I have the opportunity to pick up a 1988 Wenonah 16’6" Sundowner (also called the Echo) that looks in pretty good condition overall. It is in Tuf-Weave with cross-ribs and should weigh about 66 pounds. I have no experience with the Tuf-Weave cross ribs layup, and my question is basically do the actual ribs get in the way? Specfically are they tall enough that its makes it hard to load/unload the boat? Is kneeling an option with them? Are they simply in the way when sitting? Any insight on this or extra information on the 16’6" Sundowner would be greatly appreciated!
The Sundowner is a good hull shape. Wenonah canoes were built pretty light to save weight. The cross ribs were an attempt to strengthen those hulls and make them stronger. I have crunched a Wenonah after it swamped in a little Class I rapid. I was upset about it and sent a letter to Mike C the owner of the company. He admitted his boats were built light. He sent me some repair materials for free.
Cross ribs in my '78 Wenonah Jensen 18 were maybe 1/2" high at most and I don’t recall noticing them. Can’t speak to kneeling as the seats were too low to kneel from.
Ribs will not bother you. If you are going to kneel you will use pads anyway. Toughweave was a pretty strong construction. Unless you plan to thoroughly abuse the boat you should have no problem. Sundowner is a very nice hull