Solo Penebscot 15 info

Ok so, I may have an opportunity to purchase a rare Solo Penebscot 15. It’s used but looks in good condition. I just want to make sure its what I want in a boat but information about it is really hard to find. I want a boat that is great for taking multi-week trips on. I’m not a very big guy, I’m about 5’7" and about 135 lbs. I need something lightish to portage with. I also want something that is not going to get pushed around super easily by wind and chop.

Any info at all would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Please be more specific about maker
and material. Around here, “Penobscot” usually means Old Town Penobscot, and the 15 might be too wide and too heavy for your intended use. Is there a “Solo” company that makes a Penobscot?

Old Town. Not made anymore. Rare.

Where is it?
I’ll buy it out from under you.

Rocker and stems
The Penobscot does not have much rocker, and it has plumb stems. This makes it a somewhat hard tracking boat that does not turn handily. If your intended use is more for flat water than moving water it would be an alright choice. The boat is probably a bit big for someone your size, but you did say you were going out for weeks at a time so you will need the load carrying capability that it affords.


In what way…
will size of the boat be a factor?

Do you mean, it will be too heavy for someone of my size, or do you mean that a solo boat needs more weight in it to help weigh it down?

Thank you

Buy it and see
OT makes fairly wide boats that are in the middle to high end for weight. Will you have good reach to the water from your paddling position? We can play armchair quarterback all day and night but until you try it you just won’t know. Plus looks like someone would take the boat off your hands if it doesn’t work. It may take 2 to 3 boat purchases before you figure out what you like in a boat.

Its a fine big river boat
Whike it might be wide chances are on our Missippi River trip you will paddle it backwards from the bow seat.

Performance tripping canoes like the Magic are best suited to small chop lakes and not whirlpooly rivers with barge waves.

I would buy the 15 in a heartbeat if I were in your shoes and I have a barnful of small solos that are narrow and long.

The Penobscot takes its name from the quieter sections of the Penobscot River in Maine… Not the class 5 Cribworks but the class 1 and barely 2 sections above Rip Dam. Thats what it was designed for… OT does not tend to throw names around if they don’t fit

I wish it were still made

With a nice yoke something that weight
is not difficult, but it does depend on the size/weight boat you’re comfortable paddling.

It’s the Penobscot 15 SOLO - one seat

Boats and gloves
Purists believe that boats and paddlers should fit like a hand in a glove. Someone your size would fit better in a boat that was a little bit narrower and shorter. That would give you an easier reach with the paddle to the water. You can compensate for that by heeling the boat a bit toward the paddling side or, by using a double bladed paddle.

Size is not a deal killer here.


Wide solo but not too wide Kinda the dimensions of my Raven which is a true river boat with a lot more rocker.

Pictures are worth a ton of snarky words

Email sent.

Rare = rarely sold?
I’ve never seen nor even heard of a 15’ solo Penobscot until this thread. That lack of market presence would concern me re the effectiveness of its design. Old Town made some real dog solo canoes for both white and flat water.

I’m quite familiar with the 16’ Penobscot, which has been a top Old Town seller for decades, but I personally don’t care for it as either a tandem or solo canoe.

Penobscot 15

– Last Updated: Apr-04-15 12:45 AM EST –

I owned a Penobscot 15, and didn't have any real issues with it pesonally. It is rather heavy, it will not turn on a dime, and it does not have much glide. It is very stable, and will haul a large paddler, and a heavy load of gear. A lot more fun to paddle on moving water rivers than on rivers with little current.
I would never have considered taking it on anything above low class 2. If you are making hard, fast turns, and dodging boulders/obstacles; you had better have your route well planned ahead of time. Mine was very well made; the fit & finish was excellent.

I am a 6'4" tall, and weigh about 225 lbs.
I have a lot of paddling experience.
I would not suggest it to anyone who is the original poster's height & weight; particularly if they will be doing quite a bit of portaging, or if they don't have quite a bit of paddling skills.

I regret having sold mine to some degree, but it was one of my canoes that I seldom used, and I needed space for other canoes.


P.S. I wonder how much concerned the original poster is about Penobscot 15's "market presence"?
They never mentioned it as a concern?

I love commentary & concerns expressed about specific canoes by paddlers who've never heard of, seen, or paddled the canoe in question.

Yep! Old Town probably did make some "dogs".
Dagger, Bell, Mad River, Blue Hole, Esquif, Wenonah, Blackhawk, and all the other companies never produced a "dog". Every model they made were all just wonderful........NOT!

not common
The 15’ solo Penobscot is not common. An older guy, aren’t we all, in our paddling group has one that he bought used from a paddle shop for 300 bucks. I think they sold it cheap. He uses a double blade and runs some class II with it. That is the only one I’ve ever seen.


The market presence issue
I thought this was an obvious issue.

If a product is taken off the market after a short time, it’s almost always because it didn’t sell. Most things don’t sell because they have features that don’t work well or are unpopular – i.e., they are “dogs”.

I don’t have to have owned or even have seen a Yugo to know that I don’t want to buy a used one.

They sell well & are popular…

– Last Updated: Apr-04-15 12:44 PM EST –

They sell well & are wildly popular.
The makers churn em out on assembly lines by the thousands.
Therefore big box store "pumpkinseeds" must be well designed, and have few if any paddling issues? Ideal boats.

Certainly the Penobscot 15 is/was NOT the perfect canoe for "everyman", but they sufficed quite well for quite a few paddlers. I could be wrong, but I think that anyone who actually owned & paddled one on a regular basis for a couple of years became a better paddler.

Believe it or not; some paddlers don't mind paddling an older, less than perfect canoe model, that requires some skill & effort to effectively paddle.

My concern about the original poster buying a Penobscot 15 is the paddler's weight vs the weight of the Penobscot. If the paddler could deal with the weight issue; I think the Penobscot 15 might be a good learner boat for them. Buy it, paddle it for a couple of years, then sell it, and more on to something more desirable.

One thing I don't think the paddler needs is a candy colored, metal flaked, 3 thousand dollar, vestal virgin made showboat.


P.S. How many of the Lotus & Blackhawk canoes were wildly popular, and best sellers? Were they all "dogs"
I don't think so.

P 15
Old Town’s Penobscot 15 was made in RX, RL and composites. At 15’X 30" with slab sides it closely resembled their earlier CJ Solo and was never considered to be top design in that short age of intense solo canoe development, but it was and is a capable solo tripper.

It is probably a little wide and too heavy for the OP, but there must be a start line, and if the thing has a little too much skin friction, is a little too wide to easily encourage vertical paddleshaft strokes, and is a little heavy to tote, it’s still a beginning. There will be others.

I was once taller and stronger and had convinced myself I didn’t need a

Kevlar Curtis Vagabond at 28 lbs, I could handle the 36 lb glass one. Then one day I was moving boats and had a Kev Vag in one hand, a glass on in the other. We refer to that as a moment of disruptive change. The Kev version arrived in a month.

Similarly, OP can find better designs at half the weight, but that may or may not be at the end of a learning curve. I don’t understand denigrative references to state of the art canoes. Textreme, Innegra and infusion make stronger, lighter boats, and integral rails, and composite outfitting further lowers weight and maintenance.

As a bird hunter, I need to use side by sides due to cross eye dominance. The best doubles made were the Purdey Woodridge over-unders once available around, now over, $300K. Just because I can’t afford one and couldn’t shoot one well doesn’t justify knocking them. They approach perfection as a tools and works of art.

Denigrative references…

– Last Updated: Apr-06-15 6:16 PM EST –

Denigrative references can sometimes be given with a wink. There is a reason my mother referred to me as the joker. Not everything I write is designed to be taken literally.

The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby is one of a series of 22 essays in a book by Thomas Wolfe. I changed the wording around & added vestal virgins.
The 22 essays have no particular unifying theme. They were an experimental technique in non fiction writing by Wolfe, who was interested in status, culture, and style. The essay in question centered on the car culture, Ed Roth, and George Barris, and their philosophy of customization. Barris took a pure art approach, while Roth's designs were for drivers.

Textreme, Innegra, and infusion make stronger boats; integral rails, and composite outfitting lower weight and maintenance. At a price.

I'm just not sure the OP is prepared to pay the price, nor do I see the "need" for the OP to do so. Maybe later? Based on his stated usage & purpose, it sounds to me like he needs a Roth canoe, not a Barris?

Status, culture, and style pervades many venues.
Take it all with a pinch of salt..........


P.S. I'd love to have a 300 thousand dollar shotgun!
I'd sell it & buy a Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake
Streamline Baby, and put the rest of it in the bank.