Old Town Saranac 14.6 or Guide 14.7?

I’m a beginner looking to purchase my first canoe. The reason I have narrowed it down to these two models is because I have a $400 credit at Academy which carries these two models. I would mostly be doing solo trips on slow rivers and lakes with the occasional trip with my wife and daughter. Which model would track better during solo trips and is one more stable than the other?

Thanks for your input and opions…

the Guide
I’ve not paddled a Saranac, but we have an older Guide 147 and greatly enjoy it. Looking at the specs between the two, the Saranac is 2 inches narrower but 9 pounds heavier. The Guide also has a greater load rating. I believe the hull shape of the Guide makes it slightly faster to paddle and better in rough water. Don’t think I would like the flat bottomed Saranac.

I know people who take Guides in Class 2 and even 3 whitewater, though we stick with nothing over Class 1. Though we mainly kayak, we often take out the Guide on rivers and fast small streams. It’s very stable and tracks well. In fact, two weeks ago we realized we had left the canoe paddles in our minivan (which was in the shop getting some mechanical repairs) so we took our longest kayak paddles (240 for the stern paddler and 230 for the bow) and used them. It worked surprisingly well, so much so we plan to regularly take the kayak paddles along to switch off with the single paddles.

We have the plain “tractor” seats and my boyfriend has used it solo, sitting backwards. It isn’t ideal for soloing, but tolerable. Best with two paddlers. The only complaint at all I have about the Guide is that the footroom for the Bow paddler is a little tight, but I have long legs.

For the price, I think it’s hard to beat the Guide for a basic, entry level tandem day tripping canoe that you won’t outgrow.

center seat option?
On the Guide 147, has anyone tried replacing the carrying yoke with the Old Town center web seat, mounted slightly aft of center to allow more control when soloing? The model I’m looking at has the flip-up seat backs so I don’t think sitting backwards in the bow seat is really an option. Does removing the yoke affect the structural strengh of the canoe?


center seat/yoke
some people install a conventional webbing flat seat in the middle. We’ve been looking at this gizmo:


Looks like it would be both a comfortable seat and a great portage yoke, but a little pricey. Might try to fabricate something similar.

paddle from normal stern seat …

– Last Updated: Sep-28-11 11:06 AM EST –

........ if you can paddle the canoe all by yourself when there is a bow person onboard (which anybody can do) , then you will do fine by replacing the bow paddler with water ballast in the bow when solo .

I suggest you get yourself 3 collapsable 5 gal. water jugs , fill them at the lake/river and dump back in when finished . They are inexpensive and store flat when collapsed . 3 jugs will serve you better than 2 because you won't have to fill each one completely , making each a bit lighter to pick up ... say for instance you put 4 gals. in each jug , place them into the bow as far forward as you can . That 12 gals. of water up there weighs 96 lbs. and it is farther forward than the bow paddler station ... more than equal to a 120 lb. bow person .

You can fill them to a full 5 gals. each (40 lbs. each) , but you won't need to . I'd also suggest you get the jugs with just a cap instead of the depensing spikot type ... the spikot just gets in the way and cost more ... some models come with two handles also .

It will be a very convenient and clean way to paddle your OT Guide 147 solo from the best paddling station ... the stern .

I would forget about paddling that Guide 147 from the center section if I were you ... you'll appreciate the stern seat with the water ballast much better . The boat needs that little extra weight anyway .

And remember , should you capsize one day for some reason ... those jugs of water will float (neutral bouyancy) .

Thanks for the tips. I will give the water ballast a try before modifying anything.