what kind of wind is doable?

if you are on an open lake or creek, an area that is calm when its not blowing, no currents or waves when there is no wind, how high of a wind could you paddle and manuver, head wind, in a sit on top? how about a canoe? what would be the most stable, a ocean kayak malibu 2, or an old town 14 ft? thanks for any info. weather would be winter, duck hunting, 25-45 degrees.

Bring a lot of ammo, both to weigh
your boat down in the wind, and to fire in the direction opposite to where you want to go.

Have no idea!
Been stymied by 25 mph winds in shallow water as the hull squats.

25 mph in the ocean is not as big a deal unless the tide is going ooooout…and the wind offshore. 25 mph is just a PITA on Canadian Lakes.

You will have to clarify a little re depth and wind direction and current.

No straight answer, but here goes:
There are no straight answers to these questions.

In general, the sit-on-top will be easier to handle in high wind, but in windy/wavy weather you will get totally soaked from the waist down. You might have waders along if you are duck hunting, but don’t wear them to stay dry when boating over deep water as they can kill you if you capsize.

How well you can handle windy conditions in a canoe depends on the type of canoe and your degree of paddling skill. A skilled paddler can handle a solo boat in wind that would seem impossible to a beginner. Tandem canoes paddled solo can be pretty uncontrollable in high wind, but solo canoes, particularly certain models, will do quite well. Any canoe is a lot more managable in high wind with a double-blade paddle, but to really get such a beast as a big tandem canoe under control, convert it to a rowboat by adding oars and a very low center seat.

I usually don’t know the exact wind speed when I go on the water, but judging from up-to-date reports and forecasts, I’d say a 20-mph wind is doable, but a real slog, in a general-purpose solo canoe like my Mohawk Odyssey 14. On the other hand, I’d really hate to have to go very far into such wind with my Supernova, which is a high-volume solo canoe with a lot of freeboard. I don’t think I could paddle my brother’s 17-foot Grumman into a wind like that at all. My 15-foot guide-boat can be rowed straight into a 35-mph wind, but that’s a real battle. 20 to 25 mph is very doable in that boat, which is somewhat canoe-shaped, but actually a lot more seaworthy than most canoes. I have not encountered a wind which I can’t handle in my little 12-foot packboat (not to say there isn’t some reasonable limit), partly because it is a rowboat, and partly because it is small and doesn’t present as large a “sail” as any of my other boats.

Regarding stability, you should know that too much stability can make a boat harder to control in wavy conditions. A stable, flat-bottomed boat will constantly try to “match” the alignment of the water’s surface, while a more “tippy” boat will let the water “tilt” beneath it and give you a smoother, faster ride. Boats with flatter bottoms are slower in all conditions than those with rounder bottoms, and this gets more pronounced when the water is a little rough. If I had to guess, I’d bet that you will still be happier with a fairly stable boat with a flatter bottom, and that’s what you’ll get with any canoe that is designed for the mass market rather than for people looking for some particular kind of performance.

The thing with choosing a boat, is that it can be as complicated as you want to make it and there is no boat that does everything. Asking questions about performance in wind raises some of these issues. If I were in your position (both in terms of the boat’s intended use and (apparent) experience level), I’d avoid using a sit-on-top due to the problem of gear storage, and keeping myself and gear dry in nasty weather. Instead, I’d fix up my big aluminum tandem canoe (I think I remember another post saying you had that) for rowing.

One more note. Cold-weather boating is dangerous, and you really SHOULD bring along the stuff you will need to save yourself (or at least become comfortable again) if you end up in the water. Obviously that includes a full change of clothes, plus whatever extra clothes you carry, in a dry bag. Fire-starting stuff, etc. is good too.

Malibu II
is a very stable and seaworthy barge, handles big big waves. Not fun to paddle in the wind though I am afraid.

My son’s friend owns a Malibu II and they take it out surfing for fun to scare the board surfers …it will handle pretty big waves… this was a small day


i have a 174 old town, and im never really any futher than 50 yards from the land, usually 25 yard or closer, so if i went in, i could get a fire going in minutes, so survival, while very serious, is not like im all alone in the ocean. but it is flat marsh and the wind really whips across it, and often blows from the open water, either way, when it blows, there isnt any protection. so would my canoe and some oars be the best bet, and some kinda ballast? maybe some small outriggers? thanks for any help.

Rowing a canoe

– Last Updated: Nov-13-08 10:20 PM EST –

If I had to control a boat that big in strong wind all by myslef, I'd definitely need to use oars. You don't say what model Old Town you have, but if it has a 174 designation, I imagine it's probably not less than 36 inches wide. At that width, you don't need outriggers. Just mount oarlocks on the gunwales about as far behind your chosen seating position as your arms comfortably reach when your hands are at oar-handle height. Old Town probably sells oarlocks that will fit the boat, but you can probably find some at a boating shop too.

Your seat should be just about at the center of the boat. It needs to be low enough that you can do your recovery stroke without scrunching the oar handles right into your legs to get the blades out of the water. One avid canoe-rower on this site simply places a bean bag chair on the bottom of the boat (low seat height, no boat-modification needed). There may be a thwart in the way of the seat or your arm movements, and if so you'll need to remove it, or better still, move it to another location. Finally you'll need a footbrace to push against when rowing. That can be built in all sorts of ways.

Standard oars in a seven-foot length will overlap about 8 inches at the handles if your boat is 36 inches wide (the overlap is less when the oars are tilted down into the water on the power stroke). Cross-handed rowing with that amount of overlap is easy to get used to. Eight-foot oars are even better on such a big boat, but the overlap would probably be closer to one foot, more than some people would care for. If your boat is 38 inches wide, eight-foot oars will be fine, with about 8 inches or less of overlap at the handles.

If you decide to go this route, some people here can tell you where to get oars, or provide advice on how to attach oarlocks, build a footbrace, etc.

Duck Hunting …
I would go with a canoe not a SOT kayak.

It would be much warmer and there is really no safe place to put a shotgun on a SOT.

Where I grew up we had what we called “Duck boats” very low gunnels…shaped a bit like a Folboat low profille … made out of aluminum — colder than hell in late november they worked well in similar situation with high winds on swampy water. I’ve never seen them anywhere else.


– Last Updated: Nov-14-08 10:17 AM EST –

The waders will kill you thing is a complete myth. In today's society they would not be made if they were dangerous. Lawyers would put all wader makers out of business.

Watch this video if you don't own some waders and know the truth alread.


Other than that I completely agree with guideboatguy.

Old town's least expensive 14 footer is a pretty great row boat.

You are a beginner, so my thoughts:

– Last Updated: Nov-14-08 11:19 AM EST –

1. go with the Old Town- If it is a discovery, that is a good heavy boat and should handle well in wind.
2. If you are talking about a fairly narrow creek,(say 60 feet or less in width), you should not have to worry about wind since it will never have a chance to build up, unless both sides are wide open fields for a half mile or more.
3. If the pond/lake is small say less than a half mile in diameter, the wind should not build up enough to bother you if it is less than 15MPh
4. If you are in a large wide open lake, even a 10 mph wind can build up white caps and since you are a beginner you should stay near the shore.

5. If you know what direction the wind is coming from, you can stay along the shore of that direction, and be protected even in a 20 mph wind.

Use caution and learn by experience !


Overstated a bit, but…

– Last Updated: Nov-14-08 10:28 AM EST –

... even open-top boots make swimming darn near impossible, where suddenly each foot has an effective inertial mass of about ten pounds. You should go try it. I own a pair of waders. They aren't the super lightweight type with stocking feet (to be worn under lightweight summer fishing shoes) that you might be thinking of. They are the traditional kind with built-in, heavy rubber boots, with the uppers made from rubberized, two-layer canvas, and they "weigh a ton". They are the LAST thing I'd want on my body when my first order of business is swimming myself and my boat to to shallow water or shore. They might not automatically drown you, but they would certainly tilt the odds pretty far in the wrong direction. I'm an excellent swimmer, but I wouldn't want to have to swim more than 50 feet while wearing those things, and that's WITH a PFD. In cold water, that might be too far for me. And I'm not ever going to test this idea either.

Okay, they don't "weigh a ton". I just hung them from a scale, and they weigh 11.5 pounds, which is as much or more than the total weight of clothing a person might wear in cold weather. They won't weigh that much submerged, but since the material is far more dense than the fabric of normal clothing, the "sinking effect" would be proportionately greater, nevermind the fact that with every movement you would need to overcome the inertia of all that water you are carrying with you (for me, it would probably be about 5 gallons in each leg, and about that much again around my waist). Any way you slice it, wearing waders and swimming is something I would not risk.

Wader Myth forgot video

Sorry I forgot to add the video. I have no more trouble swimming in my waders than I do in a wet suit. For me it if the pfd that slows down my swimming the most, but I’m not taking it off to swim faster.

Apples and Oranges

– Last Updated: Nov-14-08 11:26 AM EST –

Well, I watched the video, and I can see that you and I are not talking about the same thing. That guy is wearing ultralight Goretex waders that don't weigh any more than a pair of regular rain pants, they aren't even the least bit baggy, and he's wearing regular walking shoes over the stocking-foot ends. The duck hunters I see all wear the old-fashioned kind of waders, probably because those lightweight ones cost a few hundred dollars, and also because they want something really rugged with built-in boots. Traditional waders won't suck down against your legs and keep water out, they are tremendously baggy, and they are very, very heavy. As another indication of the difference between the two kinds of waders, the lightweight kind that the guy in the video used can be rolled up and carried in a large jacket pocket, while the traditional kind when fully scrunched up will completely fill a standard kitchen-size trash bag.

I honestly never knew there was a "myth" about the danger of waders in deep water. It was just common sense to me, based on the kinds of waders I and other people I see have. Honestly, if I had those ultralight Goretex waders with sock-feet, I wouldn't be worried about swimming in them either, any more than I worry about that when wearing rain pants. Myths or conventional wisdom has nothing to do with my thinking on this. To claim that there is some myth about this issue, and to create a video to say "waders aren't dangerous to swim in" is about as disingenous as telling a firefighter that his jacket and pants couldn't possibly be all that bulky and heavy because a packbacking rain suit weighs mere ounces and folds into a packet only a few inches around.

the wind not broken

Agree 25 is it
When the forecast is for 25 mph, there’s always higher gusts too. 25 tells us that you don’t paddle or go into the inland marsh streams. Even then you can end up working like an animal if you have a long stretch going into the wind. I’ve been out in higher winds but you end up working and fighting for every inch. A big open lake is going to feel it more than inter-coastal streams where you get some protection.

Sea Kayak
A canoe will work well to a little less than 15 knots (where waves start to break in deep water.)

Much past that you are on for the ride or a lot of work.

On the ocean 25 knots is a good place to stay under in a kayak. I have been out in 70 KM winds about 40 knots and made headway but it was a survival game.

I was planning to go out on a run with the wind in a 35 knot gale a few weeks ago but could find no one to go with me. It was to be a one way trip and a shuttle. I hoped to cover 40 KM 22 Nautical miles ± fast. There were lots of take outs.

That kind of foolishness is not recommended because the sea is not just full of breaking waves but the tops are being pulled off the waves giving you streamers. That is horrible to face.

For the water temperatures you are dealing with a dry suit is required if you can’t stand up and walk ashore.

You can hunt and fish from a sea kayak.

Now you were looking at an ocean kayak Malibu 2. That is not a sea kayak.

The breaking waves would be my gauge. Past a surf if wind is capping the waves I would not go out. (15 Knots)

Ponds and rivers are often protected by hills and trees so this may be way out of line for your question.


– Last Updated: Nov-15-08 7:48 PM EST –

thats an example of the water ill be in.

try pics again


would you go in these areas in a 20 mph wind?

Since this is still active…
I don’t know have time in the specific boats mentioned, but the answer is “it depends” anyway. In an area like that you are not going to a have huge waves because there isn’t a long enough stretch of unbroken water surface to roil easily. So it is more about directional control than stability.

Handling wind is one of the things that you get better at with more skills, time in the boat, work on your strokes etc. The 20 mph that some on this board would find manageable may be too much for you right now, but may be comfortable for you in a year. And handling means a lot of things - wind that won’t capsize you or anything may still be enough to turn a nice paddle into a really unpleasant battle just to get where you want to go.

The canoe has more windage strictly speaking than something like the SOT, but it may be easier to trim the canoe so that it helps you out a little than the SOT. So even the windage may not be the final word, depending on the hulls of each boat.

In sum - your best bet is to (prudently) go out in various conditions, keep track of the wind speed and direction and see how it works out. Start out at 10-12 as your cap, see how that works out, and edge it up as you feel like you can fully control the boat at each point. There aren’t any hard and fast answers to this.

duck hunting experience
I would say hunt in protected water and paddle in open bays or lake if wind is above 10 mph. People die in open water trying to hunt and paddle in winter, decoys, gear, back up gear,gun ect.I have been hunting with a 16’ new delhi duck barge (canoe)about 20 yrs in blind with lab in marsh off shoreline of lake pontchrain. I have been blown across my 12 acre pond and been literlly beaten helping kaycee out.Keeping pointed is important, a beam is dangerous with no control at best. I have a ocean kayak prowler 15’with feather lite rudder,self bailer (sot) that i paddle all year and can have fun in 15-20 mph,winter handles reach pretty well but thats just paddling. maybe try a scull boat not to sure how well it handles but you don’t need decoys just bring a extra pfd to tie to bow line to retrieve your boat. Have fun it’s great to be on the water. There are old hunters, there are bold hunters, but there are no old bold hunters. Jim