Old Wenonah tuff-weave vs. Discovery?

I’m looking at buying my first canoe for the family. I’d like to spend out money wisely and am looking at a couple used canoes. We’ll be doing mostly lakes and ponds for starters.

I found a used 16’ Wenonah Fisherman from 1986 made of tuff-weave. Is there any reason for concern on a boat of this age? This setup is more $, but comes with paddles (not sure of kind yet).

The other contender is a newer Old Town Discovery 174. I’d prefer something a littler lighter for loading/unloading. Less money, but no paddles.

Any advice from the outstanding community here is greatly appreciated!

Go with the Wenonah
Wenonah’s proprietary TuffWeave layup is quite strong and if there are no visible cracks or other signs of damage it should be fine.

There isn’t anything wrong with a Discovery 174 but it weighs a ton, well over 80 lbs which will seem like a ton every time you carry it any distance. The Disco 174 was the first rotomolded polyethylene canoe brought out back in 1984, but Old Town doesn’t make it anymore. They do make a poly Penobscot in that 17’ 4" length, but that hull design is a bit lighter. They cut the Disco tandem down to 16’ 4", I suspect because the 174 was just too heavy for the majority of folks.

The only circumstances under which the Discovery would be preferable would be canoeing rocky streams in which hard impacts with immovable objects was likely. Polyethylene is less subject to cracking than composite boats. On the other hand, cracks in composite boats are generally easily repaired, and composite boats are stiffer, and therefore paddle better than polyethylene ones.

passed on the Wenonah
Thanks for the input! The Wenonah is in nice shape with a few chips in the gel coat. No major damage or previous repairs. The paddles are shot and falling apart though.

He’s asking around $500. I thought it was too much given the age and condition of the paddles. Hopefully I don’t regret this…

Well …
I wouldn’t turn down a $500 Tufweave in nice shape over the shape of the paddles the seller tossed in to boot.

You might want to think on it a little, if that’s still an option.

Forget the paddles
Yep, I wouldn’t worry about the paddles. You can always pick up some paddles to get the family started with.

If the canoe is in good shape the Fisherman in tough-weave is a much better boat. It will paddle better and be 20 lbs or so lighter which will make a huge difference in how often you use it and how many casualties you take among the family members trying to carry and cartop it.

Lastly 2x the length. The current Fisherman is 14’ long which is probably too short for a “family” canoe.

Maybe they have changed model names over the years. Wouldn’t hurt to put a tape measure to it though. Lots of difference in room and capacity from 14 to 16 ft.

Good luck.

very good point on the length
Make sure it’s not 14’. If it really is the Fisherman and not the Kingfisher, I think it has to be 14’.

I only see a 14’ Fisherman listed on
the Wenonah website now. Did they replace the 16’ with the Heron, or rename?

Evaluating old composite boats isn’t easy, but I would actually give a point or two more for Tuffweave than for Kevlar, in the case of Wenonah. Even with gelcoat worn through, polyester and glass will stand up to UV, and won’t fuzz.

I Believe The 16’ Fisherman…
…was re-named the Adirondack. If you check with Wenonah, I would almost bet it’s the same hull. Owned a couple of that boat over a couple decades. Excellent boat and Tuffweave is a great layup. Much better boat than any polyethylene OT IMHO.

It’s most like the Adirondack
I spoke with Wenonah today, very helpful! There is no doubt it’s and old Fisherman. They said it’s most comparable to today’s Adirondack model. Also helped verify it’s the tuff weave, and not Kevlar.

Thanks for all the input…very much appreciated! I’m definitely reconsidering now.

I concur
with the above advice. Forget the paddles - you’re not buying them, you’re buying the canoe. $500 is a good price for that canoe, if it is in good condition. I read somewhere on this forum that anything that floats is worth at least $300 these days.

By the way, good quality, but inexpensive, paddles can be found at Mohawk Paddles (if you like plastic) - http://www.mohawkpaddles.com/ and Dri Ki Woodworking (if you like wood) - http://dri-kiwoodworking.com/index.html

Buy it
A few chips/dents are no big deal. You will put more of those chips/dents in the boat the first time you use it. Just like the others have said a tuffweave or kevlar boat is a much better boat. Paddles can be found cheap so don’t let that enter into the boat buying decision. Get it.


I got a Wenonah :slight_smile:
I picked up the Wenonah Fisherman for $400. Thanks again for everybody’s awesome input and advice!


Does Dri-Ki sell direct?
Thanks for paddle suggestion. Does Dri-Ki sell direct? I didn’t see any contact or order info on their site.

Looks Like You Got a Good Deal!
If you don’t want it, I bet you’ll have no trouble selling it for a few bucks MORE than what you paid!

Looks Very Good
She looks to be in very good shape from those pictures.

400.00 for a great looking composite canoe = very good deal

family time enjoyed on the water = priceless

Just send Rick an e-mail. He was very prompt in replying to me. You can pay by check or PayPal on e-bay. Or visit the shop in Maine, but that wasn’t really an option for me.

Congrats on the canoe purchase. It looks real nice. You got a GREAT deal.

Smokin’ hot deal!
…on a very nice canoe.