MN III vs. Champlain for stability

Hi all, looking at buying a used canoe from an outfitter in Ely, MN. I take one or two trips a year up to the BWCA. Eventhough I’ve been on more than a dozen trips I still get nervous in a tippy canoe as we usually go up a week or two after ice-out and the water temps are dangerously cold (in the upper 40’s). Tipping over would be life threatening. One of the guys in our annual group has a kevlar Wenonah Champlain. It’s a great canoe. Once in a while we have the need for an extra seat in a canoe and the sling seats just are not the greatest and seems to take away some stability when the canoe is not meant for a third seat. Anyone have experience with a Wenonah MN III as far as stability? We sometimes cross extremely large lakes with one to two foot waves and I want as little tippiness as possible.

I just sold a Wenoanah Minn III which I
specifically bought for the ADK 90 mile race, and I think it is a great boat.

I was tempted to keep it since it is so nice but I couldn’t visualize us (my wife and I ) using it much since we generally are paddling a tandem.

Stability: you know the old story; “canoes don’t tip over, people tip them over !”, but seriously, you would really have to work to capsize it. I wouldn’t hesitate to take it in any rough water.

I think it can handle any water that you would encounter as long as you had some deck stuff to prevent the big stuff from breaking over and into the boat.

Last summer at a race up in Mass, we bumped into a guy who had one that he and his partner use on Buzzards Bay on Cape Cod, all winter long, and he claimed that it was the most stable canoe on the water.

Hope this helps a bit.

Cheers, and Happy New Year


Own both

– Last Updated: Dec-26-08 8:22 AM EST –

I have both a MN3 and a Champlain. Both are extremely stable canoes and perform great in 2 foot waves with 2 big people (450 lbs) and a 120 pound gear load low in the bilge. I am comfortable enough to remain seated in either boat with that load in those conditions. I would be knelling in smaller or more tender canoes. I would choose the Champlain if I had to be out in even bigger waves though. Like always its best to rent first and put a canoe through its expected tasks, before you will know what's best for your situation. I looked at your profile and see you're from Minnesota. Be aware that registration on a canoe 19' or more is close to fifty bucks. Considered a luxury boat you know...

Give some thought to that wardrobe
While I ponder the practicality of drysuits on a portage trip…the fear of cold water that you have may literally be paralyzing.

Tense paddlers are not efficient paddlers. Paddlers respectful of the dangers of cold water but prepared for an immersion are better paddlers able to roll with the punches. Literally loose hips can save you.

In May I do wear a drysuit and appropriate layers and have a practiced rescue plan. It is worthwhile in peace of mind. (and the drysuit is handy for hanging around camp when the weather is nasty).

I dont think there are tip proof boats and accidents do happen…give some thought as to how you would respond. Most likely you will stay close to shore and the plan might not need to be elaborate.

High 40’s two weeks after ice out tells me that you are paddling lakes with a high turnover rate and plenty of sun…that is a quick rise.