Wenonah Advantage canoe question

Hey, I know the Advantage is well covered, but I am getting ready to pull the trigger on a used one and noticed something in the spec that didn’t make sense. I know the ratio of length to width(WL) is not the end all, but it is quite low compared to other similar canoes. Are the wenonah specs wrong (doubtful) or am I using something (likely)? The ratio is much lower that a magic and others. Thanks

Well, I have paddled Bell Magics and I own a Wenonah Advantage and I can tell you that for most paddlers the Advantage is going to feel “faster”. Of course, the Advantage is 6 inches longer in length overall so it is going to have a higher maximum theoretical hull speed.

I wouldn’t get to hung up on slight differences in length to width ratios published by different canoe manufacturers. For one thing, those ratios are usually based on length overall (LOA) rather than waterline length. In terms of hull efficiency what matters is the waterline length to waterline width ratio but those figures are harder to come by and usually depend on load and hull design. If you look at the Advantage it has very little rocker and the stems are quite plumb which means that the actual waterline length for any load is only a very few inches less than LOA. The Magic has a bit more layout at the bow stem which means that the waterline length is farther from the LOA and will be more dependent on load.

Waterline widths are often even more dependent on hull design and load. The Advantage has a rather pronounced side “bubble” tumblehome so actual waterline width will very significantly with different sized paddlers and load to a much greater degree than for a hull with straighter sides. Wenonah advertises maximum beam and waterline width for the Advantage both at 29.5". But in my experience, most average-sized paddler’s will not sink the Advantage to the point of its maximum beam.

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Hi! Thank you so much. I bought a Placid Shadow for the Adirondack 90 miler and had an awful time with it (mainly due to my skills, but also due to its rocker). I was able to sell it but now I am without a canoe. I had ordered a Peregrine from Hemlock, but that was 7 months ago and they havent even started building it yet (June at the earliest). I do not want to make a mistake again. There is an Advantage, a Prism and a NW Solo all for sale (used) very close to me and I am trying to decide. The Magic has always been the one I wanted but hard to come by (at least for me). Your email is very helpful!

Best to not get tangled up in tech comparisons.
When you have a quality canoe, don’t sweat it, just go paddle it.

All 3 of the boats you’re considering are fine boats and if you can get any of them for a good price they would be super easy to re-sell.

I’ve got a Msgic and an Advantage. Advantage may be the poster child for showing why L/W ratio doesn’t tell the whole story. For me Advantage is easier to paddle fast than Magic and also more enticing to get you to paddle harder (it never really runs into a “wall” except perhaps at race speeds). Magic turns better and handles big wind and waves more effortlessly. Prism is kind of like a more stable Advantage…still a fast boat and not very maneuverable (ideal for fishing or photography due to high primary stability). NW Solo is more of a general purpose solo and more suitable for rivers than the Wenonahs (although depending on your rivers all your choices may be fine). The Wenonahs excel at lake travel.

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I think TomL’s assessment is quite accurate. I have paddled Prisms as well as Magics and Advantages. I have not paddled a Northstar Northwind Solo, but I do own a Bell Merlin II. Judging from its specs and from photos and videos the Northwind Solo appears to be a somewhat upsized version of the Bell Merlin II. I would expect it to paddle in a similar fashion although possible a bit slower to accelerate due to its greater skin friction and the NW Solo might feel very slightly slower due to its 1" greater waterline beam and very slightly lower L/W ratio.

That much is conjecture but I can say that in comparison with the Magic the Merlin II is slightly less efficient for flat water, straight ahead paddling but it turns with considerably greater ease. The Advantage, Prism, and Magic are all efficient, hard-tracking hull designs. The Prism is somewhat a larger capacity Advantage in how it handles, IMO. If you are planning to paddle primarily with no load or a moderate load the Advantage is probably the better choice among these two. For unloaded day trips on flat water or easy moving water where not too much tight maneuvering is required, the Advantage is probably the best choice. For exercise paddling the Advantage is definitely the best choice.

In comparison with the Advantage and Prism the Magic is nearly as efficient as the Advantage but not quite. In that regard it is approximately as efficient as the Prism but it will turn more easily. It is still, however, a pretty hard-tracking design.

The best choice among these boats really would depend on how you plan to use it, what type of water and how great a load. Your emphasis on L/W ration suggested to me that you are focused on maximum efficiency.

Thank you all. Very helpful !

Just a follow up to all who paid attention to this question. While the Advantage would certainly be faster…and likely more efficient, I went with the Magic. It is supposed to be delivered this month. I am very excited! Thank you to all who helped…much appreciated. Todd



Quick story. I’m a kneeling padder that’s putting in more time sitting but still not as confident sitting as kneeling. Two years ago not long after getting my (used) Magic I’m out on the St Joseph River which can be quitecwide and open and I get hit broadside by a sustained, deafening gust of wind that must have been 45-50 mph (um - consistent with the forecast). It pushed the Magic directly sideways about 50 feet. It was scary and I was impressed at how well the Magic handled it.

Thanks Tom. I almost went with the Wenonah Advantage, but since I will only race once every year or two, the Magic’s other attributes won me over. So many great canoes out there. I paddled my Hemlock Kestrel this past weekend several miles…I love that one too!