MR Horizon 15 for First Canoe?

I’m looking to purchase a first canoe for solo w/occasional tandem on lakes and slow rivers. I also hope to do some fishing. I’ve found a Horizon 15 at a big box discounter scratch/dent sale that seems to be a great price, actually cheaper than an Old Town Disco and the only Royalex I’ve found in my $$ range. Size and weight seem right for my needs but want to make sure it will be stable enough to take my wife and fish out of it slow moving water.

Was thinking it my be a good all around recreational canoe I could grow into but without the opportunity to try it before I buy it, I’m looking for feedback.

There’s not much here on that model.

Thanks, JLee

specs look decent

– Last Updated: Apr-09-08 4:32 PM EST –

but I hate those tractor seats. I would thing it'd be an issue soloing with those seats and asymetrical hull. Maybe with a kneeling thwart you'd be okay. Specs. look good, looks like a flat bottom though, which will piss you off in time. Just my opinion and feel free to ignore it.
Just went back. They say "sophisticated shallow arch". Probably similar to my kids Dagger Reflection (his poling boat and calm water paddler). Not bad for rec. use, a little slow handling in time, when you start getting experienced.

I bought it - We’ll see
Thanks for the responses so far. I pulled the trigger tonight. BTW: not sure what you mean by “bucket” but this one has cane seats and vinyl rails.

I’ve been getting mixed feedback on the best hull configuration for my needs. Sounds like it’s the kind of thing that only time on the water will resolve. We’ll see but at the price I paid, I don’t think I can get hurt too bad if I decide I have different needs in the future. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until Sat. to see how it floats.

On another note, I searched hours for the right roof rack for my Tacoma truck locally but ended up with an extend-a-hitch and am pleasantly surprised by how well it worked in the horizontal position. Still think I want to get it up off the bed of my truck but at 70 mph strapped tight, the new rack didn’t budge.

I’m debating adding a single cab rack and running this vertically so that I can get the boat up and use my Tonneau cover but it seems like it will need more straps to avoid slop. Wonder if anyone has compared the rack addition to the one from Yakima?

cane seats Yay
the picture on the site showed the buckets. Overall, I think you did the right thing. Specs show a fairly versatile canoe, a little more rocker than standard will help that shallow arch with maneuverability and it looks like enough freeboard to hit some rapids when you get a hankerin’ ;-).

If you start out by setting the boat
up for kneeling, stability will not be an issue. We started that way, and even with the dreaded tractor seats (actually very comfortable when designed right), we were comfortable in a rather round-bottomed boat.

Humbling Experience

– Last Updated: Apr-12-08 1:35 PM EST –

I spent about 3 hours solo in the new canoe today on a still lake with winds 10mph gusting to around 18 and it was a humbling experience to say the least. I would make a few hundred yards of headway into the wind and then quickly loose it to wind gusts spinning off like a top. I wasn't using the bow seat as I wasn't sure that was possible in an asymmetrical boat??? Thinking of adding some weight to the front to bring the bow down some. The other thing that seemed to work a little better was heeling the boat over to the paddle side.
The only canoe I have any experience in is an Old Town Disco and that on rivers and this did seem quite a bit more "tender." However, after about the first hour, I was no longer concerned with tipping, but rather keeping from being blown over the spillway. Being a coastal boy until now, I've no experience with those and didn't even know this 12 ft. drop existed until I heard rushing water; a very bad feeling.
As for kneeling. Between having creaky knees and my desire to cast a lure, I'm not sure that will work for me.
I'm thinking of moving the stern seat forward a bit but some concern over drilling holes at this point.
All your advice appreciated. JLee

Humility Rightly Seen = Inspiration
Buddy, if you paddled the boat from the stern seat on a lake of any size with winds gusting to 18 and are back in one piece, you’re a natural by golly!!! You’ve got that hoss broke!

Check out this little “how to” gem. All of Joe’s

online tips are good.

Here is another good read.

Lastly, You may want to check into a third seat. Kneeling thwarts are great too but tough for all day fishing comfort. A third seat placed comfortably behind the center thwart (maybe 18" or so, but that is just off the top of my head) will be mighty nice for fishing. Maybe try a drop in seat like Old Town sells. I don’t think the boat is so radically asymetrical that you’d even notice much if you paddle it backwards from the bow seat, but do use some weight up front too.

Those 're good, and does anyone have
a link to Omer Stringer demonstrating solo paddling while tacking into the wind?

That Homer had no internal knee structure whatsoever. He could kneel like a two year old.

A couple of thoughts
based on my experience with the Horizon 15 several years ago (back when it was the Intrigue). I wouldn’t recommend moving the stern seat forward if you’re going to use the boat tandem at all. It already seemed rather far forward on ours, and if we had kept the boat I would have moved the seat to the rear to improve the tracking. Also, as it is, I think it would be cramped to try to stick a permanent third seat between the center thwart and the stern seat. (It isn’t a very big boat.) The drop in seat or a removable conventional seat mounted ahead of the original stern seat and set fairly low might be your best bet if you have trouble kneeling - just take it out when you go tandem. I didn’t have any experience soloing ours, but I would second the suggestion to just try paddling it backwards from the bow seat before doing anything drastic. All in all, it was a very pleasant little boat which I sometimes which we had kept. (Excellent final stability - I even did a little poling in it.)

Luckily, it was
a small lake and I was never more than a hundred yards from shore. After reading your comments, I’m tempted to go back and give these methods a try but the sun’s fading and my shoulders are still burning so I think I’ll wait for a calmer day. I think I’ll pass on the boat mods (except adding some weight) until I’ve gotten proficient with basic skills. I’m a professional photographer and always get a laugh out of beginners, quick to blame their cameras for their own deficiencies. I won’t be guilty of the same. New respect for good paddlers though. It LOOKS so easy!

Kneeling, Fishing

– Last Updated: Apr-12-08 11:33 PM EST –

It's hard to know if your knees will or won't take kindly to kneeling until you try it. It may not work for you "full time", but it may be okay when you really need some paddling power (like when the wind is strong) or extra stability. Make sure you use a good kneeling pad and give it a shot. For kneeling, your seat needs to be high enough to get your feet underneath, and it helps a lot if the seat slants so the front edge is roughly an inch-and-a-half lower than the back. Sitting on a slanted seat is also possible and VERY comfortable if you ALSO install a footbrace. If kneeling works well enough so that yoiu can at least paddle that way some of the time, you will be way ahead of most other paddlers out there as far as what you will be able to learn to do. If you can't kneel, don't worry - lots of others are in the same situation. I highly recommend a footbrace for paddling when seated, though.

As far as kneeling and fishing, if you CAN kneel, you'll find that it's actually a lot better for casting than sitting. You'll have a lot more flexibility as to which directions you can comfortably cast and retrieve without needing to "aim the boat".

I hear ya,
GuideBoatGuy, and I did try kneeling a bit today. Heck, would’ve tried anything. Like most else, I’m sure it’s just something to get used to. Nice to have as many tools in the bag as possible.

Kneeling and Fishing
Guideboatguy’s point about kneeling if you can is really a good one. I prefer to paddle kneeling and tend to do it most of the time for added stability, control, etc., and even fish kneeling at times. So when I’ve added a third seat or designed a sliding bow seat for a symetrical tandem, I’ve made sure my feet will go under there and come back out easily. So this thought may factor in at some point for you. The snap in/drop in seats, based on photographs, don’t look like they’d work for kneeling well. If you are looking for a third seat some time later on check out Ed’s Canoe Parts. They’re helpful folk, and have made the cane seats for Mad River and made me one recently to match those in my Explorer.

I’ve made a few trips with the canoe and am pretty pleased. Started paddling from the stern seat facing forward and bought a water bag from Wallyworld that holds 6 gallons = @48 lbs. that helps trim it out some. I’ve spent a couple days on Class I rivers and have pretty good control, enough to fish, and my wife says she feels pretty comfortable in it (“except when we go over those bumps.”) I’m learning to paddle based on your links. Underestimated the distance and managed to take a 14mi. paddle with a lot of flat water recently and really got a chance to work on my strokes! Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for all the advice. Best, JLee