I am not wholly new to canoeing, but this will be my first purchase. I am 5’10" 200lbs, mostly it will be just me in the canoe, though ocasionally my girlfriend, or poss my dog with some work, or a buddy will join me. I will mostly paddle lakes, slow rivers, and maybe some WW up to class III max. I am debating between an Old Town Penobscott 16’ Royalex, and an Osagian 17’ Allumanum canoe… I know the keel will kill me in some WW, but have heard good things about the osagina, some ppl even like better than their comp or plas boats for the handling supriseingly good for a allum canoe… but the penobscott is prob the best and most often reviewed canoe i have found… but any advice here would be great! thanks
I guess if you solo more than tandem a Wenonah Solo Plus would be good. If you are going to tandem often get a tandem with a symmetrical hull design and you can turn it backwards and paddle from the Bow seat solo.
Reports notwithstanding, you should
avoid whitewater in a keeled aluminum boat.
The Penobscot is a nice pocket cruiser. You can run rapids in it, solo, but as a tandem in whitewater it will take on a lot of water.
Other possibilities: Mad River Legend 15 (dry but slow) or Explorer 15. Esquif has some excellent choices for your goals, if you have a dealer and can afford the higher prices.
Used Penobscots are fairly common. Buy one and paddle it on everything up to easy cl2 while you search for another used canoe with some rocker, which will be way better for 2 and up. Forget the aluminum canoe.
The Penobscot is an excellent canoe. It’s 16 feet long, just like a 16 foot SeaNymph. A SeaNymph with a 100HP motor handles everything from Ocean to raging rivers, so a Penobscot will handle Cod fishing perfectly. I learned that from Rowboatguy and his buddies here.
The Nova Craft Pal, Prospector(Wenonah, Bell, and others make a version of this “old reliable” also), or the Bob Special might be worth your consideration - especially if you can find any of these used in royalex. (It may depend on where you are. I’m not sure that Nova Craft is as well distributed in the south or west as in the north and east.) All are decent solos (though the Prospector can be a handful solo and lightly loaded on a windy open stretch) but could easily carry dogs, a girlfriend, work bud, camping gear, and all are capable in mild whitewater. In fact, they can take pretty serious whitewater in capable hands…
I’m not one to bash aluminum canoes after defending them for so long, but they really can be easy to trash if you broach on a rock in even Class I whitewater. I once saw a brand new Alumacraft destroyed in an unclassed bit of the Namekagon River… it was a sad sight. Unless outside storage is a necessity, I’d think the disadvantages would outweigh the advantages if there is any possibility of rocky rivers in your future.
Happy hunting! Whatever you end up with, it’ll be a door to new adventures both large and small. The only really terrible course would be to not get anything and fail to get out on the water as much as you otherwise might. Renting should be a last resort.
thank you all for the quick replies, and appreciate all the info… ;^)
If you really are going to paddle tandem, The Pennobscot 16 works pretty good probably in the top 90% for a C1/C2 combo boat. Outfit with a middle seat, maybe someone here can measure where it should be placed (I sold mine after using it for years and moving on to solo boats).
An actual solo boat is lots more fun though for solo.
a Mad River Legend 15 RX for my canoe. It’s a perfect set up for me as a paddle 95% of the time solo. The other 5% is with my wife or a buddy to go fishing.
Advantages I have found after a year of use:
- Plenty of storage when going solo for overnighters
- Short enough to be a solo, long enough to use tandem
- Very dry ride
- Great boat for moving water
- Does well in shallow water- I paddle Ozark streams, shallow and tight turns but not necessarily big water
- I think the rocker is just about right
- Not great for two full grown men with supplies, becomes a bathtub
- Very slow on water no moving, lakes, etc…
- Once the wind picks up, good luck keeping it straight