I have been reading a lot about my options, and am starting to narrow down my choices, but wanted to seek advice from others. I would like to do more boating with my wife and 2 teenage daughters in Maryland and surrounding states. We’ve all done lots of flatwater canoeing, 1 trip of duckies on class 1 and 2 whitewater. Years ago, I did many class I and II whitewater canoe trips, learned kayak rolling in a pool, and did 1 whitewater kayak trip, but never really mastered the roll. (I think I could if I used nose plugs.) Our next trip will be a 3- 4 hour trip guided trip in kayaks at Harpers Ferry.
I weigh 190 and am 6’2 with size 13 feet that can be a tight fit in kayaks. The ladies weigh around 120.
Must haves: 1) Two person boat, 2) able to handle class II whitewater, maybe some IIIs, and maybe someday IV’s), and 3) would also like something that tracks okay on small lakes and rivers, 4) comfortable seats.
Not important: 1) Carrying capacity. We always do day trips and travel light. 2) Kayak vs canoe paddles. We are comfortable with both. 3) We will never be portaging these boats, but lower weight is still nice during transport.
At first, I thought I really wanted a sit-in kayak, but I only found two tandem river kayaks with small cockpits that accept neoprene skirts (Jackson Dynamic Duo and the Topo Duo). While they are both great whitewater boats, I’m concerned how those 12’ boats would handle on flat water. Also, I’m not sure if we would be able to roll it, and is a skirted boat that much better on whitewater if we can’t roll it?
I was really interested in the Old Town Dirigo Tandem Kayak b/c it was a rec boat with separate cockpits, but the cockpits are so big that you can only get spray skirts. I couldn’t find neoprene skirts that big.
So, I’m down to 2 general options: 1) Sit on Top Tandem Kayak or 2) regular canoe with float bags and kneeling pads.
I’m leaning toward the Crescent Splash II, 12′ 4″ L x 34" Wide x 14.5 H, 69 lbs.
For a regular canoe, I would like to try to get something used, but I’m not sure what length we should get, 14, 15, or 16?
Whether I buy new, or used, I want to get or convert to contoured seats with back support.
These are the local canoes available used:
*Several Old Town 147 Guide Canoes, 14 x 3.5 x 1.2, Polyethylene, Bottom: Shallow Arch, Sides: Straight with Chines, Rocker: Moderate
*Several Colemans (Polyethylene with aluminum frame) 13 and 15,
Several Old Town 16’s and some Mad River 16’s
Thank you in advance for anyone who can share some recommendations.