I went to buy my solo canoe today and thought I had my mind made up to buy a Prism. I saw a Wenonah Voyager with its sleek lines sitting there and I decided to take it for a test paddle. It was as fast as it looked. I’m looking for a solo canoe for tripping(5-7 day trips),workouts,cruising along the lake shore(Lake Ontario) and a little bit of fishing. As anyone else faced this dilema? I feel that most of the time you spend going mostly straight ahead so the maneuverability issue is mute. I could turn the Voayger easily enough. Which would I be most happy with for what I want to do?
Try the Encounter also
Any of the three will do all you want to do. The Voyager is the fastest, the Encounter will tote the most gear and be the best fishing platform, and the Prism will be the most manueverable and least bothered by wind. All are great solos and the choice should be made after test paddling all three on open water.
My solo is a voyager and I use it for cruising and exercise, much like you will. I would not hesitate to use it for tripping or for fishing. It is a special boat, not meant for everyone. Prism is more of a general tripping boat meant for most everyone. I’ve paddled a prism, but it doesn’t have the performance feel of voyager. I find voyager extremely well behaved with a load of about 300 lbs. I think a lot of the bad rap on this boat being hugely affected by wind is because folks aren’t carrying the intended load. So do your homework and test drive voyager and prism with your intended load, in some moderate winds, and see what shakes out.
Is the Voyager “legal” race Boat?
Can you use the Voyager in most races in the Stock class?
I agree with Moose
Both the Prism and Voyager are affected by wind when not loaded (haven’t paddled a lot of solos, but it seems intuitive that this should be so). They are just a pain to paddle when light and the wind comes up. You would do well with either one, but the Prism might hold a bit more cargo. You can put a kid in the front and it works well, but if you aren’t in the family way, try 40# of cast iron in a canvas bag.
I use a double blade paddle in my Prism. I find that the wind is easier to deal with when I have two blades. It is a wet ride unless you get a longer than average paddle. Try 9 feet (about 270cm) to keep the drippage out of your boat. My family paddles longer sea type kayaks, so I like the extra speed of a double blade paddle. makes the Prism almost as fast as a kayak.
Went to a Lendal with an extension. You can also put in a T handle to paddle single blade, but I haven’t done this yet. I just carry a bent shaft cheapie for the classic paddle environs (they tend to be few).
If you want fast, Voyager is the boat.
The wind issue can be mostly solved with a cover, but there are almost 17.5’ of straight waterine. Anything with that profile will be affected by a side wind.
I don’t have data to prove this, but I swear the Voyager gets faster in a headwind.
Voyager too long for Stock Class
Stock class length limit is 17’ in New York using the NYMCRA rules. Do not have the USCA rules to see if it is national or not.
Narrow gunwhales nice…
I like my Voyager. It’s nice to have a narrow waterline for better glide. But the Voyager also has a lot of tumblehome that brings the gunwhales in. Two big advantages.
First, you can paddle more efficiently, not reaching out to the side as far. More comfortable for your paddling muscles, but paddling closer in to the keel line also moves you forward more rather than turning. You won’t have to switch sides as often, either.
Second benefit is in wind and waves, or when you’re turning. If you adjust your seat right, you can kind of wedge your knees out and up against the gunwhale, kind of like you would with a kayak. Really helps with control.
One more reason I really prefer the Voyager to the prism. But different people like different things; just my two cents’ worth…
I added Minicell knee braces to my
Voyager and had the seat dropped 2". I am tall, so this really improved the stability.
if it feels comfortable
enough for you to fish out of then buy the voyager , you will be happier with it because it sounds like most of your paddling will be just cruising i like the tumble home for paddling but remember that in excess it will reduce secondary stability .I have a wenonah advantage and like it very much for cruising but not to fish out of because being a man i have a hard time muliti tasking and once the waterline starts coming around the topside of the flare amidship your secondary stablity starts to diminish . about the wind with the prism and voyager and the advantage ,(i don’t completly understand this) but they tend to nose strait into the wind just like a weather vane this is great if that is where you want to go ,but makes it difficult in a side wind .my prism tracks strait enough that i can paddle on one side using j&c strokes untill my arms wont let me any longer .sometimes like another poster said ,i also like to use a double bladed paddle i havent tried the encounter but sounds like it you should try all three of them and see what suits you best . have fun
Voyager vs. Advantage
Agree totally with what zimbob wrote, but want to add a few words comparing the Voyager and Advantage in terms of stability. (A few years back, I sold my Advantage and switched to a Voyager, so I’m familiar with both.)
In my opinion, the Voyager has less initial stability and more secondary stability than the Advantage or the Prism; both have a slightly “flatter” bottom. Not flat like a Grumman, but flatter than on the Voyager.
The Advantage has a slightly flatter bottom and it’s also a tiny bit wider at the waterline than the Voyager, but then enough tumblehome so the gunwhale is almost as narrow in the middle of the canoe’s length as with the Voyager; I think the difference is about an inch. (You can still do the “knee-under-the-gunwhale” thing with the Advantage.)
This all means that, for me at least, the Voyager feels more wiggly when you get in, but then much more solid and predictable when you lean way over. That’s especially true when you’re comparing it with the Advantage, but maybe also true when you’re comparing it with the Prism.
Hope this helps…
Finally,I bought the…
…Voyager after much debate. I decided that Givem the fact I like to go out and Paddle hard that the Voyager is more “Performance” orientated. I’ll know for sure after the first trip with her…
You will like it once you get used
to it. Mine scares kayakers when they first try it. I admit, it feels like you can’t move without losing it, but I have been out in some nasty chop and it did great. Better than me for sure.