Souris River Tranquility - good canoe?

I’m a kayaker who is considering crossing over to the dark side. :slight_smile:

I have no clue what to buy, but I think I want a solo canoe… something lightweight, possibly kevlar, and not longer than 15.5 feet due to storage considerations. Something that will hold gear for weekend camping. Something that will not weathercock too badly on the open lake. (No whitewater.) Something that would be user friendly to a canoe-newbie, but not so basic that I’ll be looking to upgrade in six months.

Then I have to figure out how to paddle it. That whole one-bladed scene is just too weird. (j/k)


You may…
want to wait and try the new Wenonah ‘Wilderness’ model when it comes out in '08. It looks promising to me. Since the only canoe dealer within 80 miles of me dropped Bell, Clipper, and Mad River, Wenonah’s all I have. But, the Wilderness has the dimensions and purpose you describe according to Wenonah.

I was looking
at a SR Tranquility, but with the closest test boat 19 hours away I was leery of buying sight unseen. As luck would have it, I was able to get a Bell Magic in Black Gold at about 20% off. I had paddled a Magic, and knew it would be OK for me.

I had a chance to eyeball a SR-TS in AEly this spring, and from the look of the hull I would surmise it to be 1) a bit slower than a Magic, and 2) a bit “rollier” than a Magic. I do like the adjustable seat design and the ribbed hull.

Try before you buy!


I owned one. Sold it. Still paddle it

– Last Updated: Sep-04-07 9:49 AM EST –

now and then.

I have owned 3 or 4 SR. Still own a 16.

I liked the Tranquility ok, BUT I am not a fan of boats that do not turn well. I like boats that are generally better behaved. If you like Bell canoes and David Yost designs in general you will find the SR Tranquility not to your liking, a bit hard to turn. I used to have to fight it all the way around the turns of the river.

If you like We-NO-nah canoes you will like the Tranquility. It will track better than a lot of the solos out there. And yes I believe it to be a tad slower than the more refined hulls. AS DY says, some rocker does increase speed over a straight keel.

We-NO-nahs and the SR Tranquility need to be leaned. If it has to be leaned it is not for me. "If you must lean your canoe to turn it, you are going to forget to lean it when it is critical." Not for me.

Basically the SR canoes are between the Bells and the We-NO-nahs in turning and behaving. The Tranquility is the closest still made to the We-NO-nahs. The SR Jensen solo was even harder to turn, but it has not been made in a long, LONG time.

Want some better turning hulls? You should look at some Bells (Merlin II ans Magic?) or of you want the best and like a pack canoe, look to Placid BoatWorks. Sounds like you would like a RapidFire.



I don’t know why I thought
buying a canoe would be more straightforward than a kayak, and that “try before you buy” wasn’t so critical with a canoe. Apparently, wrong. Maybe I should stick with a “beginner” boat after all, because I didn’t even know some canoes had to be leaned to turn them.

I think I will go the used route to begin with so I might run some other names by you. I am adamant about wanting something lightweight. Meanwhile will test paddle whatever I reasonably can.

Thanks for all the info. This has been helpful.

Probably best idea :^)

Wildfire or Yellowstone…
I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the Bell Wildfire (or it’s RX cousin, the Yellowstone). Depending on the layup, the Wildfire is supposed to weigh between 33-44 lbs and is a pretty good all 'round boat that fits your criteria. The Yellowstone (Royalex) is around 60 lbs, but is cheaper and pretty easy to find used (the older versions were known as Wildfire RX) as it’s a very popular boat.

Personally, I think going with a used boat is a great way to “test the waters”,


Royalex Wildfire is about 46 lbs, not 60


– Last Updated: Sep-04-07 9:46 PM EST –

I started off as a kayaker wanting to experiment with solo canoes. Did me good to do some reading and as most kayakers I started with a beginner boat. Used, not much of an upfront investment is a good idea. My first canoe was a Wenonah Vagabond and since it paddled very well with a kayak paddle and got it with footbraces. It was perfect for experimenting as it felt like an open top kayak. I would take both a bent shaft paddle and a kayak paddle. When things got too hairy (wind/waves)I would go to the kayak paddle as a crutch. The Wenonahs do track straight and this was a good thing for a canoe newbie.

I've since learned alot more but need to keep working on my single blade technique. I don't bring the kayak paddle anymore. I guess, I now feel comfortable in the canoe world. Another thing I learned is that solo canoes like kayaks need to fit. Too big and it's a handful to handle in conditions. Too small well, you get the picture.

This is a great place to ask questions. There are some incredible canoers here that will be more than happy to teach you a thing or two. They've sure helped me out!

I thought that sounded heavy. I mistakenly quoted the Yellowstone (Tandem) weight.

Either way, it’s worth a try.


How about Mad River…
Saw what I thought was an Explorer 14 on sale at an outfitter’s today but maybe I’m wrong as I don’t see it on the website. I see a plastic boat they call Explorer 14 but that’s not what I saw at the outfitters. This gets confusing.

I sort of like that Freedom Solo.

What do you think about the “canoes” that look like sit-on-tops? How are they different (better?) than a regular SOT?