Solo Canoe advice

Ok for years now I have been enjoying kayaking. Recent medical problems,and newly aquired back problems,have me thinking about a solo canoe,because of the pain I suffer, stuffed into a kayak cockpit. I still like speed,and long paddles on open water. I can’t kneel {another torture of old age},and require a seat. Not looking for a boat to haul a lot of gear. Looking for a good tracking,fast,light,solo canoe with a seat.May be selling my beloved QCC 700,so a high end boat is not out of the question. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I may get to test paddle some at Raystown this fall.

Happy Paddling billinpa

Bell and the like
you might want to look into a Bell Yellowstone solo. Maybe a used Flash Fire or Wild Fire. There really REALLY nice boats.


Wenonah Advantage
I bought a used Wenonah Advantage last fall on EBAY. I love it. Weighs about 27 lbs. I can carry it with one hand. Tracks decent, though there is more switching than i would have guessed.

The boat takes luggage well too, as i pack my dog along with me most times. Has a sliding seat so you can adjust as you go, depending on where the dog decides to sit.

Also consider a Wenonah Voyager, which is what i was looking for when i found the Advantage.

At Raystown
last fall I got to try out Topher’s Voyager, it’s every bit the rocket sled you hear about. I did not get to try it in the wind and I wonder if the high freeboard might work against you? Sunday morning we went out in the wind and Topher did not seem to have any problem.

I also got to try Bruce’s Perigrine and Wes D’s Magic. Both are really nice fast cruisers. I did get to paddle those in the wind and was quite pleased at how they handled it. I love them both but if I could pick one I’d go with the Peregrine though I can’t say why. I just liked the feel.

My solo is the Osprey. It’s a good boat, laughs at the wind. It doesn’t feel as fast as the others but it does feel easier to move at a moderate pace. Where the other three respond to a heal the Osprey does not. So you need to use your paddle to steer more than with the others.

test paddling

I have a Sawyer Shockwave and a Bell Merlin II, and Topher has a Voyager. If you are interested in checking them out, I know I could find a time to get together, and we could probably work something out with Topher. I know where there is a Bell Yellowstone Solo that we could probably borrow as well. One boat I think you’d really like is a Magic, but I don’t know anyone local that has one. Another possibility would be the Sawyer Loon that BMO has in their shop. It’s my favorite decked canoe. It’s used, so they might be willing to set up a test paddle near their place once the water thaws back out. They normally use the small pond just down the road from their shop, but it’s good enough to give you a decent impression of the boat. They sell Bell, Wenonah, Sawyer, and some other brands, so they would be a good place to get any of the boats I mentioned. They might also suggest that you check out the Wenonah Prism, which is a nice boat, but more equivalent to a QCC500.


Thanks Guys…
I may take you up on that Dave. I am afraid I am not a good one bladed paddler{wrist & thumb arthritis},and will be sticking to a kayak paddle. Any disadvantages in using 2 blades to the above mentioned boats{just call me canoe stupid}.My current kayak paddles are all 230CM in length.Thanks for all the help.

Happy Paddling billinpa

The “fire” series and Yellostone (almost a Wildfire) are indeed fine canoes. No doubt about it. I’m thinking that among the Bells the Merlin II (as c2g mentions a little further down) and the Magic might be more in the line of what you’re used to, though. In my opinion they’re straighter tracking and faster - more like a QCC 700 which you like.

Now that the old Sawyer line is on the comeback perhaps something like a Summersong or Autumn Mist would be worth looking at if there’s a dealer around where you could test paddle one. They’re pretty darned efficient in my opinion.

And if (big if) you can find one, you really ought to try one of QCC’s progenitors - like a Blackhawk Starship or Ariel. I think they’re pretty darned nice cruisers… and they do show up for sale every now and again, sometimes at a reasonable price.

HI Bill
I’ll put in my $0.02

As much as I love my Magic I would think you would be happier with one of the Wenonah’s mentioned; Advantage, Rendezvous… etc.

The Hemlock Peregrine is a fine boat but will not track the way you would like. Without kneeling the Wenonah “tractor seat” in the sliding config will be a nice feature. Additionally, the bad back will not appreciate a standard canoe seat any longer than a kayak if not kneeling. I have seen kayak back bands adapted to solo canoes and they look good. Beyond that get a standard cane or web seat (sliding) and use a strap-in, lock-in seat back. The other feature that will help is foot braces of some sort.

c2g has alot more exposure to some of these accesories than me. Also take the time to ping NT about the various and expansive possibilities.

Contact me if you want to discuss.



Demo Offer

– Last Updated: Feb-19-06 5:58 PM EST –

Any time you want to try my Voyager your welcome to. Maybe we could get McCrea to plan another Cold Cabin Susquehanna trip (west shore just below 30), and get a bunch of solo boats together.

The Wenonah Encounter would be another hull to check out. Slightly slower but more forgiving than the Voyager.

What’s going on here! First Jim Saults
and now this! Bill in PA wants a canoe! And is going to “sell my beloved QCC” Oh this is going to hurt. Two of the senior members of the QCC cult going Back to the future and all the while not wanting to give up their Greenland paddles? Raystown is the place to fall “out” of love with your cramped, back breaking kayak that is one thing for sure. Plenty of solo canoes that will carry 4 times the gear and cruse along at full speed in genuine comfort like a Cadillac.

Or maybe you should have tried the P&H Quest last year at Raystown. This is one of the most comfortable sea kayaks as far a room and seat comfort that I have ever been in. I’ll keep it for now.

I fully understand the back pain thing too. It is one reason that I have 6 canoes and only one kayak.

So far …
Mike McCrea has an uncanny ability to pick paddling dates when I am on call. Soon we are hiring a third member of our work team,and will only be on call every 3 weeks. This will put a lot more time for paddling & camping.Just post a couple of weeks in advance if you guys can,and I will see if I can join you. Yeah N.T. I started out in a canoe 27 years ago,but went to the dark side. I guess I am going full circle. So far the Advantage is looking good to me. The Voyager just may be to long,since my present 18’ kayak goes under the garage door when opened,and I can still get the car in. With a deeper hull I am afraid not.Thanks for all the offers,and I hope to get out with a few boats,and owners.

Happy Paddling billinpa

I’ve used a double paddle on…
…3 different solos so far, including my present WNN Vagabond. I carry a single, but only use it when I need a change, or rarely in a narrow passage with overhang. Depending on length, your present double(s) may cause dripping. I got a 9’ paddle specifically to stay dry. Gives tremendous leverage

on sweeps/pries.

Yeah N.T …
I may have the hardest time giving up my greenland paddle. Anybody paddle a canoe with a greenland?? {I know some of you were messing around with them at Raystown} Part of my problem is a slipped disc in my neck that pinches a nerve that cause my right arm to “burn like *ell” . I can’t sleep on my side anymore ,and have been sleeping in a lounge chair so my head remains upright. That keep the burning to a minimum,but is affecting my back{old injury}. Arm strength is not affected, Thank God. Paddling in a cramped position just cranks up the back. I may not sell the “beloved 700” ,but I see little choice,because of lack of storage.Still a little unsure about this decision,but a few test paddles may clear that up.Thanks Again !

Happy Paddling billinpa

Well keep this in mind.
Seat options for canoes are endless and for me a backrest is a big pluss, foot braces and many other creature comforts are easy to install and adjust. Easy to lift is another thing to consider. Some very good solo boats weigh in at less than 40 lbs. (16’ Magic Kevlight 32 lbs)

You don’t need to give up speed, some solo canoes will move out with the fastest kayaks when paddled with a double.

New fast solos are being designed as we speek and the future for solo canoes is looking very good. Gaterings like Raystown fuel the desire.

You can paddle a canoe with
anything you like. They are just further off the awter , so you need more length.

2 canoes & double blades

– Last Updated: Feb-19-06 11:32 PM EST –

Double blades work fine. McCrea has some longer ones that I'm sure he'd let you try. I think we might have a photo of him with a single blade, but as long as he keeps sending us money every couple of months, we won't publish it.

When you talk about fitting under the garage door, are you talking about the length of the boat or the depth? If you are talking about depth, the Advantage is 13" deep at the center; The Loon is 12" deep at the center; and the Shockwave is 12" deep at the center. For the Bells, the Merlin II is also 12" deep at the center and the Magic is 12'5" deep at the center. I had forgotten about the Placid Rapidfire. It's only 11" deep at the center and Mick says it's pretty fast. I think that's a sit-on-bottom boat, though. The Hemlock Peregrine is another 12" deep boat.

Welcome to kaynoeing! I can’t kneel
and have some physical limitations. We set up a Mowhawk Odyssey 14 so I can run rivers. It’s super stable and comfortable. Web seat, backband, adjustable footpegs, 240cm kayak paddle. I wouldn’t want a longer paddle, but if you’re taller you might.

Since you paddle flatwater and want to go fast you will want something made for that. The Blackhawk Ariel is light and fast, but tender. Have fun shopping!

Hemlock Nessamuk
I think a sit on bottom would be perfect. Hemlock makes two that are designed for double bladed paddles and are super light. The Nessmuk and NessmukXL range from 14-25 lbs.

I think a sit on bottom is still a
problem. I had my Voyager seat pedestal cut down so I am about 3" off the bottom and it is comfortable.

Hey Dave…
My present kayak is 18" long. When I open the over head door the door goes over top of the kayak. Meaning when the door is open the kayak is below the door. It is only 9" in depth which allows me only 6’2" under the hull to park the car. I have about 8" of spare space between the car ,and the kayak bottom. If another hull that depth is greater, I can’t get my wife’s car in ,and it will be a real head banger. From the rear wall to the opened door edge is 16’8",so anything longer will have to hang low enough to have the door open over top. The Advantage is looking like the model that will fit my space,and be hung high enough to miss the open garage door edge.The more I think about speed,the only place I would need speed is with the SC. NASCAR paddlers. I am still researching what may best work for how I want to paddle. Give we a shout when you want to get together{hopefully McCrea won’t pick my on call weekend}At this point the Voyager is out simply because of size problems for storage,and it’s a bit bigger then I need. Anything 16’6" or under would work. Thanks again.

Happy Paddling billinpa