Suggestions for a second boat

I currently have a Wenonah Prism (tuff-weave). It’s my first boat and I paddle it on area lakes, rivers (no white water) and the California Delta. I’m 6’-3", 220lbs and a retired athlete whose knees don’t allow kneeling. I use a bent shaft canoe paddle and prefer to not “sit and switch”. I almost always paddle with my 45lb dog.

I’m interested in a more maneuverable boat to better negotiate river snags and faster moving water. I also plan to try wilderness tripping next Spring. I’m going to keep my Prism so I’m looking for a second canoe to complement my Prism. Price is not major consideration. Any suggestions?

A Kruger has a rudder so you don’t have to sit and switch with your bents shaft paddle.

Since you cannot kneel I guess you want to sit and paddle on one side for a long time and then switch to the other side when the arms are tired.

For that type of paddling with a dog a Kruger would work well. But so would many of the tamdem rec kayaks with a rudder like and Old Town Loon or a Wilderness systems Pamlico.

Maybe a Bell Rockstar?

Consider a small tandem canoe -
I have paddled tandems with dogs for many years.

Here’s a pic of my Escapade with my 80 lb. dog.

Note that I have gear bags,filled with foam, next to

the gunnels to keep him from laying down right

against the gunnel.

I also have an Oneida II that I paddle, and it is almost

as fast as the Escapade. It is not made any more, but I

mention it because it has a shallow shallow vee hull.

Right, that is something special, because the vee is

only a few degrees. It is like a hybrid between a shallow

arch and a shallow vee. Very efficient and super stable.

A small tandem will greatly expand the versatility of

your fleet.

A couple tips, and you can ignore if you prefer:

Try a light and efficient kayak paddle.

Put a couple water filled jugs in the back of your

Prism to raise the bow slightly higher for now.

Put a pfd on your dog, and yourself, always.

Good luck and Happy Paddling!

Advice for a second boat
Thanks for the photo of your dog in an Escapade. I like your suggestion to get a tandem canoe that I would paddle solo. It would give me the option to take a friend. I guess I would look for a small river touring boat with some rocker.

In my Prism I slide the tractor seat to the rear, adjust the foot rest all the way forward and place a couple of inexpensive boat cushions between my legs for my dog. It works great for the flat water paddling I do.

I’ve inquired about a composite Rendezvouz from Wenonah but I think I’ll drag my feet a little and pursue your suggestion to consider a small tandem boat.


next boat
i also paddle a prism and find it great for flat water and long distances. i also was looking for a more river friendly boat that would carry a week or more load of gear. i just got a bell rockstar. i’ll let you know more about what i think of it after some more time on the water in her. good luck in your quest. -h

ask wenonah
about a Solo Plus; a decent solo for us big guys and a pretty decent tandem too. Its a compromise, but if you decide on a tandem, its one of several good choices. The Rendezvous is a great option too…

dog tandem option

– Last Updated: Sep-16-09 2:40 PM EST –

It's a Bell Morningstar RX -- fairly manueverable, but some folks don't like asymmetric hulls for river use. The tumblehome makes it reasonably comfortable to solo from the aft kneeling thwart despite the width. Might be too wide from the center seated.

Advice for a second boat
The Rockstar seems to me like a good choice for a second boat for the same reasons you bought yours. I’d been interested in learning how it goes with your Bell Rockstar. I’m guessing that trim is more important with rockered hulls and that’s why I was thinking that a sliding seat would be a good choice especially with the dog as ballast. I also heard that Bell changed ownership. How were they to work with?

Swift Raven, Perhaps a Hemlock
SRT (if you have the time to practice and get comfy in it).

A small tandem is fine if you have long arms. Its tough to heel over a boat sitting to get a vertical stroke for the rest of us. Yes it can be done but very carefully.

With the unpredictable dog its best to stay centered. Especially if you cannot kneel.

I believe Wenonah is redoing the Argosy to better accommodate larger paddlers. Or perhaps that is just hearsay.

Solo Plus gets a “no” vote from me

– Last Updated: Sep-16-09 2:11 PM EST –

At 16.5 feet (most likely 16 feet in Royalex), the Solo Plus seems a bit long as a solo choice for twisty rivers, especially since its rocker is listed as "minimal". "Minimal" rocker in Wenonah-speak means that a Royalex version will have substantial reverse rocker when carrying the weight of a person. That equates to a real pig in terms of maneuverability when the boat is paddled solo (sure, with a severe lean you can partially overcome this, but remember we are looking for a boat for a person who can't kneel). I just looked at a barely-used Wenonah Vagabond in Royalex this weekend, which had no rocker at all (on composite Vagabonds, the 1.25 inches of rocker results in obvious curvature of the keel line), and would bend into reverse rocker with just a few pounds of pressure applied by hand to the bottom of the hull. Wenonah makes some really nice boats, but typically their Royalex boats don't even come close to meeting catalog specs when it comes to rocker (and often length as well, though in this case, the shorter length of the Royalex version would be a good thing).

The Rendezvous on the other hand, is probably a fine choice since it is pretty maneuverable and is made for a larger person. I'd ask some Rendezvous owners about its suitability for bent-shaft paddling though, just to be sure.

didn’t get it through bell directly, but from piragis. steve schon is very easy to work with. i had some friends coming back from the bwca who gave my boat a ride home. i’ll let you know soon my impressions of the boat, but tomorrow i leave for a trip with the prism. -h

suggestions for a second boat
Thanks for the response.

I don’t intend to to get Royalex and thanks for your observation regarding the Winonah Royalex. I’m not interested in a second minimal rocker boat

I’ve been in contact with a Wenonah distributor regarding a new but older composite Rendezvous in stock at Wenonah. I’m still waiting for details and pricing. I’ve read about how the Rendezvous design has changed over time and I’m confused about what this boat’s spec are.

When I got my Prism I purchased a bent shaft paddle for sit and switch but I normally paddle on one side with a J stroke and I learned to use the bent shaft paddle for that. I never tried a straight shaft paddle and some expert told me it was fine to use a bent shaft paddle for everything. I’d welcome some comments about my use of a bent shaft paddle for J stroking.

Bent Shaft and J-Stroking

– Last Updated: Sep-16-09 3:12 PM EST –

From what I've read on the boards here, there are a lot of people J-stroking with bent-shaft paddles. I've never tried it, but clearly it works okay.

Now, for more finely-tuned and "fancy" maneuvering, I think a straight shaft is usually better. When I paddle twisty rivers, I really enjoy making the boat move diagonally (forward or backward), sideways, and all sorts of "spin" variations, and this requires equal "functionality" of both surfaces of the blade. Just two good examples of this would be "rapid-fire" repetitive prys off the gunwale, and doing sculling draws and prys having exactly the same "feel" and effectivenss. I won't say you "need" to consider a straight-shaft paddle for twisty rivers, but I bet you might find it enjoyable to see what options that opens up for you. By the way, you probably know this, but if you can't kneel, a footbrace adds to your boat control when doing funky strokes.

Lotsa ways to skin a cat.

He does NOT want a kneeling boat
The Hemlock SRT (which I own) is a kneeling canoe, though it can be paddled sitting for a change of pace. But most people would feel twitchy doing so … unless they lowered the seat to about 6" … but then you have those high sides.

Can’t speak to the Raven as a sitting boat.

The right canoe would be a tractor seat canoe with at least 2" of symmetrical rocker at each end and about 28"-30" width at the load water line for a solo or 33" width for a narrow tandem paddled solo.

I bought my second boat
I just bought a flex-core composite Wenonah Rendezvous with a sliding tractor seat. It’s a new boat that was made to order but the order was cancelled. I did demo a Royalex boat not too long ago and I read there might be some difference between it and the boat I just purchased so I’m guessing there is a little risk involved.

I’ll pass along my review when I’ve got some time in my new boat. The input I received here was helpful.


I like the choice
Especially since it meets my suggested specs: tractor seating (sliding is great addition), 2.5" of symmetrical rocker at each end, and 29.25" at the waterline.