solo canoes seaworthy?

kayaks and canoes
Chad, I paddle out of E City, Chokoloskee, Flamingo and Biscayne Bay. If you are planning a trip please email me. I am interested in trying the Rob Roy although I already have the Vagabond and unless I sell it can’t buy anything else.

The Vagabond is a really nice day tripping canoe and an awesome fishing platform for these coastal waters. It’s just that when you put too much weight in it…it’s reaaal slow.

Which brings me to yet ANOTHER question for you the experts. I finally got a trip date planned so I can take this boat out on an overnight with a group of my kayaking buddies. We all have pretty long/fast touring kayaks…will a solo canoe be totally incompatible in such a mixed group?

“We all have pretty long/fast touring kayaks…will a solo canoe be totally incompatible in such a mixed group?”

Offer to carry all the beer- they’ll wait!

They have all figured out how
to bring beer along. Freeze the heineken cans (the ones that look like little barrels) and store in soft cooler. Ice cold all day…will ice the pre made dinner too.

So this option won’t work to slow them down.

"Long fast touring kayaks"
The question might not be the type of boats, but the type of paddlers. Do these folks paddle fast, or just average? With a double-blade paddle, I can paddle my Vagabond as fast as the “average” sea kayaker with no trouble, but if the paddler of the sea kayak is used to going fast and wants to cover some ground, I wouldn’t want to be trying to keep up with them. It all comes back to the age-old rule, that no boat excels at a multitude of tasks. Next time plan a trip in an area with tight, twisty channels with lots of obtacles to thread through, or over and under, and then you can let them worry about keeping up with you!

you are right, I’ll just fish along the way and meet them at the campsite. There is no way I could keep up with them as they are fast and don’t stop to fish either.

I really hope this solo canoe thing works out. I just lost my storage unit and need to sell my touring kayak unless I can find a place to store it for a reasonable price. I can fit a 14 - 6 boat on my patio so a solo canoe is perfect. Just posted on short fast kayaks thread to see if there are any kayaks that would be fast enough in that range.

Thanks for all your reply’s!

wenonah Prism in wind and waves
Ive just had a hairy experience in a Prism in 28mph wind and upto 3’ waves. Basically it took me 2hours to extracate myself because the boat just wanted to broach all the time. I could keep it stern to the waves with some effoert, but that led to some bow plunging surfing. Trying to keep the waves off the stern quarter was desperatly difficult but very necessary.

I tried adusting the trim but to little effect, though I was unable to do anything too radical for fear of capsize.

I came to the conclusion that the wave action on the long keel line was having more effect than the wind, and that trimming stern heavy was making matters worse.

I did take some waves over the gunnel, but nothing too bad , thankfully, 'cos I couldn’t have let go of the paddle to bail.

Also, I cannot get back into this boat once capsized, as I discovered two days later. :frowning:

I’ve had nearly the exact same experience with my MR Indy solo on a large lake in the BWCA. It was a continuous struggle to avoid broaching in following waves/wind. Shifting the pack behind me further to the stern helped only slightly. Such conditions are a breeze with either of my touring sea kayaks (they have skegs). That old canoe is pretty much a wallflower nowdays.

try a little rocker
most wenonah boats seem to be known for bad behavior in wind and waves.

you are not making me feel any
better about taking this solo canoe out…may have to rethink and get the kayak ready.

Just looking at the Vagabond specs. With 1 1/4" of rocker it may not be so bad.

Again just reading the specs, Chads Rob Roy has 1 1/2" in the bow and 3/4" in the stern.

This asumes that Wenohnah and Bell measure rocker the same way and that all other things are equal.

So it really comes back to take it out and try it.

BTW my old Current Designs Solstice had the same tendency to turn into the trough when I was trying to quarter a following sea. It isn’t just canoes.

Searching for the Sea Canoe,


Solo canoe in th eEverglades
Some of the readers here may remember Lotus Canoes. They once built the BJX (Bardy Jones Express) which was designd precisely for paddling the Everglades. It was a long, skinny, fast, and very nervous racehorse of a canoe that would keep going long after I had run out of nerve.

Take the solo! There are lots of places to hide from the wind if you have to. Head for the far reaches of the 10000 Islands on the nice days and stick to the little creeks, close-in islands and the Wilderness Waterway if it gets all windy.

My $0.02.

Oh, yeah. The double bladed paddle idea is a very good one for open water.

Steve Baker

Paddlin’ a Bell Magic these days

tommy’s right

– Last Updated: Jan-13-05 11:23 AM EST –

you have some rocker. it's mostly the advantage, prism, etc. that you see complaints about wind and waves with. i like the specs on your boat from a rocker perspective, although i do favor differential rocker that bells have.

i think you'd be OK cruising the coastal Everglades in your wenonah, especially if you have skilled partners going with you. i would suggest you add float bags for safety.

as far as the canoe's specs, johnny molloy wrote several great books on canoeing in florida using a 14'6" old town solo. he seemed to do just fine, and i'm sure you will too.

just remember to be cautious and keep in mind that you're in a canoe. i hope you don't mind me asking, but what's your stature like? smaller folks can do really well in smaller boats.

waves astern

– Last Updated: Jan-13-05 12:53 PM EST –

So is there any correlation between the way a canoe handles in a stern ferry and with waves from astern? Would a more river-oriented canoe be happier in rough open water?

i’m no expert on river canoes, but it seems that most boats that are suitable for big river work have too much freeboard to handle big wind on open water.

the long and short of it
Short answer is I really don’t know.

The long answer is that my fairly unrockered Solstice needed the rudder to stay out of the troughs in a quartering sea. My moderately rockered Caribou doesn’t seem to have that problem. But my highly rockered Slasher C1 whitewater boat is an absolute bear in any kind of following sea. I always assumed that was because of that boats tendency to spin and not being able to see the waves coming.

Big difference between ocean waves and river waves. On the ocean the wave moves through the water. On a river the water moves through the waves.


– Last Updated: Jan-13-05 4:57 PM EST –

I have a video on solo canoeing the EGlades and it shows Bardy Jones with his canoe you mention. I have tried to look for it and now know who makes it,thanks.

As far as Johnny Molloy and his Old Town canoe. He happens to be a friend of mine and is a VERY experienced canoer and outdoorsman. I am NOT an experienced canoer so even if I had a state of the art canoe I probably don't have the skills to make it perform to it's designed purpose. But I am working on it.

Everytime I go out I learn something new. That's why it's taken me 2 years to get enough nerve to do a trip with it.

Kayaking is sooo much easier from the beginning....but does get complicated later.

In following seas I always load my kayak a bit stern heavy and have had good results in keeping control in really bad situations. I am hoping that this technique would also work in the canoe. Load heavy at bow in headwinds and heavy at stern for following seas. But from the posts above it didn't really work for them.

Chad my height is 5 6 and my weight is 160 which is why I chose the 14'6" boat as I had tried a Prism and really could not control it as much as the Vagabond in wind. The rules seem to be the smaller you are the smaller the boat. Really different thinking than what I am used to in the kayak world.

if the shoe fits?
i think you’ll do fine. getting canoe strokes down can take a while. as far as loading, i’d start with a similar approach to what you’ve done in kayaks. do you have the sliding pedistal seat in the vagabond? i’d say the capacity of the boat is what, 250 pounds? you could easily pack a week’s worth of gear with your size, water included.


– Last Updated: Jan-13-05 7:26 PM EST –

does not list the weight capacity for this canoe and they are not the best of help when I ask questions. I did not get the sliding seat version and regret it.

Next weekend I will go on an overnight with it and bring some extra water just to get a feel for the boat with at least a 3 night trip load.
Thanks for the encouragement!

sliding seat
i put a wenonah sliding seat in my rob roy and absolutely love it. you could always install a slider in your boat. being able to transfer your weight is probably the easiest and safest way to change the trim while on the water. the ability to move also makes a noticeable difference when dealing with wind and waves, especially when the boat is not loaded with 80 pounds of gear.

Tommy… the following sea problem may
suggest that the seat is a speck far forward. I have a 20 year old Phoenix C1 which I no longer paddle much, but when I did, I had most trouble in rapids like Tablesaw where the waves seemed to want to push the stern around the bow. Later, after buying a slalom C1, I realized that the seat in the Phoenix was too far forward. Although my slalom boat (a Zealot) is called a “cab forward” design, the cockpit is actually a bit farther back than the Phoenix. The Zealot is not pushed around from behind, and I guess another reason is that it has even less “behind” than your Slasher.

I think I posted recently that an excellent c-boater friend, who had run the Grand Canyon in a Noah Atlantis, bought a Slasher. Soon he took it on the Ocoee, and he flipped four times and had two bad swims between Grumpys and Double Suck. I wonder whether some of the trouble people have with the Slasher is because the seat is a bit forward. Not that you can change that much…