Want advice on solo canoe


– Last Updated: Apr-25-13 9:23 AM EST –

Have you looked at an Advantage ?? I think it would be better suited to your use than the Prism, and wouldn't give up much speed to the Voyager.

I have owned all three, and kept the Voyager and the Advantage. I use the Advantage at least twice as often as the Voyager.

I bought one of the first Voyagers made, before it was officially released. I loved it for tripping but not so much as a day paddler. I was paddling a Sawyer Shockwave before that (very similar to an Advantage).

I then bought an Advantage which I used for day paddling.

If you haven't tried your Voyager with a cover on it, I would HIGHLY recommend it. I used to put a five gallon jug of water in the stern when paddling it empty, and that helped a lot. I then made my own cover, and the canoe was transformed in the wind.
After a while I bought a Cooke cover for it and I wish I had done it the day I bought the Voyager. It really transforms the canoe in the wind, and makes it a much better day paddler (and a better tripper too).

Another canoe I would look at would be the Grasse River Classic XL.

DO NOT buy a pack canoe. Or at least try one first. It is a bobber compared to the Voyager/Prism/Advantage. You will feel like your going backwards.

Excuse me?? Pack canoes are bobbers?
I suspect you have not met RapidFire and Shadow…both of Placid Boatworks. Joe and co decidedly do not build bobbers… they place well in the 90 miler in the Adirondacks.

All Pack canoes are bobbers
… but not all pack canoes are bobbers.

Think about it … wait for the “aha”

I’d rather be a bobber
than a sinker…!

I’ve tried both
And I agree!

Thanks for the advice. As it happens, I agonized over the Voyager vs Advantage decision before purchasing the Voyager. I ended up concerned that the Advantage was too shallow in the ends to handle a wave (that without any real information). Add to that a chance to test paddle a Voyager and Magic (but not Advantage) and I fell in love with Voyager. Wish I’d had your advice then.

Also appreciate that words on the cover. After getting the Voyager and having a situation where I was actually twice blown in a full circle when trying to cross a windy point, I toyed with the idea of a cover. I did not have any solid info on the impact of a cover and never pulled the trigger. Now I’m pretty sold on a wider and less aggressive canoe, although the cover idea may make the Voyager an interesting 2nd canoe idea. (Well… second solo to go with the tandem fleet).

I’m not interested in the double bladed paddle experience, and don’t care for the sit-on-the-floor position, so a pack canoe is out. Although looking at the Rapidfire and Shadow, I can see why they’re fast. Not much in common with an Old Town Pack.

pack canoe
I am sorry I wasn’t more specific, I was referring to an Old Town Pack Canoe (the one CALLED a pack canoe).

…Although I have yet to paddle either.

– Last Updated: Apr-28-13 6:55 PM EST –

I think some rocker will help...a few others = Colden's Wildfire, Bell's Rockstar(royalex/composite), Hemlock's SRT + a few by NovaCraft, granted a little heavier, but good hull design. Prism should work, but I think the rocker in these others will be more maneuverable in moving water.


OT Pack
I don’t think you would be happy with the OT Pack. It paddles like an elongated wash tub, which would be nasty for a tall person. And, yes, I have paddled/polled an actual wash tub. :^)

Rocker and Tracking

– Last Updated: Apr-29-13 8:54 AM EST –

Rocker doesn't much effect tracking. The best measurement for tracking is block co-efficient; waterline length by waterline length by draft. The less of that block the hull fills the better it will track.

Because it's kinda difficult to compute the exact hull volume, and because most solo canoes ride about 3" deep with just the paddler aboard, we can pretty easily ignore draft and compute length to width ration.

The OT pack's L/W is 4.55, the Voyageur's 7.3 Most solo canoes L/W ratios fall between those two with higher numbers tracking better.

Stern rocker effects tracking only because we mostly paddle poorly. Not stacking one's hands over the rail and /or carrying the blade aft of the body creats sweeping components on our forward stroke. Many manufacturers skeg the sterns, ie design in differential rocker with the stern having little or no rocker to resist our misdirected torquing forces. If everyone would take a paddling lesson we could increase maneuverability and forward speed by increasing stern rocker. ??

Lack of bow rocker in recreational hulls pretty much indicates that the manufacturer does not have a clue. Marathon hulls continue to be flat keeled for handling reasons. ICF hulls, generally have 3" bow rocker and 2" stern carried mostly to center over 16.67 feet, and they are significantly faster than any other canoe.

I owned a Voyager, but …
replaced it with a GRB Classic XL. In my experience, the Classic XL has the same speed, similar stability (slightly better secondary), and is much better in the wind. I definitely don’t regret the change.

I weigh 230, but am only 6’2".

Made the buy!
After all this advice, I went to Adirondack Paddlefest. Swift brought in a Shearwater for me to try. I truly expected to buy that boat, but upon paddling it I felt “ok, but blah”. I tried a Wenonah Wilderness and really DISliked that boat. I tried a Wenonah Prism, and it put a big smile on my face.

I ended up buying the Wenonah Prism (ultra-lite because the show discount made that nearly same price as the kevlar flex-core). Based on a couple of paddles, it seems to be a good combination of reasonable speed (although about 10% slower than my Voyager) and stability (seems to be much steadier than my Voyager and less impacted by wind).

If it doesn’t make you feel happy, whats the point?

The purchase (continued)
Anyway, thanks to all who gave advice. I found the info helpful.

[By the way, also just got a Bending Branches Espresso paddle that I really like. Its a work of art, and still pretty darned light, at a pretty reasonable price.]

The purchase (continued)
Anyway, thanks to all who gave advice. I found the info helpful.

[By the way, also just got a Bending Branches Espresso paddle that I really like. Its a work of art, and still pretty darned light, at a pretty reasonable price.]

Rocker can improve stability, but only
as part of an overall package. What improves stability is a hull where tipping puts more supportive surface in the water. I have ww hulls 30" wide or less where you would swear they would feel tippy, because of their elliptical bottoms. But actually they feel firm and secure.

You’ve stated clearly that you prefer a no rocker hull that tracks well at good speed. But your Voyageur doesn’t seem stable enough. First, perhaps someone has pointed out already that the Voyageur is designed for a paddler and a full load, and the load would increase stability. Second, you’re after highly opposite goals. Changes improving stability in heavy seas are going to cost you some in speed and tracking.

So the best we can do is suggest boats that give more stability than they take away in speed and tracking.

Big grins
Big grins are what it’s all about !

The Prism is a fun canoe that is a great mix of day paddler and tripper.

Good points, I understand, but
while a canoe can have a good bit of rocker and track well, in the hands of a klutz, a very rockered canoe gets out of that “magic” zone and veers, and skids.

The thing people don’t understand about highly rockered ww canoes is that they don’t need correction on every stroke, unless wind, wave, or paddler klutziness knocks the boat off it’s path. Then ruddering or a J-stroke is needed to correct.

I personally haven’t paddled many hard tracking hulls, and I can find them annoying. My old Moore Voyageur and my Bluewater both have enough lift at the ends that they can be steered without veering. I have tried a Wenonah Solo Plus and a WN Rendezvous, and my reaction was, I don’t need all this stubborn tracking, not even on a lake. And I’m to lazy to cruise near hull speed, anyway.