I’ve been paddling a Wenonah Heron Royalex for several years. Mostly I’m paddling solo (front seat facing backwards) with a 70lb dog in the boat. I’ve taken to standing quite a bit on flatwater (lakes and slow rivers/creeks, going upstream and downstream). I really like the flexibility of being able to shift around from sitting on a seat, standing up, and kneeling when the wind picks up or running a riffle/beaver dam. I’m also working on learning to pole upstream.
The Heron, for all it’s faults (not too fast, bow catches wind), suits my needs well: mostly day trips, the occasional 1-2 night trip with portages, mostly solo (+dog) but sometimes tandem. However, it’s on the heavy side, especially since I’m short and I heft it onto my car top a lot. I keep drooling over pack boats and solo canoes because of their weight, but are there are solo canoe or pack boats that folks are standing up in? (Not ‘you could probably’ but ‘I do it all the time for extended periods’ please).
A paddle board has been suggested to me repeatedly when folks see me paddling standing up. I’ve never tried it, but went with a canoe when I bought the Heron because 1) the dog is clumsy 2) packing overnight gear 3) I try to paddle 8-12 months of the year, depending on the winter, and I imagine it’s easier to stay warm and dry in a canoe. That said, I’m not ruling it out as I start to see paddle boards with seats, room for overnight gear, etc.
I’m really new to this it is my first season with a canoe and I bought a used OT Guide 147 and was having a lot of the same issues you talked about using it in similar ways.
I started moving the seating around trying to get me in a better position than sitting backwards from the bow seat but still keep it a tandem and not have to haul a lot of ballast to trim it out.
I then started noticing the pack boats and liked the weight improvement and how the solo seating was but felt the width decrease would cause some stability issues I didn’t have with a flatter wider canoe as I use it for fishing and such also. Speed wasn’t high on my list tracking improvements were. Finally I had something that I didn’t pay much for and most of the pack boats were kind of out of my budget at least for now.
I decided to strip out the Guide 147 and lay it out more like a solo pack boat. I did reduce the loading weight some as I got rid of those two clunky heavy plastic blow molded seats. I took out all the thwarts and carry yoke and replaced them with lightweight aluminum DIY thwarts I made placing them where I wanted them and a single seat back seat. In the end my guess is I’m a little lighter 5-10 pounds. The boat is still a little heavy.
I switched to a double blade kayak paddle a 230 cm and plan on going longer 250-260. My seat is just behind center so body behind legs ahead and if you plan on the dog in front you could go back a tad more. Standing or kneeling I’m about dead center and I have tried both with a pole, but not enough to say I’m any good at it, but balance seemed good.
You might want to think about reworking the tandem into something more like a pack canoe. It is my first canoe and I didn’t find it to hard to do. I was thinking of selling it and getting some kind of a solo and I’m glad I didn’t.
I started a thread with lots of pictures of the whole process what didn’t work and what did.
Thanks for these ideas, @bud16415 . I recently replaced the yoke, thwarts, and seats on a totally rotted out OT Penobscot, and the local outfitter only had a really beefy yoke in stock . I was amazed at how much weight the seats, thwart, and yoke really add. Will have to consider lighter weight options as you suggest.
I usually paddle with a single-blade suited to conditions (lake vs swamp vs river) and a double-bladed that extends from 240-250cm, which I use in a headwind, or from standing position. I played around with an SUP paddle but found that meant I was taking 3 paddles, which was too many. I enjoy the single bladed for toodling around and working on strokes, but when you need to get somewhere, especially upwind, the double-bladed makes a huge difference plus it’s long enough to use standing up.
Yes in my case I won’t be carrying it overhead even from my car to the water I have a dolly for that. I saw no reason to keep that heavy wood yoke or reason to have a thwart at the balance point. In deciding that it let me put them where they were needed for strength and also to provide compartments for gear and use then for strapping it in.
I also carry 2 paddles and a pole. The canoe paddle came with the canoe in fact I got 2 one long and large and a smaller paddle that doesn’t take up much room, but makes a good spare. I have found the pole handy it is aluminum and telescopes between 4’ and 7.5’. I can set it at about 5’ and stay seated and pole along a shallow bottom almost like paddling. Saves a lot on wear and tear on the kayak paddle.
I read so much, but finally decided the best way was just in doing. Having only paid 150 bucks for the canoe and knowing I could always put it back to stock if nothing worked and likely sell it for what I paid I didn’t have much to lose. If I had bought a new high end pack canoe it would be much harder to rip into it drilling holes.
The best way to learn is with doing I have always found. I’m just about 99% to where I want to be with a canoe now and its just in time for the best weather to be out using it. I really don’t mind the weight difference when in the water. Getting it in and out were a lot of what I had to work out.
Good luck whatever way you go.