My wife and I are about to buy our first canoe, so we’d appreciate some advice. We like a wide canoe for it’s stability (we’re in no hurry to get anywhere). Weight is also a major consideration, although we cannot afford to buy an ultra light model. We are considering the Mohawk Sport 14. Anyone have anything to share about it? Also, I’m wondering about ROYALEX and ROYALITE. As they are both a film, is there any possibility of them ripping on a sharp rock or cement canoe launch? I don’t mind some scratches, but I don’t want any torn film. A local store has a very similar canoe by a company called Wolverine. Does anyone know if that is as good or better than the Mohawk? Any comments would be most appreciated.
more than a mere film
Royalite and Royalex are both a layered product…its a sandwich of either product over the structural member which is ABS. The “skin” is merely UV protectant and something to absorb shock so you do not harm what is really holding the boat together.
The ABS layer is thicker in “Royalex”
I have never seen a Wolverine canoe. I am not impressed with the web page since it was not quality checked. I tend to think that details are important and hence if they cant get the web page right, I would not trust them with my boat purchase.
I have had a Mohawk for many many years. Its a well put together boat for the price and it seems the new owners are taking pride in keeping the quality up.
Sport 14 Reply
Thanks for the reply. I tend to agree about their web page…it didn’t offer much information.
A longer, narrower boat can be more
stable than a shorter, wider boat. In general, Mohawk’s flatwater boats have good initial and secondary stability. I just don’t want you to focus on a 14’ wide boat when a narrower 15 or 16 foot boat would be faster, often more stable, and would often have more carrying capacity.
I agree with both posters above. Mohawk’s new owner seems to be taking good care of the great reputation the founder built up over the years before selling the business. I also agree that a longer canoe would probably be a better choice. A longer canoe can be stabile, have greater carrying capacity, be more efficient and in the long run a better choice for a tandem canoe. Generally speaking I consider 16 feet to be a good length for a general purpose tandem, 14’ is much too short for two people.
If weight is really the issue (for considering the 14 foot length) I’d think about a light-weight 16’ composite canoe. If price is the big issue (keeping you from buying a new composite) I’d investigate a used light-weight composite. Check out the classifieds here at p.net – the best canoe classifieds on the web – hands down.
As to “Wolverine”. All I can say is: “never heard of ‘em.” I’d avoid that brand myself. Other canoes I’d avoid (because I personally think they are junk) are Pelican, Coleman, Rogue River and the new “cross over” “Adventure” series can/yaks by Mad River – in short anything sold at a box store. Look online or even better yet at paddle shops for name brands. …and read the reviews here at p.net.
Hope some of that was helpful – if not, just ignore… - RK
14 feet might be fine if they are standing and fishing and standing and whatever…sure its along the lines of a bathtub and eventually would be frustrating on trips.
But I have neighbors with a Hidden Pond (14 feet made by Lincoln) and it meets their needs. They never will be camping out of it. Plus their guests can use it without the hosts worrying about whether they will have to launch the powerboat to retreive their guests
Hull Material and Length
Royalex, as another person already pointed out, is a rather complex material consisting of a number of different materials bonded together. Royalex is sort of soft and scratches easily, but it is THE choice of “most” people who bump and scrape rocks on a regular basis. The material is pretty tough, and nearly all whitewater canoes are made of Royalex. It’s unlikely you will have any problems due to occassionally hitting rocks with a Royalex boat. Note that Royalex is tougher than Royalite.
I agree with the others that 14 feet is really too short for two people, and wouldn’t go less than 16. I can’t say for sure that a “normal” general-purpose canoe would work great for you, but odds are that it would, because most people get used to them pretty easily. Most newcomers to canoes tend to look for something extra wide and “stable” when in fact, they’d do just fine with a general-purpose canoe that’s designed to move through the water more efficiently than the wide, “sport” canoes do. Standard canoes are really pretty difficult to fall out of once you learn some basics about handling them. Of course, depending on your type of use, a wide sport canoe could work just fine, but I’d still shy away from anything as short as 14 feet if the boat is for two people. I’d put two people in a 14-foot Jon boat without hesitation, but I wouldn’t be as eager to see them in 14-foot canoe.
the Sport 14 is awfully wide. As longer tandem would provide as good or better stability and be less of a drag to paddle. The Nova 16 for example would be a good choice. Its only 2.5" narrrower and are very stable in my experience.
As far as the Royalex-Royalite goes, unless there is a big difference in weight (its only about 6 lbs on a Nova),I would try to go with the Royalex.
Are we dismissing the Morningside?
I believe the Bell Morningside is 15’, and it is considered a good pocket cruiser.
lets hear from the original poster
as to what this couple wants to do in the boat.
- Use? Day only? Tripping?
- Do you have to car top it to enjoy paddling?
- Storage size limitations?
- Budget? Some of the boats suggested are much more expensive. Do these boats paddle twice as well if they are twice as expensive? (I have a FlashFire and I have a similar boat in wood/dacron. The second was three times the cost of the first. While it gives me great pleasure, it does not paddle three times as well)
- Are you rough enough on it so that Royalite wont be durable enough? For flatwater and some whitewater I have had really good luck with it; my Dumoine after ten years on the river looks quite pretty after 303 ing the scratches.
I think we are losing sight of what the original question asked and going on some of our experiences. I did the same thing with my neighbor, and he wound up not being able to lift the boat and hence enjoy it(it sat in the garage too much). 14 feet was fine for him.
I spent 20 years tripping in Canada with a 15 foot Grumman. Purists would sneer at that but the boat didnt owe me a dime. We did start running out of room when our trips got over a week and we started hankering for something more hydrodynamic but the Grumman never stopped working.
I would look for the boat that fits your plans not some hopeful plans for sometime in the future. There is no reason to buy an expedition boat for example (though no one is suggesting that) if an expedition is not in your near future.
The Bell Morningstar(there isnt a Morningside) is a river tripper and 15’6" so its a little on the small side. But another friend has one for his company and it works on ponds.
Sport 14, Thanks!
I just wanted to thank everyone for their input on the Mohawk Sport 14, and my question about Royalex. I have a much better understanding of both now, and for those of you who were highly encouraging us to go with a larger (16 ft) boat, I can tell you that at the very least we are going to rent a 14 and a 16, and try them both at the same time to see which one is better for us. Thanks again to all of you.
If you choose to go with Mohawk; based on my experience, having owned 4 different Mohawks, I would suggest you go with Royalex, instead of Royalite.
Yes, the Royalite is lighter.
No, the Royalite will not take the beating that Royalex will.
A lot depends on where you paddle; if you most often do lake paddling, Royalite may be suitable.