Wenonah Voyager Outfitting

Last week there was a discussion about bagging out a large solo. Here are some photos of my newest boat.


All of the work was done by Kris Wolpert at Blue Mt Outfitters. I explained to him my needs with having the dog along vs true solo. He made this a three bag set-up that takes just a minute to change from 2-3 bags.

So far it may be one of my “ultimate” boats. I think it’d be hard to beat as a multi purpose “mild” expedition boat. I hope I can stay gainfuly employed so as not having to sell the fleet again.

sweet boat!
Lookin’ good. I’d love to test paddle a voyager. I’ve been wanting to add an advantage to the fleet, or maybe a prism or even voyager. I’d have to buy used though, so a voyager may be a little out of my price range for now. Question: how did he do those D-rings? Doesn’t look like a typical D-ring.

I couldn’t tell you the technical name but it is a pair of square poly tabs that have a loop for a d-ring. They are epoxied in place.

Wow! I really like that !
I think would feel much more secure with bags instead of a cover. I have made my own foot brace and ‘tug eyes’, but they don’t look as good as yours.

Cool Pics
That’s a sweet looking boat. Hoping I get to try it out REAL soon .

voyager performance?
give us a little insight into how the boat performs on water. i hear the longer wenonahs can be a beast to control in certain wind conditions.

So Far So Good
I have only had the boat for a month or so, so she has not gotten full trials yet.

These big Wenonahs respond very well to trim changes, either with the slider seat or ballast changes. You can tune quite a bit for wind conditions.

On the few times I have had a Voyager out on chop and winds I thought it bahaved predictably. It is tall boat so you have to count on extra windage, but it can easily be compensated for with body lean and stroke variation.

Another factor is the quick hull speed. Under moderate paddler effort this boat slices through wind and waves easily.

what type of weight are you hauling on an average day trip? and, can i pitch a tent in your backyard and paddle your canoes for a few weeks? pretty please?

Without a cover or bags it is a
bitch in the wind.

sounds like it could be a problem in a decent blow without a cover and/or bags. i’d prefer both in a canoe like that on coastal bays and open water. what wind speeds can you handle with a cover? i’m guessing the boat handles waves pretty well.

Trim Solves Wind
I have a kevlar “Advantage” (33 lbs.) and I’ve paddled the “Voyager” in both the Columbia and Willamette Rivers and found it to handle just about the same; i.e., very easy to control in a wind if it is properly trimmed.

Bill Mason has said that a canoe can be driven into the teeth the wind if the bow is trimmed down so that the stern acts as a weather vane. Conversely, the stern should be trimmed so it is down and the bow up to avoid weather cocking in a following wind.

The sliding seat in these Wenonahs makes it easy to thus adjust trim fore-and-aft.

The effect of wind coming from the quarters or a-beam can only be mitigated by heeling the canoe to leeward and/or adding ballast. The Voyager is a foot longer than the Advantage and is deeper, so it will display far more freeboard area if it is carrying the same load. IMHO, Unless you are going to be using its extra capacity, you might be better off with the “Encounter”, which is a bit shorter but gains load capacity be being wider

OR… have an Advantage AND a Voyager!!! (Dream on!)


big dreamin’
i’ll be lucky if i can get a used advantage and bag it out and add a cover. i don’t know that i’d like the encounter. it seems like a pretty beefy boat. i’m looking for cruising abilit, speed and something that’s reasonable in the wind with a cover/bags. something i can paddle on coastal trips and take out just for fun. race? maybe. i

… I have paddled Voyagers both solo (190 lbs) and with a Molly + Beer load (250 lbs). With a very light load I find I can tip the boat up and throw it around like a huge sea kayak. I may some seated position thigh braces to accentuate this further. With a load the boat has more stability but is still fairly easy to hold in a heal.

Any time you want to venture North I can treat you to some amazing boat testing. I not only have a decent fleet, but also have access to the BMO fleet of demo’s and personal boats. Decent camping near by as well.

Thigh Braces
I see that you have knee pads installed but it sounds as though you intend to paddle primarily seated vs. kneeling. True? and if so why?

Is this the same boat that Pyker is trying to roll in the Raystown pics?

With thigh braces installed do you think rolling this would be realistic?

What about kneeling with thigh straps, Could you roll it then?

Yeah I know if you rolled it you’d still have a swamped boat to deal with but hey first things first.

Oh and thanks for the nice detailed pics of what looks to be a solid and well thought out rig.

In search of the Sea Canoe,


A little clarification to my earlier
statement. The Voyager LOVES going into the wind.It seems to speed up. Out of the wind is fine also. It is a bear in a quartering or cross breeze without the cover. It is determined to follow the wind.

My plan so far is to primarily stay seated with the option of kneeling, if necsesary. Kris (my friend who did the outfitting) paddles a fully oufitted carbon Advantage primarily from the kneeling position. He swears by this position, but I find it a little uncomfortable.

Yes this is the boat Pyker was attempting to roll. The problem he ran into was that the fantastic secondary stability that keeps you upright also works against you when upside down.

I will wait until next spring to train in earnest, but I’m fairly certain I will be able to managed a C to C with a straight shaft canoe paddle.

The biggest suprise was how little water comes back up with the boat. Upside down the bags keep the boat floating at gunnel hieght. As you roll it over the extreme tumble home kicks in and only allows an inch or so water to remain in the boat, probably not more than 5-10 gallons. It’s worked against Randy when hhe tried to do a wet re-entry. It was impossible to fill the boat with enough water to sink it down lower.

Flip Side
The Wenonah solo cruisers with extreme tumble home are fast, dry and quite seaworthy for most conditions that you would care to paddle on protected waters where land is not too far away. But not what I would choose for coastal (ocean) cruising. They have a lot stability until the point where the tumblehome begins is reached, but that is fairly low down on the hull. Go a hair beyond that point and you will get flipped into the drink faster than you can react with a brace.

I always take a new canoe for a test drive after I get it in order to see how it will feel as its secondary stability begins to turn into instability! I don’t want to find out the hard way someday under emergency conditions. My Advantage is as stiff as a plank until the the waterline comes above the max hull width point.

Then it is instant swim time. This is not a knock on the boat, … I love mine. But if I were to take it out into a large coastal bay or huge lake where sea conditions might deteriorate rapidly, I would take a kayak paddle along as a spare.

A boat you might find a more suitable alternative to the Advantage is Bell’s Magic.

A smidgeon slower, perhaps, and with a bit less primary stability, it has more secondary stability because the typical Bell tumblehome it has is just below the rails.



– Last Updated: Oct-28-04 5:22 PM EST –

i already have a rob roy and do coastal trips in southwest florida regularly. it handles tripping conditions quite well, although i'm a little more conservative with it on the open Gulf since i installed a wenonah sliding seat. nice comparison between wenonahs and bells at the moment of instability. coastal conditions in the everglades typically aren't that bad, although a full day of paddling with 20-knot wind and two-foot breaking waves can wreak havoc on one's soul. if there is coastal canoe country anywhere in the U.S., it's the everglades. the shallow water holds waves down somewhat, but the water becomes very choppy. the largest seas i've heard of in six years here is 12 feet about a mile offshore.