Prism or Advantage

I want to start out by saying I don’t live in canoe country. Northern California is dominated by kayaks. But I enjoy canoes. I’ve currently got four of them. My boats includes a Kevlar MR Malecite, a RX MR explorer, a Mohawk Odyssey 14, and a Wenonah UL Vagabond. I’ve been looking for a fast solo to replace the Vagabond. I want a canoe that I can paddle with my 65lb Labrador retriever that’s already very good in a boat. I also fish from my canoes. My dimensions are 5’9" 175lb. Fast solos don’t show up on the used market very often. I was surprised to find both a 2002 Wenonah Prism and a 93 Advantage on the market for about the same price – $800-900. The Prism was a Piragis rental at one time but is in really good shape. The Advantage has spent time in the sun and is faded some but is sound. Both boats are Kevlar UL but Wenonah may have made changes in how they made UL boats from 93 to 2002. I sort of want the Advantage because it should be faster and less affected by the wind. But I don’t want a boat that I can’t fish from or bring my dog on. I haven’t paddled either boat and I don’t know how much opportunity I’ll have to paddle them before I make a decision as each one is about 2 hours away from me. I guess my question is can the Advantage be a general purpose canoe for me or is the Prism a better fit for my purposes. AT the end of the day I want something as fast as I can get that still lets me fish and bring the pooch. Thanks for any advice you have to help me decide.


Decisions, Decisions
I looked at the same two model boats last year. After a lot of thinking I decided on the Prism. My decision was based on the fact that I love to fish and the Prism is touted as Wenonah’s general purpose solo canoe. I’ve not been unhappy with my decision. The Prism is a real user friendly boat. Very comfortable, stable, tracks well and is not a hand full in the wind. While it’s not super fast is is quick and efficient to paddle. I will typically single blade it with a straight shaft beavertail and when I want to make tracks I will use a bent shaft. A double bladed canoe paddle will make it fly, though I find the paddle a nusiance when I’m fishing. For straight paddling day trips it’s the berries. A dog should present you with no problems. My little dog goes out with me on occassion and she has zero effect on the boats handling. Hope my brief synopsis helps in your decision.

Considered both of these boats
This past spring for the simple reason that they both showed up used and financially affordable in my area, I researched both of them. The price on the Advantage was very attractive, but for my needs and wants that seemed to parallel yours, I passed on it as its’ heritage is more for racing-training. In fact I believe when it first came out (late 70’s 80’s) it was targeted for racing. By todays standards for racing hulls it would be considered stable and a trainer, but not as competitive. I missed my chance for the Prism, but it would be better for taking a dog, fishing, photography etc. plus handle more choppy water. It is suppose to be still quick with a decent glide and comparable to something like a Bell Magic. I haven’t paddled either Wenonah, but have paddled a Magic and if the Prism is truly similar to that boat then I would think it might fit your needs just fine. Also give Wenonah a call and they will talk to you about both of them.

If you want to drop over 2k for a Bell blem then check

Consider your load
With just you in an Advantage, the boat will be more tender than your other canoes, but it will cruise. If you add your 65lb dog, an Advantage at that load is about at its limit and you may have to limit your paddling to calm conditions because the boat knifes waves so deeply. And frankly if the dog isn’t well behaved, you may be pushing for an occasional swim. If your perceived need for this boat is for a good fishing platform, and a good pooch boat, get the Prism. The Prism will still be noticeably faster than the Vagabond. But if you just want to experience the pleasure of cruising in a fast boat, get the Advantage. But do the fishing and take out the dog in one of your other canoes.

Wenonh Prism
I have paddled a Prism for the last 3 months. I fish from it, bird watch, and work out in it. For the previous 20 years I have paddled two different DY Specials which I still own and use. However, the Sawyers are narrower and more confining so I purchased a flex core Prism.

I am most impressed with the Prism and think it might be the better choice for you. The workmanship on my boat is very good and I have no regreats at all. I would buy the same boat again without hesitation.

Advantage and dogs
Agree with Duluth moose. I owned an Advantage for two years and loved the boat, but it was not the boat to take my lab in unless we both wanted to go swimming.

I paddled a Prism a couple of times and liked it a lot. Felt stable and tracked well. But, living on the west coast [further north than you] as well I’d be really concerned about wind, especially in the summer on the lakes out here. The Prism is a tall boat and I would think difficult to maintain.


– Last Updated: Jul-28-08 1:21 PM EST –

*Haven't paddled a Prism, however I had an Advantage several years back..loved its efficiency, but you won't want to take your dog out in it...OTHW you'll be counting more fish than casting to. IMHO it's a little too responsive for the company you want in it. I have looked at the Prism on a local shop's floor...just my opinion but it looks like it'll have a lot more final stability ....
Me: 5'8", 170.


“At the end of the day …”
“AT the end of the day, I want something as fast as I can get that still lets me fish and bring the pooch”.

That’s the quintessential definition of a Prism … it’s versatilty. It’s fast and safe in both light and heavy conditions. Also, having a Prism widens your range of use … I mean you can handle larger waters with a big chop if need be. That’s something I wouldn’t want to do in an UL Vagabond or Advantage … especially with a dog and gear (you’d have to always hug the shore for safety).

I have a Swift Shearwater (with a snap-on cover) that’s as seaworthy (more?) as a Prism, but not as fast in upper speed ranges (4-4.5). At just moderate effort(3.5), I think they perform similarly … with the Shearwater being more stable and easier to manuever.

However … you WILL get blown around on open waters in the afternoons … as you must be aware given your stable of canoes and the accrued experiences of using them. Just load up with extra ballast on those days and you’ll be deflected less.

Thanks for the help on this decision!
While I wanted to bring home the Advantage, your comments helped me realize it wasn’t a good fit for my purposes. I’m going to check out the Prism tomorrow evening. Thanks for all the advice.


Good choice,
There both excellent boats, but the Prism is far more suitable for your needs.