Wenonah Voyager in the Wind

I had my new to me Voayager out in Ipswich Bay yesterday. Conditions were mild and I was pretty happy altogether. But early on I had a quartering tailwind that kept trying to turn me abeam combined with enough turbulence in the water at the mouth of the Ipswich river to make me wonder what to do if the wind picked up and/or the water got rougher.

I did realize that I needed to move the seat back with the wind on my tail and that plus the wind dieing down some made the rest of my paddle good.

Anyway it got me wondering if there are folks here who might have suggestions for paddling the Voyager in windy conditions?

I left the seat all the way back even after I turned back up into the breeze.

What is the standard seat position?

What penalty would I pay leaving the seat back all the time?

I’ve got home made covers fore and aft in hopes that they will improve the handing. I stopped my forward cover at the thwart. I’m thinking I might make another that comes back closer to me. Thoughts?

Does anybody have pics of their Voyager with the covers on that I could view?

I do %90 day trips which means the boat is often pretty lightly loaded (180 lbs for me plus maybe 15-30lbs gear in a Tuffweave layup). I’ve heard this boat handles better with some weight. I’m considering water ballast. Any thoughts on how much weight would make a noticable improvement?



While I don’t have a Voyager I did have some issues with getting my Spirit II to behave when we first got it. I found that by installing a simple bubble level and adjusting the trim, a huge improvement happened. Now I can tell at a glance of the level how to adjust for different conditions. As for my “ballast”, I use a generously sized flat bottomed gym duffel bag. I attach it to the thwart just in front of me with a plastic clip type fish stringer so I can pull it towards me or just push it forward with my paddle. The clips are not the greatest in strength which should be easy to pull apart in an emergency if needed. The Wenonah catalog describes the Voyager as able to handle 2 weeks of gear. That sounds like an easy 200 lb increase over your weight although you should be able to improve trim with 25 lbs or so.



– Last Updated: Jun-08-09 11:53 AM EST –

With 2 paddles, a pfd, and a water bottle, I give my Wenonah Voyager a 260 lb load. Loaded with gear my Voyager does very well with a 340 lb load. I don't use spray covers. I experience good control in my boat even without a gear load until the wind is over 20 mph. I don't have trouble with head or following winds with the use of the slider. In strong quartering winds or perpendicular wind to my direction of travel, I do experience "skating", but not weathercocking with the slider in the right position.

Your 200 lb load is pretty light for a Voyager and wind is going to give you trouble. My answers to your questions.
1) Standard seat postion? There isn't one. You need to adjust for each gear load and wind condition you are experiencing. And just putting the seat all the way back or all the way forward may be overkill. In wind adjust the seat so it just pegs the stern or the bow, but don't overdo it so much that it causes you to have to use extra control strokes to keep the boat tracking straight. Watch the bow. I'd say the slider is in the right position, if the bow or stern is just pegged down with a head or tailwind and the bow is yawing no more than 4" with each paddle stoke.
2) Penalty for leaving the seat far back all the time? You will have a very tough time paddling into the wind and even in calm conditions you will be wasting paddling energy because you will cause yourself more correction strokes than necessary.
3) 90% day trips at less than 200 lb load?.... Why didn't you go for the Advantage?
4) Water ballast? Two 4 gallon jugs filled should do nicely for you. Put one ahead of you and the other behind. That should give you an additional 66 lbs of load and bring you into the performance zone that I experience with a Voyager.

I am not much of a paddler ,relative
to some canoeists I know,but I have a Voyager.

When I first got it,it almost drove me crazy in quartering winds.It seemed to fight me every stroke to keep it from turning into the wind. I weigh 240.

  • I put a Cooke Custom Cover on it and reduced the problem by 80%.
  • It handles much better ,even with no cover, with my 40 lb. dog behind me.
  • I never experimented much with the seat position,but had it lowered 2" which made a huge difference in stability(I’m 6’5")

    The boat is designed to carry a lot of weight and does its’ best when loaded.
  • I solved all the problems by buying a Rapidfire which barely cares about the wind.
  • I should have bought an Advantage instead of the Voyager.

I wonder whether an Advantage would
be any more satisfactory on open water and in windy conditions. I think Duluthmoose is correct, the Voyageur is designed for you and a dead moose. Or at least a dead deer. Or a thousand dead gerbils. But something to push that hull down so it pays attention to the water rather than the wind.

I own a Voyager…
and I weigh 235 and experience the same problems with the wind. I usually paddle it with the seat all the way back, but still get pushed around by the wind.

I’m keeping it for the day I retire and take that long trip loaded with the weight necessary to fit its build purpose.

I bought a GRB Classic XL for day and short camping trip use.

Have had my Voyager for a while

– Last Updated: Jun-08-09 5:41 PM EST –

In fact it was the first one sold according to Dave Kruger who did the paperwork when I bought it.

For a long time I carried a 5 gallon jug with me and would put 2 or 3 gallons of water in it and put it far back in the stearn which made the canoe handle pretty well when otherwise empty and uncovered.

I weigh 260 plus, though closer to 210 when I first bought mine.

Since first buying mine I have done a few things. I have bought an Advantage for day paddling (two of them actually). It handles better in wind and is a better day paddler in general.
I use my Voyager for tripping, but also paddle it empty for day paddles in colder weather or when doing longer day trips, and now and then just for a change of pace.

I made my own cover last year which worked very well for wind. As others have said, it solves about 80% of the problem.
This spring I got a Cooke cover for it which works a LOT better than my home made cover did, and I no longer use the jug of water with the Cooke cover on the canoe. The Cooke cover makes the canoe a real joy to paddle in cold and/or rainy weather. I had far more paddling days this spring due to the new cover.

As far as seat position goes, that's a loaded question. I thought when I first got my Voyager that the seat frame was positioned too far foreward(when paddling empty). After paddling the canoe loaded with gear it became clear why it is set up the way it is.
The Voyager has more volume in the stearn, and will carry much more gear back there than up front. When loaded heavily you need the adjustment range the seat has to counter winds from different directions.
I love using the Voyager loaded and it really is a nice tripping canoe.

Does anybody have pics of their Voyager

– Last Updated: Jun-08-09 5:48 PM EST –

Does anybody have pics of their Voyager with the covers on that I could view?

Here is my home made cover : http://images39.fotki.com/v1224/fileOmE3/78720/6/67818/6791203/IMG_1004.jpg

I don't think I have any pics with the Cooke cover on yet, I need to take some.

Here’s mine
With the homemade cover I whipped up the afternoon before. Tyvek and velcro. I don’t expect it to last the season.



You need to get yourself a really fat dog , to take with you .

Voyager with Cooke cover
Here’s a Voyager with a Cooke Custom Cover:


controling a lightly loaded Voyager-wind
All steps noted such as seat moved back to skeg stern, adding weight, adding covers all help.

There is a additional step that while it turns the stomachs of the members of the “I only use a single blade” church, really helps control a Voyager in the wind—use a double blade paddle.


Similar experience with my Voyager
Thanks for posting comments about the Voyager - I’m still working on learning how to handle this canoe. It’s such a different style from the others I have. Paddling it on day trips (flexcore voyager plus 150 lb paddler) it feels like the seat should be further back. In fact I’ve considered trying to modify the seat mounting to allow the seat to be slid back a couple more inches.

My DIY covers are shown in this thread:


Like yours, the front cover stops at the thwart and I’ve been thinking about extending it. This would make thwart bag access a little more difficult though.

Advantage Advantage

– Last Updated: Jun-09-09 10:37 AM EST –

I have an early Advantage (an old cedar-strip, taken off the lines of one of Kruger's original racers) and have paddled it extensively, both light and loaded. I have also spent good time in a Voyageur, though NOT in a heavily loaded tripping situation. I weigh 240 lbs and find that the Advantage is a much sweeter, more forgiving ride, especially when considering the Voyageur's very real tendency to weather-cock in a quartering wind. That said, when I would weigh down the Voyageur with a water filled 40 liter dry bag, it would, as G2D put it so well, start to pay attention to the water rather than the wind. The Voyageur holds much more gear (hey, I weigh 240 already) than the Advantage and is, truth be told, certainly faster overall. However, I can't see using one without a cover to reduce its directional challenges.

I always use a double blade.

What length?
The paddles I use with my kayaks would be too short for use with the Voyager.

I use a 230 and it works fine,but am
6’5" and wear a 38" sleeve.

Dead deer? Dead gerbils?

– Last Updated: Jun-09-09 5:30 PM EST –

Tommy, shove a bikini-clad chick
on a piece of foam back there for
some LIVE ballast, wouldja!

Loooong GP Really Helps My W-Vag
in windy conditions. Had Bremer make me a 104" GP I really like. Tight to store onboard but good for chasing average yakers, and spins the Vag quick too. R

right angles
Seems to me that any boat and any paddle style is going to have more difficulty trying to quarter a wind than taking it either parallel or perpindular, for the simple reason that more of your stroke has to go to steering. I would prefer to alter course in a way that ends up at the same point with less effort on steering and more on propulsion. So, if you have a tailwind and you want to travel to a point 45 degrees to your left, start out going straight ahead and when you near the end, turn 90 degrees to your left to finish off.

Also, in this way you can turn what’s normally a disadvantage to advantage. In your initial run with the tailwind, do all your paddling on your right. This will push you toward your goal, while using the wind to minimize or eliminate the need for corrective strokes on this leg of the journey. Likewise when you turn 90 degrees left for the last leg, continue paddling on the right (possibly making shorter strokes, depending on how things feel) and less energy will need to be devoted to steering strokes.

On your question about disads of having your seat too far back, if the boat is not level it will not reach the same peak speeds and it will travel less distance for a given effort put into a paddle stroke.

Regarding ballast, I can’t believe you need as much as 60 pounds. Keep in mind that any ballast reduces the speed and distance that result from a given amount of effort. Surely 20-30 pounds is plenty. To minimize the amount of ballast needed, it should be placed all the way forward (or backward, in other cases). Remember that it’s effect is proportional to it’s distance from the center fulcrum, so 20 pounds placed 6 feet from center is the same as 60 pounds place 2 feet from center.