Malecite, Encounter, Prism

I posted here a few days ago asking about a canoe that would work for me to solo along with my 45-50# dog and still feel as though I am not constantly struggling to keep up with my wife in her kayak. We do primarily Adirondack lakes for a few (3-4) days at a time, and have plans to do longer trips. We have a budget, so I am looking at used boats. I have found 3 that interest me. Here are the links: I am thinking the malecite is quite high given the fiberglass construction. What are your thoughts? Are the prices somewhat reasonable?

The two Wenonahs are
straight tracking. If you are working now when you get to twisty streams your work will be even harder. And the more you explore the Adirondacks the more twisty stuff you will find

The Malecite is much easier to maneuver and still have great capacity. That looks like its in excellent condition. What leads you to the glass constructed conclusion? The grey color inside?

Its a classic and while the price may seem high it may not be exceptionally so even for a 28 year old craft.

Questions for you
What model of kayak does your wife paddle? How big a boy are you? Do you have or want experience in a dedicated high performance solo canoe? How much weight are you willing to lift?

The Malecite price - assuming it is not kevlar - would be a little high in my area, but not so high as to be a deal breaker in itself. Condition should be very good for that price though.

The Prism would be my first choice of the three (because I already have a Malecite), but I would expect to put some real effort into turning and relying heavily on backferries. OTOH - my small self doesn’t have an easy time turning the Malecite in tight quarters paddling solo either. But at least I can stand in that with a pole and make it mind.

Unless you are smaller than the average adult male, that Malecite may be your best bet - especially since you are including the dog. 45 lb dog in the Prism is going to be pretty demanding, unless dog is very docile.

the input! My wife paddles an older perception sole, I am about 180# and normally paddle a Prijon Seayak. I have a decent whitewater kayaking background, although I don’t do that anymore, just to say I am not really concerned about “tippyness”. I am comfortable edging a sea kayak for turns. I have taken a 17’ Grumman through moderate whitewater, and solo tripped in it frequently in my bachelor days… its just very flat, slow and a bear in the wind. The ad suggests that the Malecite is fiberglass, although they could be wrong…

To throw a little wrench in the situation, I found an older Wenonah sundowner 17. Is this just stupid to try and solo? The reason I ask is it is a couple hundred less than the other boats in the original post. I love to paddle, but cannot spend a couple grand on a canoe. I am not am idiot while camping either, adhering to the “carry in, carry out” rule. I know some “budget paddlers” just want to go out and get drunk, that is not my wife and I.

The Malecite is most likely fiberglass. MRC tended to paint a gray “football” shaped area on the hull bottom of their Kevlar boats back when that one was made, but did not paint the sidewalls. They also generally appended a “K” to the end of the HIN for their Kevlar models. The fiberglass Malecite would weigh considerably more than the other two models, over 60lbs, if that is a consideration for you.

The crack in the Encounter looks as if it can be fairly easily repaired if you are adept at using resins and fabrics, or know someone who is. It should be repaired, however. That Encounter is Wenonah’s ultra-light core construction and would weigh around 38lbs in Kevlar. The light weight sacrifices some durability, as evidenced by the crack. A boat of that type of construction is fine for flat water use. It might not be the best for moving water. The Encounter is also plenty deep (14" at center) giving it great load capacity, but paddling lightly loaded on lakes, it is going to catch a lot of wind.

The Prism is a pretty efficient hull, mainly geared towards flat water paddling. It has good carrying capacity although an inch and a half less deep at center than the Encounter. The photo does not show the construction method. Wenonah lists a weight of 36lbs for the ultra-light core Kevlar Prism and 44lbs for the Flex-core construction Kevlar, which is a bit tougher. Wenonah did not generally gel-coat their ultra-light Kevlar models, but it may have been requested special order.

The Wenonah boats have sliding seats which would facilitate trimming the hull when paddling with your dog.

As for hull-design, you can’t have everything. Straight-keeled, hard-tracking hulls like the Prism and Encounter tend to be more efficient for straight ahead, flat water paddling. If your main concern is keeping up with a kayak on mostly flat water, they may be your best choice.

The MRC Malecite is one of their oldest hull designs, although a pretty nice one. It is a symmetrical, shallow V hull. It does have more maneuverability than the Prism or the Encounter, but you will give up some efficiency on the flats.

If I understand your intended use correctly, my choice of the three would probably be the Prism.


Dog placement
if its ahead of you in the Prism, you will have a dog of a time making any turns.

The bow will be pinned down.

This might not be an issue lake to lake but you will essentially write off some nice ADK trips that involve turny flatwater rivers like the Oswegatchie and the Jesup and Osgood.

Any boat that is bigger will have more skin resistance and a tandem kind of fits that category making keeping up even more of an issue.

And solo that Sundowner will catch the wind

I wish a cheap Swift Keewaydin 15 would show up for you but that is unlikely. A new model proving very popular in the Adirondacks… I paddle there twice a year for a couple of weeks and have never seen a Prism.(there)

Straight go ahead boats are pretty limiting unless you confine yourself to lakes and big rivers like the Raquette. The conundrum is of course you want to carry . Lots of folks have gone to pack canoes in the Adirondacks for those wonderful 3 mile portages or wading in loonshit…

How does your wife carry her kayak?

Or is carrying really a non issue? There are canoe carts: they work on some portages. Not on all.

malecite and encounter
Had and encounter and have a malecite.

You don’t want to paddle a malecite solo. It will be stable with two kids and a 80 # dog. You can, and it is advertized as solo friendly…I paddled it a lot solo, but it nowhere comes close to the other two choices. I have the fiberglass and kevlar versions.

the malecite has a design problem with the ends of the decks catching water and rotting out. You can buy short pieces f inner and out gunnel to replace. Really not a structural issue, just poor design and unsightly. Also the factory sets the middle seat back from center. I reposition the leading edge of the seat to to center to make it easier to portage. Switch out the seat and thwart as needed.

the encounter has super glide and the hull won’t even know you and the dog are in it. Really like that boat too.

I put two pedestal seats in the encounter to use as a tandem. Used alum angle epoxied to hull so I can easily pull sliders to convert back to solo. This the solo you take moose hunting. Fast with excellent glide. Ads never aptly described the encounter. the deep curved mid hull sides are weak by design and will flex to the point it cracks. No problem but irksome to say the least.

PS you can scupper the decks
like Bell did…

I have exactly the same unscuppered decks on some of my canoes and never had rot from water sitting below… They are stored in a well ventilted area.

IMO that is no reason not to buy the boat.

Seats you can fiddle with. Wenonah uses a different seat system that is difficult to adjust but MR seats have standard drops tha you can move.

Don’t know where your pricing high-end

– Last Updated: Sep-18-16 10:08 PM EST –

is...might be a little pricey and a little too wide at midships, but there's a Bell Rockstar, BCW's black-gold layup(kev/carbon) in the Paddling.Net marketplace. That's a nice design especially with your canine friend. A keelline possessing slightly more rocker will make your paddles with your dog much more stable along with the fact that you won't be at the exact center....fwiw, and that Royalex MorningStar would paddle nicely...weight? ...although, of course, Royalex would be more stable..but enjoy whatever you pick up...


Rotting decks
…are not a problem if you store the Malicite in a dry protected place off the ground.

If you are 180 lbs of athletic build, paddling the Malicite solo shouldn’t be much of a problem unless the wind comes up. I did it all the time until I obtained a real solo canoe, and I’m a 165lb lightweight. The OP being more experienced with a double blade (it seems) he might want to go with same (longer shaft, of course) from the middle seat in its factory placement. Carry yokes can be fashioned to use with that seat just fine where it is.

The real issue, I think, is going to be the weight of the fiberglass hull while portaging. About 65Lbs in wood trim with center seat, IIRC. The kev Malicite would be much better.