I appreciate all the advice you've given - (link for the interested).
Cliff Notes: 5' 8", 225lbs, intend to solo and camp on slow rivers with occasional lake use, limited paddling experience (a few days in rentals). Probably get a little grief for this but I want to sit on the seat not kneel.
Plan to purchase this week and following the tips from the thread above have found a few more for consideration.
1. Haven't ruled out penobscot 16
2. Old Town Predator 133 - short tandem, kinda wide, can't find a review of this boat. Like the look, has 1300# capacity - would this make my weight insignificant? edit: AND, looking at the seats - should be easy to lower this seat as much as I want.
3. Old Town Guide 119/Sports Afield Kay-Noe - From what I've read these are essentially the same boat made from a different material. The guide is ~50% more expensive. Worth the difference? These have a 500# capacity. The 12' sears I sold claimed 450'ish# & was a disaster. I like the idea of the small light canoe but am very leery based on past experience. (link for the REALLY interested)
Chapter 2 of Cliff Notes: Bought little old cheapie, spit me out VERY quickly, got mad, sold.
Thanks in advance.
I've never paddled one, but soloing a 40" wide flat-bottom canoe from a center seat doesn't sound easy, especially when it weighs 78 pounds. That's 20 pounds heavier than the Penobscot 16.
I wouldn't trust the Old Town capacity ratings except to compare to other Old Town models.. They're what the boat will hold without sinking, not what it'll comfortably and safely carry in normal use.
That’s just the kind of info I’m looking for.
Have you considered a
14’ Mohawk Odyssey? A reasonable boat for what you describe. http://www.mohawkcanoes.com/solo.htm
Old Town 119
I am about 7" taller than you and weigh about 10 lbs more. I am also older than the hills and have been canoeing since the last ice age. I have had an Old Town 119 for about 20 years. I bought it as a cheap solo that I would put atop a car myself and flyfish from. I have never had stability issues with it and am past the condition where I can kneal in a boat all day. I have no feeling that I am overloading the boat but I remember the stated weight limit as more like 275 lbs. It is not a great boat to paddle either fast or straight. In wind over about 20 mph you spend a lot of time grumbling and fighting to hold a course. And when the water is calm you do not every worry about exceeding the “no wake” rules. Certainly not a bad little boat. I think that the Pack which specs much the same has a slightly higher weight limit - if my memory holds.
I don’t know the Mohawks. He’s a big guy and had a bad experience with a too-small canoe – maybe the 15 instead?
Are Mohawk’s capacity figures more realistic than Old Town’s?
Have you looked at Wenoahs?
One thing to consider
is that the more you paddle, the more you will appreciate a decent hull design that paddles well. As your skill improves you will want a better design that rewards that skill. Of what you are looking at, the Penobscot will fill that bill. May keep you from re-
buying as you improve. I think it’s best to buy the most sophisticated hull you can at first to avoid that, as long as it fits your needs. Just .02 cents worth…
My 14’ Wenonah Fisherman is slightly longer and slightly narrower than that Predator (and a lot lighter). It isn’t the easiest thing to paddle solo, but it can be done. I usually sit facing backwards in the bow seat with some ballast (usually a water-filled dry bag) in the other end. It’s much better as a tandem, and it is a good fishing platform - easy to stand in.
But I much prefer soloing my Penobscot, which BTW has a center seat. Sometimes I kneel in the Penobscot and sometimes I sit on the seat. But either way, it solos better than the Fisherman, which is kind of similar in shape but superior IMO to that Predator.
Old Town makes an Osprey Angler that comes with a solo seat added. A bit more money, but a far better boat than the Predator, IMO. Actually - that boat is almost identical in weight and dimensions to my Fisherman.
Still - for a “one and only” boat, I’d take the Penobscot over either of those two and especially over any 12 footer.
You can add a solo seat to any canoe that has room for it. You can either make one or buy the seat and all the hardware and install it. The center thwart can be simply removed out of the way, or replaced with a removable yoke or a strap yoke. I’m sure one or several of us here can talk you through it.
Actually the 14’ Mohawk Odyssey
will be more stable than the 15’. They have the same beam and the 14’ is ever so slightly deeper.
Has been suggested
but apparently there are no dealers in the Nashville area. According to their website northern Kentucky is the closest.
I have only been able to find Old Town, Mad River, Rouge River and Native Watercraft. Most places have a good kayak selection, canoes - not so good.
Have been to Bass Pro, Dicks, Gander Mountain, Academy Sports, a couple local outdoor stores and REI. Not sure where else to look.
I had never heard of Mohawk. I go through Chattanooga a couple times a month & will check into them.
I’m not sure I follow your point.
Starting with a specific design and beam and lengthening it a foot will make it more stable. Maybe there is something about the added depth making the 14 more stable?
Not to confuse you, but…
Have you looked at the Native Watercraft “hybrid” boats? If seated comfort and stability are priorities they might be worth investigating.
Mad River used to offer an
Explorer 15. It was downscaled in most dimensions from the redoubtable Explorer 16, and could be paddled solo.
The Mad River Freedom Solo is a great boat, and quite stable for its size, but I wonder whether it would carry your camping gear without requiring more self-discipline on your part than you may wish to exert.
I’m an REI member and have owned three Mad River canoes… I’ll surf around and see if those outfits have something that could be good for you.
Here’s my list…
1. MR still offers the Explorer 15. However, the beam is almost 36" which I consider to be too much.
2. The Royalex Penobscot 16 still looks real good for your purposes.
3. REI offers the Esquif Avalon. Nice boat, maybe too deep at 14" for solo purposes. (Although I solo boats that are 14 and 17 inches deep.)
4. But, along with the Penobscot, I think the Mad River Reflection 15 deserves a hard look. Relatively easy paddling, 34 inch beam, great handling. The Maine Guides who led us down the San Juan provided Reflection 15s to several solo paddlers, and they were happy with them. The Reflection 15 was originally a Dagger boat, designed by Steve Scarbourough, I guy whose design ability I respect. You could use the Reflection for occasional tandem forays if you want, and it is big enough to carry your gear.
Just had a look at a Dagger Reflection 15 yesterday. I would have to agree that it looks like a pretty good all-around boat, but I’m guessing (since I didn’t paddle it) by the looks of it that it would be a tad slower than a Penobscot. I wouldn’t be at all afraid to buy one at used prices if I were looking for a first canoe.