Shallow Arc Hull vs. Shallow Vee Hull

Can anyone explain the difference between a shallow arc hull such as on a Wenonah Spirit II vs. a shallow vee hull such as on a Mad River Explorer? Does one offer more initial stability than the other? Does one offer more secondary stability than the other? Does one perform better than the other?

I currently own a Mad River Explorer 14tt with a shallow Vee hull. It feels wobbly in flat/slow water which I really don’t like. Would a canoe with a shallow arc hull feel this way?

Try this…
from the P-Net guidelines page:

It All Depends

– Last Updated: Jan-07-05 10:36 PM EST –

A "Shallow arch" can mean anything from a flattish Wenonah Adirondack, to a more rounded shallow arch like a Wenonah Sundowner. Stability will depend on how round or flat that arch is. The arch will typically be a bit faster than the shallow-v. Myself, I really like the shallow-V in Mad River Explorers and the 14TT (Formerly the St. Croix). As a matter of fact, I have one in the barn and think it's the IDEAL river fishing canoe. Paddle this boat some more and get used to it, it really is VERY stable. Try to lean this hull a bit and you'll find it is rock solid. Hope that helps! WW

Explorer 14TT
Oh, I’ve leaned it Explorer. I’ve leaned it 'till it dumped me. I just don’t like how wobbly the 14tt feels in flat water or when I’m sitting still fishing. It does OK in current or when I have a paddle in the water, but when it comes to the flat water or when I’m casting or setting the hook, I want to concentrate on fishing without worrying about tipping. I don’t want a canoe that makes me feel like I’m going to be dumped every time I cast or set the hook.

Hmmm, Let Me Try to Help
It’s pretty hard to get much more primary and secondary stability than this boat unless you go to a really wide one like a Mad River Winooski or Wenonah Fisherman, or Great Canadian Adirondack Sportsman. But they will be harder to paddle on flat water. Let’s figure out the problem. Do you have some weight in the boat? Weight, up to a point, will increase the stability. Also, you could get longer bolts for the seat and lengthen the seat supports to drop your seats lower. This lower center of gravity will increase the stability. Are you paddling solo or tandem? Typical paddler weights? Weight load in the canoe? Typical water you are paddling in a day of fishing? This is one hull I know VERY well as I bought my first St. Croix the first year they came out (I think it was arrouns 2000). I think I can help! Take care. WW

MR Explorer

– Last Updated: Jan-08-05 12:00 PM EST –

Thank you for your help WW.

I usually have a float buddy with me...I weigh 210 he weighs about 220. We really only carry fishing gear for a one day float on the river of about 8 miles. This stretch of river is mostly flat water, riffles, class Is and an occassional class II. I have seats already lowered with 4" extenders.

It is a fine canoe all in all, but for my taste, it is just too wobbly in still water. Every person I have taken with me has even commented on the "wobbliness" of this canoe in still water.

I only use this canoe for fishing on rivers. Unlike my brother-in-law, I have no desire just to "paddle around" I chose a canoe because it is the easiest craft for two people to use on the rivers I fish (carrying, shallow areas, dodging rocks, fitting into tight spaces between rocks, etc.) I don't care about how difficult a canoe will be to paddle on flat water because I will have a trolling motor mounted on the side of the canoe for propulsion and when I'm in current, well, the current will be enough to propel the canoe. I just want to concentrate on fishing without having that "I think I'm about to tip" feeling in the back of my mind.

I want a canoe with great initial stability that will allow me to get through the occasional class II that I encounter and one that is at least 16' to avoid smacking my buddy with my casts. Should I consider the Wenonah Kingfisher or the Old Town Camper?..or do you recommend something else?

Looks Like You Covered All…
…the bases. Putting another 75-100 lbs dead weight below the gunnels amidships would improve things a little. The thing is, us 200lb human beings that sit there above the gunnels are what makes the boat feel unstable! I’m pretty much a solo paddler only, so this boat behaves MUCH differently for me, than for you. I see where you’re coming from now. A “Flattish” shallow arch WOULD be better for your needs. Even boats I feel are very stable to paddle, like my Wenonah Adirondack, can be different “Creatures” when you have two people fishing. I think you’re right on target with that Wenonah Kingfisher. Two others would be the Mad River Revelation (I think they changed the name to 17’ Explorer like they changed the St. Croix to a 14’ Explorer), and the Great Canadian Adirondack Sportsman. I owned a 14’ Adirondack Sportsman for years, only sold it when I moved away from MO for a couple of years. The supposedly brittle glass of this canoe withstood many years of boney Ozark Rivers. And I hear Great Canadian’s glass is even better now. I usually check final stability in my boats right off the bat. I found I could not move this canoe, I would fall out before I could get the gunnel down. And the seats are by far the most comfortable canoe seats on the market. Here’s a link. Hope that helps! WW

Pics of Shannon, Our Adirondack…
…Sportsman. Named it after my favorite county in MO. WW

Now that…
…is the kind of stability I want. That is the kind you describe in the Adirondack Sportsman 14. The only thing to hold me back from this is the length. I’m afraid I would need at least 16’ to avoid hitting my buddy with my casts.

Haven’t Paddled the Kingfisher…
…but it might be just the ticket! Beware, with the wide, flat hull it will probably oilcan in royalex. I have an old tuffweave 'glass Wenonah with lots of life, I’d buy it over the royalex. Take care. WW

Tuffweave vs. royalex
They make the kingfisher in tuffweave and it is 5 lbs lighter than the royalex version. Can tuff-weave handle the conditions that I encounter, which includes quite a bit of “rock dragging” in shallow water and “rock bumping” in moving water?

Dragging’s a Bit Rough, But…
…Ozark streams are rocky too. I have frequent scraping, bumps, and have two broaches that didn’t break the hull. I will pull it up on the gravel bar and sit on the bow or stern, scrape through shallows. The gelcoat will scratch, chip, and scrape off if treated this way, but it can be touched up. Remember, you drag a royalex hull arround on gravel and rock and you’ll scrape off the vinyl layer eventually too. The royalex will be a little more forgiving when used extensively on rock and gravel, and whitewater, but the tuffweave doesn’t have to be babied. It’s a tough choice, I’d Hope that helps. WW

You mentioned the Spirit II…

– Last Updated: Jan-09-05 8:58 PM EST –

I usually don't like to pass on my biased opininion (I have a Spirit II) but you mentioned it in your original post and it does meet all of your criteria. My brother and I nearly hit 500lbs combined and it handles us with ease. At 17' we don't come close to one another when casting. It's my boat of choice for the class I gravelly rivers down here due to the shallow arch bottom (Royalex) and slight rocker. I can stand up in it in calm water, but is still fun to paddle and faster and more efficient than most dedicated fishing canoes. At 67 lbs. I can portage it short distances and cartop it myself.
I'm real big on being able to enjoy going from point A to point B efficiently. Some of the other boats will be more stable, but the Spirit II is a great all around canoe.

Visit a local
outfitter today and they told me to take a good look at the Old Town Camper and compare it to the Kingfisher. They said it is an extremely stable canoe that can be used in up to class II water and it is made of royalex. Anyone have any experience with the OT camper?

Trade in
Took the plunge today and traded in my MR Explorer 14TT on a brand new Old Town 17’ Tripper. I could not believe I bought a wider and longer and stabler boat that weighs the same as my MR! I can not wait until it warms up!

It looks like a great boat. Be sure to give us your paddle and fishing reports.

The gunnel may be too high
My experience is that anything above 14 inches in height or 16 feet in length will get caught in the wind very easily. But your boat is heavily loaded, so it may not be as bad. Keep us posted how it works out for you.

By the way, I agree with you that using a trolling motor frees up more time for fishing.

drinkers prefer shallow arched designs. had to get rid of my mr malecite, could not keep a beer upright in that boat,

v(moving water) vs. arch(slow water)
pretty much sums up the difference in suitability for the v versus the shallow arch hulls. The arguments about which is actually is “better” often omit which type of water the hull is used in. I have preferred shallow arch hulls for lakes and slow rivers. This suitability does not apply to a true round hull, which will run supreme in any type of water, given the paddler is capable of staying upright. Enjoy your new canoe!