Saltwater canoeing

I am a new member, this being my first post, so firstly: Hello all!

Now, onto my topic. I am a fan of saltwater canoeing, I have a blast taking my smaller 14.6’ Saranac out off the north shore of Boston on a calm summer day, beach hopping, and pointing my bow toward the rolling wave of the occasional boat.

I am totally aware of the potential dangers of taking a canoe out on open water, that is one reason I am currently in the market for something new. Are there any canoes out there specialized for open water? Are 20’ tripping canoes the best for these purposes? I am definitely set on a canoe rather then a kayak which is more tuned for saltwater because I am looking for high capacities for gear and a buddy.

You won’t get near the same response
… out of a tandem in the rolling waves that you do with you in the center of a solo. You won’t rise up and over like you’re used to. Adjust expectations accordingly.

Not sure you need a 20’ boat, …

– Last Updated: Mar-05-13 11:01 AM EST –

... but I'm sure it could be done. If you plan to go with a buddy, I'd plan on tying in your gear and using the biggest float bags you can. Two people can re-enter a float-bag equipped boat pretty easily, but then there's always the question about re-entering in the kind of waves that would cause you to tip over in the first place.

Also, tandem paddling with gear will be tough in rough water. Clarion is right about tandem paddling in steep waves. There's a segment in one of Bill Mason's old movies showing tandem canoe paddling in some really rough conditions, with both paddlers kneeling in the center of the boat, one person immediately behind the other. In steep waves you need to keep both ends of the boat light, and the two paddlers can move to the center IF there's not much gear on board. Tandem whitewater-specific canoes put the paddlers very close together in the same way, but with a saddle instead of just kneeling.

Since you describe mostly calm conditions, I think almost any tandem canoe designed for your load (16 to 17 feet is probably big enough if it's a general-purpose boat with some gear-hauling ability) with float bags will do the trick.

used my Swift Dumoine

– Last Updated: Mar-05-13 11:40 AM EST –

in the New London, Ct area. Good volume in a 16'4" package and relatively nimble for a beamy boat. Kept my sailboat at the mouth of the Thames and canoed in Fishers Island several times with my son. Ground swell from the Race was a magical feel in the dark. Calm conditions only, generally dusk/nightfall or early morning before the wind pipes up.
Used my Dagger Reflection 15' on trips as the Swift wouldn't fit on the cabin top, but that boat was for anchorages only if tandeming, solo we brought it to the beach for modest swell surfing. 420 pounds combined weight; we're each 210.

Bigger canoe Bigger windage
I too paddle a canoe on the north shore. You absolutely have to pick your days and keep an eye to the weather.

I started in a Mad River Explorer, a 16’ tandem. With a weeks worth of gear that is a tolerable if slow solo. A partner would make that a reasonable tandem. With just me and my lunch there’s not much boat below the waterline so I was at the mercy of what ever breeze came along.

These days I mostly use a Bell Magic solo. That is still 16’ but it’s lower and narrower so it sits deeper in the water and the wind doesn’t push me around as much. Plenty of room for gear but none for a buddy.

several options
You can always have a custom cover made that you can snap in place, or get a Rob Roy with a spray skirt, or check out the new Wenonah Canak…

Do you have float bags?

– Last Updated: Mar-05-13 1:16 PM EST –

Biggest single factor for handling a canoe capsize and er-entry is flotation. I've spent significant unsuccessful time practicing recoveries in canoes without float bags, and my conclusion is that even if you have a boat you can get away with it in it's still not a good idea offshore. It gets too tiring without those big pockets of air. Float bags for this purpose are not cheap, but for open water it is the only way to go.

I suspect that you are also greatly underestimating the cargo capacity of a full out sea kayak. Yes, there are packing tricks. Tent poles may have to go in separate from the tent and rain cover, 6 packs have to be broken up and the beer cans/bottles have to be packed in smaller clusters etc. But people have spent most of a summer camping out of a kayak, in areas requiring significant gear and clothing like around Greenland.

I can't figure out what kind of camping would be beyond your reach in a sea kayak if you took the time to figure out how to paddle it and handle on-water emergencies.

You may find that it is easier to get a buddy doing this in a kayak as well. IMO handling a kayak in moderate conditions in open water is a whole lot easier (less skill) than managing a tandem canoe in the same conditions. The numbers of those who can do each well reflects this.

Kruger Seawind.

Check it out:

– Last Updated: Mar-05-13 2:04 PM EST –

The Kruger designed Sea Wind and Expedition (essentially the same thing, the Expedition being larger and substantially less expensive) have been proven the world over. To me it sounds like just what your looking for.

He’s talking tandem, not solo.

Oneida III 18’
If you can find one, they’re dandies…

I have one bought from a friend who used it extensively on relatively protected salt water reaches in Bonavista Bay. It tracks like a train, and the low topsides reduces leeway from wind. Very capable tandem for sheltered salt water reaches and runs - around here, no one messes with the open ocean in open canoes…

tandem paddling in the ocean is a

– Last Updated: Mar-05-13 8:23 PM EST –

skillset to work on. Yes my partner and I do paddle a Wenonah Odyssey which is a deep flared bow 18.5 foot beast

With the paddlers at each end the boat can and will twist in the middle. If you don't kneel, the bow paddler can get ejected. If you do kneel the bow paddler sometimes can still get ejected. The bow position is less stable than the stern.

As you know conditions change.. its tough for both persons to move midships..again harder for the bow paddler when the poop hits the fan fast.

We have taken a couple of open water dumps in our in Long Island Sound and the other on Lake Superior. You do need rescue skills in whatever open canoe you pick.

As the others indicate, you are far safer and more secure in solos. Get another Saranac! The Sea Wind or a Mad River Monarch or that sort of decked canoe is ideal.

Our paddling brethren in the UK seem to be fond of taking out Old Towns in seas. Those boats are airbagged to the max. See

Might be a good idea
to carry a PLB in your PFD.

The Kruger is the best ocean going
decked canoe you can paddle, and will take any thing the ocean can throw at it.

Jack L

BTW the Maine Island Trail
when first conceived and developed, was a canoe trail. Kayaks in any number simply did not exist.

The AMC developed Knubble Bay Camp as a canoe camp.Trip leaders on the ocean were originally Boston whitewater AMC ers.