light tough canoe

Looking for a tough, light tandem river canoe. 55# max. As close as possible to royalex tough. Will be running over the occasional boulder. Will be using cloth cover so needn’t be deep but must be manouverable. ME maybe? Sohegan with seats maybe?


Thanks, Pete

How strong the whitewater?
Makes a difference because if you will need to maneuver a lot, you may want more rocker than the Souhegan or Coho provide. The Millbrook AC/DC is a possibility. But, owning two Millbrooks, I can say that they are as tough as one ought to expect in an S-glass/Kevlar boat, but that’s still some ways short of Royalex tough.

I’d suggest looking at Esquif’s Twintex tandems. They are tough, but if one breaks on a trip, you’ll probably have to tape it and call a factory rep for repair when you return to base.

Bluewater and Souris River are tough composites, but I don’t recall either offering a river/rapid design. You might check Western/Clipper and see if they have a river tandem in their dura-whatever layup, which is similar to Wenonah Tufweave.

The other option is to allow another five pounds and get a Royalex tandem. Maybe Esquif has something under 60 pounds. Then be really, really careful with the weight you add for outfitting. My Millbrook OC-1 started in the mid thirty pound range, but is probably close to 50 with everything in it.

Try to avoid anything with a foam core construction. Slamming down on boulders makes for repair complexity with foam core.

Esquif Mistral
The boat is very maneuverable and plenty of depth and volume for large waves. The twintex material stands up to rocks very well while paddling more efficiently than royalex. And if you have any problems, Esquif stands behind their products. Also, the Mistral CAN be paddled solo if you have wide shoulders and a little muscle.

Slamming - or sliding?
What kind of boulder-induced abuse are we talking about? If it’s just sliding or dragging over rocks, the Millbrook layup will handle it better than any royalex boat. Bashing with hard direct-hits is where royalex has the advantage. Kaz will add strength to his standard layup by request.

Why not just use a OT Penobscot 16
that is made out of roylex ?

Jack L

bashing, running over the lowest of
available options (if they have any water on them, they dont count; if they are exposed but wet, okay if you make it; if dry or you get high-centered, lose one point) All occur, this is way beyond abrasion.

how much weight
are you carrying? Knew a couple, tandemmed a ME. Sweetheart of a boat, but a literal submarine in the cl. 3. In cl. 2 it was nice, and I’d estimate they weighed 300 between them.

Second that Penobscot if the weight falls in. I think the Souhegan would be a bit small as a tandem, the Coho, while similar in dimension, has just enough extra size to be a tandem imo.

Not keen on twintex. Especially not if you’re looking at Royalex. If you go Millbrook, get that extra layer. I poled the designers personal boat fairly often(Ed Hayden, love ya’ buddy, RIP) and have seen standard layups, and the difference is huge.

With 3 of 4 inches of rocker
I would consider a Penobscot but this use demands good spinning and side slipping.

Esquif stands pretty far behind their
products when you have cracked Twintex and need the boat in a couple of days. The non-repairability of Twintex by boat owners is a BIG ISSUE for anyone considering a Twintex boat.

Royalex you can fix yourself, even in the field. Composite you can fix your self, even in the field. Even aluminum can be stomped and hammered into shape, and then glass-patched in the field.

Twintex resin is polypropelene, and nothing sticks well to it.

team weight 265#
The ME is on the short list but some use will be on a big windy river. Cutting the end down and decking them would not be beyond me though.

You mean a Millbrook ME, or do you
know of one in Royalex that is surprisingly good condition? You might consider the Vertige X or the MR Caption. Of course with new Royalex, you’d have to wait a year for the Royalex to stiffen.

I would rule out the Penobscot. It’s ok
for cruising class downriver in ww, but it ain’t for spinning or sideslipping.

Here’s the thing about spinning and sideslipping. A boat with a shallow arch cross section, with enough length and width of hull bottom in the water, but without catchy chines, will side slip well, and spin decently. But to get that length of hull in the water, rocker must be reduced. Example: Old Town Mini Tripper, now rare. Everybody wanted more rocker. Or, the Blue Hole OCA.

Increase rocker for better spinning, as in the Caption, and for tandem use, you lose some ability to side slip. But you can make up for that by spinning and paddling back/forward as needed. That’s what I do in my MR Synergy.

But honestly, the ME, the Synergy, and even the Caption are rather “wet” tandem boats. Less rocker, more hull in the water, should be considered.

Millbrook Souhegan
My Souhegan is a solo boat for me a 200 Lbs. It is a pretty nice solo whitewater paddling boat as well as a poling boat but will not spin as well as an ME or Caption.

At 265 Lbs for your team it would be OK but leave little overhead for gear.

My Souhegan, in Kaz’s standard layup, is quite light but not as tough as Royalex by a good margin. It does slide over rocks with little damage but won’t stand up to serious abuse without needing repair.

I’m told that Ed Hayden got Kaz to use a heavier layup for boats built for him. I can not say how much heavier or tougher those would be.

Any of Kaz’s boats require flotation at all times as they are not built with tanks.