Solo canoes

So awhile back I asked the opinion of solo canoes vs sea kayaks and I got some great responses. I have more or less settled down on the idea of getting a Bell Magic. However I ran into someone last night who says they are horrible and he prefers the Wenonah Voyager.


Im headed out camping tonight so I will check back in a couple of days for responses. Thanks everyone!

Have him define horrible
The Bell Magic is a good boat. Perhaps he found the Bell a bit tender and is a sitter for which the Voyager may be better for calm water. ’

The Magic is far superior for sea handling and has better secondary stability.

Maybe he was a bigger guy for which the Voyager was designed. Its very big and deep.

Solo canoes have to be fit to the paddler. What is horrid for one is excellent for another.

People always look for the perfect boat. They ought to be looking for the most ideal paddler boat combination.

if someone tells you
A reputable boat by a reputable company is horrible, I wouldn’t trust anything they say after that.

I agree with Km
I have her old Magic II and like it. I think the Magic II was a bit better boat than the Magic I, but don’t see how the Advantage is any better. I reckon it comes down to a personal choice.


The Voyager is a beast in the wind with
a light load. The Magic behaves relatively well in the wind when lightly loaded.

What’s a Magic II? Never heard of one.
Did you mean Merlin II?

I love my Magic
It was lovely crossing Lake Champlain Plattsburg to Swanton. We had some wind and waves but nothing crazy. I felt pretty secure and confidant.

I don’t love my Voyager nearly as well. I’ve had trouble controlling that in the wind. I don’t feel as secure or confident in that either.

I go 200 lbs and kneel in both boats. I’ve paddled the Magic bare and with 110 lbs + of gear and been happy. I’ve only paddled the Voyager bare. I think a load might improve my perception of that.

Reviews on pnet
Have you looked at the 35 reviews of the Bell Magic posted in pnet’s review section?

Might give you some other’s insight…


Magic vs Voyager

– Last Updated: Sep-12-14 12:45 PM EST –

I too prefer the Bell Magic to the Wenonah Voyager.

You might also consider giving the Wenonah Prism a try.

I’ve owned both and …
echoing others the Voyager without a significant load is a bear in the wind. The Voyager is faster and if you want to carry a large load and get wherever you want to go in a hurry the Voyager will do the job.

BTW, I still own the Magic, but have sold the Voyager.

No the Voyager is NOT always faster

Now my head hurts.

I’m not going to read all that, and…
if I did it I’m not convinced that it would refute my statement. However, I will say that in my experience and when I’m paddling the two canoes the Voyager is faster.

BTW, any assertion about one canoe compared to another should be read with the caveat “in my experience” including yours about the Magic’s sea handling.

because its not anectdotal

– Last Updated: Sep-12-14 4:39 PM EST –

Being quite familiar with DY's design experience and his philosophy, there is way more than IMO involved.

To understand with any degree of depth sometimes you have to "read all that".. There are reasons why bigger is not always better. John Winters is a noted canoe designer who is willing to share a little of what he is truly expert in.

There are significant differences in hull cross sections of the two discussed boats which leads to one having more secondary stability than the other. Go feel them both out. Seriously.. Eyes closed.

Sometimes if you dislike or like a boat its nice to know WHY it works or doesn't work. And that involves more than sound bytes or cartoons.

Of course numbers can be useful, …
particularly in a measureable such as secondary stability. Which by the way, I did not address and is not the only factor in “sea handling” or speed. Both of those are impacted by individual factors (anecdote), for example put 500 lbs in a Magic and a Voyager and head across a windy and wavy lake and see which one handles the sea and gets across first.

So you are exactly correct, bigger isn’t always better, but sometimes it is.

Additionally, if you polled paddlers who have paddled both the Magic and the Voyager I would be willing to bet that the majority of them would say the Voyager is faster.

And finally, the Voyager is prohibited from competing in the stock class at most races because of its numbers and speed potential.

you will not

– Last Updated: Sep-12-14 9:40 PM EST –

believe Wenonah speed ! When I carry a Solstice and Rendezvous on a Ford van roof, rpm to run 70 mph drops 150 rpm.