Wenonah Prism stability

I have had the Wenonah Prism for few years now. I only get it out a few times a year, but would like to become more active with it.
The problem I have is I have never been comfortable in it. The speed, and glide are awesome, but I feel if I barely move I’m about to go in the water.
I was out yesterday in a pretty heavy wind, and occasionally a side wind made me feel like I was about to get tipped over.

I want to really like this boat, but I’m about ready to trade it in for something more stable.

Any help for me to make this boat more stable would be great.
Thanks in advance.

Seat time equals stability. Or you can put a couple of gallon jugs of water in it.


I should have mentioned, I am about 5’10" and weigh about 250.
Would adding the couple extra jugs of water help? I figured 250 should be plenty to weigh it down.

Just lower the seat if you can. Your center of gravity may be too high for your current comfort level

And if the water is warm enough capsize. You will not die.

Likely you are all tense and not loose hipped Roll with the waves. Do something that makes you less tense. Do you grip your paddle hard?

Do you paddle it from a center seat? Make sure you trim out the boat. I lot of solo canoes are performance oriented. They have a narrow beam compared to tandem boats. They tend to have arched bottoms and good secondary stability, but average initial stability. Go out on a calm day in warm water near shore. Test the limits of the boats. Feel how it firms up as the gunwales start to get near the water.

I have a very high COG and had to lower my seats. A couple of inches can make a big difference.

OK, just looked at my canoe again. How are people lowering their seat. I have the tractor style seat, and the mounts are all solid tubing that has been epoxied to the bottom. Is this something that you have to take to a boat person, or back to Wenonah?

You won’t be able to lower that style of seat.

I have paddled Prisms a few times. They seemed quite stable to me but I have paddled a lot of canoes. I suspect that if you stick with it, it will become more comfortable.

The trick is to let your upper body be independent of your lower body. Don’t “lock up”. You want to keep your head and trunk centered between the gunwales at all times. Allow your lower body to rock with the canoe.

You might be able to lock your lower body into the boat a little better by using a foot brace if you canoe has one. If not, consider adding one. You can also make some shaped minicell knee bumpers and attach them to the sides of the hull just below the gunwales. These can provide contact points for your knees. The more contact your lower body has with the boat, the more control you will have.

ditto on the foot brace…

Ditto on seat time…stability comes from the paddler on many boats. Those that provide all the stability are called barges, skiffs and jon boats. (Just joking on the barge, etc…)

Also paddle, paddle, paddle…you get more brace from a paddle moving in the water than a paddle in the air. The boat also gets more stability from movement along its axis than sitting still. Use a double bladed paddle.

How high off the floor of the canoe is the seat?

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I had a Wenonah Voyager and had the tractor seat lowered. It took a guy who makes FG repairs for a living and another who welds aluminum.
Learning the boat is a better alternative.

I agree with the great advice that you’ve received so far. I recommend that you stick with your Prism. Wenonah rates it 9/10 for stability and 9/10 for capacity so it’s top two strengths suit you well. According to the Wenonah site they all come with foot braces. If yours does not have a foot brace you should get one. If you’ve already got one you should probably move it closer to the seat to make sure you can comfortably rest your feet on it without having to stretch.

Ironically I think the only thing you need to do is relax. Relax the waist area and let the boat move around underneath you. Wenonahs are not as rounded on the sides as some boats so when waves hit them from the side you feel it a little more than in some boats. The answer is to just relax and bend at the waist…keep your torso and head vertical (perpendicular to the water) and let the lower half of your body follow the motion of the boat as it rolls around a little bit. You need to do the same thing in any canoe to get comfy with waves hitting you from the side.

Good words by TomL. And learn to brace. Use your paddle to press on the water and stabilize your boat.

Thank you all for the replies. I will keep trying. Maybe wait for it to get a bit warmer and go to a lake with the intention of getting wet and finding the limits on tipping over lol.

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Each time I got a new canoe, I’d take it out in warm water and lean until it capsized. It is a confidence and trust builder in the boat.
Good plan.

To answer your question about the water jugs. Weight in the bottom of the boat lowers the COG.

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There has been a lot of advice above about staying loose and flexible and letting the boat roll under you. I can recall listening to all that and not having it register much until one day someone said “keep your backbone parallel to the trees” and then the light went on.


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All good stuff here. I recently returned to the paddle sports from too long away. I’ve used canoes and kayaks. I purchased another solo that, like you I was thinking about replacing for the same reason. Staying loose, realizing stability when underway with a paddle in the water, and time in the seat my confidence goes up every time I go out. Kudos to a great bunch of posters for helping out.