New Wenonah Mini Canak, 15"

A couple of points
The main advantages of a deck on a canoe, whether it is hard or fabric, are reducing windage and keeping spray off of your gear.

The boat does not have a keyhole cockpit, as one poster seemed to think. Just eyeballing the Wenonah it looks like the cockpit is approximately the size of the space between the thwarts, so it is pretty generously sized.

The hatch covers appear to have two shallow arched supports each, so they should shed water just fine. Regardless, water accumulation on a fabric decked canoe is not a problem. If the deck starts to accumulate water, all you have to do to shed it is rock the boat from side to side a little bit. It’s pretty simple.

For portaging, you use a removable yoke that attaches to the seat rails. It’s a standard Wenonah accessory, is light and easy to use, and is very comfortable.

The price is competitive with other boats on the market. It is $350 more than a kevlar ultralight Prism, which doesn’t have a deck. That doesn’t seem like a huge difference to me when you factor in the cost of the deck. It splits the difference in price between the two Hemlock Peregrine open canoe layups. It is less than a Savage River Otegan in the kevlar layup. It is only $200 more than the Swift pack canoes and is less than a Swift Osprey (another open canoe).


– Last Updated: Sep-02-11 8:05 PM EST –

At 39 lbs, the "mini" is 30% heavier than Swift's Carbon Osprey 15'X 30", Hemlock's Kestrel 14.8'X 27.5" and Colden's Nomad 15.3'X 28.5" and 35% heavier than Placid's RapidFire 15'X 27.5". Who wants to tote a 40 lb boat that doesn't have the advantages of a full-on deck? Seems a neat idea, but maybe not exactly what we need for tripping in the North Country.

There’s more than just the North
I agree that if you’re portaging all the time I’d go for the lightest boat practical. But there’s more to this great Continent than just water’s full of portages as in the north. Just because it won’t fit one narrow niche doesn’t make it a less of an idea or the perfect boat for others. Look at all the different designs of kayaks out there right now. What about the endless designs of Sand-up Paddle Boards on the market in the last couple of years. What’s wrong with canoes finally diversifying to to take back some of the market share they have lost? Good for Wenonah!

picking and choosing?
The only point I was trying to make by citing those open canoes was that the cost of the Wenonah is not out of line with the rest of the market.

If you want to compare weights, you would want to use a comparable kevlar layup and factor in the weight of the partial deck. You would also need to factor in the additional cost. Even if you go with a Cooke cover, you add about three pounds and $400 to the cost.

It isn’t a boat I’m likely to buy. I’m fine with my open canoes with my homemade fabric decks. It also isn’t a boat I’d choose for the Adirondacks (I assume that is what you mean by the north country). However,I don’t think the price is out of line and, given the price and the features, I don’t think the weight is out of line.

Bring Texas Safari Style Boats North
I’d like to see the basic concept of the Texas Water Safari unlimited solo canoes brought into the mainstream market. Maybe that would bring back to the Midwest Marathon Canoe Racing popularity again by bringing in younger paddlers. I’ve never paddled one before but I’d say they look like a Marathon Canoe design on steroids. Paddling here in Chicago-land is so unpopular. I’ve seen less than a dozen paddlers in the last 2 years on the Chain-O-Lakes. But there’s a fitness center on every corner. TWS Canoes look cool! Maybe that’s what we need to get people out of the gym and into a boat. Put a composite deck on one to make it look like a 20 foot long Olympic Class Kayak. Build it in bright colors and flashy decals.

Why it doesn’t work for me…
If you raise the seat 6", it puts the paddler high in the hull. That doesn’t allow much room to shift leg position. The adjustable track also gets in the way if I want to sit cross legged or tuck one leg up. My ankle would be on the track. ouch. My left leg has half the range of motion that most people have, so getting in and out of a fixed deck boat is a project. Packing and getting at gear is a pain. An open boat with a sectioned spray skirt works. We paddle rivers and don’t do big open water, so this type of closed boat isn’t necessary. I’ve seldom used a rain cover because if it’s light enough rain to paddle, a sponge takes care of water accumulation. If the rain is too heavy to keep up with a sponge, then we’re probably looking at potential flash flooding and we need to get off the river. And the price is more than I need to spend to get a useful boat for my needs. Different boats for different people, but those are some of the reasons these hybrids don’t work for me.

Whats Not To Like ?

– Last Updated: Sep-03-11 2:52 PM EST –

I was recently able to test paddle a full size Canak at a demo put on by Pacific Outfitters here in Eureka Ca.

I approached the boat from the point of view that it was a modern interpretation of a Rob Roy, and found it to be exactly that. I’ve owned a Bell Rob Roy and paddled a number of other decked c-1 designs (Sea Winds, monarchs, and Sea-1’s) and felt that the Canak could hold its own in the category. Certainly not a full expedition boat like the Sea Wind or Sea-1 but definitely a step above the Bell RR.

It felt like a great boat for semi protected coastal use. Not near as much windage as a full hull but still maintaining the comfortable seating position and single blade use of a regular canoe. It would be on my short list as a perfect Assategue boat.

The cockpit was easy to get in and out of but had enough of a lip to allow for some aggressive thigh contact and very solid feel. I liked the canoe style seat position had no problems sliding to adjust the trim. The decks felt strong and tight and would easily shed water.

The $2700 price tag felt fair compared to the the $3600 kevlar sea-yaks and $1800 carbon SUP’s being offered.

FWIW .... I heard later that the demo’s biggest sale was a pair of Canaks to a local couple looking for comfortable and capable bay boats.

Thanks Topher
Topher, You are the only one I’ve read that actually padded a Canak. With your background of paddling other decked canoes you have credibility. Thank you so much for your review! I hope the sell the heck out of them and take a bite out of the kayak market share. Too many people have purchased kayaks that would be better served by a decked canoe.

This is what I don’t get?
Dear Board,

What I’ll never understand is the rigid structure and approval process exhibited by this board?

I’m a fly fisherman first and a canoeist second and as such I know that fly fishermen are collectively a tight azzed group. We don’t like change and many of us are stuck in times that came before our birth, but we do grudgingly recognize that times change.

As an outsider looking in, y’all need to relax a bit and recognize that while your opinion matters it ain’t the final answer.

As an admitted newbie as I see things all that matters is that you get out and enjoy yourself. A Wenonah cross over hybrid bastardization of a canoe and a kayak just might be the perfect boat for more people than you think, so stop being so opinionated and stuck up.

In closing I’d like you to know that while I respect and appreciate you opinions it’s quite clear to me that y’all ain’t Gods or anything like that, so stop thinking that you are.


Goobs AKA Tim Murphy

Paddled the bigger one
a few weeks ago. The canak is a very interesting boat. It has a big cockpit opening, easy to get into like a Pungo. The raised seat was nice as I like a canoe seat over a kayak seat cause I can (and did in the Canak) move my legs around. My leg didn’t go numb like it usually does in a kayak.

So ergonomically it was very nice for me. I paddled it with a 230 cm double blade and it was very efficient, I can’t give you an exact speed but the lake was a regular place I paddle and it covered the distances as easy as my kayaks. I also paddled it with a ZRE single and it was a very nice paddle - had to switch about every 4 to 6 strokes, a nice break from the double blade but not quite as relaxing as the double blade for me. I just go out for day trips so I don’t care about capacities or portages. My initial mindset was that it was more like a wide kayak but the more I paddled the more I realized it is sort of its own thing and after a few sessions each person could come up with a way to bring out the best for their particular use. All in all its a pretty cool boat.

So it sounds like …
it could be a good option for some people. The Clipper product was on our short list and I paddled a RobRoy. We came to the conclusion that my current set up works well for me and we could spend the money on other things. The comment about the Canyak being as easy as a Pungo to get in and out of made me smile. Some of us have a hard time getting in and out of a Pungo. lol I hope Wenonah dealers sell a lot of Canyaks. :^) They make nice boats…we own an Argosy.

Goobs…pretty strong opinion about people who have opinions…go paddle. :^)

Better canoe.
I think I stay with Scott Smiths expedition decked canoe at $3,500.00.

I’m not a God? Don’t tell my wife.

Thanks kbobb
Very interesting. I have a Clipper Sea1 and love it. But I hardly ever use my rudder. I like to cover distance and the rudder slows me down by about 1/4 to 1/2 mile per hour. Not much but I notice it. That said, I would not give up my rudder because when I need it I really need it. High Winds and Rough Waters don’t happen often but when they do the rudder is a blessing. If the water is really cold, like both close to or below freezing I use the rudder for safety. If I owned a Canak I’d like it to have a rudder. How well could it be retrofitted with a rudder do you think?

Wenonah Canak 15
I bought one and initial impression is disappointment

The lower edge of the cockpit is not body friendly and I had to add padding to keep legs from chafing.

The sliding bucket seat with curved side makes a great trap for your ankle if you turn over while on your knees. You can almost guarantee scraped ankles.

The boat is very unstable if edged. You must edge to make tight turns.

The Wenonah kevlar racing seat
can help with kneeling in the Canaks or their other boats with sliding seats. It is smaller and narrower and leaves more foot room along side for the occasions to knee.

Sorry your not happy with it, so far.

Thanks for the feedback.

Anyone else paddled the Mini Canak?

I have the 16’ Canak and I like it a lot. I had it out yesterday on the local river where it was in the upper 30s and windy. I put a spray skirt on and with the “hatch covers” on, the wind wasn’t really an issue with me or the canoe.

I’ve paddled it fully loaded and with no gear at all and it’s an efficient paddler either way. I’ve not had an issue with the coaming as mentioned before but maybe the smaller version has a smaller cockpit, as my legs never touch the coaming.

The Prism is a very popular canoe and this is basically the Prism with a deck installed. The width is 30" I believe, therefore if you wanted to use a kayak paddle you certainly could, I prefer a single bent blade canoe paddle, which for me is ideal with the raised seat.

At @40 lbs, it’s still fairly light so that loading and unloading it on your vehicle is very doable and portaging is a little more awkward than a standard canoe of the same dimensions.

I can’t honestly think of a bad thing to say about it, other than I wish it were as efficient as my 17.5" Voyager, but it wasn’t made to be a “go fast” canoe.

I just read a post about having to “edge” to make tight turns and I’ve never had to lean the larger version and I paddle mostly rivers. I would like to think the Mini would be even easier to maneuver.

They also mentioned “scraped ankles” in a turn over if kneeling…wouldn’t that happen with any pedestal seat and your feet tucked underneath?? I’ll definitely take the scraped ankles into consideration next time I purchase a canoe. :slight_smile: