Merlin II question??

I have been wondering about a Merlin II for flat water paddling. Looking for opinions, I am 6'4"'@220 pounds. Looking for a light boat to do a little of everything, creeks, open water, fishing tripping, day paddle etc. I want a stable manoverable boat with decent speed. I trip with 60 about pounds max.

Thanks, Bob.

May be a little small
The overall capacity looks OK on paper. But you may find a larger boat fits you better.

Do you to kneel, S&S, both?

Second hand
information, but I am looking for a boat for exaclty the same conditions and talked to a woman who had a Merlin II. She was very unhappy with its performance in wind and sold it. Her reommendation to me was one of the Hemlocks, dependedin on weight. For both you and I that would be the Peregrine. The other boat that almost everyone who has paddled it recommends for these conditions is the Magic.

A lighter layup of your Shearwater would take care of the weight issue. Someone had posted a Kev Light for sale near Charlevoix, MI. 33lbs. I think.

Wenonah Wilderness

– Last Updated: Oct-13-08 6:57 PM EST –

Have you looked at the Wilderness. It's a tad longer, deeper and less rocker. It also feels more stable, as I finally got to demo the royalex version, than a Merlin II or Magic. And the Wilderness seems to be marketed just for what your describing. I'd go for the tuff weave though over the royalex.

Merlin II and RockStar were not
designed by the same person…Dave Yost did the former and Dave Kruger the latter.

Solos need to be fit to frame size… a good general guide is your kneeling position should put each knee in opposite chines…not halfway across or up the side.

I think that if you are a tall guy with a high CG on day trips, you might want to consider ways to lower the CG…sitting with a low seat would be one way…but the size 12s wont fit…

I think that even with the standard seat drop for kneeling, a size 12 shoe might be a problem. I brought my Merlin II to a gathering and the size 12 feet of one of the group did not fit.

You are the perfect sounding size for a Shearwater. Quite a bit more boat but you probably have the power and it has the stability for fishing.

You are
right on, the Shearwater is a great boat that fits me so well!! I have one!!! I was jsut wondering on a boat a little more nimble and a bit lighter. When I go on longer solo journeys I typically have 2 25 - 30 pound packs. The Shearwater at 50 pounds plus the 30 poundish pack gets a little heavy when doing multiple portages over 300 rods. Still not real hard, but if I could drop 15 pounds that would be nice. However, you are correct the Shearwater is an excellent boat that fits me well.


WildFire ought to do…
seems like you want to kneel some of the time…and you will need a little more boat under you than Merlin II.

Also consider the Wenonah Argosy… It comes in several layups…but as you know the UL isnt going to be any good for rivers. I have a big guy friend who is quite happy with his for tripping

Now we come down to the nitty gritty…money!

The Indy

– Last Updated: Oct-16-08 6:38 AM EST –

current layup 36lbs
Slight vee
Slight rocker
She's sleek and effiecient, fun a playful. Loaded she's a cruiser.


Width at waterline of Indy?
And are you talking the MR Indy or the VT canoe Indy?

Vermont Indy
It has the same specs as the MRC Independance, except that the Vermont Indy is 3/4" deeper, bow to stern. That is how Jim Henry designed the original strip.

4" waterline 29" (assumes some load)


Merlin II for you?
I’ve had quite a few solos and have put more miles on my Merlin II than the rest combined so I’d say it does have fine potentiasl as a do-everything boat. I’m 185-ish and paddle with a 70 pound dog and the boat is not burdened at all by the load, and I like the boat better with the dog than without (give up a little acceleration but gain a bunch of glide) although it’s more “playful” with just me in it. There’s no question that it can handle your weight effortlessly. I take my shoes off to gain seat clearance in all solos. The Merlin II will be less stable than a Shearwater sitting…and the Shearwater turns better than a Merlin II.

If you have a Shearwater can you tell us what you want that it does not offer?

The Peregrine has more stability than the Merlin II and is more suitable for occasional sitting and of course the extra length is nice for fishing gear (or dogs). The Peregrine has more room than the Merlin II too - but again the Shearwater has just as much stability (or more) and turns better than a Peregrine. Peregrine is the most efficient and is a fabulous lake boat.

I lean towards kayamedic’s recommendation for a Wenonah Argosy. My take is that the handling is not quite as smooth and sweet as some boats but it cruises fast, turns well (better than Merlin II or Peregrine) and has plenty of room…it works well. I think the stability is good for fishing or sitting but i haven’t spent a lot of time in Argosy’s. While it will feel different than a Shearwater the turning and cruising performance is similar.

If you’re anywhere near Ann Arbor shoot me a note if you’d like to try a Merlin II.

Tom L

I appreciate your posting. I did not know the Merlin II does not turn as well as the Shearwater. It looks like the Merlin II is not a boat for me. The only reason I am considering another boat over my Shearwater is I tend to travel far away places. A 50 pound boat plus a 30 pound pack over multiple long portages (300 rods +) is getting old. It is not super hard, but a 10 to 15 pound lighter boat would be appreciated. Also, I think I would like a more nimble boat. It would be tough to give up the solid feel and the speed of the Shearwater however. I may have to investigate the Argosy more fervently. Thanks for the offer to paddle your boat.



solo boat
I think the Shearwater is considered one of the most stable solos so it may be hard to match or beat for stability. I had a beautiful green Shearwater with cherry trim but it was the lightweight lay-up and too jello-like for me so I sold it. I also like a lightweight boat for ease of use. Not sure about the Wenonah lay-ups and how light you can get an Argosy but from what I’ve seen Wenonah is doing a good job with their boats. You’re also welcome to try my Peregrine if you like…it’s 34 pounds and quite stiff and strong and handles me plus dog (275-ish) effortlessly so it’s a pretty unique combination of light/stable/strong/fast - and reasonably maneuverable.

I have access to a Shearwater

– Last Updated: Oct-18-08 8:17 AM EST –

and have 12 solos, one a MerlinII and one a Peregrine. Neither are my favorite.

Merlin II is looser than Peregrine. This is neither good nor bad, depending on how straight you can paddle and where you want to go.

Stability is as much a function of seat drop and paddler position as anything else. The Shearwater is a stable boat..too barge like for me(its too big..again a function of relationships, not of the boat per se)

Merlin II is too flat bottomed for me.. Any discussion of this boat has to include layup. The boat flattens because of the foam panel.

Merlin II and Peregrine both spin quickly when heeled. Not many people want to do that.The reason for the heel is to free up the stems..MerlinII frees up a little quicker than Peregrine due to a little more rocker. (never mind the stats..there is no industry wide measurement standard)

When you get into the Argosy, remember its designed for a river boat though some larger paddlers have the power to keep it at hull speed on lakes. It is not forgiving of poor paddling technique on lakes.

Though I think this choir can probabl paddle well enough.

Again, Wilderness?

– Last Updated: Oct-18-08 2:58 PM EST –

It seems everyone wants to automatically recommend the "top of the line" Peregrine and Merlin, etc. The question asked was a recommendation for a light all around canoe to camp, fish, creeking, etc. I've owned a Peregrine, recently sold it it, it was a bitch to fish out of, not nearly as stable while sitting and doesn't make a good creek boat. It's more of a straight ahead speedster for lakes. The Merlin II is also not made for fishing and for your size I'd say too small especially for camping, same with the Wildfire.
I recently got to paddle a Wilderness. It was a stable enough platform for fishing sitting and/or kneeling, will hold lots of gear if needed, turns easily enough for exploring small creeks, would handle well on lakes, and is a more all around canoe for your size than any of the others mentioned.

good option

– Last Updated: Oct-18-08 10:11 PM EST –

I've put about 150 miles on a Wilderness and, like you say, it is a good general purpose boat. I'm around 230 and recently did a 25-mile day paddle with about 50 lbs of gear and it handled the 280 lb. load pretty easily. I've only had it on one stream, and it was a fairly easy one, but the boat was nice and predictable. Speed is pretty reasonable, but a lot of that will depend on the paddler. I'm in lousy paddling condition this year, but with a bent shaft at moderate cadence I cruise around 4 mph and have had the boat up to 5.75 in a sprint. Initial stability seems pretty good to me. The only other solo I've paddled this year has been my Osprey. The Wilderness is noticeably the more stable of the two. Secondary stability is fine for everyone except the freestyle crowd. A friend of mine watched while I checked to see how far I could lean it and still be comfortable. IIRC he said I chickened out when the water got to the bottom of the Wenonah logo. That's in a composite boat. In the royalex version I felt comfortable taking the rail closer to the water. Maneuverability is middle of the road. I'm not sure you could loosen the handling up any more and still have it track well enough to make good time. With a straight shaft paddle, you can maneuver around pretty easily while looking at the sights. With a bent shaft and mediocre form, you can get 4 strokes per side and cruise pretty smoothly. With a little bit of camping gear (total load around 280-290) I could get 5-6 strokes per side. I haven't had any problems in 18" boat wakes regardless what direction they were coming from, but haven't yet had it out in bigger wind-blown conditions or chop. Wind doesn't seem to bother it any more than it does any other boat, but as I said, I haven't had a chance to really put it to the test. It tends to nose into the wind just slightly, but isn't that hard to bring around. Ummm, what have I missed. Oh, yes - kneeling. The multposition seat has a high angled setting that should work fine for you for kneeling. I have smaller feet (size 8) and can get my feet under the lower seat setting, so I'd guess that you'd be okay with the higher setting. If you are interested in the boat, I could always pop out sometime tomorrow and check the height to the bottom edge of the front seat in both the low and high positions.

It's a good, solid boat that gets the job done without a lot of flash and dazzle.