solo canoe vs sea kayak

So I live in Idaho and have dropped kayaking for canoeing. I have a Wenonah Recon and Mad River Courier. They are fun boats but I do miss paddling on the big lakes around here. I used to have a Necky Looksha 17 but it is long gone. I am considering buying a fiberglass kayak but would like to stick with canoes. From personal experience would something like a Bell Magic keep up with a touring kayak on average?

This will come close… especially with a double ended paddle

Depends on the paddlers

– Last Updated: Aug-30-14 9:33 PM EST –

If there is no adverse wind an efficient solo canoe such as the Bell Magic or the Wenonah Advantage or Sawyer Shockwave, paddled sit and switch with a decent stroke cadence can keep up, or at least come close, to a kayak paddler of similar ability paddling a decent touring sea kayak.

But canoes are put at a significant disadvantage when the wind comes up as they just have so much more windage.

damn wind
So it looks like I am on the right path. We get a lot of wind here in Idaho so that is why I was considering another touring kayak but I am trying to stick with a canoe. I guess it would just have to come down to bucking up and dealing with wind when it comes up.

For wind, there’s a third option

– Last Updated: Aug-30-14 10:32 PM EST –

I almost never suggest getting a good rowboat because very few paddlers want anything to do with them. Also, good designs, like some version of an Adirondack guide-boat (I use one, and a smaller boat that's somewhat similar), are expensive and hard to find on the used market. Still, when it comes to going into a stiff wind, or even maintaining good speed when the wind is from other directions, rowing is very easy and effective (for example, that rear-quartering wind that people constantly talk about as being their bugaboo is a piece of cake when rowing, and keeping a steady 4 mph when going straight into a 25-mph wind is easy too). A skilled sea kayaker might still be faster (this seems likely, but the ones I've actually met on windy days don't seem to be any faster when going upwind), but when it's windy, the comparison to a solo canoe isn't even close.

the third option
Yea Ill pass on that lol. I think ill end up with a good canoe and learn to deal with the wind correctly. Although I still may end up with a wood strip kayak because they are pretty.

Ya see?
Another paddler who thinks “lol” about rowing.

Hey, I’m kidding.

Wenonah Advantage or Voyager
These are both fast canoes and can easily be paddled with a double blade. They should be up to the task.

The Voyager sucks in windy conditions.

not all of us
A friend of mine who was a champion kayak slalom racer and long time sea kayak paddler recently acquired an Adirondack guide boat and is quite excited about it. I’d love to have one myself someday. Much as I love kayaks, I find as I get older that the flexibility in sitting position in canoes has a lot going for it for longer outings.

Brian Schulz of Cape Falcon Kayaks has made some amazing superlight skin on frame guideboats:

As one who paddles both;
I would say no.

However if the group you paddle with are like most of our friends, you would all be going at the same speed.

Just don’t expect them to be happy with you on rough windy days when they are nice and secure in their spray skirts

Jack L

Hate to admit it…
But I am considering getting a sea kayak for ocean paddling. You need to have the right boat for the conditions, and there are definitely times when an open canoe is not the right boat for the ocean.

Canoes can even beat kayaks
I was in a race a couple of years ago, and several of the racing canoes came in with faster times than the racing kayaks.

I did not finish with one of those fast times :wink:

Just as fast
With a single blade

Because of the rudder hi cadence paddling with a light bent shaft requires no switching

Have such a boat and just finished up Superior trips using both paddles. Actually the double in my case was a knuckle banger on the coaming

Also look at the Placid boats
The Shadow will outrun most sea kayaks

If I were interested on day paddling big lakes that would be my choice. Some pack canoes are quite fast with great seaworthiness and sea kindliness. Befor I had a sea canoe I paddled a RapidFire on the Gulf of Mexico the Gulf of Maine and Lake Superior

I agree
I too would cross the Voyager off the list. It is a very long, solo canoe that catches a lot of wind when paddled empty, especially by a small to medium sized paddler.

It also has a tendency to sometimes “lock on” to a sidewind, getting blown laterally over the water, and it can be difficult to get either of those long, pointy ends to turn up into the wind.

But it is fast in calmer conditions.

Prefer canoes, too!
The Kruger canoes are great! Any good canoe with a fitted cover virtually eliminates the wind issue. I fitted one of our tripping canoes with a cover and a rudder and it is fast and as capable as we need. We paddled it around Manhattan last August, punching through steep ferry wakes and shedding both the water and the wind. Single blade bent shaft paddles for us!

Wow, an impressive project (nm)

I am in the same boat as you. I used to paddle sea kayaks for my long big water trips, but the canoe kept on calling me. I bought a wenonah advantage, installed a smart rudder, and made a spray skirt for it. The rudder makes paddling in the wind easy. The spray skirt helps with the larger waves. I am 5’10’ 185 pounds, and I feel at ease in it. As far as being as fast as a sea kayak, I’m not sure. I recently paddled the mr340 in the advantage and I got 19th in mens solo at 58 hours and 33 minutes. So I beat a lot of real fancy kayaks and some not so fancy kayaks beat me. My average speed was six miles an hour. It did seem on the straight aways the kayaks were faster. The advantage I had over the kayak was comfort and the ability to switch my position around. So I was able to stay in my canoe up to 30 hours at a time. The rudder made all the difference in the world though, I won’t go back. Sorry for rambling on, I would say the sea kayak is faster, but really it’s all in the paddler.

Yeah, he’s quite a craftsman. And his blog and website is one of my favorites. Interesting guy with a lot of neat projects as well as an excellent photographer and writer.