I get blown around too much in the Voyager when it’s unloaded and there’s much wind (I don’t go camping or tripping), so I am looking for options for smaller solo canoes with sliding tractor seats. The Wenonahs, Clippers and Sawyers seem to be about the only boats with sliding tractor seats.

I would also consider a boat with a fixed position tractor seat such as the Clipper Packer, but they’re not very common around here.

I’d love to have a kevlar Sawyer Summersong with the three way adjustable seat to replace (or complement) my goldenglass Summersong, but they’re rare in my area and usually too expensive for such old boats, so I’m looking into other similar sized boats with sliding tractor seats - I prefer to sit most of the time.

The boat would be mostly for paddling before or after work with no load but me for pleasure and exercise on lakes that are sometimes pretty windy.

It should be less than 40 lbs.

Bow depth should be 17" or less (16" is better).

Stern depth should be 14" or less.

Should handle wind a waves well. My Summersong does well in this respect.

Thanks for your input.

Moving from a Voyageur to a Vagabond will disappoint you. I would strongly recommend the Wenonah Advantage.

It’s my exercise boat and preferred lake canoe.

An Advantage is a consideration, but
I can’t find one within a five hour drive to test paddle, and those are owned by private owners and aren’t available for purchase. For some reason, dealers don’t stock them for potential buyers to check out. I’ve still never seen one in person. Volume wise, it’s much larger than I need because I’m usually only out for an hour or two at a time. The Advantage WOULD fit better on the racks in my garage than the Voyager does.

I’ve only owned the Voyager for a couple weeks and have only paddled it a couple times before I decided that I don’t want to wrestle with it in the wind. I’m assuming that an Advantage would be less effected by wind, but unless it’s an irresistable deal used, I’ll have to test paddle in breezy conditions before buying. My Summersong is MUCH less effected by wind than the Voyager. It’s 15’4" long, 16" deep in the bow and 14" deep in the Stern.

I would expect the Vagabond to have similar speed and handling characteristics to my Mad River Slipper, which I like to paddle, but it’s about 46 lbs and I’d prefer lighter than that.

I’m starting an exercise program, so maybe my need for a lighter boat will go away.

Thanks for your feedback.

…might want to find canoe to demo Bee4

– Last Updated: May-24-07 1:32 PM EST –

Hi yanoer,
Before purchasing a totally different "Level" of hull design, you might want to find an Advantage to paddle. Even at expense of paying someone to demo...just my $.01, but I think you'd enjoy the Advantage. Speed and secondary stability...maybe the secondary stability won't be as high as on a Voyager, but efficiency and easy with quartering wind will. I have to admit, the only Vagabond I've paddled was a royalex layup...definitely oilcanned, but that was back ~10yrs ago, but there is a lot more flair with a relatively flat hull = not that high on the efficiency scale.

Thanks bigspencer.
I’ll keep my eyes open for an opportunity to test paddle an Advantage. Are they much less effected by wind than the Voyager?

It’s more likely that I’d find a used Advantage for sale than it is a used Vagabond with sliding seat, since the Vagabond is relatively new on the market and most probably don’t have the sliding seat. A new boat isn’t in my budget.

Don’t know why it’s not stocked
I would fathom it is because the boat is too small to be a good tripping boat, not fast enough to be a racing boat, not stable enough for a novice boat, and not in the normal Wenonah catalogue. A great way to not sell boats is to not advertise it for sale.

Good luck finding any Vegabonds with a bucket seat. A bench is standard in all layups. They’ll put a bucket in it for you but it is a custom boat order.

The only wind the Advantage doesn’t like is a tail wind with associated waves. With a squared stern and little rocker the boat can occasionally take a wave over the stern. I love the speed and glide. I can maintain 5mph all day long in that boat. Most of my paddling is in the 2 hour range either before or after work several times a week. Being in a faster boat makes my limited paddling feel more productive.

The sliding bucket is an inexpensive
option, $49.

I consider myself a newbie
but started out with a Vagabond and now have a Merlin II. You will be very disappointed with the paddling experience of the Vagabond. It’s a great solo canoe for fishing and general use. But if you want to feel a connection to the boat…it’s not there.

Thanks for your feedback.
I’ve never paddled a Vagabond, but have paddled a Merlin II and liked it. It is a model that is also under consideration. I just hadn’t seen any feedback from somone using a composite Vagabond with a sliding tractor seat.

Thanks again.

Kevlar vs Royalex
The Vagabond feels like two different canoes when you paddle the Royalex and composite versions back to back.

The stiffness of the composite hull and the sharper bow make for much better paddling.

Glassing in a slider is a good job to start your fiberglassing career on, it does not need to be neat to be sturdy, and some extra resin or cloth will not affect your paddling, since it will be just laying on the inside of the hull. Just mark on the gunwales where the front and rear of the fixed seat were located and situate the slider with the seat at that location when its in the middle of its travel.

The Advantage still is a good race boat for the stock class, and you can trip with it, you just need to pay attention to the water.

The Vagabond is not a slow boat in its composite layup, but the Advantage is noticeably faster.

Thanks. I currently paddle a Summersong
and wouldn’t expect an Advantage to be anymore challenging than it, but I could be wrong about that. I haven’t paddled an Advantage yet.

I’d hate to ruin an otherwise great boat, such as the Merlin II by glassing sliding seat rails in crooked and then having to remove them and start over. Heck, it took me about three hours to determine exactly where to mount the rails for the foot braces in my rx Bell Wildfire. I’ll take a look at how the seat is mounted in the Voyager and see if it’s something I might be able to reproduce in another boat with some degree of accuracy.

I thought that a boat should be designed to handle a floor mounted seat in order for it not to sustain damage from the different stresses than a gunwale mounted seat exerts on the hull. I was advised not to mount a Wenonah sliding tractor seat in the Lotus BJX that I sold this spring because of the non-reinforced floor of the BJX.

I had assumed that the composite Vagabond would handle much differently than the RX version. Thanks for verifying that.

It seems like you already have
a great boat for your needs. How heavy is the Summersong–45lbs? I have a Sawyer DY that I like a lot. I used to have a Wenonah C1W and battled the wind unless loaded. I have paddled the Advantage and think it’s fairly comparable to the DY. With your weight and paddling empty, you’ll be blown around in any higher volume solos. All of these narrow, straight-keeled solos feel twitchy in following seas. If I were you, I’d hang on to your Summersong and keep your eyes open for a used ultralight version of something similar. BTW, I love Sawyer’s three way seat.

Another vote for the Advantage
. Keep in mind that is it is two feet longer than the Vagabond, and narrower by just a tad . This will translate into a more efficient hull . It rides two inches lower than the Voyageur, so it is less likely to catch the wind, especially empty.

I have both the Voyageur and Advantage . The former is my tripping boat, the latter my day trip boat . I think the Advantage is rarely stocked because when the Voyageur first came out in 2002, it replaced the Advantage in the catalog. But you can still find it on the Wenonah website.

Wenonah seat frame
My canoeing partner,Gearwoman, bought an old Wenonah WWC1 at a garage sale. It had no seat. The old wooden mounts had been broken loose from the floor. We put a new style, aluminum framed, slider into this boat. We did it in the parking lot of a put-in on the Juniata River and she paddled it within an hour.

We marked the centerline of the boat and marked the the center of the frame. We made a cardboard bulkhead template to fit over the seat frame and contact the hull on each side. When we glassed the bottom rails of the frame to the hull we placed the template over the frame to make sure we had not moved the frame off center.

You can hardly see the glass cloth and resin over the aluminum rails. Its been six years and its still solid. She sometimes picks the boat up by the seat frame, not reccomended, but it has been strong enough to handle it.

As an alternative, look at Wenonah’s adjustable hanger plates for gunwale mounted solo seats.


My Summersong with rudder weighs 60 lbs.
My best option may be to get stronger rather than looking for lighter boats, though carrying the Summersong and 55 lbs kayak this spring seem to have had an adverse effect on my neck and back.

I do have a 28 lb Poke Boat for when I just don’t want to carry anything heavy.

You could get a new summersong
Superior canoes is making them again along with the shockwave, autum mist, and cruiser. I have a price list at home if you are want to know how much.

There isn’t much on the website, but they are making the Sawyer boats.

New Summersong may be an option…
somewhere down the road. No money for new composite boat now. Of course I’d be willing to be the guinea pig for the first new kevlar Summersong with three way adjustable seat if I got a significant discount.

Thanks for the link.

Please do email the price list.

I’d be comparing the Vagabond to the
Sawyer Summersong and Mad River Slipper, since I actually have some favorable experience in them.

My only two outings in the used Voyager I bought a couple weeks ago were terrorized by wind, so I have no clue of it’s efficiency because most of my energy and focus was on getting it to go forward and not sideways into the rocky shore.

When I test paddled the Voyager in Rutabaga’s sheltered lagoon last summer, I loved it and thought it was the boat for me. This year, I’ve hated my experiences in it, so I wouldn’t be using it to compare the Vagabond to.

Thanks for your input. I’ll keep looking for an Advantage to try.

me too

– Last Updated: May-25-07 1:10 PM EST –

love my Advantage, going into a head wind is no problem.
have to trim it out with the seat and move the weight around in a tail wind but it is still no problem after you trim out.

Will definitely be more stable and not as wind affected…but will be a LOT slower than paddling the Voyeguer, Advantage, or Summersong.