Wenonah MN2 versus Escape

What to rent? I’m going to the Adirondacks next week, and the outfitter, when asked about light, fast tandems, offered a Wenonah Minnesota II or a Wenonah Escape. I know the Escape is shorter and deeper, and I assume it will turn slightly faster, but I don’t think I will need either seaworthiness or quick turning for our trip. We travel light, so load-carrying ability is not a factor.

What I’m really looking for is advice on which boat will broaden my experience more and which might be the better boat for my club. Experience: I don’t think I’ve ever paddled a “fast tandem.” The fastest I’ve paddled was my Kevlar Malecite. I will have another gung-ho type with me, and I could see us playing with how fast we can go for short and long distances, what happens when we turn with an outside lean, or whether we can recover after a capsize. So which boat is more fun to experiment and play and learn with? Good for club: My club might conceivably buy a tandem canoe, and I would want a boat that was acceptable, if not exactly comforting, for novice paddlers when on calm water (let’s say waves to 1.5 feet) but that would be fun and fast for experienced, skilled paddlers on rougher water (let’s say waves to 4 feet, with lots of flotation in the boat). So now seaworthiness is back in the picture, though I hope I won’t have to test that in the Adirondacks. Load-carrying is still not important. Which boat would be more appropriate for this need?

I haven’t paddled a Jensen tandem, so I’m leaning toward the MN2. (I don’t know who designed the Escape.) On the other hand, the Escape is probably more practical for most of my needs.

I have paddled Wenonah solos and many other solos. My current boat is a Placid Boatworks RapidFire, which I paddle two to four times a week, in waves up to three feet. I’ve also paddled various river tandems and the Malecite; I have a competent pitch/J stroke and know how to sit-and-switch. I don’t think balance and steering will be big problems.

Any advice appreciated.

– Mark

you got it already

the Escape is the more fun canoe, the MN is the faster one. Although they are both fast…

I have had
the MNII and now owns the Escape. people are wrong asuming longer means faster as this is only a fact if you are approaching the max hull speed. Friction is less in a smaller boat. I bought the Escape for paddles with my wife. Our regular cruising speed is between 7-8 km/h, about 5miles/h. At this speed we think the Escape is faster. What I miss is the storage space for gear in the MNII. If I was using the boat with my marathon paddling partner I would go for the MNII.


MN II vs. Escape
Having paddled both boats loaded and empty, I think that Palkro’s post above absolutely nails it. Top speed? The MN II, for sure. Cruising speed? Darned close, with maybe a slight advantage to the Escape. The MN II holds more, the Escape is probably slightly drier for the bow paddler (and maybe a little tighter fit for the bow paddler, too). As to the designer, most Wenonah adaptations of Gene Jensen’s designs of that era are probably joint efforts of both Mike Cichanowski and Dave Kruger. They are both terrific boats; you can’t make a bad choice between the two. If your club does decide to order one up, given the rocky nature of the Adirondacks, you might consider having Wenonah install integral skid plates when they build it. These don’t cut down on your speed like those those you add on later. Have fun on your paddle!