Mad River Lamoille vs Sundowner, vs ????


I am looking for a fast tandem canoe for workouts and fast paddling, some tripping, and maybe even some casual racing.

I have found a used Mad River Lamoille and a used kevlar 18 foot Sundowner.

Can anyone tell me how these two boats woudl compare and how they woudl fit the bill for this?

I found some dimensions on the MR but can’t find any on the Sundowner. The MR appears like it may be a little wide at the waterline which I guess would make sense given that it seems to be aimed at being a tripper rather than a performance boat, but not sure.

Any other suggestions? Obviously the Minnesota II woudl be a great boat, but I can’t find a used one and I have heard they are lacking in stability and while that is not a showstopper for me I think I may prefer something a little more stable for a tandem.

thanks for your help


Sundowner faster…
Lamoile is an awesome go anywhere, through anything tripper with decent hull speed when loaded, but the Sundowner is the way to go if you want to do any racing.

That’s the short answer.

Mad River Lamoille: length 18’ 2", gunwale width 33", waterline width 33", center depth 15", height at ends 21.5"/17.5", weight 78 lbs fiberglass, 65 lbs vacuum bagged kevlar/fiberglass hybrid.

Wenonah Sundowner 18: length 18’, gunwale width 34.5". waterline width 33", center depth 13.5", height at ends 20"/17", weight 42 - 67 lbs (kevlar unltralight - fiberglass).

Both are neat boats, but for your intended purposes an 18’ Jensen would be much better.

Interesting. The specs on the two boats are nearly identical. Given that the Lamoille is a touch longer and has the same width at the waterline, I would think its speed would be fairly equivalent to the Sundowner. Maybe the hull on the Sundowner tapers faster…or maybe it has a little less rocker…? Of course you can’t tell everything about a boat just by looking at dimensions I guess.

Hull shape…
Lamoile has Vee bottom, Sundowner has shallow arch…arch typically faster than dual surface of a Vee.

Build Quality
I’ll bet the MRC has held up better, and will continue to do so. It has more good stuff in the hull.

My impression is that speedwise
they are similar. I paddled an 18’ Sundowner on a 5 day trip in the Adirondacks and I have paddled a Lamoille a time or two, but on widely separated occasions. I thought they were both efficient cruisers, but not speed demons.

The Lamoille might be just a little fuller in the ends than the Sundowner, but I’m not sure about that. The shallow V shaped hull does have slightly more wetted surface area than the shallow arch hull of the Sundowner.

The Lamoille is significantly deeper and would present more windage, especially unloaded. If you anticipate downriver racing the depth might not be completely unwelcome, but it might be a hindrance paddling it unloaded on flatwater.

If you need to have one of those boats right now, I would buy whichever one you think presents the best dollar value, i.e, the one that you think would be most likely to allow you to recoup your purchase price. Then paddle it while you look for an 18’ Jensen.

18’ Sundowner
For your intentions, the 18’Sundowner and the Lamoille are very similar. In racing neither is competitive in the stock/standard class. The 18’Jensen and the Minnesota II are better choices along with hulls from Grasse River and Savage River.

For tripping the extra depth of the Lamoille gives it better big water capacity than the Sundowner.

The 18’Sundowner was Wenonah’s best seller for over 10 years, it is capable of so much and has no serious flaws. I have paddled this hull on trips in the Adirondacks, it will take two good sized adults and a load on the big lakes on windy days with no problems.

My over 60 female paddling partner & i very easily overtook and passed a group of much younger adult paddlers in MR Explorers and OT Penobscots on Lower Saranac Lake. None of them had ever seen a Sundowner. And the one we were paddling might have been older than some of them, (1981).The speed is important when the campsites are first come, first served.

I have paddled on trips where another couple had a Mad River Lamoille, They were good paddlers and travelled right with the group. They could not get ahead of the Minnesota II in the group, and did try occassionally.

You heard the MN-II was not stable. Whoever said that much be used to a Sportspal. There is no stability problem with the Minnesota II. You can confidently take it with a load on very big water, or fish from it.


or buy the one most pleasing to the eye

The Lamoille is very good lucking boat :slight_smile:

lamoil vs sundowner

Back in day I did some down river racing in this class of canoe and I have test paddled both boats. In my opinion the Sundowner is the better choice for your stated use. The Sundowner tracks better and has better speed by a little bit. The Lamoil is a better rough water boat but has, I felt, a little lack of initial stability without cargo.

Lamoille is just what you’re looking 4

– Last Updated: Apr-21-11 2:12 PM EST –

The Lamoille is very efficient... Nice depth = dry paddling....just my $.01-opinion. Agree with previous about Wenonah's Jensen series will pass them both.

been a while
Since I paddled either. When I did, our group had a Sundowner and several Jensen 18’ . Those paddling the Sundowner couldn’t wait to get back in the Jensen. Both have been out there for decades, so there are plenty in circulation. If I could, I would get the Jensen.

If it is only between the two, I think they are both pretty close . Check out the outfitting as well - older Lamoilles are more likely to have wood gunnels - this may or may not matter to you. Most Wenonahs have aluminum. Lighter, less maintenance.

There is a Minn II listed in the classifieds in PA - might not be too far from you and worth a look. That boat pretty much replaced the Sundowner for Wenonah, but is more efficient IMO. Not sure how it stacks up rules wise in rec racing leagues. The Jensen is a very common and rec legal boat.

It sure is!