Stable craft

When I was younger, I used to enjoy our old aluminum canoe, and a great Old Town canoe. Now I am older, fatter and stiffer. We live in Florida and I would like to get another canoe type craft for fun and exercise. The only problem beyond those listed above is that I do not want to feed the local gators when I am dumped in the water. Can anyone give me advice on a very stable canoe? Speed and white water are not on my to do list, so stability and comfort and high on my list. Being able to car top on my mini van would be a plus.

Thanks in advance,

Don Miller, Mount Dora, Fla. (Where the sun shines most of the time!!)

There are some great canoes still
on the market, made by Old Town, Wenonah, Bell, and others, as well as some aluminum models that could suit your purpose. Aside from weight and cost, the only factor I would take the time to write about would be the initial/secondary combination of stability. A flat canoe that feels very stable when you enter it is also likely to dump right now once you lean it past a certain point. Conversely, a rounded hull will feel tippy all the time, but you can lean it right up to the gunnel, and it will not dump you unless you force it to. A combination of some flatness with rounded sides works best to give you some initial feeling of stability, and it will not dump you on a slight lean. Do some searches on the models you are interested in, and read the reviews on the site. Good paddling, again!


Watch The Wieght!
I had a very stable Old Town Discovery 133. I wanted stabilty more than speed because I took my ex-wife and step son fishing in it, and they were nervous in the begining.

That was the only boat I ever sold off. When I bought it the specs said about 79# That did not sound like much. In my youth I carried much heavier Gruman canoes, but now it is just too much to handle alone. I dreaded loading and unloading, and sometimes just left the canoe at home when I could have used it because I did not want to rack it.

Stable is fine. Stable can be good, but that requires a wider boat which will tend to be heavier unless you spend the bucks for a lighter composite material, but I promise you will get more use out of the lgihter canoe.

You didn’t say if you’re looking for a solo or tandem canoe. But since I don’t think there were any solo alumimum canoes back in the good old days, I’ll comment on a tandem canoe suggestion. I have a 17’ Wenonah Spirit II that has been in some of your rivers and swamps in Florida. I find my Spirit II has equal initial stability to my old 17’ Grumman, and also much better stability than the Grumman when underway in waves (secondary stability). The Spirit II has the depth, capacity, is faster than, is quieter than, and is as maneuverable as the Grumman. I think you would feel secure in this boat. Although I have the royalex version @ 68 lbs, in tuffweave or in ultra light it would be easy for you to get it on top of your minivan.

Check out Wenonah’s new Kingfisher
It’s a 16 foot sporting/recreational hull that is very wide and stable, but is claimed to be fairly efficient in spite of it’s width. Kevlar versions aren’t too heavy for cartopping … but pricey. The fiberglass (Tuffweave) and Royalex versions are considerably less expensive, but weigh in the 60-70 lb range.

I know you said Canoe, but as a fan of the Dark Side have you looked at a Sit-On-Top Kayak? My tandem Sit-On-Tap is extremely stable. I’ve stood up on some of them while floating down a river and didn’t get wet.

But beware of the weight, mine is too heavey to get on the roof of the Subaru without a hand.


Might Look at a Souris River too…
Souris River makes a good lightweight stable canoe, I have a Quetico 18.5 in duralite that weighs in at 58 lbs and is very stable, even paddle it solo with some weight in the front… the 17 ft Souris river is a very stable boat also lightweight at 51 lbs duralite, or 43 lbs kevlar.

Glad you’re gettting back into …

– Last Updated: Mar-10-04 12:08 AM EST –

...canoeing, Don. If I lived in FL, I'd be out all the time. If you're planning to paddle alone, I'd encourage you to look at some solo canoes. Even if you have a partner, two solos are more fun than a tandem in my opinion, and each is lighter than a tandem. I happen to use a We-no-nah Vagabond, which seems quite stable to me, and I have medium-poor balance and coordination. It's 44 lbs in Royalex, and there are lighter solos around. By all means search the Buyers' Guide on the left for a list, and then use the "Product Reviews" for opinions on specific models. Wear a PFD, keep the open side up, and have fun!

Souris, Wenonah, Great Canadian
16’ Wenonah Adirondack and Souris Quetico 16 also good, stable boats that don’t paddle like a bathtub. The nice thing about these two are they work well solo paddled from the bow seat with the boat turned arround. I also like the Wenonah Spirit II, just not a boat that you could do a solo paddle as easily if you wished to. Haven’t paddled the new Wenonah Kingfisher, but looks like a boat that might fit your bill. Also haven’t paddle the newer Souris Quetico’s, the 17 and 18’5, but they seem to be well liked. One other boat that I owned years ago was a Great Canadian Adirondack Sportsman. 42" beam and 14’ long. Not bad on rivers, but a tough boat to paddle on lakes. Can’t imagine ever turning it over. I TRIED, in the beginning just to see what it would take, but came to the point of falling out without getting a drop of water over the gunnels. Best thing to do is try as many of these models as you can with your paddling pard and see which fits you. Good luck! WW

Visit the Mohawk factory…

– Last Updated: Mar-09-04 5:52 PM EST –

Hi Neighbor! We live in Apopka, just down the road from you :)

Mohawk manufactures canoes in Longwood, about 20 mins from our house. We recently purchased a 16' Blazer from them. It's a stable tandem, not too heavy at 66#, and the price was a bargain at $511 for the deluxe trim. It's fiberglass which for us is fine as we're only canoeing local rivers and lakes.

They also sell blemished and seconds at a discount. Very knowledgable and friendly. Tell them what your requirements are and they'll set you up. They're just north of 434 and N. Ronald Regan Blvd (CR 427). Stop by and check them out: