Solo canoe choice

Take a look at the Wenonah Sandpiper


the mind is a wonderful thing
The edge does actually hold…Mark has some good heeling drills.

Nobody was born knowing canoe skills. Heeling is so much a matter of practice and getting comfortable. Its not innate for most people. Time and time again I see folks tense up and hold their breath…sort of like I used to do on whitewater (and the wipeout was inevitable!). That alone makes one shaky.

The Wild does firm up as well as Flash and the Birds don’t as dramatically (I think it is the radius of the shoulder, not sure)but Kestrel wont go over if your head stays in bounds.

I love pushing Peregrine rail to the water…sometimes you can get it below the water…because there is a turn involved there is a wave that prevents water coming in at least till the turn stops.

Mohawk Solo 13 works pretty well to and its far loose to turn unheeled.

If you are a sitting paddler all this babble about heel doesnt apply.

I kneel
maybe 70% of the time. I enjoyed the Osprey but sold it around the time I was having a kidney removed for cancer. Also sold a couple of kayaks at the time as I wasnt sure if I would be paddling again. Kayaking bothers this old lopsided body but canoeing feels fine. I usually tandem paddle a Bell Northstar with one of my kids. My son loves the Hemlock Kestrel so my hunt for a new solo is partially motivated by his brazen theft of my boat! Anyway these responses are helpful and clarify my search.

I have a Wildfire and
a Solo 13. I have paddled the Silver River upstream in the Bell and also have paddled the Solo 13 upstream on other creeks. I use a single blade. It sure is a lot easier coming back downstream. I’m 5’4" and 140. I prefer the Wildfire.

Only on my current kayak
You said: “You find it easier to climb out of a kayak than to get from kneeling position in a canoe?”

I don’t want to kneel in any boat, I’d rather sit. My

Hurricane Santee 116 Sport has cockpit opening of 55" x 34". While sitting, just swing your legs out and stand up. Almost like sitting in, and getting up from, a beach chair.

I’ve mentioned this before,…

– Last Updated: Dec-03-08 9:53 PM EST –

...but in my experience it is VERY rare to find shallow water at a deadfall crossing on a small river, so swinging your legs over the side of the boat and standing up is almost never an option. In most cases, even a moderate increase in current speed around the tangled logs gouges out a hole which is much too deep to allow you to simply step over the side. I paddle several rivers where deadfall crossings are the norm, and I have only seen one instance where stepping out onto the river bottom was possible. That's one reason why I always point out that canoes are the best way to negotiate these rivers. Add to that the fact that fallen trees are often arranged in ways that are less than accomodating for allowing your boat to park alongside a log, and it all adds up to the kayakers on the trip all requiring assistance to get through, while the solo canoers do fine on their own. There's no bashing of kayaks intended here, only pointing out the obvious when it comes to these sorts of little rivers.

By the way, that's part of the excitement of deadfall crossings, knowing that a slip or misplaced step will land you in water that's most likely about 8 feet deep. I'm still waiting for my first spectacular plunge (so far I've only managed to soak one entire leg a couple of times), and with any luck, it'll happen on a group trip and be photographed.

your son has good taste in boats
just like you do! Good luck in your search, I have to agree with Kayamedic that the Kestrel is a good boat for the Lox. I have done the Lox down and upcurrent and it does take a bit (for an inexperienced paddler like me)but I can make that boat turn in the twisty creeks at a good clip.

Keep us posted as to which one you end up with. I can always dream of my next canoe.

So, are you getting out of the canoe

– Last Updated: Dec-03-08 10:48 PM EST –

at the deadfalls? Or are you staying in the canoe and working your way over them? Most of our downed trees requre exiting the boat and dragging it over or around the tree.

I find it much easier to get out of a canoe that I'm sitting off the floor in than if I'm kneeling.

I got in and out of my kayak so many times on one very low water trip that my abs were sore for about three days.

Both: Drag-over or thread-through
When possible, I find a way through without exiting the boat, but often it’s necessary to climb out and manhandle the boat. I don’t give much thought to kneeling and getting out of the boat; I just slide one foot out from under the seat and then the other. Kneeling also lets me strongly push or pull the canoe sideways against the current, heeling the boat if need be, a process which do quite weakly by comparison when I’m sitting (getting sideways to the current while stationary is often necessary in these spots), and it also lets me quickly lean forward with my body as low as the gunwales to scoot under logs, which can be done while sitting but is more awkward for me. On such rivers, I mostly do daytrips by myself. I know only a couple of people who willingly deal with this kind of “hassle”, but it does lead to fine solitude on what are otherwise very accessible and pretty rivers.

for all the help. The kestrel is a keeper and I never had a doubt about that. Sometimes think about a second so two of us can solo. Or a boat a bit different for the river. Its all fun.

Compact Folks

– Last Updated: Dec-04-08 11:36 AM EST –

Smaller folks need canoes that fit. The key is getting ones knees into the chines with ones backside lodged on the seat. we can move the seat up or down some, but, mostly, short thighs can only spread so far. [I would know, my legs are so short they barely reach the ground.]

There are three canoes available that are 27.5" wide, from Hemlock and Placid, two at 28" from Sawyer, four that are 28.5 in wide, from Hemlock, Placid and Savage and three at 29" from Bell and Wenonah, so more compact people who wish to kneel to maximize their hull control have limited choices. All those 30" bottoms folks are suggesting will not fit you. At all.

The issue is not only that your knees won't reach the chines. Thick knee blocks can provide a body/boat weld, but compact people generally aren't wide enough in the shoulders to be able to get both hands across the rail of a 30" hull to use a vertical forward stroke. With the top hand inside the rail every forward stroke is a sweep and the world is dukka.

The next questions are length and rocker. Longer is faster if you have the bottom end and inclination to paddle hard, and, with width ~set, longer also means better tracking. Of the skinny twelve, eleven are tripping boats with minimal rocker, sometimes differential, and length/width ratios around seven. Only two have enough rocker to easily attain a river, one with a length/width ratio, ~6, indicating easy maneuverability.

With your stated aversion to that boat, Loon Works and Dog Paddle offer custom made solo boats. One can dial in one's own specs. So it goes foe the vertically challenged.

Send your email address and I'll return a comprehensive comparison sheet of every production solo available.

Last time I paddled the Lox we had a tandem StarFire and it was a blast pulling off some moves on the river while watching novice kayakers ricochet off tree trunks.

If you would like a “guest” boat for possible company the Mohawk Solo 13 is a good fit. People can sit in it and kneel. While its a bit too wide for my knee spread, its of a degree that it simply is not my favorite boat. But its quite usable. And it fits a wide range of paddlers and abilities.It has a little more initial stability for those with qualms

I actually used it recently on a Buffalo river trip with a tripping load and had a great time.

Lox River
running mid height today. Just got back from a trip with my daughter in the Nortstar. Mild flow but only one other rental boat on the river. I try to get up once a week but weekends are pretty crowded. Good suggestions on the solo. If I could spring it I would go with the Flash but I have to unload my CD Kitsilano kayak first. Nice touring boat but anything more than an hour in a kayak is a literal pita.

ever solo the northstar
i bet it would be pretty sweet going downstream

Too Big
for me to solo. I have soloed a Swift Mattawa several times which is a great light tandem/solo if you install a kneeling thwart. Great all around boat that lends itself to solid leans, carves well. Very good latent stability as with the Swift Osprey. A blast for a light bow paddler of some skill. I taught my kids to bow paddle in a Mattawa and they developed strokes courtesy of Bill Mason and their own ingenuity.