The Canak by Wenonah

Has any paddled one of these. They look interesting.

Hard to see why anyone would think
that it’s a canoe. When you sit that low, it’s very hard to wield a canoe paddle effectively. If Wenonah had an optional higher sitting/kneeling seat, it could be paddled like a canoe.

While low seats and canoe paddles
can mix, this boat is so wide as to preclude a nice vertical canoe stroke…

No tumblehome. Some paack canoes like the RapidFire are designed with tumblehome to narrow the paddling station and a short shafted FoxWorx paddle makes single blading possible.

But not in this thing…

Not seats that low. Not right on the
bottom of the boat.

How low do you thnk the seat is?
You seem to think that it is on the bottom like a kayak.

My impression is that it is the same height as the Prism and Advantage, about 6".

Looks like some tumblehome to me.

Is the seat actually on the floor?
I thought it was the same height as the Prism & Advantage.

The Wenonah website says “The floor mounted sliding seat” but the linked article in the OP says

“The seat felt tall, I would like to paddle another prototype in which the seat might be lowered to the hull, but still keeping the sliding rail and seat. I moved the seat on the rail and could feel the boat change favorably with the weight adjustment. After having spoke with the designer I now know keeping the seat high was a purposeful design trait.”

Does anyone know how high the seat actually is?

Yes, and even more to the point,

– Last Updated: Apr-20-11 8:01 AM EST –

... this boat is shaped a lot more like a kayak than a canoe, with very little depth of the lower hull at center. The height above the bottom of the boat where the lower hull meets the upper deck looks to be roughly 7 inches (roughly scaled from the photo, knowing that the stern is 14 inches high). Since the upper deck wraps inward toward the center above that 7-inch-high juncture, tumblehome is not the issue it would be on a normal canoe wth gunwales, which would be nearly twice that height above the keel line. I see lots of apples and oranges in this discussion so far, especially since our local pack-canoe experts often say the seat-on-floor position is made for using a double-blade paddle in the first place, and that if you want to use a single-blade you'll need to specify a higher seat. So why discuss tumblehome at all? Talking about tumblehome in this case looks to me more like "telling what you know" than making a valid point.

Anyone here actually paddled the boat?
The comments to this point appear to be from people who have only seen pictures and read articles.

Paddle my RF all the time
that way and the seat is on the bottom… Of course the RF is a little cut down on shear there…about 11 inches.

I am not being theoretical here. I have paddled a lot of boats though I only own 18.

Simply because its 30 inches wide
Larger folk with longer arms could get a vertical stroke but those of us with shorter arms need the tumblehome at that width.

If it was a canoe it would still be too wide for me to single blade effectively. Doesn’t matter a whit where the seat is.

I ripped out all the seat in my CD Caribou. Now thats sitting on the bottom. I could single blade it just fine. (My spare is a single) . But the Caribou is a hair under 22 inches wide…not 30.

A view of a Canak from a canoe
Last fall I participated in an annual two-day paddle down the Lower Wisconsin River. One of the participants paddled a Canak and I was able to watch its performance for most of the trip. Two important notes: First, I did not paddle the boat, just watched it being paddled. Second, the person who did paddle the Canak is a very accomplished and skilled paddler; he’s one of those folks with an effortless excellence that is a pleasure to watch. Oh yeah, I should probably point out that he had his dog with him, also an accomplished paddler!

The Canak is a new version of that old, almost forgotten variant, the decked canoe. It is, however, very much a canoe, as it has the hull of the Wenonah Prism. The seat is raised off the floor, using a version of the sliding seat that Wenonah uses in most models of their larger solo canoes. While the boat was generally paddled from a sitting position, I did see one instance where it was paddled kneeling, with the paddler able to get a good knee spread and apparently good stability. Remember, however, he is a graceful paddler so what I saw could have been as much the result of skill as design.

The paddler is fairly tall and rangy, the sort who would usually be using a long (or at least longer) paddle. However, for this trip, paddled in nasty, windy conditions the entire way, he used a 48" straight shaft paddle. With this paddle he was able to do all the necessary strokes and do so with outstanding form and geometry. Never once did I see a situation where the mechanics of a good stroke were spoiled or limited by the Canak’s design. Except for one stretch of the river that was dead into the wind, he stuck with his single blade as opposed to the double blade he brought along.

A note here about the dog: While this dog has fabulous balance, he is also, ahhh, how shall we say, active. Whether it is a wild turkey along the shore or a fish just under the surface, that dog is always going to get the best vantage he can; he is almost never still, except when completely tuckered out. As he moved back and forth on the Canak, the paddler and his boat seldom seemed ruffled. Credit both the paddler and the boat!

As I said, I did not paddle the Canak. I have spent a good amount of time in the larger, 15-foot version of the Bell Rob Roy, another real decked-canoe. However, the Rob Roy, with its seat fixed to the floor of the boat, felt more like a kayak than canoe. My guess is that the new Rob Roy model from Nova Craft may be the opposite, as it has a seat that looks made for some kneeling.

I admit to some initial skepticism about the Canak. However, having seen it in action, close up, it is a solo I’d definitely consider for myself. It’s a cool boat.

I haven’t seen on on the water…
…but I have examined it in the shop. I’m sure I could take it for a test paddle, but I don’t like to do that with a brand new boat I don’t have any intention of buying any time soon…

Looks to me like the lack of tumblehome thing is a non-issue, since what would be the shear line if not for the deck being there is lower than that of the Prism - maybe right about to the “bubble”. In fact - it seems to me that rather than no tumblehome, it has tumblehome to the extreme…if you can call it that.

Looks to me like a viable option for a solo paddler who expects to be dealing with wind a lot of the time, but doesn’t want to resort to a kayak. I haven’t asked the retailer if he’s sold any yet. Might be interesting to know that - and whether those who bought are happy.

Oh - the seat? Looks a lot like the one they put in the Prism.

The mechanics of sitting real low and
using a canoe paddle are not good. Maybe you’re made funny.

If it was set up for maybe a 9" seat
height with provision to kneel or sit, it would behave like a hard-tracking c-1 and would be no problem. I haven’t seen a Prism seat recently and don’t know how high or kneeler-friendly they are.

Decked ww canoes started out around 30" width, and my old Hahn was 28" with all the tumblehome anyone might need. But tracking was up to the paddler…

Seat is about 3.5" off floor, so it’s
lower than I thought. I was wrong. I talked to Wenonah today.

The guy I talked to said they’re very popular and there are a lot out there.

He said that he paddles his with a bent shaft canoe paddle most of the time. He really likes it.

Sitting that low, perhaps a reduced
bent shaft angle might be in order. Maybe C.E. Wilson will show up.