Penobscot or something else?

Which is the best royalex boat for ACA WW downriver racing in formula 16? Does everyone use the Penobscot? Is there a better option? How about the Wenonah Spirit II? If I plan to solo, is the 16ft Penobscot a better choice than the 17ft? Anybody have the boat I need for sale? Thanks!

Nelson, what does the number in
"Formula 16" imply?? Is using a 17 foot boat an option?

After going in and reading the rules
I don’t think I would run a Penobscot as my first choice. I think I would lean to something around 15’ (assuming a solo boat) set up with a center seat. Something closer to a WW canoe. Maybe a Mohawk Odyssey or equivalent. A little rocker, slightly narrower and lighter than a Penobscot.

I don’t know how far you are from me,
but I have a Penobscot 16 that we just finished outfitting for tandem down river WW.

If you want to meet some time, we can rig a temporary seat for solo and you can try it out.

I tried it solo and it didn’t seem good for me, but I am only 5’-9"

The better paddlers such as Willim McDuffe race the 16 solo and win all over the place, but he is very tall.

I have not looked into the solo aspect too much, since I am usually racing tandem with my wife, but I would like about a fifteen footer, royalex and narrow if one exists.

I raced my daughters little 14 foot Sandpiper in the New River to a third place, but it was definately too short to get good racing speed out of.



Formula 16
This is the ACA formula for width to length. They have two classes: Formula 16 requires width to be at least 16% of length and allows only plastic boats. THe sleeker F14 class requires a width of at least 14% of length and allows composite boats.

WW vs flatwater boat
To be competitive in these downriver races you have to have a sleek, almost rockerless boat like the penobscot. But the rules set minimums on width to length and allow only plastic boats for the standard formula 16 class.

16 ft penobscot
Jack, Thanks for the offer to try the 16 footer. I’m located in Wytheville VA which is two hours north of charlotte on I77.

My hope was that I could det one boat that would be good for either solo or tandem downriver racing. I traded e-mails with William Mcduffie. He says the 16ft penobscot is the most popular solo boat but is too slow for tandem. In tandem they run 17 ft penobscots and wenonah sundowners made from royalex.

When I think sleek
Penobscot is definitely not first to mind, but anything that does would not qualify as readily available as many have come off the market lately as a result of companies closing or consolidating. Tou can rig either a 16 or 17 Penobscot with a full time middle seat though.

Does it actually pass the “must float full of water with a 25lb weight in the middle” requirement without gluing in extra flotation? In use I know they don’t, unless they call running under the surface like a submarine “floating”.

That is why everyone has such …
a fleet of boats for all the different races.

I think if you are going to go by ACA rules you are going to be surprised and disappointed when you go to enter some of the different rec races around.

The race might use ACA insurance, but most of the directors make their own rules regarding boat specs, lengths, weights and materials and no two of them are the same.



JackL is right,
the rec races I’ve been to here in Virginia have a lot of different rules, and a lot of different classes. Everyone has a chance at some kind of prize with whatever boat they bring. I’m fond of my 15’Dagger Sojourn as a royalex solo. It is fast, fast, fast. Doesn’t turn worth a damn, but that’s not so critical most of the time. The Sojourn is a little narrower than the 16%, but not so you’d notice it, and I don’t think they really measure these things anyway. All the semi-pro racers around here, or 80% of them at least, are using the Penobscot 16 as a solo, and the 17 as a tandem. I saw a fat man and his skinny daughter win in that category with a time that was just amazing. If I were to buy a tandem I’d get the Penobscot so I could use it for lake tripping as well as racing. Probably one of the best Old Town designs in my opinion.

"The fat guy"

The guy you’re referring to is Tom Blue, an attorney from Chapel Hill. He has great technique.

Where are you located?

located in God’s country, same as you:)
I’m up the road a ways from you, near the Confluence of the Maury and the James at Glasgow. Send me a pm and I’ll email you a picture of Balcony Falls rapid at 50,700 cfs and 19 ft. Huge!

Actually the fat man and skinny daughter I was referring to live over near C’ville.

For what it’s worth, a good friend won
the Southeasterns on the Nantahala, two years running, in the cruising class, using a Penobscot 16. That was probably back in the early 80s. There was quite a bit of competition at the time, more paddlers than show up now. I guess the Penobscot has something going for it for this kind of racing.

By the way, the same paddler won the first and (as far as I know) only Ocoee open boat downriver race, but using a Blue Hole OCA. (I once thought he had used his Tripper, but he said the OCA actually ran drier.)