tandem canoe vs kayaks

Is anyone able to paddle an old town penobscot (16’ x 34") or similar boat solo and keep up with 16’ kayaks?

on the paddlers & conditions. If you’re an Olympic C-1 medalist & they’re couch potatoes, maybe. Going with current, maybe. Any wind, dream on.

Regarding “going with current”…
… I would add that it would also be necessary for the kayaks to NOT be paddling in that same current when you make that comparison, because if they are, it’s the same comparison as when paddling in still water.

As Inigo in “The Princess Bride” said of the sailing ship that was catching up to them, “I wonder if he is using the same wind that we are using?”

Multi-use Penobscot
My Penobscot has the center solo seat. I propel that boat with a pole, single blade, and sometimes double blade. Based on my very limited time in and around kayaks, I would say I can keep up with the average rec kayaks without much trouble when I use either the double blade or the pole - so long as the wind doesn’t kick up.

Do they make wide (rec) 16-foot kayaks? I doubt seriously whether I could keep up with an average 16’ touring kayak in my Penobscot with any sort of paddle. Put us both in water shallow enough to pole off the bottom and that may be another story.

Depends on the “motors” in them
I have a friend here in NC that could leave most in his wake.

He is a tall guy and paddles one easily

I have a 16 foot Penobscot and couldn’t do it with a single blade, (which I asssume you are talking about).

I am a small guy and need a bow paddler up front.



Composite tandems=YES…royalex=NO
The composite boats, especially tandems, are the way to go for efficiency…hands down.


I own…
a Penobscot 16 and a P&H Capella 166 RM and on flat water I can’t paddle the Penobscot solo as fast as the Capella. However, I’ve paddled the Penobscot in Class II and II+ where the Capella simply wouldn’t have made it, at least with my skill level.