sunburst II or old town otter

Hey everyone, I have been looking for a solo tripper for a few weeks. I decided after talking to a friend that solos that I want an older, heavier royalex canoe. I live in southwest missouri and solos are hard to find around here.

I was able to find a 2001 bluehole sunburst II and an old town otter. Not the kayak, but a solo canoe old town made in the late 80’s. The old town is in great shape for being 25 years old. Really good shape. I can get it for 300. The sunburst II can be bought for 325, and is even in better shape overall with one problem. It has a nasty looking dent on the front on the canoe about 2 inches from the top. Its about the size of a half dollar and and is almost an inch deep. I have pics. Structurally the boat seems sound. The dent has been there since 2004. It is well above the waterline but still scares me.

I will be using it primarily for 3 to 4 day trips on class I and II. I am 6’1 and 250 so I need something that will carry up to 450 lbs. I can’t find exact specs on either boat, but I believe they are very similar width and height. The sunburst is a few inches longer.

If anyone is familiar with these please let me know. And if anyone has any info on the dent in royalex I could use some advice on that as well. I have pics I can send of the dent.


had an otter
fine for moving water but terrible on flat/no current. very sturdy royalex, pretty heavy but think it is bombproof. Sunburst should move better on the flats. Think the sides are a bit more flared also as I remember the OT as a flat bottom, vertical sided hull. Otter very maneuverable, should do what you want.

Don’t know those boats,
but a localized dent 2" from the sheer line isn’t going to effect anything but your pride. Might keep it from getting stolen. :wink: So long as it’s just a dent and hasn’t contributed to any twist in the hull, I’d tend to ignore it.

Paddled both back in the 80’s

– Last Updated: Jul-09-12 11:27 PM EST –

I thought the Sunburst II was clearly the superior WW canoe. The Otter was not a popular canoe at all in New England. My club was so impressed by the Sunburst II's performance that we bought one for the club.

I ran the 3-4 Rapid River in Maine in it back in '86, flown in on the pontoon of a seaplane. My tandem partner ran Wonder Falls on the Big Sandy in West Virginia in it. The pic is not him, but here is Wonder Falls, which Nolan Whitesell had first run in an open canoe just three years earlier:

The ding you describe would not affect performance and can be easily filled and painted over.

If you really need to carry up to 450#,
you’ll find that the Sunburst II and the Otter will be pushed down enough in the water to ground on those Ozark gravel bars.

I did two nights on the Dolores and 6 nights on the San Juan in a ww boat, and I know I wasn’t carrying 450 pounds. Maybe 350, even though I had to carry all my drinking water on the Dolores.

Deck chairs?

question for g2d
So are you saying I need to find something else g2d? I have just got back into canoeing and I never soloed before. I usually float mainly in Missouri and Arkansas. 11 point is one of my favorites. I love the buffalo river also. I usually fish alot. I use an OT discover 169. Its a beast, but I have never tipped in it up to class III rapids. Barely class III. Mainly I stick with class I and II.

If i had the money i would just go buy a winonah wilderness or a Mad River Freedom. Are you saying that the otter and sunburst II would not be able to hold 450 pounds? Like I said before I havent been able to find specs on either boat.

The otter is a flat bottom. I fish alot while on the river so I want something stable. I think the otter would be best for my needs. I am rarely on flat water. I am just concerned if the otter can hold me and a weeks worth of food and gear. It has the size and is plenty wide and deep enough, but will it hold 400-500 lbs. and still be ok to go down the river.

Have you resolved

– Last Updated: Jul-10-12 2:02 PM EST –

to limit your search to solo boats? Given your size and experience I'd think you could easily solo the right tandem canoe, especially where you like to paddle. If you're willing to consider this option start looking at and pnet classifieds and you should be able to find something that would work for you and conform to your budget. I'm willing to bet there are also outfitters in your area with used boats. What does that Disco weigh?

Weight estimates are not often given
for whitewater boats, because first, people don’t load them “heavy” so they retain performance. And second, what with their high and varying rocker, the stupid 6" freeboard capacity rule doesn’t work at all.

I think you need to find out whether you are really carrying 450 pounds, yourself and all your gear. Seems unlikely to me.

For overnighters (and a lot else) I solo a Mad River Synergy, originally designed as a ww tandem. It isn’t a big boat, kind of like an ME, but you figure if it can carry two reasonably normal folks and no gear, it should carry one person + gear = 350 pounds. I think with 450 it would handle badly and be too wet in whitewater.

I’m betting that you aren’t actually carrying 450# and that a Sunburst II could handle the load. Otherwise, you might have to look for a Starburst or a Caption.

I probably carry about 80 to 120 lbs max depending if i bring a cooler or not. so a 400 lbs load capacity would be sufficient. I was just thinking the more the better in that case. I thought the starburst was an awesome conoe, but it is hard to find them used. I may just save some more money and take my time to find the right boat. I really like the mad river freedom. It would be a boat that I could buy and use on even longer hauls in the future.

thanks for the resposes guys. this sight rocks. i just discovered it a few weeks back and i have learned alot. I will be watching the classifieds for my perfect boat.

i will try pnet
I havent been on pnet yet. I will check it out. I have soloed in a tandem canoe, and it was good except for a couple stretches. I am usually on small rivers with class II and sometimes small stretches of class III and I find it hard to maneuver at time. On larger wider slow moving rivers I would definatley go that route thought, especially for fishing.

i meant paddleswap
i will check their classifieds out.

made up my mind
I just went and put a deposit down on a mad river freedeom from a dealer here in Springfield. I got it for 300 under retail. For just under a 1000 bucks I think it’s my best bet. It’s got a 700 lb. weight capacity so hopefully that will give me enough hight to stay off those gravel banks when loaded up. I can’t wait for it to get here so I can take her on a trip

Thanks for he info guys.

Glad you found what you wanted. If you ever want a travelling companion(s) for your Buffalo, Current, Eleven Point, Jacks Fork, Spring, etc. trips hit up the Arkansas Canoe Club message boards. Unbelievably nice bunch of folks, and if there’s any water someone will be putting something together. BTW, what’s your favorite section of the Buffy for fishing? I’ve caught some nice piggies between Buffalo Point and Rush.