Wenonah Advantage more maneuverable

than expected from reading the reviews and discussions on these boards. I had the impression that it was hard tracking and a lot of work to turn.

I finally got to paddle a kevlar ultra light Advantage yesterday, after a few years of wanting to, and ended up buying it (thanks Queticogal for making this possible) and finding it surprisingly and pleasingly maneuverable with a bit of a lean - much more easily turned than the Bell Magic that I test paddled for about 45 minutes a little later in the day on the same lake. The Magic was equipped with a foot brace and I only paddled it from a sitting position using the foot brace, the same way I was paddling the Advantage and my Wenonah Whisper.

Keeping both the Magic and the Advantage on track seemed to require about the same amount of effort (I don’t claim to have the best forward stroke or sit & switch technique with the bent shaft), but the Advantage was much less work for me to turn.

The Magic seemed more at home on chop, waves and boat wakes than the Advantage. The Magic didn’t seem to care much about small boat wakes and the Advantage encouraged me to pay attention to balance.

It wasn’t obvious to me if either of the boats had an advantage over the other in the wind.

I think I’d feel more comfortable in the Magic on rougher water and would likely choose it for those conditions if I owned one, but for every day paddling in relatively calm conditions, I’d likely choose the Advantage or the Whisper for their greater responsiveness and maneuverability and perceived fun potential. The Magic was almost boring compared to the Advantage and Whisper on that lake Yesterday. The Magic was much harder to lean and turn, but it is definately firmer on edge than the Advantage and Whisper. The Advantage and Whisper give me the impression that not paying attention when executing an aggressive leaned turn (agressive leaned turns haven’t been needed yet) could result in taking a swim with very little advance notice.

I’m 5’6" and 155 lbs.

After experiencing the maneuverability of the Advantage first hand, I am less mystified by the ability of people to take them down relatively small and twisty rivers. I was on Wildcat Creek near Lafayette, IN in August and there were three Advantages and a Sawyer Shockwave negotiating that shallow and twisty creek with seemingly easy aplomb. I was surprised and impressed that these long and straight keeled boats could be managed by their drivers so well and hit so few objects in that paddlling environment.

I look forward to getting to know the Advantage better before the water gets hard around here. It’s not clear to me if I’ll prefer the Advantage or Whisper for before work paddling on our small city park lake. The Whisper is a few pounds lighter, so that may give it the nod on days when I’m feeling weaker. The Whisper is also a foot shorter, to it would likely get the nod when I’d be paddling in tighter situations with less room to maneuver.

Light weight canoes are nice to have available.

It’s all about skill
A good paddler can handle many boats in many conditions.

You see guys doing the Texas Water Safari in C1 marathon boats. Now that’s impressive.

no surprise
I have had an Advantage for almost 20 years…I think those that claim it hard to turn are used to more rockered boats . For me, it was one of the first solos I ever tried and got used to it pretty quickly - on the Oswegatchie River in the Daks you go through hairpin after hairpin .

Happy paddling with a fun boat.

So, are you advising, suggesting,
or seeking General Help?

I’ve always wanted to paddle an Advantage for a little while, just long enough to feel secure. I will have to watch for one to come up for sale in the SE. But my wife sez I have to sell at least 2 boats for every one I buy.

Suggesting that people try one before
drinking the cool aid that they’re hard to turn. I think they’re much easier for me to turn with much less effort than the Bell Magic.

If someone is seeking a feeling of security in rougher conditions and willing to sacrifice a little maneuverability (from the sitting position with a foot brace), then the Magic may be a better option, at least that’s my impression from spending about 45 minutes in both boats in the same conditions on that lake with mild chop and a few boat wakes.

i’d say you’re right
your description fits pretty well with other paddlers I’ve heard from, at least the paddlers i am confident in.

One of us pnutters I have had the
privelege of paddling with several times(Harry S.) has an Advantage. Every time we go out,I wish I had bought the Advantage instead of the Voyager. But, Harry is a really good canoeist and I’m a duffer.

“Hard to turn” is a very relative matter
I once tried a Wenonah Solo Plus on a lake and found it surprisingly “stiff” turning, from my whitewater canoe perspective, but lots of Solo Plus owners are quite happy with it. Another time I tried a Wenonah Rendezvous, designed for whitewater use, and immediately found it hard to turn. Later I realized that the Rendezvous is designed as a whitewater CRUISER with just enough turning capability to hit reasonably sized eddies. Then the boat made perfect sense. So with a boat like the Advantage, I would expect just enough willingness to turn to hot-foot down twisty flatwater creeks, and anything more I would have to induce by leaning and levering. Not hard to turn at all, for a boat that wants to go straight, fast.

That is a really good analysis, g2d…
I have an Advantage (a 25 year old cedar-stripper) with many, many miles on it. And the Rendezvous is a favorite. These boats couldn’t be much different from each other, yet they are distinctly similar in that their designers may have given them greater abilities than we think. They have areas where they certainly excel, but maybe not in the narrow way we have come to define our needs. As Yanoer discovered, the Advantage is “fast” in a completely different manner than a Voyageur just as the Rendezvous “handles” in a manner far different than say, an Outrage. The boats tell us what they can do (and what they LIKE to do), but sometimes we have to listen a little more carefully. Our preconceived notions of what a boat is supposed to be like can blind us to its actual capabilities.

Agreeing with g2d also

– Last Updated: Oct-13-08 5:06 PM EST –

With some experience it can be taken down (and up!) some pretty twisty
slow moving rivers with no problem at all.

What a person says about a particular canoe must be measured by their experience also.
Many people have told me that the Sundowner (18' tandem) was tippy and hard to turn. A friend and I paddle mine regularly and he frequently remarks that they must be crazy... but I started him out paddling my Advantage and Voyager for two summers before he paddled the Sundowner (which is a much more forgiving canoe than either of the ones he had been paddling.)

String mentioned the Voyager vs the Advantage. I would totally agree that for a 'day paddler' I would take the Advantage over the Voyager just about every time. But I keep the Voyager around for tripping, which it does oh so well.
Last weekend I did a 60 mile trip on the Wisconsin river, partly by myself, and partly with two friends who paddled my Sundowner.
For trips like that I would take my Voyager hands down over the Advantage.

I have also sewn up a cover for my Voyager after String's report of how well his Cooke cover performed for him.
I paddled the boat empty for a day trip on the Mississippi river last week on a windy day and felt the cover really transformed it's manners in the wind. It was also nice for the day and a half of paddling I had in the rain on the trip a few days before that.

I would take a decked Advantage over a Voyageur any day. The Voyageur just doesn’t paddle with any character in my opinion. Put a 60lbs load in an Advantage, and it’s incredibly stable boat and just as fast an the foot longer Voyageur.

I wouldn’t really say that in my use

– Last Updated: Oct-14-08 10:18 AM EST –

I imagine you weigh a lot less than I do (255). I have a little different starting point as far as a loaded canoe than a lot of people.

(sorry about getting off subject about the Voyager)

I also find the Voyager a good bit faster than my Advantage empty or loaded. The Voyager is also far more comfortable (better manners all around) loaded up than it is empty, and especially compared to an Advantage loaded up.

The Voyager handles bigger water much more safely (particularly when loaded) and is really quite a different animal.
When I first got mine in '01 I wished it were available two inches shorter in height (and I still do). I bought it to replace my Sawyer Shockwave and planned to use it primarily as a day paddler.

It was fast indeed being both longer and more narrow, but was better suited as a tripper which is why I bought the Advantege for my day paddler a couple years later.

Seat pad options for Advantage?
I like the pad that’s on my Whisper seat, but don’t find any info on it. It’s a nylon covered foam pad that secures over the seat with a draw string and is about the same color as the kevlar seat.

The only somewhat similar pad that I find online is the Wenonah gel filled seat pad http://www.xstreamline.com/kayak/k_canoe.html (scroll down a ways to see it). I haven’t tried one of these, so I don’t know if I’d like it or not, but I think it may be the same pad that’s on a Rendezvous seat in Eric Nyre’s outfitting pictures http://www.coloradopaddlers.org/wiki/index.php?title=Erics_We-no-nah_Rendezvous_4-6-08 (scroll down a ways).

Any feedback on the Wenonah gel filled pad?

Any other options for a pad that fits over the seat and is removeable?


Rendezvous hard to turn?
Wish I had that “problem” with my Rendezvous, which doesn’t seem to want to do anything BUT turn. Guess I’m basically a Prism-kind of paddler.

…gel-filled pad…
I found it ok…but I swapped out the large tractor seat for Wenonah’s slightly smaller “racing” seat…which was nice for me. Much less catching on the glutes alone, but the gel-filled fit in easily. Wish they would make the two slide bars a little narrower if they could.


I heard backordered until summer 09. The Wenonah gels are nice but heavy. I much prefer gluing in a piece of a Thermarest Z-rest. Very comfy and the ridges help with breathability and drainage. The biggest advantage (no pun) is that gluing in a seat pad will help keep you in the seat during extreme leans. One of my Advantages still has a small Kevlar racing bucket without a pad. Every time I paddle the thing I almost fall out of the boat because of how slippery the seat is. Wenonah partially solved this problem with their large textured plastic bucket seats.

Stick skills
The ultimate way to turn a sit and switch delta boat is the Christie, developed and named and by Dana Grover in the mid 80s. {Common knowledge is that it was named after the skiing stem christie, but I suspect it was named after Grover’s 437th girl friend Christy.}

The issue is that the bow on a delta boat is generally stuck and the stern is generally loose. The trick is to take advantage of both; letting the bow along and forcing the stern to skid into the turn.

Get the hull rolling; initiate with a strong J to let the boat know what you want to do, then palm roll the next forward stroke into a reverse sweeping low brace. When the RSLB comes abeam, palm roll again into a bow draw. [The reverse combination.]

Magics crank through 180dg with a reverse combo; Advantages don’t come close. Simple explanation, Magic’s bow rocker allows it to draw to that bow draw.

I was referring to turning at near full
speed using only a lean and forward strokes. For me, the Whisper was much easier to turn than the Magic.

I didn’t mess around with seeing how fast I could turn the boats with other strokes. I was paddling along side the Magic owner, who was in my Whisper, and she was more interested in straight ahead paddling around the lake than in messing around and seeing how fast we could turn the boats.

When I was in the Whisper and she was in her Magic, I was obviously much more maneuverable than she was.

I was more comfortable paddling her Magic than she was paddling my Whisper. She had more difficulty keeping the Whisper tracking than I do. She was also heavier than me and had the seat back farther than I did, so the trim and stability profile of the Whisper were different for her than for me.

I know that the original post is regarding the Advantage and not the Whisper, but I’d already racked the Advantage when the lady with the Magic showed up, so it had been about an hour since I’d paddled the Advantage before I paddled the Magic. I’ve only owned the Advantage for five days and only paddled it three times, but it seems to handle somewhat similarly to the Whisper, but seems a little more stable in leaned turns and maybe a little more affected by wind, since it’s deeper in both the bow and stern.

I look forward to my next opportunity to paddle a Magic, so I can get to know it a little better. Maybe I’ll mess around with seeing how fast I can turn it using different stroke combinations.

Thanks for your input, Charlie, it’s always educational.