I work for a canoe rental facility, and we have quite a selection of boats and such. Due to the popularity of our portage route, more and more people are trying to squeeze into the smaller, portage able boats. One of which, the Wenonah Aurora, which I need to find out the carrying capacity or there abouts. I have called numerous people, searched the net, you my new found friends are nearing the last hope (which is waiting until Monday to call the company)
Wenonah doesn’t like releasing their carrying capacities. Back in the old days one of their competitors found a boat that was a few pounds over the published weight, and reamed them a new ****hole about false specifications. Since then they have been real shy about actual wieghts.
It sorta makes sense, I have had back packs for 5 scouts, and two full sized guys in my
Calm water, perfectly trimmed superb paddlers no problem.
that same boat with the same 800 lbs loading would flounder in big waves with a less competate crew…
If you can find the carrying capacity of a similar boat, it will give you an idea. For example, the Old Town Discovery 159 has a listed carrying capacity 1,129 pounds. It does have fuller entries than the Aurora and is 4 inches shorter, one half inch beamier and about the same stem and centerline heights. This should give you a ball park number - maybe you can find a more similar boat.
Maybe it’s Bell…
…who lists some weights at different waterlines. That seems helpful.
Wenonah wouldn’t give me suggested capacities when I called them.
Vernon says you can carry 17 buffalos, 2 mules and a cookset in his…
Go to their website and find a Bell canoe of similar dimensions, then look and see what the 2-inch and 4-inch waterline weights are.
Pay no attention to information from companies that say a typical-size tandem canoe is good for 1,200 pounds or so. Sure it can be done, but in “real life”, that’s not a load you want in your boat.
I would guesstimate an Aurora to have
a practical capacity of 550, although at that weight, it would have kind of soggy handling. I base that estimate on the manufacturer capacity estimate for my Bluewater Chippewa, a bit longer and much deeper than the Aurora. The Chippewa is rated by Bluewater at about 580, at which it still has decent performance and handling.
As for the 6" freeboard capacities provided by many manufacturers, I suggest multiplying those by, maybe, 60%, no more.
I don’t mean to bash Wenonah canoes at all. I’ve owned a couple and will probably own another one at some point, but their not trying to help out the consumer with some carrying capacity estimates seems at best goofy to me. Bell, Swift and Hemlock among other not only give the 6" freeboard figure, but also provide optimum capacity estimates. I find these very helpful when making boat buying choices. Why can’t Wenonah do it? One is left to think negatively…
I never did any organized tests on carrying capacity in the Aurora I owned, but I’d say it was a bit less than the Bell Northwind Royalex I owned. So maybe take the capacity of the Northwind and the Bell Morningstar split the difference and you’d be getting pretty close (around 550 for the upper limit of optimum range). Without numbers from the manufacturer we’re left with crude guesstimates like this or testing ourselves.
If you’ve got access to the Aurora and are in the business you might want to do some quick trials with typical tripping loads and averaged sized folk and see how the boat handles as you adjust the weight up and down.
I’m wondering why the Aurora is getting the consideration as a highly portageable boat. Are you using royalex for some reason? If using composite boats I’d think Wenonah has several better tripping models.
Take my post as thinking out loud so to speak.
Hopefully someone like Eric Nyre or someone else familiar with the boat will be able to give you some more helpful answers.