Wenonah Sandpiper Question

I found a good deal on a still new Wenonah Sandpiper, but need some advice. I see it’s description from old catalogs that it is for smaller paddlers. I am 6’2" and 180lbs, am I to large for this canoe? I already have a Wenonah Argosy that I enjoy but am looking for a second solo to leave at a home along the river. I would mostly be paddling small rivers, and some wind chopped lakes. My other concern is with such a short boat is it hard to keep it tracking straight on the large boddies of water like a lake?

Anyone have experiance with this canoe that you think for $500 it’s a good deal, or I would be more wise to keep waiting and look for other solo’s, maybe used ones in that price range for larger paddlers.

Thanks for any advice.

MIght be okay

– Last Updated: Sep-23-08 3:03 PM EST –

Several years ago I did a side-by-side comparison of the Wenonah Sandpiper and Vagabond. I weigh 165 or so, and found the Sandpiper to be decidedly more sluggish than the Vagabond, but not to the point of being a "poor" choice for me with a small load of gear. I opted for the Vagabond and that was a nice boat for me. I could have gotten by with the Sandpiper, but would have been slower, and probably would have been severely handicapped when carrying a load of camping gear.

If this boat is Royalex, $500 seems like a good deal for a boat that hasn't been used, but only if the boat will work for you. If it's composite, it's an even better deal, and one you could probably turn a profit on.

Tracking won't be an issue if you already know how to paddle solo. The sandpiper is "moderately maneuverable" because it's so short, not because of any pronounced rocker. My guess is that if you can paddle your Argosy, you'll have no trouble with a Sandpiper.

I suppose you can always buy it, try it for a while, and sell it for a break-even price if it turns out to be too small for you.

If I were you…

– Last Updated: Sep-23-08 3:29 PM EST –

Have owned a Sandpiper, Vagabond, and currently own an Argosy. I'm 6'4" tall & weigh about 200 lbs. I prefer the Argosy over the other two; but if push came to shove, I'd choose a Vagabond over a Sandpiper.

Doesn't sound like the boat you're seeking to me; especially when you talk about lake paddling with wind, and chop on it. Think you'd be happier with a longer boat.

If I were you; I'd hold onto my money, and keep looking. The price doesn't sound bad, but a great price will do little to improve the boat handling characteristics, and weight capacity.


I think you’d be ok if you keep your

– Last Updated: Sep-24-08 10:25 PM EST –

total load under 200. A full load will help tracking.

My first solo canoe was a Mad River Compatriot, 13' long and 30" wide. At that time my weight was about 195, and looking back at pictures of me paddling it, it was getting overloaded. It did not help that I often used the boat to paddle class 1-2 north Georgia whitewater. It was a wet ride, but the glass work stood up to the pounding.

Now, one of my boats is a Mad River Guide, and just a foot and a half of extra length is all that's needed to float my 220# plus gear, comfortably.

As much as I love the Sandpiper
if I were you at your height and weight, I would pass on it.

My daughter has one and I borrowed it to race on a class I river and fell in love with it.

I am 5’-8" and 162 pounds, and in my estimation it would be way to small for you to get the enjoyment that you should be getting.

Also I am quite sure that she paid $500 for it new ! (several years ago)

If I didn’t have so many canoes and kayaks right now, I probably would have one.



The Sandpiper may be a great boat for a kid or lighter paddler but at 6ft 200lb I didn’t like it at all. I own both the Vagabond and Argosy and feel they are similar to each other but far superior to the Sandpiper for someone of your size. If I’m going fishing I’d pick the Vagabond but would take the Argosy for everything else.

Has worked well for us
Rebecca and I use our Royalex Sandpipers for “wet land” (aka swamp paddling) and twisty, sheltered flat water, like the paddle from Inlet to High Falls in the Adirondaks.

I use my Sandpiper for two to three day pond hoping in the St. Regis Canoe Area - works great; I’m 205 lbs, plus light weight backpack type gear and food for three days.

I paddled the initial model Sandpiper, which was a kneeling set-up and did not impress. Then, the next Sandpiper model came out with a sitting option - but IMO seat was not low enough to use a double bladded paddle.

We contacted the canoe designer and got a custom low slung seat, which worked great, until my boat’s seat broke at the hanger. At which point got the hangers replaced in my boat, and added a stern thewart to stiffen both boats.

For it’s intended use, the Sandpiper has worked well for Rebecca and I.

Have you considered…
the Wenonah Wilderness? A bit larger but maybe a good fit for what you want to do. I wish more people would try this boat and report back on it as i, myself, would like to try one.

Thanks for all the input
Thanks for all the advice. I agree with the last guy that I woul also like to hear more about the Wilderness. It looks like a cool boat.

The sandpiper is not my 1st choice, it is just that for $500, it is the only boat in my price range right now. I want a boat to just fool around in which is why I was wondering if it might work for just paddling in the evenings and stuff with no gear.

I took a roylex Sandpiper in trade intending to sell it imediatly years ago and still have it.It’s not a great boat,but is a good boat.My same length Flashfire(13’) is better in every way,but look at the price difference!I use it in narrow twisty shallow rocky streams and as a extra or loaner for prospective new solo paddlers.It works with 200# in calm water,but it’s more happy with a lighter load.When I got mine it had the seat way too far back and moving it to the center made a world of difference.For the money (usually $400 or so) used, it’s a great boat to start out with,especally with how new canoe prices are.


At 235 lbs, loaded with 50 lbs of gear
and on a 14,000 acre lake, I’ve few problems with the Sandpiper. It does well on river overnighters. Weight isn’t so much the issue with the boat. Yes,it can be a bit sluggish loaded, but it tracks decently. I’d love to have a Vagabond, Wilderness or Prism, but the Sandpiper serves me well.